Sunday, May 18, 2008

Why People Ride Motorcycles

scooter crash accidentTo answer the question of why people ride motorcycles, you really have to ask why you shouldn't ride one.

Dale writes today about a subject that I tried to address before...

There's a old biker saying, to the effect that, "If you ever throw a leg over your bike, and you aren't just a little bit afraid, it's time to hang it up." That's good advice, really, because if you are riding on the street, and don't still feel the incentive to ride as if you were invisible to everyone else on the street, you'll get overconfident, and bad things will inevitably happen.

But, the opposite is also true. When you throw a leg over, and your first thought is, "I hope I get out of this alive," then you should probably stop riding, too.
I tend to agree with the last sentence.

In other words, if you're very concerned for your safety, then you shouldn't ride a motorcycle. It's inherently dangerous, and despite how skilled or cautious a rider you are, most such crashes are the fault of drivers who didn't see you.

If you can accept that, then you can free up your conscience, think more clearly, and enjoy the ride.

Perhaps you thought about buying a small motorcycle, or scooter, to save money on fuel, or because you have this altruism to reduce your carbon foot print. Well, you had better fully register this thought before skipping gleefully to your nearest scooter dealer to jump on the bandwagon.

You may end up reducing your carbon footprint to zero.


  1. Excellent post.

    Some of my brothers in BVH have asked me if I had the heebie-jeebies about getting back on my bike for the first time after crashing. Some were surprised when I said I had no second thoughts or butterflys in my stomach at all, others weren't a bit surprised.

    What does happen is a sort of quick "panic pain" in the pit of my gut when I see cars poking out at me from parking lots and side streets. I find myself waving oncoming cars wanting to make left turns instead of using my right of way. Not always, but more than I ever would have before.

    Crashing did change my riding style a little, there's no doubt. But to hang up my helmet? Hell no. I'd rather have had a short life I loved and lived my way, than a long one spent worrying about what might kill me. Why do I ride a motorcycle? I just love doing it, and I hate the idea of not doing it. Assholes in cages be damned - I'll take the risk.

  2. My first vehicle was a motorcycle and I'm 55. I've ridden most of my life. I always drove carefully and wore protective gear because my motorcycle-racing uncle promised he'd kick my ass if I didn't.

    About seven years ago I quit riding and sold my bikes because I lived in a big city around a bunch of old-timers who tried to run me over every time I went for a ride. It got to be no fun at all.

    A few years ago I moved to a small town out in the country where little-used back roads begin about a block from my house. So I bought a new motorcycle a few months ago.

    I don't know how I ever lived without a bike. But I also believe that unless you are going to ride as if every intersecting street was going to hurl cars at you, you have no business riding.

    After riding many thousands of miles and more than 30 years I know for a fact that almost all motorcycle accidents are at least partly the fault of the motorcyclist.

    "It wasn't my fault" is almost always followed with a description of carelessness on the part of the motorcyclist.

    The way Joker rides now is the way he should have ridden in the first place.

    I was lucky. I was run off the road by a teenager in a Dodge Challenger and dumped my bike the first week I rode. I had the right of way, so "it wasn't my fault." I never trusted a car again.

    Here's some advice: practice starting, stopping and turning on gravel. And approach every unfamiliar turn as if it's covered with gravel.

    Or just keep speeding, eyes forward all the time and you can tell me how it "wasn't your fault" after you wreck. That is, if you can still talk.

  3. AEJOTZ, well aren't you a little ray of sunshine?

  4. I ride year round, rain, cold weather but no ice, I put 40k on a new sportster my first bike back in 2008, in 2012 I traded it in on a 2006 fatboy, I always ride with the idea that I could get into an accident, but I don't dwell on it. Im also a tractor trailer driver to, my eyes are always moving mirror to mirror, head always moving side to side, and always making eye contact with other drivers. I started riding when I was 38 years old, im 43 now an have almost 80k of safe riding history. The way I see some drivers of cars, they don't pay attention, I make sure they see me, then im more at ease.I keep myself close to them (but not to close) and changing my vision and line of sight from far to near, and have a plan out in case if something happens. Most of my close call and I had a few was when I was traveling at lower speeds 15-20 mph. Knock on wood they all worked out, at times I feel like I have a highten awarness. But I try not to take that so lightly.


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)