Letter: People responses vary with different colored vehicle

From: Noel Taylor


Henry Ford is reported to have advertised the Model T with “any color you want as long as it’s black” back in 1914. Perhaps Honda had somewhat similar thinking as it introduced the Forza 300 scooter to the U.S. market exactly 100 years later in red only. After all, Honda is sometimes referred to as “Red” among racing cyclists on this side of the pond. Since the latest version of the Forza easily goes 90 mph, the racing connection may explain its color choice for it.

That brings me to other kinds of color. I’ve ridden an old black motorcycle for years. Recently I switched to that red scooter and discovered that traffic responds to me very differently. Am I more visible? Perhaps. Yet the responses suggest something other than visibility. One example would be the elderly SUV driver who suddenly accelerated to 60 mph in a 35 mph zone when he noticed me behind him. Another example would be a younger biker who started yelling homophobic epithets when I coasted past him in traffic toward a red light. Sadly, I’m not alone in noticing such responses to different vehicles. This month I learned from a friend that he has been subjected to verbal abuse ever since he traded in his old hog on a beautiful black Harley trike.

Yes, we live in a strange world. It’s not colorblind, and it’s not likely to change soon. That’s sad.