HOW DO YOU, PERSONALLY, DEAL WITH THE RISKS OF MOTORCYCLE RIDING?
Do you think it’s bad karma to talk about motorcycle crashes?
Do you even contemplate the possibility that you might get killed riding?
Or do you simply not think about it at all?
Yes, I have my own opinions on the matter, as you can experience in the video.Â But since this isn’t a topic I’ve spoken with many other riders about, I’m more interested in what goes on in your noggin regarding your own while-you’re-riding concept of motorcycle safety.
Please add your feedback below where it says “Leave a Reply” (scroll to the bottom).
237 thoughts on “Dead Biker Riding (Video)”
Very good topic. Safety comes first. I always use good quality gears when ride a bike. You never know who will be on fault but always be vigilant.
Very good topic. Safety comes first. I always use good quality gears when ride a bike. You never know who will be on fault but always be vigilant.
I want to learn WHY motorcycle crashes happen. However, I have no idea where to find information. When I hear of motorcycle crashed that involve a fatality, my first thought is ‘what happened’? Was it rider error? The more I know the better I prepared I can be to try and avoid it happening to me.
I got my first motor-bike in 1959, in an era when riding motorcycles required a fair amount of mechanical skills and a firm grasp of basic wiring. Perhaps the inherent unreliability of those bikes sharpened the rider’s situational awareness. The machines could literally fail at any time and the components were in need of constant attention. Bodily contact with various surfaces was inevitable. The inherent danger of motorcycles is a reality that a rider ignores at his peril. Hogwash like “karma” merely masks that reality. Get REAL. Situational awareness is what keeps people alive long enough to become seasoned riders. Its is not fear, it is respect for the forces of physics that govern motion. Ride within your boundaries. You can stray into the unknown blind corner many times without repercussions but if you shoot the dice often enough you will roll a snake eye. Know the line you’ll be on when you get to the exit of a curve. Pay attention to
what is behind you. Watch the surface. A motorcycle, no matter how luxurious, is dangerous. Ride smart. Live to ride long.
Well I have been riding now for 2 years and in my 1st year I actually dump my motorcycle because I just got my License and bought my 1st and only back right now. I bought a preowned 2009 Harley Davidson 883 XL. I had bought it in the late summer of August 2015 and only had a few times to ride it up to late fall. I was much more daring in riding fast next to what I understood in Motorcycle Safety class I took in Community college for $20 which you get back in the state of Illinois. Long story short I have not ridden the motorcycle and I was just anxious during the winter months to ride it. Well one February 20th 2016 I had ridden the back because it was unusually warm and the snow melted. I had taken it out to ride from the Midwest country side to my home city of Chicago since I had no room to store it in the city. As I drove in city congested traffic I was making a lot of stop and go’s and thought since I had a motorcycle I can cut in and out of corners and cars that are moving too slow. As I did that I saw a car that stop abruptly between the traffic and park vehicle and I that time I used the front brakes too much which was a NO NO. I had lost control of my motorcycle and fell on the left side of it on the street. It was very Traumatizing. I had the courage to get up and pick up the 500 lbs motorcycle. A lot of people notice including other motorist in Cars. It was a scary experience. I wore my half face helmet that day but I wore the wrong sunglasses because the lens cut the left side of my skin of my eye and left a scare. I was also so embarrassed. I even went to cosmetic skin therapy for that. A friend who has been riding told me not to use the front break most of the time. It is best to use both brakes in sync which I did not do. My lesson was that I now ride with caution and do not like to cut into traffic like I used to before. I have been riding safely now and have not fallen since then.
Agree, Rob. FATIGUE almost got me in big trouble too, twice in Colorado twistees!
To this day I shiver & the old ticker stops for a second just reflecting on those close-calls. There’s a reason they name certain road curves, ” Dead Man’s Curve”! Be alert, slow down, make sure bike is in top shape…..tires, brakes, lights, secure even weight distribution of bags, etc. You can have fun safely.
