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Old 10-07-2010, 01:51 PM   #1
tweakxc03
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Default A question on risk/safety

First off, I've read the entire sticky on new riders.

I've been considering getting a motorcycle for a while now but just recently seriously started considering it. Even now, it will be a while before I actually have the dough to buy even a cheap beginner bike.

My question though, is about the inherent risk everybody takes on in riding. I've read all of the statistics about injuries, fatalities, etc.

The one thing that sticks out to me, though, is it seems like a major factor behind accidents every year is just outright stupidity or rider error. For example...

1. Riding with alcohol in your system
2. No helmet or incomplete protective gear
3. Inexperienced without real training (i.e., MSF) and buying a bike that is too powerful for a beginner
4. Lack of visibility to other motorists - not taking the precautions to increase your visibility (bright colored clothes, headlight on, etc.)
5. Speeding
6. Not paying attention / distracted riding
7. Riding in heavy traffic

The list goes on... anyway, my point though, is this:

What if the beginning rider takes all the precautions, doesn't do stupid things, takes the MSF course, starts out with a beginner bike, etc.? I get that the risk of getting hit by a truck, wrecking, etc. is always there to some degree, and you have to accept a certain level of risk with riding.

I guess my question is this: In cycling, for example (bicycles), there is a saying that there are two kinds of cyclists- those who have crashed, and those who haven't crashed yet. Is the same true for motorcycles?
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Old 10-07-2010, 01:58 PM   #2
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Risk Mitigation.

Hell, you might slip in the shower tomorrow-morning, and break your neck.

You seem to have a fairly-good grasp of the facts of the situation, and appear to be entering this sport with your eyes open.

Good Luck; follow your own outline, don't listen to your squidly-friends, ride your own ride, and continue to learn and improve your skills AFTER the MSF-course and you start riding.

A "crash" doesn't necessarily mean "Mangled and/or Killed horribly in a flaming ball of spewing blood and organs". But it's not really forgetting to put the kickstand down in the parking lot, either.
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Old 10-07-2010, 02:18 PM   #3
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All boils down to taking the chances you view worth the risk. Just never forget that the cages are out to kill you and ride and dress accordingly.
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:31 PM   #4
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Riding is such an awesome experience that despite knowing the risk I take each time I get on the bike, I get on it anyway. You do what makes sense to minimize the risk, but it's either worth it or it's not.
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Old 10-08-2010, 05:23 AM   #5
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I think you've answered your own question. By understanding and adjusting for all the "noob" mistakes, you'll dramatically reduce or even eliminate the possibility of experiencing them. Sort of like: "if you never drink before riding, you'll never crash because you are drunk."

With that said, there's still more inherent risk with bikes than cars. There's no metal cage around you, you're smaller and harder to see, there are 2 contact patches instead of 4, etc.

Only you can decide if the benefits outweigh the risks. Obviously for a lot of people, they do.
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Old 10-08-2010, 07:53 AM   #6
tweakxc03
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Thanks for the feedback. I am just trying to go into this with my head in the right place. A buddy of mine put it to me like this: "If you learn to ride a motorcycle, you WILL crash, and you WILL get hurt. That's just part of the deal." I tend to think in numbers and odds. Humans by nature are really bad at gauging risk.

Followup question:

Exactly how effective is armor and leather? I know that it will protect against sliding and that type of thing... but I can't seem to find any data on the protection against impact, etc.

I'm sure that if you hit the ground going 40mph, it's not going to feel good no matter what you're wearing. But, is it effective at allowing you to walk away from the type of spill AirHawk mentioned earlier? I mean, how much better is "better than nothing"?

Obviously I wouldn't even consider riding if I didn't think it was worth the risk... I just like to quantify things as best I can before jumping into something head first.

Last edited by tweakxc03 : 10-08-2010 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 10-08-2010, 08:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tweakxc03 View Post
But, is it effective at allowing you to walk away from the type of spill AirHawk mentioned earlier? I mean, how much better is "better than nothing"?
Oh, it is far far better than nothing. With armor pads and a back brace you can walk away from an accident that would otherwise be fatal. Even if you do break a bone in a crash you'll will recover much faster than if you have a broken bone and 2 square feet of missing skin. The road rash adds to the shock effect of a wreck and can result in a fatality that otherwise would not occur without the major road rash.

