Motorcycle Safety (Boring)

motorcycle riderMotorcycle safety can be boring to some riders but it is all about more riding enjoyment.

You may, or may not, define that enjoyment as freedom, relaxation, exhilaration, or perhaps simply as “undefinable.”

But what about the risks of motorcycle riding?

The fact is, you can get hurt or killed riding a motorcycle.

According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, nearly 80% of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death, as compared to 20% for automobiles. Stated differently, you are 400% more likely to get hurt or killed if you crash on a motorcycle, as compared to a car.


If YOU were to become involved in a motorcycle mishap, would you rather be wearing a helmet, jacket, gloves, pants and boots, or merely being protected by a t-shirt, sunglasses and boots?

Before you click away, realize this is no rant against motorcyclists of any kind.

There is no intention to be judgemental here. I am a long-time lover of motorcycles and motorcycle riding and I respect the tremendous diversity of motorcycle viewpoints that accompany the vast variety of motorcycle segments and sub-segments that encompass our global riding community.

As a youngster, I sometimes rode around without safety gear and loved it.

Having survived two serious motorcycle wrecks in my life, I do not pretend the risks are not real. In each case, both my bikes were declared “totaled” by the insurance companies.

Even though I can directly attribute my survival to good motorcycle gear, I am also aware that there is no substitute for rider skill.

Having said that, even the best and most experienced riders respect that they “could” go down. DO YOU?


For example, let us not forget the beloved Larry Grodsky, who was widely regarded as a leading motorcycle safety expert in the United States. Larry taught thousands of riders to better handle themselves on their bikes by way of his Pittsburgh-based company, Stayin’ Safe Motorcycle Training.

He was also a motorcycle safety columnist writing “Stayin’ Safe” for Rider Magazine since 1988.

He died on April 8, 2006, while riding his bike through Fort Stockton, Texas, on his way home to Pennsylvania from a Motorcycle Safety Conference outside of Los Angeles.

Larry collided with a deer at night and left a tremendous hole in the motorcycle riding community by his departure.

Poignantly in retrospect, he remarked a few weeks earlier, “That’s how I’m going to go, it’s going to be a deer.”

Indeed, the deer population and roadways are a dangerous threat to all motorists, just more so for motorcyclists who are not ensconced in a protective metal cage.


Motorcycle-specific riding apparel, including helmets, jackets, pants, boots and gloves can be what determines an outcome as either merely inconvenient or terribly tragic.

Even so, the best gear and the most experience cannot prevent a mishap or a tragedy.

So should one just hope to never crash?

5 thoughts on “Motorcycle Safety (Boring)

  • When I was young, I really didn’t want to wear a helmet because I wanted people to see my face while driving a motorcycle. because it used to be cool when a man or woman was riding a motorcycle. But as I grow older, I also become responsible, as time goes by I also become concerned about my future and I also want to live a long time.

    Motorcycle safety gear is very valuable, we always need it when we ride. Thank you very much for sharing this article, I hope it will reach many motorcycle riders.

  • To improve you odds on a motorcycle, both novice and experienced riders should do an annual riding course as well as read articles or books on safe riding practice.that is besides wearing all the correct gear all of the time.
    For those interested a book on safe riding practice well worth the read is PROFICIENT MOTORCYCLING BY DAVID L HOUGH.
    Good luck and safe riding.
    Nigel Borain

    My reasoning is as follows. If I already know that car drivers will not see me, turn in front of me, be in my lane in curves, be stopped around blind corners (so their kid can pee), etc., and that I’ll encounter traction hazards, unpredictable curves, etc., (the list is long but predictable), and of course I do, it is 100% up to me to make sure I don’t get caught by surprise by one of them. If I am, it’s my fault, BECAUSE I ALREADY KNEW IT WOULD HAPPEN!
    Blaming the driver, the road, the gravel, the corner, whatever, is fine if you’re content with being dead right. As for me, I’d rather just assume that $H!† is going to happen, and dress and ride accordingly. Sure, I can’t eliminate 100% of the risk, but if I take 100% responsibility for it, I can greatly reduce it.
    That’s the way I look at it.

  • Yes, it can happen to anybody!

    I’ve been down twice while stationary, once at a junction when I got rear ended by someone who hadn’t seen me in front of them, and the second time I was reversed into by someone who hadn’t seen me behind them! Obviously the DayGlo yellow jacket was a complete waste of my money.

    Although they were 0mph hits to the deck I was very grateful on both occasions for my helmet, shoulder and elbow armour, and my textile leggings which prevented my trapped leg getting burnt by the hot exhaust. If I’d been in shorts and t-shirt I would have lost some skin both times, and even with the safety gear on the bruising was bad enough – riding without adequate protection just isn’t worth it.

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