Couldn’t agree more with the message of this video. As the saying goes “A fool learns from his own mistakes. A wise person learns from a fool’s mistakes.” And when it comes to riding, the general wisdom is that there are two types of riders: those who have crashed; and those who haven’t crashed, yet. I was ridingfor 4 years before I made a stupid mistake which almost cost me my life. I got on my bike to ride home, roughly a half hours ride, after an exhausting cardio workout at the gym. While at first I felt energized, after about 20 min my blood sugar level must have started to drop. I remember a feeling of fatigue start to set in. First in my muscles, then my head started getting a bit “cloudy”. When I got to the intersection about two miles from my house, I saw that the traffic light was being operated remotely by a cop about a block away. It seemed like I was standing there for eternity, waiting for him to give us the green. I’m not 100% sure what happened, other than it turns out I took a left on a red light. Never saw the car coming. Statistically, I shouldn’t even be here to be sharing these thoughts. My prized dyna wide glide was totaled and I somehow miraculously came out of it more or less with just a broken leg. Bottom line, you need to be sharp as a razor ALL the time. Otherwise, don’t get on that bike. Maybe if I had taken five minutes to drink a coffee or eat an energy bar, I would’ve avoided the whole mess. Just a thought I hope was worth sharing….
Roger that! Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I agree, riding the twisties on a 4-500 lb bike is easier, than a 8-900 lb bike. Still, I ride the coastal ranges, hwy 1 along the Big Sur coast and in the Sierras frequently. While not as nimble or fast, having my wife with me makes it all worthwhile. Otherwise, I’d have a much smaller and potentially faster ride.
It’s a small price to pay for having a shared experience. She could ride her own bike and is a very experienced rider, but would rather navigate and sight see now. We’ve ridden thousands of miles throughout the western states without incident. Safety is our top priority. We ride with a small group of riders, who share our interests and have a blast, regardless of speed and handling.
BTW: My luxoliner is a custom CVO Ultra 1900cc/111ci motor,custom suspension and pushes 110 HP/116 max torque to the rear wheel. I’m very happy with how it handles, now that I’ve had it built. No slouch by any means.
No matter what we ride, we must ukeep in mind cause and effect. One second of distraction can mean success, or failure. Maintaining focus on where we want to go at all times is essential.
Well I guess I was too subtle, some people can’t read between the lines.
When I say cruisers and HD are the Winnebagoes of the motorcycle world that dosn’t mean there isn’t a place for them. E.G. Winnebagoes are an excellent choice if you ant to do some luxury ‘camping’.
Cruises and HD’ s are fine if you stay off the narrow twisty road that are, to me, the most fun on a MC ever. I lve in the mountains with lots of narrow two lane twisting roads on offer, if you want to partake of this you would be best served with something that has power, handling, agility, great brakes…. This list excludes cruisers and HD’s. Too often I have seen cruiser and HD riders get over their heads and beyond their bikes capabilities when confronted with a road that requires good skills, maximum attention and a capable bike.
After riding continuously for 46 years, no sabbaticals, and having raced motocross, closed circuit flat track and ice I figure I know what I am doing, and based on this feel I justified in have an informed opinion. So match your motorcycle to the kind of riding you do, and pay attention.
Been riding since 1958 and had a few close ones also. . Generally bad mouthing shows lack o knowledge i think racing, any type, really builds more awareness. I ran Daytona four times in the past and ran TT RACES in Chicago in the sixties.. I read two yrs ago sport bikes are 20 times more likely fatal than H-D’S .I enjoy the torque and ride of these v-twin cruisers instead of the whiny high rpm bikes that i ran in the past. STAY ALERT !
Safety is always a good topic. When I’m feeling vulnerable on the road, I make an extra effort to focus on escaping the danger, mitigating the fear and dealing with it through positive action. Slow down, speed up or just take your time to enjoy the ride. Our learned skills will most always get us through.
I too have been riding since ’67. But one of the major lessons learned is always look where you want to go. Look as far ahead in the curves as possible and anticipate the unexpected. Keep your head on a swivel, tun your head and look over your shoulder before changing lanes. Your mirrors don’t always tell the whole story.
Most of all, I’ve learned not to badmouth others choices of rides. It shows lack of respect and class.
See you on the road.
I’ve been doing this since ’69, like speed and good handling , will never own a cruiser or a Briggs and Straton ( HD) as they are basically two wheeled Winnebagos, am still in one piece, so I might have a clue as safe operations. This clue can be summed up as:
– Learn from the mistakes of others as you will not live long enuf to make them all yourself, and
– The superior rider uses his/her superior judgement to keep themselves out of situations that would require the use of their superior skill.
