WHERE ARE YOU ON THE SPECTRUM OF MOTORCYCLE SAFETY? If you are reading this, it could be presumed that you have some level of interest in motorcycle safety. But in my experience, what that means in terms of “how much” or “how little” you routinely demonstrate the “best practices” of rider safety may vary considerably.
Although individual perspectives about motorcycle safety are diverse, generally they can be expressed relative to a concept of “I’m a good rider”.
I’m a Good Rider
1) On one end of the motorcycle safety spectrum is the notion that “I’m a good rider. I won’t crash.” That can be translated to mean that motorcycle safety is less of a concern, since one wouldn’t require much protection if he/she were to never crash.
2) Another end of the spectrum is the concept that “I’m a good rider. But I don’t know about every other driver on the road.” The central idea here is that on any ride, on any day, there is the potential to crash or be hit by some inattentive driver.
These two views could be imagined as opposite ends of a spectrum with varying gradients of considerations between.
Motorcycle Rider Fate
There’s an additional consideration, or cliche, that expresses another viewpoint about two types of motorbike riders: “Those that have gone down, and those that will.”
Although this viewpoint is not shared by all motorcyclists, per force, it can only exist within the second half of the “good rider safety spectrum.” In other words, any rider who entertains the belief that “I’m a good rider, I won’t crash” cannot also believe fate will eventually bring every biker down.
So, where do your beliefs fall within this spectrum?
That’s somewhat of a trick question, because regardless of what you may “think” or even “say” about motorcycle safety, the true answer is reflected in what you wear when you ride.
Motorcycle Protective Gear
Your safety beliefs are evident by your riding gear. If you believe you are a good rider and you won’t crash, you probably won’t place a priority on wearing any or all of the following:
♦ Full-Face Motorcycle Helmet
♦ Full Motorcycle Gloves (Not half gloves)
♦ Good Motorcycle Boots
♦ A Good Quality Motorcycle Jacket with armor
♦ Motorcycle Pants or Chaps (Ideally, with armor)
On the other hand, if you are at the other end of the spectrum and believe you are a good rider but are not confident about everyone else on the road, you likely will be wearing some or all of the above.
What’s the Best Motorcycle Safety Philosophy?
Reality is uncompromisingly revelatory: Bikers crash every day. Too many motorcyclists get killed. Every day.
And yet as humans many of us believe that “Crashing won’t happen to me.” Which means every rider who has crashed and/or been killed was likely thinking a similar thing: “It won’t ever happen to me.”
The good new is that some percentage of riders will be right: “It won’t happen to them.” Carry on!
But how do you “know” you’ll never go down?
What if it’s possible that some day you might crash?
What should you be wearing on that day?
A little reflection on how to improve one’s likelihood of enjoying riding as long as possible would include the philosophy of embracing the following safety points:
♦ Wearing protective gear
♦ Increasing one’s riding skills (study, training, practice)
♦ Gaining lots of riding experience! (Ideally, while developing good riding habits)
By the way, what about bikers who don’t consider they are a good rider in the first place?
Although that concept should easily encompass brand-new riders, I don’t actually recall ever meeting anyone who considered that they were “not” a good rider – completely independent of their experience.
What are your views on motorcycle safety? (Add your perspective below).