Always wear the gear. Solid in the cool and mesh in the heat. I can't stress it enough.

A friend of mine crashed a couple of months back after losing it on some tar strips. Went off a mountain road at 55mph. She broke a hand and 3 ribs. But she suffered no abrasive injuries even though her jacket and pants separated at the seams. She was back on her feet in a few days. Without the gear she would have been in complete agony from the road rash alone for days on end without heavy pain killers.
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Last edited by seruzawa : 10-08-2010 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 10-08-2010, 09:17 AM   #8
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here's my Wanna-be take on the topic:
I'm just a wanna-be for now....I'm not even a newbie, yet. I'll take my Safety class later this month and I want to get a Suzuki C50T some time after the class. So it could be that none of my 2-cents have any bearing in this arena. But....

I've had seven of the top-10 most dangerous jobs. And some of the most dangerous hobbies. BUT....I am absolutely NOT a thrill-seeker. I am not an adrenaine-junkie. I dont get-off by scaring others.

When I fly, my passengers get bored. When I climb a transmission tower...it takes forever cuz I take my time and I hook-off religiously. When I dive....I do ALL of the required AND recommended ascent-holds.

Basicly, I LIVE...by the rules. (that little statement has a lot to say)

Yeah, there is always the potential for "accidents" (the truely unpreventable stroke of simply bad-luck). But actually "accidents" are really hard to come-by. Usually its a factor of somebody dropping the ball. And in all actuality, in very careful examination of aircraft accident reports I found it interesting that its usually a combination of multiple things going wrong before the "fit hits the shan".

Statistics are funny things.... You never hear about all the people who are doing it RIGHT. You only hear about the F-ups who make the paper. We hear about the airplane crashes....but dont hear about the thousands of general and commercial flight that are uneventful EVERYDAY. You hear about the bikers who wrap themselves around a tree or get up under a truck, or slide through an intersection, or get rear-ended, lose control...or simply stop thinking defensively. BUt you dont hear about the hundreds of thousands of bikers riding around successfully.

It all comes down to doing what you can to minimize your exposure to "accidents" Be smart. Be careful. Be cautious. But DONT be scared.

Do all YOU can. Dont sweat what YOU cant control.

As has been previously said, you could slip in the shower, get struck by lightning, get hit by a meteor, catch the latest super-bug, or die of infected bed-sores as you live your life huddled in fear with your blankie pulled up around your ears.

LIFE isnt safe...you will not get out of it alive....I promise...Guaranteed.

At the risk of being too cliche...
Everybody dies. Not everybody actually lives.

Measured risks.
Due precautions.
Sound Judgement.
TRUST your instincts!!! ( I dont know how or why... I can't explain it... but LISTEN to your gut. If you get a "funky feeling"...sit that one out. )

But sometimes.... S__T happens.

At least that's what gets me through the day. I imagine the same principals apply to two-wheels. We shall see.

Oh...and dont piss-off Kharma. It never hurts to have a little luck on your side...in addition to skill (not instead of it).

Life is good. Enjoy it.
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Old 10-08-2010, 09:23 AM   #9
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To follow up on Seru's post, just remember my favorite slogan; If you think gear is expensive, price a skin graft.

While I havent crash tested my gear on the bike I did crash test it when I was hit by a car crossing the street after I parked my bike. After riding a windshield and being shot across 3 lanes of traffic I got up pi55ed but with only a sore shoulder. Much mo betta than the years of road rash from mountain biking, bmx, skateboarding etc.
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Old 10-08-2010, 10:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12er View Post
To follow up on Seru's post, just remember my favorite slogan; If you think gear is expensive, price a skin graft.

While I havent crash tested my gear on the bike I did crash test it when I was hit by a car crossing the street after I parked my bike. After riding a windshield and being shot across 3 lanes of traffic I got up pi55ed but with only a sore shoulder. Much mo betta than the years of road rash from mountain biking, bmx, skateboarding etc.
That's a scary thought, having you pissed-off and lumbering toward me right after I ran you down.

"Oh, you don't wanna SHOOT 'im - that'll just make 'im MAD..........."
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