Ignoring the risk associated with riding motorcycles because of some superstious tic is not smart and not proactive.
On the other hand, as with all sports, you go where you look, so if you are so obsessed with crashing or hitting an obstacle that you don’t look where you want to go but instead look at the immovable object in you path… You will hit it
Greetings to the family of motorcyclists who share risk and reward in equal measures. Here is an interesting statistic which ought to make all of us better bikers, if not better philosophers — from the August 2015 issue of Harper’s —
Percentage of all vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. that are traveled by motorcycles: 0.68.
Percentage of people who die in U.S. road accidents who are motorcyclists: 10
My philosophies are the result of personal observation. First, dress to be seen. In the video the speaker is wearing a black leather jacket. . .might as well be a black hole in the night sky. Drivers are unlikely to see him coming out of shadows or shaded areas. Make yourself a peacock. Secondly, don’t speed. One of your only defenses against poor drivers is your reaction time. Don’t make it more difficult to react. Personal observation also tells me that many motorcyclists don’t like my rule #2. I see riders weaving in and out of traffic at 70 or 80 mph on busy expressways where the speed limit is 55. . . asking for trouble.
Third, divorce yourself of your right to be angry at people in cars who cut you off. Accept that that is an inevitable occurrence. Be grateful for those who respect your space. Rule four should come as a natural occurrence; smile and enjoy the ride.
Your comments are rational and would-be motorcyclists/bikers would do well to broach the subject head on, similar to how LEOs do when a brother officer dies. What did he do wrong? Have I done that before? What do I need to practice to avoid ever making the same mistake? Two things I do: (Whenever I’m thinking of it) while letting the bike warming up, I’ll think about how I need to dispel where I’ve been and where I’m going in order to be aware of the here & now. The other thing is that I encourage friends to send me news about motorcycle fatalities. I’m not morbid; rather, I need a reminder that they’re out there, and real, and recent, to jar me from complacency.
Great article and great comments. Just entered my second year of riding. Have a family with two young boys. So am very aware of the risks… which I’m keen to reduce as I do love riding. Thanks all.
Some element of “rushing” almost got me seriously injured twice and also scared he Hell out me!
I am a usually extremely safety conscious biker who, due to commuting home one day in oppressive heat and high humidity, became too impatient with slow traffic, and while going around, suddenly impacted with a deep sinkhole that easily could have thrown me off the bike. Only bike momentum kept me from being thrown. The collision with that sinkhole was violent, as I had been accelerating. That momentary lapse of judgment, besides shaking the hell out of me, caused heavy damage to my bike. Moral of the story: Do not allow anything to distract us from the high level of situational awareness we must have to stay alive to ride another day!
Are you made of fine china? Yes! Ride accordingly.
To conscience, the best risk managers enjoy motorcycles the longest.
I think MCg is spot on.
Once upon a time, I â€œsoldâ€ motorcycles at a dealer in SoCal. However, I tried to get into the head of the people, mostly younger ones, who wanted to buy one, often for the â€˜wrongâ€™ reasons. Mostly, it seemed it was wanting to be in a peer group of friends who were already riding. When I heard that as a primary reason, I went into an abbreviated version of what is being discussed here.
Having spent the past ten years or so in insurance risk management, evaluating exposures and hazards, the best things I can come up with here is truly asking yourself whether the joy you derive of riding versus the potential of physical injury or worse is worth it to you.
Bikes can provide great joy, no question. After nearly 400,000 miles, my head is still full of vivid memories of people and places, the mind being the best camera of all.
Against that is the crucible of then living in Los Angeles, and the recognition that things can go sideways in a hurry. One has to be able to watch other driversâ€™ traffic manners.
I liken this to a rather common description of what Field Marshal Rommel is often stated to have, â€œFingerspitzengefÃ¼hl.â€ A â€œsixth-senseâ€ born of experience and context to predict what is going to happen next.
After youâ€™ve been riding a â€œfew yearsâ€ and understand traffic, you give that pregnant pause before proceeding through a green light. You watch the glance in the rearview mirror of the car ahead of you, or note that she is texting on her phone. You take appropriate action.
