Riding a motorcycle is one of the most exhilarating experiences that you will ever experience in your life. But there’s one question people constantly ask themselves before deciding whether to ride a motorcycle. “Is Riding a Motorcycle Dangerous?”
After riding motorcycles on and off for decades I can honestly answer that question with a simple answer. Yes. Riding a motorcycle is dangerous. The older I get, the more I realize just how dangerous riding a motorcycle can be, especially after having several close calls.
It’s not the motorcycle itself that’s dangerous, it’s all the hidden dangers on the road such as oil slicks, loose gravel, animals in your path, and lets not forget “cagers.” For those of you who have never heard of the term cagers thrown around, it’s quite common in the motorcycle community. Cagers are basically people driving cars. In particular, those car drivers who don’t respect the rights of motorcyclists. Too often motorcycle crashes are caused by people driving cars that just don’t check their mirrors before changing lanes, don’t use turn signals or get distracted by a cell phone or some other reason when they should be paying attention to the road and their driving.
Distracted car drivers aren’t necessarily the primary cause of motorcycle crashes and fatalities. Many times it’s the motorcyclists own fault due to inexperienced riders, lack of training, excessive speed, alcohol or drug use or other factors.
If you decide to ride a motorcycle there are several things that you can do to help keep yourself safe on the road. Take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. I did, and it helped my riding skills tremendously. I learned skills that made me a better and more importantly safer rider. The course taught me the skills that I needed to instill confidence in my riding and make the overall riding experience much more enjoyable. When you learn the proper way to avoid obstacles, change lanes, turn corners and ride in various weather conditions, it makes the ride more fun and may just save your life one day.
Another thing that you can do to improve your odds on the road is wear gear! A full face helmet is a must at the very least. If you’re going to wear a half helmet or even a three quarter helmet you may as well not wear one at all. They just don’t protect you the way a full face helmet can. Besides, wouldn’t you like to keep that pretty face of yours in one piece in the event you do crash?
Next on the list would be riding jackets, gloves, pants and other armored gear. An armored riding jacket is a great choice to wear every time you ride. I don’t get on my bike without it. It has armored shoulders, elbows and a spine protector to help protect you during a crash. My jacket is a mesh design with a removal liner that keeps you cool with plenty of air flow on hot days. This design can also keep you warm when it gets cold and protect you from getting soaked in a rain storm. I also wear a motocross combo shin and knee protector under my jeans and armored gloves to protect my hands.
If you really want to get crazy with the gear you can. There are chest protectors, kevlar lined jeans and many other safety gear options available. I have found that my setup doesn’t weigh me down and provides a comfortable riding experience while still offering ample protection.
Now I want you to pay close attention to the video below. The rider in the video is fairly new and seems to make some critical mistakes just before he hits the truck. Luckily, he was wearing some gear including a full face helmet, gloves and what appears to be an armored jacket. The safety gear that he was wearing most likely saved his life. If he would have hit the truck or the ground with his head without a helmet on, he most likely would have not survived the crash.
It appears that he rounded the right turn too wide and too fast. It appears that he may have tried to apply the brakes but it’s hard to tell from the video. That would be the wrong thing to do in this case. What a rider should do in this case is to avoid going into a blind corner wide and fast. If you do get caught in a situation like this you would need to lean the bike quick and firmly to the right by shifting your weight and pushing on the right hand grip. DO NOT APPLY THE BRAKES! There was no way to stop the bike quick enough at that speed. The only way to have avoided the truck would have been to go around it. Inexperienced riders that are not trained, simply do not have the confidence or ability to complete this evasive move in a split second. It has to become instinctual and automatic. That comes from practice. This is one of the safety maneuvers that you will learn in the MSF course. It can safe you from a world of pain and also save your life.
So, is riding a motorcycle dangerous? Yes it is. However, you can mitigate the risk of riding a motorcycle to a reasonable level if you take the proper safety precautions which include proper training and wearing safety gear. Enjoy the ride. Be safe. Riding a motorcycle is one of the most exhilarating things you’ll ever do.