DO MOTORCYCLISTS HAVE A DEATH WISH?
Per the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, nearly 80% of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death, as compared to 20% for automobiles. In other words, you are 4x more likely to get hurt or killed if you crash on a motorcycle, as opposed to in a car.
Having been involved in two serious motorcycle wrecks in my life, I understand the risks. In both cases, the bikes were declared “totaled” by the insurance adjusters.
In the first one (back in the 70’s) an ambulance raced me to an emergency room to clean up a generous case of road rash and to put together what the paramedic said was a whole bunch of broken bones. However, the doctor said I only had a broken collarbone, and was surprised when the x-ray showed nothing was broken at all. Ultimately, my helmet scars demonstrated that things would have been much worse had I not been wearing it. In fact, had I not been wearing a full-face helmet, I would have left my countenance smeared along some Pennsylvania pavement.
In 2004, I wrecked again. (By the way, both of these incidents were my own fault). Although the motorcycle was crashed beyond repair, I walked away without a cut, scratch or bruise. (I skipped the ambulance and emergency room adventures). The main difference? Fully-armored riding apparel from head to toe. And in both cases I was also fortunate not to hit anything except the ground. Modern riding apparel continues to improve and offer greater safety advantages. Will that make riding as safe as flying in an airplane or driving a car? No way. If you want even better safety, you absolutely must traverse our world ensconced in a cage with at least 4 wheels – or don’t go anywhere.
Given that as the case, do motorcyclists have a death wish?
Who knows the answer for all, but for me, and for the many riders I’ve spoken with over the years, the answer is the opposite. The lack of a protective cage is what opens wide life and livingness instead of watching it go by like a video game. For a motorcyclist, riding epitomizes life.
I would rather ride every day with the risk variable at whatever rate it may be, than to live at all without riding any day.
For me, part of riding – and living at all – is knowing that any day may be my last. And the alternative to not riding is as certain a death sentence as losing all capacity to sing, dance, celebrate or even breathe.
Many motorcyclists would not expect a non-rider to relate to these words. The brotherhood that riders enjoy involves living a much richer life than could be enjoyed otherwise.
For me, and for the motorcyclists I have met – we love life. We love to ride. It’s pretty simple.
I invite you to add your thoughts below.