Without getting into a metaphysical didactic here, your love of riding must over-rule your fear of physical harm, and you use your God-given tools to assess where you are in this dynamic. As we age, it might change and make one become more risk-averse. Certainly it has slowed me down over the years, after seeing the results of speed for speedâ€™s sake by riding companions over the years.
I read the entire Wikipedia stats. Wow! Now that was a lot of info! I learned â€œdefensiveâ€ driving IS â€œsmartâ€ driving. ALL, again, ALL ACCIDENTS ARE PREVENTABLE. Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s called an â€œaccidentâ€. Some person or thing or condition couldâ€™ve been different to have completely changed the outcome. Thanks for the critical infoâ€¦..keep it coming. The more we express our views, the more itâ€™s on our minds and if we can prevent even one accident, itâ€™s worth it! God bless you guys!
Right there with ya, Tommy.
I saw a beautiful comment the other day: â€œLoud pipes = penis compensationâ€. Love it!!
Was also pleased to see while reading about Americade today, they have a paragraph on their website that speaks volumes:
â€œAmericade is a gathering of friendly, fun-loving folks, for whom motorcycling is a social hobby, but not some form of rebellion. Itâ€™s NOT the place for shows of speed, hostile attitudes, or illegally loud motorcycles. Americade supports the AMA position that â€œLoud Pipes Risk Rightsâ€ and the statement issued by Harley-Davidsonâ€™s CEO.â€
Not sure what the statement was that Harleyâ€™s CEO issued, but Iâ€™m sure it was equally damning of the loud pipe gang. HD sure as hell doesnâ€™t wanna be put out of business by a few dozen Governors holding a decibel meter! (And the idiots with the straight pipes would never even DREAM that that could happen.)
Shame on all of us in the meantime, however, for not widely or effectively petitioning law enforcement to go after the numskulls who raise all this havoc and get us all tarred and feathered with the same brush.
Love the Comments Michael. A lady heard a motorcycle club coming down the highway with there loud pipes and said they all are not very well endowed. The machines are best to run with stock mufflers or the factory would do the mods. Some motorcycles have to be loud and obnoxious like their owners. !
Hate to tell you this, Ted Donaldson, but in roughly HALF of all motorcycle accidents…the rider is at fault.
So, yes, defensive driving is a good technique about HALF the time……but SMART driving is the solution the rest of the time. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_findings_in_the_Hurt_Report)
Iâ€™ve been riding for 50+ years and I still havenâ€™t figured out if I was BORN a good riderâ€¦.or BECAME a good rider.
Starting at age 13, on the farm, then later motocrossing certainly helped me acquire all the balance, braking, accelerating, physics/mechanics, mud, blood and potential for danger that everyone OUGHT to pick up somehow/somewhere along the way.
But I still donâ€™t know (at age 67) if Iâ€™m a good rider because of something else altogether, like, having some gene that puts me in touch with the â€œessenceâ€ of my physical being, or just WTF it is.
All I know is, I DO have great â€œstreet smartsâ€.
I DO anticipate the majority of stupid driving acts others perpetrate.
I DO look even more carefully while crossing at green lights (those are the ones that kill)
I AM always aware of at least one or even TWO paths I can take if THIS one fails
I ASSUME not just that Iâ€™m invisible, but that every other vehicle WANTS to hit me. (no, it doesnâ€™t make me a weird personâ€¦it only sets my frame of mind for the DI (driving interface)
I take on occasional riding risks as â€œexerciseâ€. I know what they are; I plan them prior to execution; I know I wonâ€™t make a â€œhabitâ€ of doing them, but I know I want to â€œexperienceâ€ themâ€¦.for â€œsafetyâ€ sake. Itâ€™s just self-imposed training. e.g. like riding along a tar-snake for as long as possibleâ€¦.maybe even in the wetâ€¦..JUST so you know how it will feel when you HAVE to ride a tar-snakeâ€¦.in the wet!. Or crossing a set of train tracks not really close to perpendicular. You knowâ€¦.weird shitâ€¦but good shitâ€¦..useful shit. Some would call it â€œdaredevilâ€ shit. Hey, lifeâ€™s a dare, just walkin out the door. Get USED to it.
