Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Biker clothing that provokes cagers is a bad idea
There seems to be an alarming trend developing in motorcycle culture. More and more often, riders are wearing over-the-top gear and garb designed to attract the attention of cagers in negative ways. The shirt pictured at right is a good example. Or should I say, a bad example?
As motorcyclists, we all get frustrated with cagers from time to time, especially this time of year. They cut us off, encroach on our lanes and space, tailgate, and a myriad of other offenses which can result in mishap. But in my opinion, we cross the line when we wear offensive language or symbols intended as some watered-down form of retaliation. It's a poor idea for many reasons.
I know few experienced riders who would recommend doing anything that could potentially result in provoking a cager. You won't ever win against a car or truck, no matter how tough your shirt implies you to be. For the frustrated **** shoveler in the '82 Chevette behind you who is on his way home from his worst day of work ever, an inflammatory message on your shirt could be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's back.
Moreover, wearing this kind of stuff does more to make us look bad than it does them. We're the ones who appear lesser in intelligence and common sense, no matter how effectively the garb actually does deter the probability of going unnoticed by the average inattentive driver.
Studies have shown that the two things which make a rider most visible (aside from proper lighting) are bright-colored safety gear and retro-reflective material such as decals or tape. If you've never seen how retro-reflective decals work at night, you'd be amazed. They can actually be more effective than a bike's own lighting on some models. In any case, it's a much better method for making your presence known than by intentionally trying to piss people off.