Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In the "damn, I didn't think he'd be one of the ones to get taken down" news, Craig Hightower died today in Oakland.

OAKLAND - A man was killed Tuesday morning near Chinatown when the motorcycle he was riding was brushed by a SUV causing it to hit a parked car and eject him into a retaining wall, police said.
OK, and seriously, "brushed by a SUV!??!?!!??!!" Cars do not "brush" motorcycles. How a writer and editor allowed this to be printed?!?!? Correction: the SUV driver hit the motorcycle. That kind of bullshit writing makes me really angry.

Craig wasn't a friend of mine, just one of those staples in the Bay Are motorcycling community, in the vein of solid riders you just assume will be riding around into their 90's.

Motorcyclists die all the time (so do car drivers, McDonald's eaters, and skiers, for that matter) and I see a hell of a lot of bad riders out there. I expect it when they go down, and I vacillate between callous and frustrated by their actions and attitudes and impact it has on the rest of us. But there are a lot of riders who I consider to be in it for the long run, more skills, less stupidity, just better, right? When I consider the weight of "motorcycles are dangerous...." comments, I simply group myself with the better riders, the ones who will be going into our old age on our bikes. Some are my friends, others just people I know about. I feel secure(ish) in knowing that there's a sub-set of motorcyclists that the public doesn't consider, and that being a part of that sub-set makes me safer.

But it's not necessarily the case.

There are still hurried SUV drivers trying to "brush" even the good ones. There are moments our minds drift. There are moments when a driver comes up with some maneuver so completely beyond any bizarre or stupid thing we've seen before (and we have seen a lot of bizarre and stupid driver tricks)

And then you're done, extinguished, and in conversations with people who don't know the difference, tossed back into the group of failed squids, as yet another example of why motorcycling is necessarily deadly.

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