by Liz Jansen
Nowhere are distractions more potentially perilous than while you’re operating your motorcycles. The many demands on your time and personal resources seem crucial, but if you take a step back and look at them in the grand scheme of things, they suddenly lose their urgency. Over time, directing energy to something that’s off course, can drain you, making you less effective for those things you’ve decided are important.
The same distractions that put you at risk on your motorcycle, jeopardize you reaching your goals in life. This post from the archives, is a fitting way to begin Motorcycle Awareness month. Apply it to any road you’re traveling.
- Glare. This becomes a real hazard to riders, particularly in autumn when the sun is low in the sky. Even the best polarized sunglasses can’t block it all. When glaring challenges appear, the only choice to avoid disaster is to stop and take corrective action before proceeding.
- Activity in other vehicles. Most bikes sit higher than cars and the rider can get quite an education by realizing what’s going on inside them. While it’s vital to anticipate the driver’s actions, fascinating as it may be, avoid focusing on activities which are not going to affect you.
- Visual Distractions. You find ourselves in a traffic jam because rubberneckers are curious about something that happened in another lane, going a different direction and on the other side of a barrier. It’s just as easy to get sidetracked like this in life by something that catches your eye. It slows you down, influences those around you and puts you at risk of not making your destination.
- Day dreaming. Riding along on a beautiful day can lull you into complacency and you find your mind wandering. Your brain state drifts from beta alertness to alpha relaxation – not a good thing when you’re operating a motorcycle. While there’s no question of the Zen quality of riding, you still need to remain attentive. Whether on your bike or life’s Road, persistent difficulty maintaining focus means it’s time for a rest.
- Looking for directions. Trying to find an address, you wipe the rain from your visor, slow down, watch for traffic, observe stop lights, avoid potholes, look at road signs, navigate around streetcar tracks and keep an eye out for jay-walkers. It’s tricky to do while maintaining balance, avoiding the wrath of other drivers, becoming tense and crashing into something. If you know you’re going into a busy time with lots of demands on your time and personal resources, the more you can plan and prepare, the easier it will be to reach your destination safely.
- Scenery. Becoming immersed in nature while riding through forests, across plains or along the ocean is a highlight of riding. It’s when I feel the most connected to Spirit. But I’m still a mortal being and need to watch the road. Tending to body as well as soul keeps you balanced, healthy and joyful.
- Physical condition. Pain and discomfort are signals your body sends off indicating something is amiss and needs attention. That attention comes at the expense of what you’re trying to accomplish. Whether you’re on your bike or your Road, this distraction means it’s time to take a break and tend to other priorities before proceeding.
- Poor fitting gear. You wear gear to protect yourself from weather, flying objects of all sizes and the road. Armor (padding) needs to end up in the right position should it be called into action. One size does not fit all and whatever you wear must be right for the situation. Gear that is too tight, too loose or just plain doesn’t work makes you uncomfortable, contributes to fatigue and isn’t going to give you the protection you need. If you’re to be of service to others, your first priority is in caring for your Self and your unique needs, not wearing something that was meant for someone else.
- Noise. Whether it’s a radio turned up loud, iPods, loud bikes or two-way radios, all that noise is sensory input your minds has to process. This is in addition to all the other inputs you have to deal with. Avoid taking on too much, keep things simple and stay focused. No matter which road you’re on, it keeps you relaxed, alert and in a better frame of mind when you arrive.
It’s easy for buzz to distract you. It attracts your attention and your energy, but has no bearing on where you’re going. Watch letting distractions lure you away from your purpose. Awareness is the first step to a safer ride, no matter which road you’re on.