Another commentor mentioned â€œSituational Awarenessâ€ (SA). EXCELLENT!! I have itâ€¦.I live/breathe it and appreciate that my copper buddies are all trained in it. But, again, I donâ€™t know if I was born with itâ€¦â€¦or learned it by being a farmboy, seeing how actions cause REactions, or what? All I know is, there are those who have SAâ€¦.and others who are literally AND figuratively asleep at â€œthe wheelâ€.
Iâ€™m an approved instructor of the safety council motorcycle training programâ€¦..and if I had to sum up the entire course in four wordsâ€¦â€¦they would be: WAKE UP. ANTICIPATE. MITIGATE.
Last words (then Iâ€™ll shut up 🙂
Loud pipes piss people off.
Loud horns save lives.
Buy a Stebelâ€¦.use as required.
Iâ€™m fatalistic in most regards and when it comes to riding, I acknowledge and accept the risks. As my signature on many forums says: â€œWhen I was younger I was afraid Iâ€™d die riding. Now that Iâ€™m old and falling apart, Iâ€™m afraid I wonâ€™t.â€
I feel that the list that John Mc gave just about sums
it up. My first accident I was 24 and the car was at fault.
damaged my right ankle kept me out of racing (dirt) for a season.
my mind set then was the next street bike I ride will be
capable of taking out a Vega (a 70â€™s Chevy compact).
Therefore, my next bike was an XS1100. The accident
didnâ€™t keep me from riding, however the five points were
etched in my brain.
Recently, I had an accident which cost me my bike because
of a momentary laps of concentration. Thatâ€™s 40 years since
my last accident. I broke 4 ribs the bike broke the valve cover
and leaked enough oil to cause a knock in the engine. It reinforced
the 5 points and absolute vigilance. Am more concerned
about being incapacitated then dying. Riding a Bike is an assumed
risk, however,risk can be somewhat mitigated by situational
awareness, driving with traffic and not antagonizing other drivers
whose vehicles out weigh you by 4-7times with 4 pads on the
driving surface. Practice is surely on the top of the list as well as
bike maintenance. There is a lot more traffic out there since I started
In the 60â€™s!
Just remember, the person who just ran into you or sent you off the
road doesnâ€™t give a flip about how long you have been riding
Or how many miles you have under your belt. Just keep
Safety Officer SFRC
Good reply Ted. I’m pretty much the same mindset I did race flat track and road race 40 yrs.ago. It really develops a great mindset.. 430,000 miles ago…
I agree with “being aware of what’s going on around you always!!”
I’m 67 years old and have been riding since I was about 18, but have had times without riding. A “positive attitude” is good as long as it gives me confidence to think ahead of a “what if” situation to escape. My mind already automatically programmed to respond instinctively to an unforeseen predicament will most likely save my life or prevent truly a bad scene. I never race so I don’t know if a negative attitude would make me lose a race. All I know is what’s worked for me for all these years for normal enjoyable riding. I glance at the little momento being a small sticker on my windshield. It’s a small but very effective sticker of a skull and cross-bones……it slows me down ever time! I know that that respect for riding on an inherently more dangerous vehicle, is not “programming for failure.” Just the opposite and I don’t believe in fate. Have fun and be safe my forum buddies!
Anyone that contempletes dying on there cycle is programing a failure. If it’s your time ,so be it .iF EVER A RACER THINKS HE CAN’T WIN,HE NEVER WILL. Keep a positive att. and be aware of whats going on around you, always !!! 55years and 430,000 miles…
i was a rider but i fell off my bike my left arm was a little mess up i’m ok but it put fear in me so i’m not riding any more i have that fear i love to ride but just can’t do it any more, i’m a new rider so i have not being riding long, but just can’t do it. i love to see women on there bikes im a woman myself 64 young i’m looking into a trike so this is my comments
This is certainly one of the best comments I’ve read in this forum! You hit the nail on the head! Fellow bikers, old and new! Please heed this very wise advice! Why? We love riding and life!
The second year of riding is the most dangerous. The hyper sensitivity of the first year slowly becomes comfort, and speeding and risk taking starts. Half of all motorcycle accidents are solo vehicle accidents. Meaninbg the motorcyclist crashed. Of the other 50%, half are the fault of hte motocyclist. So 25% are pure victims.
