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Old 12-05-2005, 04:39 PM   #1
Waco OP
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How do you feel about riding as a parent?

I've been riding on the street regularly since I was 16. Crash statistics never concerned me much because I do my best to ride responsibly and wear proper protective gear. Also, I figured the enjoyment I get is well worth the inherent risks of motorcycles. But nowadays, when I'm dodging merging Suburbans on the way to work, I sometimes imagine my small children asking their mother when Daddy is coming home and her trying to explain that he was in an accident and isn't coming home. I don't like that possibility and it makes the fun of riding seem really unimportant. I don't see myself ever selling my motorcycle, but I wonder if I should be driving a car more often and riding in traffic less often. I've been lucky in the two streetbike accidents I've had, but I've been in multi-car accidents through no fault of my own that could have been very bad on the Beemer. I don't want to be on a motorcycle next time an inattentive driver plows into me.
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Old 12-05-2005, 04:45 PM   #2
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Most of us dads know that a good dad asks himself those kinda questions. You will figure out what you should do, there is no right answer. Good luck.
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Old 12-05-2005, 06:15 PM   #3
rocker59
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I've been driving on the street regularly since I was 16. Crash statistics never concerned me much because I do my best to drive responsibly and wear a seatbelt. Also, I figured the enjoyment I get is well worth the inherent risks of automobiles.

But nowadays, when I'm dodging merging Suburbans on the way to work, I sometimes imagine my small children asking their mother when Daddy is coming home and her trying to explain that he was in an accident and isn't coming home. I don't like that possibility and it makes the fun of driving seem really unimportant.

I don't see myself ever selling my automobile, but I wonder if I should be driving a car less often and driving in traffic less often. I've been lucky in the two automobile accidents I've had, and I've been in multi-car accidents through no fault of my own that could have been very bad in the Beemer.

I don't want to be in a car next time an inattentive driver plows into me.


( About 45,000 people die in automobile accidents each year in the USA. You gonna give up your car, too ??? )
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Old 12-05-2005, 06:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocker59
I've been driving on the street regularly since I was 16. Crash statistics never concerned me much because I do my best to drive responsibly and wear a seatbelt. Also, I figured the enjoyment I get is well worth the inherent risks of automobiles.

But nowadays, when I'm dodging merging Suburbans on the way to work, I sometimes imagine my small children asking their mother when Daddy is coming home and her trying to explain that he was in an accident and isn't coming home. I don't like that possibility and it makes the fun of driving seem really unimportant.

I don't see myself ever selling my automobile, but I wonder if I should be driving a car less often and driving in traffic less often. I've been lucky in the two automobile accidents I've had, and I've been in multi-car accidents through no fault of my own that could have been very bad in the Beemer.

I don't want to be in a car next time an inattentive driver plows into me.


( About 45,000 people die in automobile accidents each year in the USA. You gonna give up your car, too ??? )
I could die in a lawnmower accident, but the odds are lower. I've walked away from totalled cars twice without a scratch, but I doubt I would have faired as well on the bike.
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Old 12-05-2005, 06:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waco Kid
I could die in a lawnmower accident, but the odds are lower. I've walked away from totalled cars twice without a scratch, but I doubt I would have faired as well on the bike.
If you throw out the deaths by drunken HD riders, and if you throw out single vehicle accidents by new/inexperienced motorcyclists riding above thier limits, I think you'll find that motorcycle fatality numbers are pretty low. ( being here in ADVrider, I'd imagine you're not a drunken HD riding novice or crotch rocket squid).

I'm not trying to be argumentative. Thinking of your family is a good thing. That's what life insurance is for. You encounter dozens of things that can kill you everyday. Motorcycles are just one of many...

A big life insurance is better than limiting your life !!!
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Old 12-05-2005, 07:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocker59
A big life insurance is better than limiting your life !!!
Dying is pretty bad considering those you leave behind must pick up the pieces of their shattered lives regardless of how you feel about checking out. Surviving as a brain-dead vegetable is another burden for them. Learning to rehab yourself after your spine is ruined or limbs severed is another rough road. Many of us have walked, limped, or been carted away from accidents and survived, but not all are that lucky.

And we all know that a fender-bender in a car can be much worse when the other vehicle is a bike. It's just not a forgiving activity, and unfortunately, a big part of the safety equation are distracted cagers.

When my daughter was born, I backed WAY OFF on the riding. Gave it up for a while. There's something primal that kicks in for some folks, I guess.

I have mixed feelings about the phrase "died doing what he/she loved" as applied to motorcyclists. It comforts us to say it, based on the thought of someone having a lovely day in the twisties or in a canyon, but I personally don't think that if I got stuffed into a guardrail that I"d have a serene smile on my face as I thought of the family I left behind in that last half-second as I realized I wasn't gonna get it back under control. I love my family. I want to be here with them and I don't want them to experience any pain on my account. And if it means I'm not going to be the one bragging about street heroics, so be it. I'm a good rider; my riding buddies know it--I've got nothing to prove anymore.

