Dear cagers, get off your damn phone. Love, everybody, especially motorcyclists. This message is simple, and it’s being hammered home by a rider from Arvada, Colorado. Nathan Maes was riding his Kawasaki on a normal day, when the driver behind failed to notice that Maes was slowing for a red light.
“It was just, like green confetti, everywhere” said Maes, who was slammed into the back of a pick-up truck after the impact from the texting driver, before he was able to get to his feet. His Kawasaki Ninja 650 was totaled.
Police in Colorado charged the driver with careless driving, but despite an admission from the driver that we was texting, cannot charge him with texting while driving. That’s because in Colorado, police have to actually witness the crash in order to charge someone under the state’s distracted driving laws. “He said, 'You know, I was just looking at my phone for two seconds, I was just sending a quick text,’” Maes said in an interview with local news.
This story comes as distracted driving and general poor behavior on the roads is on the increase. Deaths caused by drivers who went through red lights hit a 10-year high last year, and many believe this is because of distracted drivers, who miss a red light while texting. A Canadian study found that in 2016 more people were killed or injured by distracted driving than any other infringement, including speeding and driving under the influence.
There are things we can do a motorcyclists to mitigate the risks that distracted driving poses. Maes says he was looking in the rear view mirror but couldn’t avoid being struck. We should always be watching our mirrors when braking for any reason, and always line up towards the edge of the lane we’re in. That way, we have an escape path if we notice that a car behind is not going to stop in time.
No amount of risk mitigation and road positioning can change this one simple fact: Drivers who use their cell phones while behind the wheel can and do kill people. So, please, for the love of all that is good and right in the world, put your phone down.