1. Don’t put yourself in the position.
2. Leave contingencies.
3. Awareness and vigilance and anticipation
– drive like a truck driver (consistent spped and long lead time for maneuvers)
– play scenarios. Don’t assume how others will act.
4. All the gear all the time.
5. Grow older. A sense of pain and mortaility comes with age.
I’ve always hear that motocyclists fall into two groups:
those that have been in accidents
those that will be in accidents
Act like an accident is trying to sneak upo on you. Ride with the practice of minimizing the opportunities and impact.
I totally agree with MCg.
Oblivious is just a fancy word for ‘Unaware’ – and being unaware of likely danger is poor form/reckless in anyone’s book. Good Soapbox job MCg, much appreciated. There’s REAL wisdom from MCg there. As for me, each time before a ride, I contemplate the reality of accidents/death.. I face those questions head on.. My reality is ‘Avoidance/Defensivess/Awareness/Acceptance/Staying Alive to ride Another day.
I have been riding since 1954 and still ride. I don’t feel any less safe on my bike than I do in my automobile, and maybe a little less safe in my automobile because I have better visibility on my bike, plus I can better hear the sounds around me, which sometimes is more important than visibility.
As with all driving if you don’t keep an eye on the other drivers, and expect them to do something you don’t expect, you better take heed. Most driver are looking for automobiles and they will miss seeing you on a bike, or see you and mistakenly think you are a pedestrian. Thankful running in the day time with our bright lights on has cut them not even seeing us way down from what it use to be, besides there are more bikes on the road today, and driver are more observant of bikes.
My first and only wreck I have had on a bike other than just dropping it, or when I was racing Motocross, (which by the way will make a much better rider out of anyone) was 4 years after I started riding. A lady ran a stop sign and tee boned me on my 800 pound HD. Thankfully I saw her in time to lift my leg out of the way on that side of the bike, she hit me hard enough to knock the 800 pound bike airborne some 38 feet. The people on the side walk that heard the screeching of tires said I went 15 feet straight up. When I came down she had run under me and I came down in a one point landing with my hip on the left front fender of her car, leaving a big indent in the fender, my arm just below the elbow had taken the hood ornament off her car also. I ended up lengthwise her car on the drivers side, and this lady opened the door, and stepped over me and cried, “Oh, my pretty new car”. Needless to say I jumped up and expressly told her what I thought of her new car, and for her to look at that beautiful bike lying there in a pile. Since then I never enter an intersection without looking both ways, it only takes a glance, a lesson hard earned.
Greetings to the the brotherhood of biking brothers! I’ve been biking since ’78 and riding has become challenging in the city because of other users. I’ve fallen thrice (that’s deeply edge in my mind) in all these years of riding but come away unscathed thanks to protective gear from head to toe. I’ve lost friends also b’cos of their cavalier attitudes. I ride as if I’m invisible to other road users including pedestrians and avoid riding at night (especially out in the country). I’m in Singapore now and if you ride here, you need to be ultra-defensive! Because the people pay so much for their cars and bikes, everybody (nearly) think they own the road! In SE Asia or Asia, you need to be really vigilant when you’re riding! Partly, they seem to care little for their lives or of others using the roads! Ride safe! Ride to live and enjoy another biking day! Stay cool and Blessed Christmas to all and a Happy 2015 riding. RIDE SAFE, BROTHERS AND SISTER OUT THERE!
Greetings to the the brotherhood of biking brothers! I’ve been biking since ’78 and riding has become challenging in the city because of other users. I’ve fallen thrice (that’s deeply edge in my mind) in all these years of riding but come away inscathed thanks to protective gear from head to toe. I’ve lost friends also b’cos of their cavalier attitudes. I ride as if I’m invisible to other road users including pedestrians and avoid riding at night (especially out in the country). I’m in Singapore now and if you ride here, you need to be ultra-defensive! Because the people pay so much for their cars and bikes, everybody (nearly) think they own the road! In SE Asia or Asia, you need to be really vigilant when you’re riding! Partly, they seem to care little for their lives or of others using the roads! Ride safe! Ride to live and enjoy another biking day! Stay cool and Blessed Christmas to all and a Happy 2015 riding. RIDE SAFE, BROTHERS AND SISTER OUT THERE!