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The Inverse Relationship

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I’ve come to believe that an inverse relationship exists between the degree of vulnerability a motorist is exposed to and the level of danger they choose to pursue. What do I mean? Simple: the less protection one has, the more risk he/she is willing to accept.

This notion — while counter-intuitive to any right-minded person — plays-out daily on the streets of the world. I returned recently from the Cote d’Azur region of France where the most aggressive, unpredictable and unprotected drivers were those on mopeds, scooters and motorcycles.

I swear that these two-wheeled representatives of French culture spent more time in on-coming lanes of fast moving traffic on dangerous mountain roads trying to pass slower vehicles than they did in their own lanes. The near-misses I witnessed left me dumbfounded.
 
scooter on the Côte D'azur 3/4 rear view
Photo: Rob Rothwell/Auto123.com

Why do those with no protection from speeding cars and trucks other than a helmet place themselves in such mind-boggling jeopardy?

And why is it that the drivers exercising the greatest degree of caution — mainly out of fear of killing manic Pierre — are the ones with crumple zones, seatbelts, airbags and other forms of occupant protection?

I don’t mean to single-out the French in this rant but their level of risk-taking was perhaps the most severe I’ve ever observed in the Western world despite having driven in the UK, Germany and Spain.

This type of risk-taking isn’t restricted to motorized vehicles. Anyone who’s ever driven in a congested urban environment has no doubt encountered bicyclists engaging in high-risk maneuvering. It’s not my intent here to malign all who operate motorized and human-powered two-wheeled machines but...

I’m certain that there are many safe, cautious riders out there, yet as is often the case in life it’s the outliers that draw our attention. In this case, however, the outlier is the rider that understands the peril inherent in the inverse relationship and rides accordingly. The majority occupying the rest of the bell-curve surely don’t.