Don't paint all motorcyclists with same brush
July 8, 2004
Regarding Leslie Baldacci's July 2 commentary, ''Outwitting the nitwits on motorcycles'': I have been riding motorcycles for 25 years. I work for a major Chicago area medical school as a medical educator. I pay my taxes, own property and am a law-abiding citizen. I check in on my mom on weekends.
Oh, and did I mention I ride motorcycles? And that I wear boots, gloves and a helmet? And that just about every time I go out on my bike I am dodging idiots in SUVs, trucks, compact cars and luxury vehicles who seem hell-bent on denying me my patch of pavement or affording me any bit of courtesy or safety?
When Baldacci complains about ''nitwits on motorcycles,'' she has indicted all of us on two wheels. The numnuts she describes are collectively referred to as ''squids'' by the motorcycling community, and tolerated but hardly to be feared, as they are more likely to bring themselves to harm than any of us, no matter what vehicle we are piloting.
Does Baldacci drive with both hands on the wheel? Does she forgo the use of her cell phone when she rides? Does she signal all turns, look both ways before changing lanes, and stop completely at stop signs and lights?
I do, but I'm just a nitwit on a motorcycle, apparently deserving the scorn of all cagers. That's what we call those who pilot four wheels, and they have the same right to drive unsafely as motorcyclists, and seem to exercise it with much more frequency than any biker I've ever ridden with.
Perhaps if they realized that that person on the bike is someone's mother, father, grandmom, teacher, priest, doctor, wife, husband, son or daughter, they might pay more attention. Nah, probably not. . . .
Near West Side