The Sunday Afternoon Ride

Situation 25


The taxi ahead slowed and pulled to the sidewalk to pick up the passenger waving for him.

Peter, with his throttle relaxed and eased to the centre of the road passed the slowing taxi without drama.

(This next situation is based on an actual event)

Later, Peter was in traffic moving at speed near a major interchange.

Around him there were lots of cagers lane-changing and braking at the last minute.

Peter was cruising comfortably, aware of all dangers, looking out for surprises, alert and ready.

When he first saw the grocery bag it was being blown around in traffic a couple of lanes away.

He didn't pay it much heed. Then, in less than a second, it was caught by the draft of three vehicles in precisely the perfect way to toss it into Peter's path where it wrapped around his helmet like an octopus around a meal! Just as he was moving down an off-ramp.

Here was Peter completely blind on a motorcycle in traffic decelerating through 45mph in a decreasing radius blind left turn on rough pavement with slowing traffic in front, traffic to the side, traffic to the rear, and a guard-rail/embankment on the left. There was some good news - it wasn't raining.

For an instant, Peter was dumbfounded because he had NEVER been in any predicament that remotely resembled this one. For the rest of his life, Peter will carry the mental snap shot of the moment before the bag got him. White Saturn about one second in front with it's brake lights aglow as the driver braked. There was a Haverty's delivery truck to his right front, red Cadillac Fleetwood immediately to his right, a tractor trailer hauling culverts on a flat bed to his rear, and concrete embankment and mangled guard-rail to his left. Then, instantly, his world was a pale "Tom Thumb" on translucent brown.

What do you do?

(a) Relax the throttle

(b) Hit the brakes

(c) Panic