I got a new scooter in a new town. Her name is Pumpkin and she’s a silver low rider, just in ‘light’ form. I’ve also got out my bicycle again, so my blue 60’s touring bike is back on the road as well. So as I’ve been going out with my two best two-wheeled girls, I’ve noticed a few things about different streets, different drivers, different attitudes and different ways of thinking. So I wanted to not only highlight the differences but also some similarities that run within the minds of drivers and riders alike.
Small Fish, Big Pond
I’m on the same sized scooter as I was in Singapore – and actually the body of my new bike is even bigger. However, I’m now sharing the road with huge vehicles. Not just normal huge, Texas edition huge! When I see four wheels on the back axle of a pickup truck, I know I’m not in a little world any more. I am tiny compared to everyone else. I am no match for the powerful beasts whose window bottoms are higher than my head when I pull up beside them – whether on scooter or bicycle. The question is how am I going to deal with it? At first, I was a bit defensive. Why don’t you look for me? Turn off your radio! Put down your texting phone! What is wrong with ‘you people’?
Then I had to deal with it! Do I have to love distracted drivers that eat and text on the phone, not looking up while I’m in the next lane? No. And I will honk them or wave my arm around so that they look up before they hit me (so far!) But that’s just it. My anger is limited to inspiring me to DO something about it. To protect myself because I’m an easier target. Yet I’m not a victim. I ride my bicycle and motorbike the same way – defensively, with clear intentions. My goal is to get from point A to point B. If there is someone on the road who is going to endanger my life, I’ll pull over. I won’t be a martyr for their bad driving.
I dropped a few assumptions and picked up a few as well. I stopped taking poor driving personally, as if it were meant to mess up my day, and instead assumed a few simpler things. One – that they couldn’t see me – whether it was the expectation, or size of my vehicle or other distraction, I don’t care, so it forces me to be more visible in my clothing, my action, my speed…
I feel a bit more compassion for those big cars on the road. Some drivers might not have had the opportunity or the support to learn how to drive well. A friend pointed out that many war veterans in Texas came home and bought a big car or truck just to feel safer and more surrounded by something so they can continue to function. I keep that in mind sometimes when I meet gigantic vehicles that take up both of our lanes.
Focus on Your Own Driving
As a result, I feel I’m a better driver. Rather than focusing on others and their flaws, I concentrate on what I need to do to travel safely and enjoyably. So I’m little and slow on two wheels, I am learning to embrace the fact that just about everyone else on the road will be going faster than I am. I’ll get there. Sometimes we need reminders – when I fill up at the station and it costs me $5 rather than $105, I remember some of the perks of my choice. There are benefits whatever mode you move in.
Can that relate to the rest of life? How many times do we spend time on other people’s stories and their behavior that implies that they are intentionally making our life difficult? Would it be better to just focus on your own journey in life, realizing that not everyone steers themselves the same way we do? There’s room for all of us on the road, isn’t there? Something to think about – maybe not while you’re driving so you can keep your eyes open for scooters and bikes!