May is Motorcycle Safety MonthA Day in the Life of a Rider —
In Memory of Dzavier Luna

by Dzavier’s Mom

It’s 6am, you flop out of bed with plenty of time to get ready for work. You suit up for your ride to work, physically and mentally. You have to prepare a little more than usual. It’s misting outside. Your means of transportation is a Honda Rebel 300. At 23 years old you don’t have the credit nor the income to buy a car.

You put on your boots, helmet and gloves while mentally priming for the cold, wet ride and the impending scrimmage to be seen by other drivers. On your way to work, the person behind you is following so closely you could almost shake their hand. As they finally speed around you, you are impolitely given the middle finger, no consideration of the need for extra caution on a slick, wet road.

You get through a 10-hour shift, time to suit back up and get home. Cruising on the highway, you narrowly escape being hit with a shovel that flew off the back of a truck. The shovel nicked your back tire, so you pull over to make sure your bike is still intact. This is just one day of many.

Over time, you trade your bike in for a bigger, louder bike. You change the muffler to make your bike louder so that people will hear, the horn is just not sufficient in getting drivers attention.

You start attending paramedic classes at night, another destination added to your daily drive. Added time on the road equals a higher chance of being hit by a rogue landscaping utensil and of course a lot more dodging of preoccupied drivers. Riding a bike
as your daily transportation takes adjustments, you get used to it.

Thanksgiving is here, you get a couple extra days off. Your family is on the agenda for the morning. Time well spent, play fighting with your 3-year-old nephew who adores you. He’s yelling your name to assist him in chasing his dad, your brother and best friend. Afternoon rolls around, it’s time to pick up your girlfriend and spend time at her family’s house. Ready for your second helping of stuffing, you hop on your bike for a quick, relaxing
ride.

An hour later your girlfriend calls your mom because you have not arrived. Your mom calls your brother because maybe you took the scenic route and ended up somewhere with
him. Your brother calls you, no answer. Your girlfriend is adamant that something is wrong, your GPS location has shown you at the same intersection for an hour and you’re  unresponsive.

At 4:41 p.m. three state troopers knock on your family’s front door. They hand your mother a cell phone and wallet while giving the worst news of her whole life. Making it the worst day of her whole life. NOTHING could be worse than this. EVERYONE’S lives and
hearts are destroyed.

What should your big brother say to the 3-year-old that was just throwing his arms around your neck and begging you to spin him? This was the end of your life and the beginning of the trauma your family has to endure.

My son made a choice to ride a motorcycle as a cheaper and fun means of transportation. Like most experienced riders, Dzavier understood the vulnerability of riding two wheels, he knew he had to be more vigilant of the drivers who are seemingly blind to motorcycles. The driver, whose actions ended his life, said they saw him but thought they could make it through the left turn. The investigating officer saw nothing that Dzavier could have done to avoid the truck. The driver was given a ticket for failure to yield ROW, nothing more.

Motorcycle safety is not just about riders wearing their helmets.
It’s about EVERYONE on the road driving conscientiously.

• Be very sure of your blind spot.
• Double-check before taking left turns and approaching Intersections.
• Eliminate distractions, be aware of your surroundings, no texting.
• Be mindful and patient.
• Know that just because motorcycles are smaller, it does not mean they can stop faster.
• Make sure any items outside the cab are strapped down tightly.
• Give motorcycles more room when you pass and follow them.

Share the road…PLEASE!  Driving is a valuable skill, well worth working on. Improvement may very well save a life.

May is the month designated for motorcycle awareness. Bike riders need to get to work, school, gym or to pick up their kids from school everyday. Drive as if YOUR child is out there letting the wind ruffle their hair, so another mother doesn’t have to arrange the cremation of their child.

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