• Gina Greenlee, Author

Can You See Me Now?



I’ve been riding motorbikes since age 14. Now that I live in Florida I ride full time.


People are always asking me, “You only have the bike, no car?” My answer: “My broomstick’s at the shop.” Yes, I only have one vehicle. I am one person and can only operate one vehicle at a time. Some call this conscious capitalism. I call it a lifestyle where I own very little stuff that has to be fixed because I have better things to do with my time.


Now.


About my helmet.


Turns out it’s a conversation piece. When I carry it, say, into the post office, people ask questions, remark on it, want to be my new best friend. Not my intent. I bought it to be seen on the road.


The motorists who maim or kill motorcycle riders tend to say one thing when the police arrive at the accident scene: “I didn’t see her.”


They are telling the truth.


In America, where transport by anything other than a car (including on foot) is viewed as anomalous, the street culture is not looking for motorbikes, only other cars. That’s bad news for pedestrians (ask Stephen King) and bicycle riders. This is why I wear bright patches on my motorcycle jackets and hot pink fringe on my high-viz yellow helmet.


Also, I am hyper aware of what drivers are doing around me because almost nobody – no exaggeration – is actually driving. They are talking, arguing, worrying about the dog perched in their lap, texting, pointing to the GPS in the dashboard or phone, holding the phone over their head so passengers in the back seat can see what’s on the phone, seriously getting down to music, rubbernecking retail signs or good looking pedestrians, putting on lipstick, shaving a beard (I am not making this up), reading the newspaper (I am not making this up, either), removing hair curlers, flossing (not made up,) yelling at children, eating a sandwich with the left hand, taking a sip of beverage with the right hand while two pinkies attempt to manage the steering wheel.


Of course, I engage other behaviors and tactics to ride as safely as possible, but this level of driver distraction is why I added pink fringe to my helmet.




No, that’s not a GoPro camera on my helmet. (The other question I’m always asked.) That’s one of three lights. The purpose of which is to be seen at night.


And still another question I get: “Aren’t you afraid?”


Of what, exactly. Dying? Please. We’re all going to die. The question to ask is, am I living a life of my own choosing?


You bet I am.

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