Friday, April 27, 2007

2007 Motorcycle Awareness Rally

The Idaho Coalition for Motorcycle Safety is sponsoring the annual "Awareness Rally" Saturday May 5. Meet at Sandy Point (just below Lucky Peak Dam, east of Boise) beginning at 11am. "Lights on the Highway" at 1pm.

It's a rare opportunity to ride with 1500 or 2000 of your best friends.

These days, the ride goes along Highway 21 to the intersection with Federal Way (near Micron), then down Federal Way and Capitol Boulevard, ending up at the Statehouse.

(I've been participating for years. Back in the good old days, we met at the park right next to Meridian Speedway, and would take I-84 and "The Connector" - it was pretty awesome that they'd block I-84 for 20 or 30 minutes while the motorcycle parade went by.)

People generally gather along the route to watch the bikes go by. If you want to see a wide variety of motorcycles, from dusty "rat bikes" to "bike show custom," to 180-mph crotch rockets, to strange "Road Warrior" trikes, etc., get there an hour or so before departure time. Once at the Statehouse, there are generally some speeches about motorcycle safety, what various organizations are doing to further motorcyclist rights, etc.

I believe the Rally has two purposes:
1) To raise awareness in the minds of the General Public, that they are sharing the roadways with motorcycle riders, who are particularly vulnerable to driver stupidity, and
2) To promote safe motorcycle riding practices.

Some personal observations:
1) For many motorcycle riders, "loud pipes" is the one safety practice they can really get behind! (What a joke!)
2) If you ride, you want to BE CAREFUL! The guy riding next to you, or in front of you, may have been riding for 40 years, or 40 minutes!
3) To me it is amazing to see a sizeable percentage of participants (at a safety rally!) who are helmetless. It's great to avoid accidents, because if you're in one, you're likely to get injured or kilt. But there's precious little you can do to mitigate the chance for injury if you're in an accident, heaven forbid... one thing you can do is HAVE A HELMET ON! (Oddly, many of the helmetless participants will be all decked out in shiny black leather... evidently they can deal with a brain injury, but that road rash stings!!) (What a joke!)
4) You'll also see the shorts-and-flip-flops wheelie-poppin' crotch-rocket riders (at a safety rally!). It's nice they hold the rally in the spring, because some of those punks won't make it thru the summer. Sadly.

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