Waco, just listen to your gut. I think it's good that you're thinking about all the responsibilities that go with this passion that we share--it's another phase of riding maturity, not a wimping out or backing off, but a healthy assessment of skills and the risks out there. It doesn't mean you hang up the keys--maybe just adjust your riding, or simply do another gut-check before turning the key. That's how things ended up for me, especially since I now ride 2-up almost all the time when I'm not commuting. The responsibility thing kicked in really hard. I don't enjoy it any less, and from time to time I'll flog the bike pretty hard when I'm solo, but my days of riding 9/10th on the street are gone, and willingly so. It was an evolution, though. Wasn't an overnight thing.

There was a time in my life when riding my bike was the best thing in the world and I didn't care if I biffed. Now, responsibility to my family takes precedence, though I do have to restrain myself, and some days I get those heebie jeebies and don't ride just because I'm heeding some 6th sense. No amount of thrills I have out there is worth making them go through the pain of what I know other family members have.

It doesn't mean that some dumbass in a cage won't take me out tomorrow on my commute...or that I won't fixate on my GPS and rear-end a dump truck...or get t-boned in my Jeep.

This is in no way a slight to anyone out there in any way, nor is it meant to be disrespectful in ANY WAY to anyone who has lost a loved one to this passionate relationship we have with motorcycling. This is just a really personal thing and I thought Waco deserved to hear a heartfelt reply to a good question/observation.

Sorry for the long post.
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Old 12-05-2005, 07:57 PM   #7
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After my son was born 16 months ago, I came to the realization that the 150 mph morning runs on the CBR needed to come to an end as I had a responsibility as a father to be there for my son. So I sold it and got my 950 Adventure, toned my antics way down, and drive a lot more defensively. And now I can ride on the dirt again. Can't wait to get the PW50 with the training wheels in the backyard!
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Old 12-05-2005, 08:58 PM   #8
rocker59
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USA Motoryclist deaths in 2003 was 3,661.
http://www.talkaboutmotorcycles.com/...ges/75082.html

USA murders in 2003 was about 17,000.
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/03cius.htm

USA total road deaths in 2003 was about 43,000.
http://www.driveandstayalive.com/inf.../stats-usa.htm

USA deaths from lightning strikes was about 44.
http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/2003casualty.htm

USA deaths from cancer is over 500,000.
http://caonline.amcancersoc.org/cgi/content/full/53/1/5

USA deaths from heart attack is about 440,000.
http://www.aboutbreathing.com/articl...f-breath-3.htm

I could go on, but my point was that there are many things in life that can kill you.

An experienced motorcyclist dying in a crash is not at the top of the list.

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rocker59 screwed with this post 12-05-2005 at 09:03 PM
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Old 12-06-2005, 06:58 AM   #9
mistercindy
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Everything has risks and I've accepted this one. I've taken the reasonable steps: I always wear a full-faced helmet (not always ATGATT), I'm licensed (which wasn't the case in my youth), insured (certainly not the case in my youth), took the MSF beginner's course, keep my bike maintained and inspected, etc... I've never had a moving violation on my bike, and in my car I've only had one in the last dozen years (for crossing over a solid white line, of all things!).

I think my wife harbors quiet concerns that she keeps to herself, and for years she has refused to ride two up on the grounds that an accident could orphan our daughters. But recently she seems more open to it. In part that's because the kids are older, and in part she's seen that I ride quite a bit and always come home in one piece.

I guess I'm fatalistic about it all. When the good Lord says my time's up, then I'm goin' no matter what I do to prevent it.
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Old 12-06-2005, 07:23 AM   #10
Photog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaBass
After my son was born 16 months ago, I came to the realization that the 150 mph morning runs on the CBR needed to come to an end as I had a responsibility as a father to be there for my son. So I sold it and got my 950 Adventure, toned my antics way down, and drive a lot more defensively. And now I can ride on the dirt again. Can't wait to get the PW50 with the training wheels in the backyard!
That's pretty much what happened to me. Sold the CBR1000 and chilled out a bit.

It's cool when your dream bike becomes a PW50 for your kid.
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Old 12-06-2005, 07:30 AM   #11
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I don't know that I ever really sat down and consciously made the decision, but I gradually found myself reducing my street riding over the past couple years. The risk/reward equation shifted when I had a kid, and I have moved most of my riding to the dirt. Yeah, there is still risk, but I'd rather hit a tree at 15 mph in a hare scramble (with an EMT on standby) than a car at 35+.

I can't give up riding any more than I could give up food, but racing and trail riding satisfy my need in a more controlled environment.

