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#750886 - 01/02/12 08:33 PM How dangerous is motorcycling?
beemerman2k Online
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Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 6918
Loc: Ellington, CT
Hi, it's me, "Mr Controversy" (that was what folks called me in my college days, go figure cool). I have engaged in several debates over the years on this forum that all seem to center around a difference of opinion as to just how dangerous it is to be a motorcyclist. Helmet debates, ATGATT debates, cruiser debates, oil debates, Civil War debates, and the latest: smoking debates(!) -- all seem to center around a disagreement as to the amount of risk we take whenever we hit the road on two wheels.

In my opinion, what we do is very dangerous. So much so, that I don't feel that any motorcyclist is in any position to scold, admonish, judge, comment on, or otherwise see as being different from others who risk their lives through their own activities of choice. For instance, in my view:

- ATGATT makes you marginally safer than no-ATGATT, but no where near safe enough. If given the choice of crashing on a motorcycle wearing ATGATT versus crashing while driving a "Smart" brand automobile wearing a seat belt, I would choose the Smart car every time. I cannot imagine a vehicle more dangerous to drive than a Smart car, yet those occupants are worlds safer than the rider on two wheels. So why do ATGATT riders feel so free to judge helmetless riders, as though ATGATT makes you as safe as if you were in a 4 wheeled vehicle? And if you're not as safe as you would be in a 4 wheeled vehicle, then why do you judge others for taking risks like riding helmetless or in jeans when you very well could be driving a car rather than riding a motorcycle, and thus practicing what you preach by putting safety above passion? First park your own passions, then you can speak freely against others who do not park their passions! Right?

- Motorcycling is far more dangerous an activity than smoking, drinking, drug usage, and just about any other activity humans engage in. Why do I say this? Because as we all know intuitively and as we see in our daily lives, anyone at any time, regardless of how well they ride, how ATGATT they live, how long they've been riding, can get killed in an instant by that random woman talking on her cell phone not paying attention to her surroundings. Gone. In an instant. Just like that. I am reminded of what those mutual fund commercials say, "past performance is no guarantee of future results". Just because you have managed to stay alive and in one piece over 30 years of riding means nothing today as you suit up today and head out. If that guy, "Mayhem", from those All-State commercials crosses your path, then I hope your family as you signed up with the "good hands people" smirk

This is how I see what we do. When people ask me about motorcycling, I always discourage them from partaking in the activity. If they insist upon doing so, then I encourage them to get educated, take safety courses, and wear ATGATT. But I never encourage anyone to engage in this activity, it is only for those of us who are addicted to this highly, extremely, critically dangerous activity. Road debris, animals (insects, deer, birds, cats & dogs), distracted drivers, impaired drivers, fleeing drivers, motorcycle malfunctions, medical issues, air born projectiles, falling objects (tree branches for instance) -- all these things can befall a rider in an instant and terminate that person's life.

How can we quantify just how dangerous this sport really is? Does anyone have any suggestions as to how we can objectively see where we stand on the ladder of risky behavior? Is motorcycling even more dangerous than I think it is, or is it in reality, when the data is examined, more safe than even driving a Smart car?

And what about air pollution? Is there any evidence that riding in an environment like Los Angeles or New York City leads to respiratory ailments over time?

Is it possible for us to quantify the risks we take as motorcycle riders?
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beemerman2k
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#750889 - 01/02/12 08:46 PM Re: How dangerous is motorcycling? [Re: beemerman2k]
tallman Offline
Picture Perfect Humorist
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Registered: 12/21/02
Posts: 17751
Loc: Tallahassee, Florida
James.
I'm sure I'll have more later...
smirk
but, IMO, comparing the risk of ridin,g where the actions of another
(outside our control) can significantly alter the outcome, to the risk of smoking/drinking/using drugs/sniffing glue/etc, where we control the activity, is pointless.
Two different rubrics.

All risk, by definition, is risky.
rofl
Not all risk is comparable wrt immediate consequences.

Don't smoke around your pets.
Seriously puts them at risk.

Riding a mc may be comparable to driving a car, using certain statistics/per mile/per registered operator etc.
The risk of smoking 3 cigars a year can't be compared to riding 25,000 miles/year.
Now smoking 25,000 cigarettes and riding 3 miles/day might be different.
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#750894 - 01/02/12 08:56 PM Re: How dangerous is motorcycling? [Re: tallman]
beemerman2k Online
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Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 6918
Loc: Ellington, CT
You might be right.

But what if we could take 1000 16 year old kids who have decided to take up motorcycling. Each of them rides, say, 6000 miles/year.

