Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Gift of Fear & Motorcycling

Bear with me for a minute as I talk about this book. I promise to bring it back to motorcycling.

"The Gift of Fear" by Gavin de Becker

I first heard about this book several years ago. The author was on Oprah. I've never been so riveted by a program like that. He spoke about how women can determine whether a man was potentially dangerous using a set of pre-incident indicators, which are detailed in the book. They are:
  1. Forced teaming
  2. Charm and niceness
  3. Too many details
  4. Typecasting
  5. Loan sharking
  6. The unsolicited promise
  7. Discounting the word "No"
I read the book all those years ago and bought several copies to share with friends. I selected it as our Book Club book one year and bought copies for everyone.

Now that we have a granddaughter, I've started thinking about the lessons in that book and in his other book "Protecting the Gift". I've been talking with my husband about some of the reasons I like this book so much. While we talked about it, motorcycling came up.

Gavin de Becker stresses the important of listening to your intuition, evaluating a situation, avoiding potentially dangerous situations, and understanding the cues that can keep you safe. I was trying to explain to my husband how most women are in a constant state of alert always trying to evaluate their surroundings no matter where they are. Men don't have to do this so don't really understand why we (women) need to do it. (Generalization.) I can't remember now if he mentioned it or if I did but what made it more clear was how much that state of awareness resembles the state of awareness we have as motorcyclists. Just as motorcyclists feel that everyone is out to kill them, women often feel the same way.

SEE: I'm not sure if the same acronym is being used in the MSF training. Scan, evaluate, execute - SEE. It's how women cross a dark parking lot to get to their cars alone. It's also how motorcyclists manage their commute.

I highly recommend the book. It not only is a guide to recognizing potentially violent criminals but, it can also help you understand when someone is trying to control you in other non-violent situations. Rereading the book after everything that has happened with my job has certainly been interesting.

I've put in some good miles commuting to work. The weather has still been warm but the mornings have been very comfortable. I even wore my warmer gloves one morning.

There were two instances on two different days when I was not rear ended.

The first incident was on highway 93 heading home. At an intersection with a light, traffic began to back up as it does during rush hour. I decided to take a left at the intersection just before the one with the stoplight. As I pulled into the left turn lane, I heard tires squealing briefly. The car that had been behind me apparently didn't realize the vehicles in front of me had come to a stop. I was safely out of the way and not in danger but, still.

The second incident was at what I've often considered the most dangerous part of my commute, the right turn into the parking lot at work. Here is a screen shot from Google maps street view.
I think you can see my GS in this shot!
And an overhead shot showing all the other intersections. 
My parking lot entrance is at the very bottom just out of the picture.
Here is a slightly wider view so you can see more of the potential hazards.
1. There are often pedestrians and bicyclists traveling on the sidewalk.
2. The moto parking spaces are immediately to the right as you enter the parking lot.
3. During the morning rush hour, there are many vehicles often backed up beyond the driveway.
4. There are three more intersections after this one so vehicles with their turn signals on have many options to exercise that indicated right turn.

Yesterday, I signaled my intention to turn right, tapped my brakes, and then saw a bicyclist so, I needed to yield. With a car on my rear, I pulled into the bike lane. The car went past me without even slowing down. Idiot.

Other than those incidents, nothing else to report. :-)

Ride safely folks!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the reminder. I agree as women and as motorcyclists we need to be hyper aware of our surroundings.

    When in the car I always check the back seat before getting in, don't park beside a van, etc.

    Lock all doors of the house when home whether alone or we are both there.

    And on the motorcycle don't pull up too close to the car in front of you, always leave an escape route so when the guy behind you doesn't slow you can sneak to the side and lane split if necessary. I also always leave my bike in first gear when stopped in traffic or at a light. Sure the clutch hand can get sore at a long stop but I am prepared for flight if necessary.

    So many things to be aware of. Good thing we women are good at multitasking.

    Thanks again for the reminder.