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Ride Away Safely from Road Rage

The past few months have seen an increase in road rage between motorcyclists and motorists and, too frequently, these are ending with severe injuries or fatalities. Riders are beginning to utilize cameras such as GoPro’s when they are on their bikes and they are now able to catch these situations of rage and frequently upload them to video sharing platforms like YouTube. These videos are vital components in helping law enforcement rightfully charge the culprits and helping riders to see the type of situations that could await them out on the road. Helmet videos also supply mainstream media with content to broadcast on the evening newscasts, which heightens awareness to the viewing public at large.

A recent example of road rage occurred in mid-October in a rural area southwest of Fort Worth, TX when driver William Crum appeared to intentionally hit motorcyclist Eric Sanders and his girlfriend as they were attempting to pass slower moving traffic. A rider behind Sanders had a camera mounted to his helmet and caught the entire shocking situation—not only the vehicles impacting but the subsequent confrontation. This video rapidly went viral over a weekend, chalking up more than 3,000,000 views in less than 48 hours.

Technically, the motorcyclist erred by crossing a double yellow line when trying to pass; the vehicles had been traveling 40 mph, well below the posted 65 mph speed limit. It was during the passing attempt that Crum decided to quickly swerve into the path of the motorcyclist, colliding with and throwing both Sanders and his girlfriend from the bike. Sanders managed to walk away from the scene with abrasions but his girlfriend had to be airlifted to a hospital with a broken wrist and very deep arm lacerations.

Law enforcement was able to respond quickly to this situation of road rage in no small part due to the video. The driver allegedly told police that he had been stung by an insect near his genitals while driving which caused him to swerve into the rider. However, the video shows him back-talking to the rider with the helmet camera and saying, “I don’t care!” when confronted with the evidence immediately after the collision.

Crum has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; he currently sits in jail on a $150,000 bond.

Motorcyclists frequently become exasperated by the actions of motorists when they are cut off in traffic or when a driver isn’t paying attention and is driving erratically. Errant driving and texting behind the wheel is certainly cause for alarm for all riders. However, as tempting as it may be to react physically or verbally, it’s imperative for riders to remember that there are no winners in a road rage situation.

“The best course of action is to remember your safety is most important and as a motorcyclist you are at a disadvantage,” said Jude Schexnyder, Chairman of the Texas Motorcycle Safety Coalition when asked the best way for a rider to handle a road rage situation. “It is much smarter to fall back and allow the mad driver go ahead of you. If you speed up they will probably do the same and will be following too closely. It is better to slow down and keep them in front of you where they are easier to see. If this is impractical, turn off the road into a public location.”

Noted bike builder Rick Fairless shared Schexnyder’s sentiments by saying, “If a rider is at fault, they need to be big enough to acknowledge they screwed up and apologize to the driver. If it’s a situation of the rider realizing they are near a road rage situation, they just need to get themselves out of there by slowing down or turning off the road because a bike will lose every time against a car.”

Another example of road rage happened on May 29, 2015 in Chula Vista, CA just outside of San Diego when Navy Chief Petty Officer Zacharias Buob was killed as a direct result of road rage by a driver. Officer Buob was riding his Ducati and, according to witnesses, it appeared he was in some sort of moving altercation with driver Darla Jackson.   Dash-cam video from another vehicle shows that she was intentionally following him in traffic. When the opportunity presented itself, she drove her car into the back of his bike and ran over him, causing critical injuries.

Buob died a short time later at the hospital and Jackson, a single mother, was arrested and currently sits in jail on a $1,000,000 bond on a murder charge. Her toddler daughter is being cared for by relatives.

Simply put, road rage leaves no winners.

“Crazy Ed” Edwards hosts an advanced skills riding course in Plano, TX free of charge each week. For years he has been committed to helping motorcyclists sharpen their riding skills by practicing evasive riding techniques to help riders stay alive. “There are many great courses out there across the country and I encourage all riders to take advantage of them,” said Edwards. “Riders always have to be prepared for any eventuality.”

Schexnyder shares these sentiments by saying, “Practice your collision avoidance skills on a regular basis (quick stops and swerves). These are perishable skills and you never know when you will need them.” Attention to keeping your emergency maneuvers sharply honed can save your life.

BAM Motorcycle News

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