Are motorcycles worth the risk?


I can honestly say YES, but only if the following things apply to you. Not all have to apply to you, but if some or most of them do, then it might be worth it. The important thing is that you love riding.

Overview

Not all these reasons have to apply to you; even if just one of them applies to you it should be enough reason to ride a motorcycle. A lot of people say motorcycles are unsafe, and that is true. But how risky are they really if we compare them to over types of vehicles?

We will look into the following:

  • Safety comparison
  • Reasons to ride a motorcycle

Safety comparison

Even though the rate for motorcycles is much higher than light trucks or passenger vehicles, a motorcyclist has an average 0.0000002585% chance of dying on the road for each mile travelled in 2016.

Below is a table representing fatalities.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

As you can see in the above table, the stats don’t look good for motorcyclists. But you have to remember that although some people ride reckless (not most of them, and certainly not all of them), they are much better off on a bike than in a car.

Why do I say that? Because the chances of a reckless motorcycle rider hurting other people are much less than a reckless driver in a car. On a motorcycle, you are most likely only endangering yourself.

Now I don’t encourage reckless riding or say that it is alright to ride reckless, but I would rather have a reckless road user on a bike than in a ton or two of steel.

I feel like I am creating a bit of a misconception. Not all motorcycle accidents are caused by the riders own doing.

Below: Motorcyclists in Australia were asked who they believed had been responsible for the crash. Forty-four per cent (44%) who
had crashed on-road felt that they were not at all responsible for the crash.

One in four (25%) reported that they had been partially responsible for the crash, and 23% said they were totally responsible for the crash.

Source: https://www.spokes.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/196008/MOTORCYCLE-CLIENT-ON-ROAD-FINAL-REPORT-09102015.pdf

Read about my motorcycle crash in another post: What’s it like to crash a motorcycle – Personal experience.

Reasons to ride a motorcycle

Your love for motorcycles

Your love for motorcycles should be the main reason for riding motorcycles. If you haven’t ridden a motorcycle before you may develop a passion for motorcycles very quickly after riding for other purposes.

Explaining the word love on its own is difficult, and so is explaining my love for motorcycles. But here it goes. Riding motorcycles make me feel good about myself.

It makes me feel powerfull the moment I swing my leg over the seat. It makes me feel noticed. It makes me feel part of a community even though I don’t know that many people.

Riding a motorcycle is fun, enjoyable, exhilarating and relieves most of my stress.

I like going around tight corners, accelerating at an unmatched pace, hearing the sound of the engine or slowly creeping up to a parking space near pedestrians that all turn around to look at my machine.

I like blipping the throttle under a bridge or inside a tunnel. I love working on my bike. I love cleaning it and taking a few steps back to appreciate how it looks for a moment or ten.

I love everything about motorcycles.

A family of your own

To me, this is the deal-breaker. I would choose family over motorcycles for sure. When I say family, I mean a spouse and kids. I wouldn’t wish anyone to lose their partner or parent in a motorcycle accident or any accident for that matter.

It always amazes me how the toughest guys get so concerned over safety when they get married or have their first child. I know how it feels getting scared because you have a loved one that depends on you.

It’s not that you are too chicken or like following the rules by the book or like doing boring riding activities.

You could join a different group of riders, or convert to a different style of motorcycle that might be safer. But often it helps to tell your friends what is really on your mind and how you feel about the risks.

Often they will understand and even support you on this. They might even think this through on their own and also commit to safer riding practices.

You don’t need to give up riding motorcycles altogether; there are many proven ways to make riding safer for yourself.

Your purpose in life

Regardless of whether you believe in a life purpose or not, you may feel you have no purpose.

Motorcycles have been a tool for many in creating their own purpose in life; whether it is making children smile, or scaring the crap out of a driver that has been carelessly talking on their phone.

You might even join a club that rides for something specific like cancer awareness, child abuse awareness or something you really feel passionate about.

Struggling with addiction

This is not necessarily alcohol or drug addiction, it could be cigarettes or an eating disorder or even computer games. Whatever the case may be, motorcycles have been a tremendous help in fighting addiction in many peoples lives.

Whenever you have that intense urge or craving you can get on your bike and take a long ride or even take a trip to someplace you want to see. Is it worth the risk? Yes definitely.

Below: a video from Forty Times Around (Tim Collins)

Meeting new people

If you want to meet new people, the motorcycle community is absolutely worth a shot. There are all kinds of people who ride motorcycles and most often motorcycles is the subject when you meet another rider.

You instantly have something in common and feel connected automatically. I have met so many people over the years just because I ride a motorcycle, and a lot of them became good friends of mine (and they are also people who willing to stand up for me).

Most people in this community feel like they have a tight relationship with at least a few other riders, even if they prefer riding on their own. 

There are many sub-communities like the sportbike community, cruiser community, motocross community, adventure bike community, and many others.

And even within those communities, there are sub-communities, so chances are that you won’t end up feeling left out or like there isn’t a place for you.

Anxiety issues

Riding a motorcycle is a mindful activity, which rarely allows your mind to drift away from the present moment. Your heart rate increases and you basically use up all of those hormones that result in anxiety.

Riding a motorcycle also gives you confidence, not only when riding but in everyday events. People also often complement a rider on his or her bike, which is a huge booster to confidence.

There is also the full-face helmet that puts a rider in kind of an avatar feeling, like in computer games. I haven’t seen any research on this topic but I would be very interested to know what this does for motorcycle riders with anxiety issues.

I can imagine that it contributes to dealing with anxiety in a positive way.

Don’t make much money

This is something that has always been great about riding. It’s a cheap way of getting around, and you don’t need to buy the best or most expensive bike to have a decent amount of power.

Some bikes are more expensive than others but they are a nice-to-have. If you are single and don’t need to drive the kids around to school and sports events, you can get along just fine with only a bike in the garage.

For the price of the newest VW Jetta model…

You could buy a brand new H-D Sport Glide, which is a really expensive bike. You can go for much cheaper and still get a very decent bike.

Conclusion

Is riding a motorcycle worth the risk? To me, yes, but you should try to make a list of your own and choose one of the reasons as the deal-breaker (the thing that will ultimately have the most influence in the choice you make).

When you know what the deal-breaker is, try to think or guess how long it will be before your situation changes.

If you don’t have much time left, you might be missing something in your life that you can never do again, unless you take the risk anyway. Why not start looking for a cruiser or a sportbike?

Final words

I don’t know if this article really helps but maybe it’s something to think about or rethink seeing as we change so much in a few short years.

Featured image by demonios_s1000rr on Instagram.

I always try to keep my articles interesting and informative. And I’m always thankful when they are shared on social media platforms or Pinterest.

Two Motion

I don’t see myself as an expert in every topic of motorcycling but my articles usually relate to new experiences that are relevant at the time of writing.

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