Friday, September 10, 2010

Minding Your Own Safety When Stopping To Help

On the freeway yesterday, a dude ahead of me on his Harley pulled left into the breakdown lane. Naturally, I pulled in behind him to see if he was OK.

He saw me, and I think that led to the weirdness that followed. Instead of coming to a stop, he rolled on for probably a quarter of a mile, finally braking just before we reached the widest part of the space between an on ramp and the HOV lane.

So, we're both in the breakdown lane, and I pull up next to this guy to see if he's OK. Only he's in the middle of the damn breakdown lane, so I can really only get to his 4 O'clock and holler "You OK?" without sticking myself in the HOV lane. Traffic zoomed past a few feet away from my right side.

This is right about when I realized I'd put myself in a stupid, dangerous situation.

My man on the Harley was fine, had just been worried he was going to lose his cell phone so he'd pulled over to put it somewhere safe. He thanked me for stopping, and then we had to figure out how to merge back into traffic.

Since he was ahead of me, it was only polite to let him go first. Of course, that meant I had to back up and get out of the way so he could see traffic.

After he had safely pulled into the HOV lane, I realized that I could actually just take over the handy on ramp to my left and merge into traffic that way. So I did.

I gave the dude a wave as I passed him and continued on my way.

Next time around, I think I'll do things a little differently. Risking my safety to see if someone else is OK is not the best strategy on the street...


mq01 said...

it was really nice/good of you to stop, but yes awareness is key.

on the other hand, there was this one time, i had to deem it totally unsafe/unwise to stop and so didnt. well that has bothered me for years!!! others had stopped that were in safer conditions so its really just a self/mental thing, the other rider had assistance. just me...

motoroz said...

Good point. When stopping to help we should always need to take care of staying out of harms way as much as possible. Also, if I am pulling over because I am having trouble I need to make it safe for others if I am hoping someone will stop and check on me.

Gary France said...

In Sturgis this year, a biker broke down on a straight, but busy two lane road. A second biker stopped to see if he could help, but this second bike was still on the main part of the road. A third biker hit the second bike and this third biker was killed. Food for thought. NEVER put yourself or others in danger when stopping to come to the aid of somebody that has broken down. It is far better to be safe and worry about not helping a fellow biker for years than to risk an accident.

Lucky said...

mq01 - At least you know that the rider wasn't just left there stranded.

motoroz - Clearing some space for the rescue team is always a good idea. :D

Gary - Very true. You can't help anyone if you're dead or injured.