Our other group consists of 1000 16 year old kids who decide to take up (pick one) smoking, drinking, drugs, bungee jumping, suit and tie office job, NYC public school teacher, enlisted military, or whatever.

Which group will likely see most of it's members reach 60 years of age (or whatever age you care to use)?

Which group will lose the most members to their particular activity of choice before they reach 60?

This is just a suggestion of one measure of risk. Any others?


Edited by beemerman2k (01/02/12 08:56 PM)
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#750898 - 01/02/12 08:59 PM Re: How dangerous is motorcycling? [Re: beemerman2k]
beemerman2k Online
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Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 6918
Loc: Ellington, CT
Oh, and Keith Richards doesn't count.

Nor can we use Evil Knievel.

Some people just flaunt the statistics smirk
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#750899 - 01/02/12 09:01 PM Re: How dangerous is motorcycling? [Re: beemerman2k]
KDeline Online
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Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 3392
Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
- Motorcycling is far more dangerous an activity than smoking, drinking, drug usage




No it's not. Crashing is. It's an odds game. The others take life away from you a little at a time, all the time, until no more life is left. The only thing maybe is the recent research that says one glass of wine a day is actually good for you.

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#750905 - 01/02/12 09:15 PM Re: How dangerous is motorcycling? [Re: KDeline]
beemerman2k Online
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Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 6918
Loc: Ellington, CT
Originally Posted By: KDeline
No it's not. Crashing is. It's an odds game.


All this stuff is an "odds game". There are many people who have lived long lives smoking, drinking, doing drugs (Keith Richards smirk), and riding motorcycles. Some who begin, however, don't make it to the end (60 years old in this case). They die as a direct result of their activity.

Which segment of the population loses the most before 60? That's the question.
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#750910 - 01/02/12 09:42 PM Re: How dangerous is motorcycling? [Re: beemerman2k]
KDeline Online
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Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 3392
Originally Posted By: beemerman2k

All this stuff is an "odds game".


Again no. Smoking and drugs, each and every time destroy you little by little. That is not odds, that is a given. You can ride a motorcycle for 40 years and that will not rob you of your health as someone who has smoked for 40 years. Put me beside any one of you that has smoked for most of your life and I garrentee I am healthier.

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#750914 - 01/02/12 10:02 PM Re: How dangerous is motorcycling? [Re: beemerman2k]
RussL Offline
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Registered: 08/13/02
Posts: 449
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I'm sure an actuarial somewhere has quantified the risk of motorcycle riding, but who really cares what the exact risk factor is other than insurance companies? I doubt it will change anyone's decision about riding. Is riding dangerous...yes. Does it matter to me whether it is more dangerous than smoking or any other chosen activity...no. Should motorcycle riders judge others..no, but what are you going to do.

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#750916 - 01/02/12 10:08 PM Re: How dangerous is motorcycling? [Re: KDeline]
beemerman2k Online
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Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 6918
Loc: Ellington, CT
Does the non-smoking motorcyclist who rides in Los Angeles on a daily basis have equally healthy lungs as you do as well?

The non-smoking person often does contract cancers of various forms anyhow. Even the person who rides a motorcycle has to be wary of cancer. Tobacco might "kill" a person little by little, but maybe a diet free of processed foods are reviving that same person little by little?

Our society has yet to shine the big giant scrutinizing light on processed foods, and how those are killing people as well. We don't like to talk about that because too much of our economy is tied up in it. Plus, 7 billion people can't all eat natural, organically grown food. Yet we have Big Mac munching, Coca Cola drinking, blubber bellied people wagging their fingers at smokers. Right. smirk

How come no one ever says, "Processed food and High Fructose Corn Syrup killed my loved one"? Yet, I'll bet food kills more people in this country than tobacco when measured by health conditions associated with being overweight such as cardiovascular, cancers, and/or conditions such as diabetes.

But none of this is the question. The question is not "who is healthier", the question is "who is alive"?
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#750917 - 01/02/12 10:11 PM Re: How dangerous is motorcycling? [Re: RussL]
beemerman2k Online
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Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 6918
Loc: Ellington, CT
Originally Posted By: RussL
Should motorcycle riders judge others..no, but what are you going to do.


This is exactly, 100%, entirely my point! If you read my opening post on this thread, this is precisely why I raised this question: I see motorcyclists judging others for their risky behavior all the time on this forum. So I am seeking to set the record straight on just how much, or how little, our activity of choice truly is to determine if we are in any sort of position to judge another.
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beemerman2k
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