But, that's just me.
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Old 12-06-2005, 10:46 AM   #12
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Your post is just a great way of showing that you're human. You are nuts if you don't at least consider the issue. My kids are young and infinitely huggable, and I consider this exact issue every time I walk out the door, whatever it is I'm going to do. In many cases, when I walk out the door, it's to Germany, or Singapore, or Australia, or the UK, and only a trillion things can go wrong. On the other hand, I bicycle a great deal, in traffic, where I've been hit three times by inattentive drivers, but I'm not giving it up. I've also had crashes on my bicycle, a couple of which were really impressive.

During my last career, my friends and I used to walk around a very large block during breaks; it's over by the mall. I was carrying my (then) new Garmin 45 to see how sensitive it could be, and it's the only reason I saw the pickup. We were on the sidewalk, a wide one, next to a five-land urban road, and this pickup came from behind, bumped right over the curb onto the sidewalk--would have mown us all down had I not yelled, "RUN!!" at the top of my lungs--and kept going down the road.

Given these considerations, motorcycling isn't all that dangerous.

As rocker59 posted, very few motorcycle deaths in 2003, relatively speaking. That means that a lot of motorcyclists lived to come home. As in every endeavor, I try to be safe. I'm not the nicest person, so I consider that anytime a person endangers my life, they're endangering the lives of my kids, and it keeps me on my toes. I'm a speed limit rider, and I've been driving cars long enough to know how traffic works. So have you; it helps.

Waco and Photog also make excellent points: my mother was killed in a single-car accident in a Mercedes 300. Nothing is safe.

I hope you keep on riding, personally, which may mean that you never find your answer. This may be the case where the answer is defeat because it lets you become complacent about life. The journey, IMO, is better because you're always thinking.
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Old 12-06-2005, 11:00 AM   #13
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comparing riding to other things that cause fatalities is not the right approach. You could use that argument to say that russian roulette is just another of lifes risk so why not play.


Saying that motorcycling is no more dangerous than driving, or is only insignificantly more dangerous is living in denial. if we included all the car accidents just this sub group of riders (advrider inmates) had in the face plant section, then compared # of accidents, # of injuries etc, you would see that riding, even in the non-squidly,geriatric goup we represent is more dangerous.

what is fair to say is that only YOU can determine your acceptable risk tolerances. only YOU can take steps to reduce and manage those risks. and if at the end of the day:
(the pleasure & benefit you get from motorcycling) > (the risk*guilt of getting killed or maimed in an accident)

then do it. or continue to take steps to reduce those risks.

and life is what you live, the rest is faded dreams.
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Old 12-06-2005, 12:06 PM   #14
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Only been riding about a year and a half, I made the promise to my wife and kids to always wear my helmet and a riding jacket/coat, I will keep that promise. I ride defensively, and don't take too many chances, for myself, wife and kids. The other thing I try to do is tell my kids I love them every day, it may not be much, but if anything ever happens hopefully they will remember that.
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Old 12-06-2005, 12:34 PM   #15
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Reducing risk, Maintaining a spirited pace

I hear ya and I can definitely relate. I got two young kids and the one of them has gotten particularly good at giving me that sad dog-face look when I start suiting up for a ride.. partially caused I'll be gone, partially cuz he knows the risk involved.

After 3-4 years of group riding with a couple of fast sport-touring groups, I've decided to regress back into my old riding style to reduce risk - spirited solo riding in the local super tight technical twisties (roads posted in the 25-30 mph range).

I'm in it purely for the corner carving and don't care much for high speeds. I can generate the same lateral Gs doing 45 around a 25 mph corner as I can doing 90 around a 50mph corner, however, the laws of physics mean that one half the speed equates to *one quarter* the: 1) braking distance, 2) sliding distance if you go down, and 3) impact force if you hit a solid object.

Yeah, there's a greater risk of going down in the tight technical stuff with more debris, driveways, blind corners and animals (I've hit 3 deer and a dog), but I'd rather go down twice at low speeds than once at high speeds. In my years of group riding, I've witnessed plenty of crashes and every one that happened at high speed resulted in an ambulance ride, broken bones and a totaled bike. Every one that happened at low speed resulted in shame to the rider but an ability to ride home.

A couple other advantages of the tight stuff is that cages hate them because their a PITA to drive on, you get to ride twice as many corners per mile, and the cops never bother patrolling them (and even if you get caught doing 80% over the limit, eg example above, it's still only 20mph over ).

Lastly, but this may be very unique to where I live, is that I can start hitting the tight twisties (and a huge web of them with many different routes), within 1 mile of my house. That means I can get a decent share of corner carving on short 1, 2 or 3 hour rides leaving me more time to spend with the young'ns. Getting to group rides and the faster paced roads (w/o traffic and cops) means at least a hour schlep on the slab, and only worthwhile if I spend the whole day riding.

Although I live in an SUV-infested suburbia as well, my real risk in the tight stuff is deer. If you're watching for the unpredictable suicidal deer, cages become a joke.

Despite the deer, this balance of risk, time and riding enjoyment is going to have to suffice for me for a while.
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