“I’m a stockbroker”
“Oh, so you’re a stockbroker? I heard this story about a guy named Bernie Madoff…he went to jail for fraud”
“I’m a baseball player”
“Did you hear the story about Pete Rose? I hear he was banned from Baseball for life.”
No one does the above at any type of cocktail party. I mean NO ONE. Your Friday night invites would dry up pretty fast if you did that. Why then do people think it’s ok and acceptable to tell tales of things gone wrong to motorcycle riders?
Yes, I get it. Your brother’s second cousin’s uncle in law once had to lay his Harley down to avoid the crash(ha!). Sorry to hear that. I hope he’s doing well, and was wearing gear at the time.
Yes, I get you mean well by trying to tell me the “risks,” as if I didn’t know them, far far better than you do.
Me? I’ve fallen off twice so far. Still, I ride. The second time I didn’t fall, I was pushed. Thanks to the jackwagon in Austin who just couldn’t miss his onramp and had to move me out of the way. Still, I ride.
I lost my Uncle George who was hit by a to a drunk driver a few years back whole on his Road King. Still, I ride.
I’ve visited friends in the hospital when they’ve had a get-off. (I hope you read this Stuart, and are feeling better.) Still, I ride.
The best I can do while riding a motorcycle is try to be as safe as I can, while enjoying fast bikes as intended. Want a good counter-punch to Chuck from accounting who wants to lecture you about your oh so dangerous motorcycling ways?
1. Get Training
Most folks take a driver’s ed class in high school, and that’s the extent of their training behind the wheel. They can drive from 16 to 86 without any other education. None. Yet we as an American society somehow find this acceptable. I bet you $1 that driving would change vastly if people were required to take at least one continuing education driving class every so often. Even one weekend at something like Skip Barber’s Driving School would forever change a person’s outlook and capabilities while behind the wheel.
As motorcyclists, we don’t get the luxury of being wrong. Being wrong doesnt mean fixing a bumper. Being wrong means going sliding down the road on our arse. Therefore, we have to be far better than your average car driver. Serious motorcycles take further learning classes, or instruction after passing their license exam. We have a wealth of riches when it comes to classes and resources, such as RideSmart Trackday School.
2. Wear Gear
Many motorcyclists wear the absolute minimum when it comes to gear. What do you think of people that do the absolute minimum? Gear up, and you’ll be much less likely to be injured. I recently wrote an article for HD Forums regarding the results of Michigan repealing the helmet law. The results are not good. Wear proper gear and you’re much less likely to be someones brother’s second cousin in law that had to lay his bike down and got really hurt. A kevlar bandana only does so much.
Also, I’ll just leave this here:
3. Be a Good Example
Yes you CAN pop a sick wheelie on you new sweet Gixxer brah. Is it wise to be doing that a lot on public roads, and in traffic? Not so much. I’m not telling you how to ride, but I can say that way too many bad actors give the rest of us a bad name. You can ride balls out or you can ride for a long time. The odds are better if you play it smart.
People often ask me “you’re not one of those guys that weaves in and out of cars are you?” I say no, I ride like an adult, and do lane split in slowed traffic wisely. I ride quick on the roads, but not overly so. And I sometimes take the bike to the track, where I learn the bike and push the limits a lot further than on the road. I’m not a saint, but I try to play it smart. I hope you do too. I really dont wanna hear about your story at a cocktail party.