Born to Be Wiped (part 2 of 2)
Musings on Motorcycle Mortality

It’s apparently motorcycle week here on verb.anything, so here’s the continuation of this bloggist’s earlier post.

I’ve touched upon jerks and idiots in the previous post, and I feel like I owe everyone a clarification for such severe wording. Telling jerks from idiots on the road is unfortunately almost always determined from the point of reference of the unintended consequence. It doesn’t really matter if the perpetrators are in reality one type or the other – if someone’s harsh action causes harm or damage to someone else, that someone is often called a jerk; if said harsh action causes harm or damage to oneself, idiot. Because size does matter, reckless bus drivers invariably always get called ‘jerks’, and crazy motorcyclists ‘idiots’, even if the terms can technically apply to drivers (or even pedestrians) of any sort. If only some inconvenience (but no notable harm or damage) is caused, the two terms can be used interchangeably, so go ahead and do so as you see fit.

This is all just generalizing, of course. Ultimately, differentiating between jerks and idiots on the road is not a science. However, science can be used to address the rampant motorcycle savagery happening on our roads. You see, it’s a simple physics problem.

It’s pretty much common sense that no two objects can occupy the same space simultaneously (unless said object is Jean Claude Van Damme). In the event that two objects collide, the result will either be an elastic or an inelastic collision.

Or a balls-tastic collision.

Simply put, an elastic collision is one in which the colliding objects bounce, each retaining the same amount of kinetic energy they had pre-collision – that is, they bounce. On the other hand, an inelastic collision is one in which objects generally do not bounce perfectly – energy has been lost or transferred. This can be easily explained by the following equations:

Algebra for awesome. [thanks, Wikipedia]

You didn’t get that? What kind of base vertebrate are you? You’re hopeless. A simplification: an elastic collision between a man and a horse will result in two dazed mammals continuing on their ways but in slightly different directions, whereas a perfectly inelastic collision between them will birth a tikbalang.

Abstract mathematics for awesome. [thanks, Wikimedia]

Since physics is too difficult for you to grasp, I shall employ a simplistic analogy using the game of rock-paper-scissors. Also, since everyone else is talking about them anyway, the three hand gestures for the game will be presented by the three primary cast members of The Bourne Legacy (who are currently shooting in the country):

Our first challenger is PAPER, represented by the monochromatic Mr. Jeremy Renner while showing off a healthily flesh-toned open hand.

[Photo / Hand]

Paper is a good lightweight analog for motorcycles and other vehicles that have less than four wheels because it has the least mass (compared to scissors and rock).

In this corner, we have SCISSORS, shown by the lovely Ms. Rachel Weisz with an exuberant scissor hand that is mysteriously exuding a glorious five-pixel white aura.

[Photo / Hand]

Scissors can represent the middleweight category, comprised by common private vehicles (generally four-wheeled, with passenger capacities under ten).

Last but not the least – ROCK, demoed by our heavyweight, Mr. Edward Norton, and an incredible fist.

[Photo / Hand]

Rock is big and heavy, and is a most appropriate avatar for trucks and buses (i.e. usually more than four wheels and with a capacity for big loads).

We shall employ basic rock-paper-scissors rules. For simplicity, we will not consider matches between the same hand gestures – those are ties.

Only Jean Claude Van Damme is exempted from ties: JCVD always wins even when against JCVD.

Let the fighting commence:


[Photos / Hands]

This is easy – rock destroys scissors. Any caveman show you same outcome result if you GIVE THESE OBJECTS SMASH! This is why buses and trucks are the worst bullies in Metro Manila traffic – have them plow through anything and they usually emerge in relatively good shape. Any caveman with professional driver license also demonstrate this BIG STRENGTH SMASH! It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to grasp how those huge buses and trucks can make quick work of most four-wheeled vehicles. To avoid mishaps, the responsibility to drive safely should rest with the drivers of both vehicle classifications, of course. However, because truck and bus drivers often do not realize the danger inherent in driving monolithic metal monsters, drivers of smaller vehicles should take it on themselves to be extra careful on their behalf.

That’s clear enough, so…


[Photos / Hands]

We have yet another no-brainer here. Scissors are designed primarily to cut paper when one gets tired of the perpetual fold-and-laway method. A medium-sized car is capable of causing serious damage to a motorcycle, let alone its exposed human rider. With motorcycle lanes instated, drivers should know to be more cautious in their proximity. Motorcyclists, on the other hand, should know better and keep to that lane, avoiding that unsafe (and irritating) practice of lane-splitting. As pointed out previously, motorcyclists should worry about their own safety more because they’re putting themselves at greater risk out there.

Final round, then…


[Photos / Hands]

This is where we should start thinking about the backward inbred rules that we’ve been taught since childhood about rock-paper-scissors. Will paper actually beat rock? WTF, yo. Doesn’t this supposition just go against the face of basic reality here? True, scissors can always beat paper because they’re scientifically engineered to cut paper. Rocks, on the other hand, are scientifically engineered to demolish pretty much anything with less density. Paper does not have a subgenre called METAL, for crying out loud. The Bible also never said anything about adulterers getting papered to death (excuse me, they get ROCKED to death!). Paper sucks! I asked my mom. I asked my yaya. Both of them said that rock loses against paper because when paper envelopes rock, rock cannot move. I take offense at this kind of logic, because:

1.) When did full-grown adults ever see a rock wanting to move to begin with? Does rock really lose when it doesn’t want to move in the first place, even after its ‘mobility’ gets supposedly taken away by a sorry paper layer?

2.) If rock actually had the capacity to move, how would a sheet of paper even stop it? Is it because rock didn’t have hands to remove a paper ‘blindfold’? Dude, if rock had appendages, paper wouldn’t even stand a chance of staying swathed around rock unless it used some form of glue.

3.) To ‘defeat’ rock, paper loses its principal flat form by getting swaddled around rock. Said rock, meanwhile, retains its same shape and even gets a snuggy-wuggy blanket made out of its enemy’s very composition. How is this a defeat, exactly?

The dynamics of a smash-up between a bus/truck and a motorcycle is almost always a disaster (and I’ve disturbingly seen quite a few in the last couple of years alone). There is rarely any way for a motorcyclist to emerge intact from something like that. Paper wraps around rock? Sure. Dear motorcyclist is now some kind of crunchy wrapping paper for the bus. Did the bus really lose? Well, it did need to stop, but it’s probably due to the human sawdust getting wedged in its front axle. Maybe that counts as a win, but only so long until the traffic enforcers arrive to assess the situation and come up with a written report. The bus driver will then be formally charged with reckless impudence (never mind if he was in fact carefully impudent). As a consequence, the bus driver will have to endlessly deal with other forms and legalities. It’s a lot of PAPERwork, isn’t it? Congratulations, dear motorcyclist, you indeed just won through paper.

[Photo / Hand]

Categories: [metro], [traffic], [violence]

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