How safe is motorcycling?
You have probably heard from various sources that motorcycling is an extremely dangerous sport. Just how dangerous is i t ? S o m e w i l l argue that driving a car is dangerous; riding a bicycle is dangerous; walking down the street can be dangerous and so on.
Danger, simply put, is one’s exposure to harm or injury. So if we ride a motorcycle, we are risking injury or harm to ourselves. The key then to safe riding is minimizing this risk.
It is a fact that riding a motorcycle is more risky than driving a car. On a motorcycle we are exposed not only to the elements but also to everything else around us. The vehicle we are riding has absolutely no protection in a collision. In a car we are surrounded by a metal frame, protected by air bags and seat belts and except for some high speed collisions, we generally remain on four wheels following an accident.
Visibility is another risk we must consider. A motorcycle is at best half the size of a car and in heavy traffic can often be obscured by larger vehicles. The most common excuse heard after a motorist collides with a motorcyclist is, “ I did not see him.”
Riding on two wheels rather than four introduces a whole host of other risks such as weather, road conditions, wild animals and darkness to name a few. Any one of these can cause a collision or loss of control resulting in a spill. So I think we can all agree that danger does lurk around every corner when we ride one of these two-wheeled machines. Our job, as responsible riders, is to minimize these risks. To do that we must always be aware of our surroundings and we must always be in complete control of our motorcycles.
Motorcycling is not without risk; however, it is an exciting and enjoyable pastime when safety is uppermost in our minds. How we keep risk to a minimum will be discussed in future columns.