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

PHOTOS: People soak up summer fun at FernFest

The annual community event saw families and friends gather for food, games and markets

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Taxing Vancouver Island

Big Read: find out which communities are paying the lowest and highest taxes on Vancouver Island

Saanich mayor pitches former Emily Carr library as housing site

Residents share concerns, support over Regina Park tent city

Victoria man wins job he was denied after saying he had depression

Transport Canada has been order to give Chris Hughes a high-level job and nearly $500,000

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

5 fun things to do this weekend in Greater Victoria

Victoria Ska and Reggae Fest, Ride Don’t Hide, Cordova Bay Day and more

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

How the Gorge Canada Day Picnic grew from a basement idea to a single-day event with 10,000 visitors

‘We’re going to need more food,’ among lessons from first Gorge Canada Day Picnic

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

Mounties seize 1,500 pot plants in ‘extensive Shawnigan raid

Mounties searched a property in the 4800-block of Goldstream Heights Drive on May 30

Horse put down, 1 person in hospital after hit by car in Lower Mainland

Accident along 132nd Avenue in Maple Ridge Friday afternoon

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Most Read