Courtesy on the streets works both ways

Last week, we reminded drivers that we have entered the time of year when bicycles and motorcycles are, as a bumper sticker says, everywhere, and asked motorists to be alert for them and – especially in the case of bicycle riders – to show courtesy.

Bicycle riders, we should remember, have as much right to the road as motorists, and if drivers can’t pass them safely, they should slow down and stay behind them until passing is possible.

Today, we’d like to remind motorcycle drivers that courtesy is something they need to remember, as well.

Some motorcycle riders seem to get a kick out of getting their bikes to make as much noise as possible for reasons that escape us. It takes neither strength nor intelligence to rev an engine, but for some, the thrill of riding a motorcycle seems to be increased by making as much noise as possible.

Is it their “Look at me, look at me” moment in life? Is it their way of getting attention, of saying, “I exist. Acknowledge me”?

Or do they just have a basic misunderstanding of common courtesy?

It doesn’t really matter, not to the folks who have to put up with the noise and who might not think the noise maker is cool.

Noise is something we often have to endure, but seldom welcome. The noise of a revving engine is no more welcome than that of a blasting radio or a barking dog. It is a nuisance, and should be treated as one.

Better than that, though, is for people who make noise to realize that their right to do so stops just short of the ears of their neighbors. Revving a motorcycle engine as you ride around a suburban neighborhood or through the middle of a town doesn’t impress anyone. It just makes them wonder what you’re trying to prove, and to whom. Strangers? Neighbors?

It’s spring, and you want to be out on your motorcycle. Great. Go. But think about others, too. What do you have to lose by being courteous?