Opinion: Today’s the day

Well, today’s the day cannabis is legal across Canada, after years and years of illegal and sort-of-legal use by people everywhere. Is it any coincidence that this is Week 42 of the year, and that Douglas Adams declared the number 42 to be the Meaning of Life in his book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? I think not!

Thoughts like these come to you when you’re stoned – don’t bother asking how I know – in much the same way that brilliant ideas occur when you’re drunk, like calling up ex-girlfriends or deciding to shave your eyebrows. Again, don’t ask.

Hmmm – Harley V-Twin and well-rolled joint. These things do not go well together when they’re both lit up.

It’s all fun and games until you have to do something that involves important decision making, like driving or riding, and that’s where we still have a problem in Canada. I know I can drink one beer and still be legally sober enough to drive, but I have no idea how much cannabis I can smoke or ingest. And if somebody passes me a joint or hands me a cookie at a party, I have no idea how strong it will be. The only solution is to just not drive at all after imbibing – treat it like having a few drinks, and decide beforehand on how to get home, or enjoy it already at home at the end of the day. Anything else is asking for trouble. Make sure to read Zac’s excellent summation on cannabis and motorcycles to find out more.

Of course, for us motorcyclists, there are more issues to be cautious of when riding at this time of year. We love to admire the Fall colours, but on the roads where the autumnal leaves are thickest, they can also blanket the ground and make the roadway very slippery indeed. If the road is wet, they’re even more treacherous. The best tires in the world won’t help on a surface that slides against the asphalt. Treat it like a gravel road and slow down, don’t lean over too much, and be prepared to brake and come to a stop within your sightline.

Those leaves are beautiful on the trees but can be deadly on the road.

The other major issue is overconfidence. We’ve been riding since the spring and probably not had any problems, so we’re feeling pretty good about our abilities on two wheels. As well, car drivers are now used to seeing motorcycles on the road. That’s fair enough and well earned, but this is no time to let your guard down. Keep driving defensively and maintain an eye on everyone else who’s sharing the highway. And especially now, when so many will think they have a licence to drive high. Forget ice storms and hurricanes – this month will probably be the most dangerous time of year to be riding or driving. Stay sober on the road and be prepared.

Best keep to that speed limit when the leaves are falling and the road is wet.

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