You can’t see what you don’t look for

Const. Todd Trahan of the Chatham-Kent Police Service waits for his turn at the course Thursday at the Great Lakes Police Motorcycle Training Seminar in Chatham.
Const. Todd Trahan of the Chatham-Kent Police Service should be easy to spot on local roadways with his big police Harley, yet officers will tell you people too often fail to see them, or other motorcycle riders, when driving.

If you think riding a 900-pound Harley-Davidson complete with police lights and markings would make it easier for motorists to see you, a ride along with Const. Scott Renders might open your eyes.

“I’ve had people pull right out in front of me as if I wasn’t there,” he said. “They tell me they didn’t see me. I tell them they weren’t really looking.”

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Renders, who was at a media event unveiling the Chatham-Kent Police Service’s two new motorcycles, said the key to safe driving is deceptively simple.

“You just need to concentrate on what you’re doing. Driving is something most of us do every day so we become complacent. People get away with not paying attention and then it becomes a habit. The problem is that all it takes is the right set of circumstances to happen and your life or the lives of others can change forever.”

Renders, who has his own personal motorcycle, said he’s even had close calls with he’s been riding two abreast.

Chris Hall, General Manager of Duke’s Harley Davidson, said most motorcyclists he knows are extremely safety conscious.

“When you’re on a bike you’re not as insulated as you are in a car,” he said. “The freedom of riding a bike makes you more in tune with what’s going on around you in a lot of ways.”

Renders said there’s a good reason for the province wide crackdown on distracted driving.

“Driving is just too important to not have your full attention,” he said. “Most people couldn’t imagine holding a lethal weapon in their hands while they casually chatted with someone or tried to text but they think nothing of doing that with a vehicle going up to 100 kilometres per hour.”




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