I know with a post title like that, most of you might be thinking this is about hi-vis gear or bike lighting. Not so, but it is about assessing your risk and being seen.
Life itself is full of risk assessment. Conscious or subconscious, we are continually assessing our risk and making decisions accordingly.
Whether on a bike or walking across the street. We assess the situation, determine the risks, and decide how much risk we are willing to take.
ON THE BIKE
I am just heading to the store should I wear ATGATT? Do I really need those riding pants? Should I wear the armored jacket or just a t-shirt? Assess the risk.
It is raining and I need new tires, should I go on that 200 mile ride anyway? Assess the risk.
There is a dog on the side of the road, should I slow down and prepare for evasive maneuvers or should I just assume he'll stay put? Assess the risk.
I need to cross the street - should I walk to the crosswalk or dart across? Assess the risk.
I am in a hurry. There is no traffic, but the speed limit is only 45 mph, should I speed to get there faster? Assess the risk.
I want to go walking at night - should I wear my black jacket and pants and not take a flashlight? Assess the risk.
* * * *
We live in a college town and Oregon State University's colors are black and orange. For some reason the students usually just wear the black..... especially at night..... when darting across the street in traffic. For the most part they are very hard to see. Although it is a risk they obviously have chosen to take, it is dangerous.
While Troubadour has been commuting by Subaru these last few months I have been taking the city bus. Before the one-hour time change, that meant standing at the bus stop in the dark at 7am. I realized I was wearing my black jacket and when it was raining, my umbrella was also black. I assessed my risk and determined I was not making any better choices than the college students.
Luckily Troubadour found a pretty cool umbrella online and ordered it for me. He first saw the umbrella in a Gizmodo article. LINK. And is made by SUCK UK. The perfect umbrella for a motorcyclist that wants to be seen off the bike - the canopy is completely retro-reflective. He ordered it from Hammacher Schlemmer and it arrived within a few days.
|(Hi Reflective Umbrella by SuckUK)|
|(Umbrella with no flash or bright light - looks grey)|
|(Umbrella with camera flash mimicking headlights)|
I have used it twice now and have noticed the following:
1. People will actually turn down their high-beams since light reflects so brightly back to them.
2. The handle isn't nearly long enough for me. I have to hold my hand by my chin.
3. The canopy does not feel quite wide enough, but it does pack small for travel.
4. It is an awesome idea for anyone walking in the dark in the rain.
$28 including shipping is a small price to pay for added safety.
Our goal as motorcyclists is to reduce our risks while maintaining the fun factor of riding on two-wheels.
What else do you do in your everyday life to assess and reduce risk?
- Au Revoir
"Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash." - George S. Patton