This is a recovery scene from a non-fatal accident that occured on Sunday

Column: The ache of motorcycle fatalities

This week's Throttle Therapy column parks the didactic view and looks through a lens of compassion.

It breaks my heart whenever I hear of a motorcycle fatality.

I first started riding when I was 25, and in my first year, a 25-year-old women died in a motorcycle accident, in the same city in which I lived.

My phone rang off the hook. No, it wasn’t me; yes, I was okay. Inwardly, I shuddered at the notion that it might have been me.

Sometimes, when there is a non-motorcyclist to blame, it makes it marginally easier. Marginally being the key word.

Because then there is an emotion outlet: you can rage against the “other,” the one who failed to notice “one of us.”

When the motorcyclist is at fault, there is no such outlet to relieve the ache.

In efforts to prevent this happening to anyone, I repeat the mantra over and over again: Take a course, take a course, take a course.

My first stint on a bike was in my early 20s, on the back seat. I loved it. My friend knew I would love it even more if I shifted to the front seat, so he attempted to teach me to handle the machine.

“It’s easy,” he said, “just hold in the clutch, put it in first, release the clutch and you’re off.”

After learning where the clutch was and how to tap the bike into gear, I did what he said, dropped his bike, and promptly (and happily) hopped back onto the back seat. After he picked both me and the bike up off the ground.

My next stint wasn’t until years later.This time, I signed up for a course, paid through the nose, and haven’t regretted a single spent penny. In fact, I was so married to the notion of being an educated rider that I became an instructor (and eventually a Chief instructor) with the Vancouver Island Safety Council for nearly a decade.

But here’s the kicker: educated or not, an accident — even a fatality — is a forever looming risk.

It’s horrible when we under-estimate our speed and take a corner too quickly, or when a deer leaps in front of our path of travel, or when a massive rock makes a sudden appearance from under the wheels of the vehicle in front of us.

It’s an accepted, educated risk. I know this can happen to me, but because I love to ride, I choose to.

We pit vehicles against bikers when there is an accident. We lash out and find blame at all the stupidity that’s been granted licences. We rant and rave. But strip away the futile rants, and all you’re left with is a core of sorrow.

As good as a rider I think I am, truth is, it could have been me.

Today, this column goes out to anyone who has lost a rider. There is a collective ache of sadness when this happens, and assigning blame will not undo the reality of what is.

Today, I have only two pieces of advice:

1. Ride smart.

2. Live compassionately.

Just Posted

Cycslists were all smiles during ninth Tour de Victoria

More than 2,100 cyclists participated

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after Const. Beckett’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Police investigating incident in Saanich neighbourhood

Neighbours tell Black Press Media that a body has been found, but police remain tight-lipped.

Langford lizard sighting excites Victoria museum curator

Curator of vertebrate zoology/knowledge explains the spread of the Wall lizard in the region

Colwood man takes on Ride to Conquer Cancer for 11th year in a row

Team Finn has raised almost $3 million for BC Cancer Foundation

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Most Read