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Monday, April 15, 2013

Look Twice, Save a Life.

Some bad news from our house this week... James was in a motorcycle accident this past Wednesday. He was lane-splitting through traffic (legal in CA and James only does this in very slow/stopped traffic) and a gap opened in the far left lane to his left. A car from the lane to his right changed lanes without checking its blind spot and didn't see James on the motorcycle. James honked and swerved into the gap, but the car kept on going and hit him from the side. James was thrown from the bike into the left shoulder. He has a broken wrist as well as a shoulder contusion. Worse news: it is his left wrist and his right shoulder so his use of both arms is pretty limited at the moment. Good news: thanks to his armored gear and his alert riding, those were the only injuries.

This is the second time in less than a year that he has been hit by drivers who did not check their mirrors/blind spots. The last time was April 30 of last year when a driver turned right on a red light and did not look to see James coming through the intersection.

In light of these two accidents, neither of which were James' fault, James feels unsafe to continue riding - particularly with our growing family in mind.

I realize that we have friends and family who will be relieved to hear that James has decided to take a hiatus from motorcycle riding. But I would like to ask those of you who fall into that category to please hold back from telling us how thankful you are that James has made this decision. Because the truth is, he and I are both saddened and frustrated that he feels he can't continue to ride.

James grew up around motorcycles. All his siblings rode at one time or another and his parents still ride when they are able. At 17, he took a riding course and got his motorcycle license as well as his first bike - a Honda Shadow. I first rode with him when we started dating in 2005 on his mom's red Harley Sportster. When we moved to California in 2007, there were a few years that James didn't have the opportunity to ride because he didn't have a bike or access to one out here. He bought his current Suzuki Intruder in 2011, fixed it up himself, and then took  an advanced riding course to ensure that he was truly prepared to ride again.

He takes riding seriously. I have complete faith in him as an alert and competent rider - that's why I have always felt safe riding with him. However, I did stop riding with him once I became pregnant with Calvin. After the accident last year, James took a 6 month break from riding while his knee healed. During that time, he struggled with the decision of whether to keep riding especially with a tiny baby at home. He talked with his own parents about it, as well as with other riders who also have kids, and of course with me. Together we decided that James would continue to use the bike to commute. It wasn't a choice we took lightly. Riding was and is a big part of James' life. His many hobbies are a big part of what makes him who he is. He loves riding. He is a safe rider. And on top of that, for practical purposes, it allowed him to have a faster, more enjoyable commute on less gas.

This second accident, however, has left him feeling differently. He doesn't feel safe continuing to ride in traffic because unfortunately, other drivers can't be trusted to look where they are going. I wish the roads were safe for riders like James. I wish other drivers were always as conscientious and careful as he is.

We both hope to one day enjoy riding again, in safer conditions out of traffic and once our boys are older. For now, James is healing and we'll have to adjust to a train commute for him instead.

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