Drivers of all ages don't see bikers

Published February 22, 2007

Re: Bikers, watch out for older drivers Feb. 14 letter to the editor

Kudos to Mike Pope for bringing out an important point regarding motorcyclists. I, too, am a motorcyclist and a senior, but I have a real hard time accepting the latter nomenclature.

Mr. Pope observes that "most seniors do not see you." With all due respect to Mr. Pope's observation, I would fine-tune that a little and say that "a high percentage of drivers do not see motorcycles!" This includes all drivers, period! Our motorcycles do not have the visual profile of a SUV or a Mack truck. Our motorcycles have a low and linear profile and most drivers' brains are not conditioned to "look for motorcycles." That is where a heavy dose of driver training and awareness of the dynamics of motorcycles would help save lives.

Most motorcyclists dress for riding. They wear leather (which seems to scare some people), or ballistic nylon, or even Kevlar, and that is to protect them in the event of a fall. The rate of flesh-and-bone grind is one-half inch per second at 60 mph. Having said that, wearing a helmet and all of the gear will not save us in the event of blunt force trauma!

Strict enforcement of traffic laws also would help. Folks who roll through stop signs, run red lights, speed, talk on cell phones, apply makeup, eat, and drive while doing other stupid things not only endanger themselves, but other motorists, either on two wheels or four!

Motorcyclists need to pay attention 100 percent of the time. We use all four appendages to control our vehicle and we have to keep our brain engaged at all times. We riders cannot afford the luxury of having our mind preoccupied with empty thoughts. We have to remain focused. We do not have the luxury of seat belts, collapsible steering columns, air bags, side air bags, roll bars or cages that are engineered to drop the engine to the ground and collapse to protect us. We are vulnerable just like the motorcycle police officer, who rides to protect all of us.

I'm sure that Mr. Pope would join me and other motorcyclists and ask you to please look out for motorcycles!

Ronald G. Haines, Spring Hill

Leaders, wise up to water crisis

Congratulations, Hernando County leaders. You did it! Foolish action in its finest form.

According to the Southwest Florida Water Management District, we have a severe water shortage. In Hernando County the way this is fixed is to approve 15,000 homes. Will they have water? Maybe not.

Driving east from the State Road 50 intersection with the State Road 50 Truck Route, we had beautiful wildflowers in the center of the highway. Beautiful purples, blues, reds and gold flowers. Great idea! Take a road grater, cut them up and - you got it - lay sod with weeds.

We cannot afford an additional $25,000 to the homestead exemption, but we can pay county commissioners a part-time salary of more than $50,000 a year to -- you got it - lay sod and bring more residences that will take away the little water we do not have.

Remember the next election. Don't look at the political party; look at what the person will do for our residents.

James C. Nico, Ridge Manor West

Contest unfair assessment now

A few weeks ago I gave notice to property owners of Hernando County that as a free service I would submit their request for a property assessment reduction to the property appraiser.

This will be your last opportunity to join those who are taking advantage of this situation. You have only yourself to blame if you fail to protest your unfair property assessment.

I again request taxpayers who have been overcharged to obtain at least two current appraisals from brokers and submit them to me by March 15. If it is found the value now is less than the property appraiser's assessment last year, he should consider reducing it accordingly. Should he fail to do so, appeal will be made to the state Department of Revenue.

Now is the time to challenge the assessment before the tax roll is submitted for approval to the DOR. Waiting until you get the tax bill may be too late.

When it comes to saving on your insurance costs, people owning a house free of a mortgage should check into joining a self-insured, co-op type group of homeowners, which has been declared to be legal by the Florida Insurance Commission.

For further information, call me at 796-2089.

Louis F. Mlecka, Brooksville

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