Riding a bike is as dangerous as fighting a war

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by chasssmash, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. chasssmash

    chasssmash Banned

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    A new book on risk (cannot remember the name of the top of my head)by well respected risk analysts pointed out that statistically spending a day riding a motorcycle (400 miles)is a little more dangerous then spending a day fighting in Afghanistan.

    Obviously we all have different risk profiles but that was quote sobering to me at least having 2 small kids.

    I ride daily but would still describe my skills as only average. I have had my share of close calls but I thought it was just my personal experience.

    I won't stop riding but it is a scary idea for sure.
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  2. chasssmash

    chasssmash Banned

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    Btw the book is called the Norm Chronicles and it estimated the risk of a days riding at around 60 micronorts compared to a day fighting in Afganistan at 45 micronorts. This basically means you have 60 chances in a million of dying on a bike a day and 45 chances in a million of dying in a day in Afghanistan.
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  3. Paebr332

    Paebr332 Good news everyone!

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    Alcohol plays a BIG role in the statistic of motorcycle injuries/fatalities. You can significantly reduce your risk by avoiding alcohol before riding. You can also wear good gear, not ride above your skill level, etc.

    Soldiers in A-stan don't have any easy way to dramatically reduce their risks.
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  4. Handy

    Handy Sunburnt

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    I broke my foot on my MC last summer and the VA doctor who did surgery said they have more amputees from MC accidents than from combat.:eek1
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  5. No False Enthusiasm

    No False Enthusiasm a quiet adventurer

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    Seems like I remember a stat from the First Gulf War...

    The 82nd troopers were safer in the combat zone than in garrison.

    More troopers died in alcohol related motor vehicle accidents than in combat related activities.

    NFE
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  6. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    Way to mow down the masses. I do not believe that all riders can be lumped together.

    Riding while impaired, excessive speed, tired, angry and not knowing how to control the bike accounts for fully 90% of "accidents" while riding.

    Don't be "That guy" and your 60 micronorts are now only 6. :deal
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  7. feathered

    feathered Been here awhile

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    Like others have said there are ways to reduce your risk, and moreso on the bike than in the Army. And there must (for example) certainly be a big difference in danger and death rates for someone who stays on base vs someone who has to do foot patrols.

    Can you tell us more about the book? I assume it's using aggregate statistics along the lines of (registered MC's)/(MC fatalities) vs (deployed in Afghanistan)/(KIA in Afghanistan).
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  8. daveinva

    daveinva Been here awhile

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  9. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    If that scares you, maybe you should stay at home. No.....wait......
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  10. Ceri JC

    Ceri JC UK GSer

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    For that to be meaningful, you need to know how many total hours of motorcycling were carried out, compared to total hours of active combat. You also need to consider Paebr's point that some squaddie in combat is already almost certainly wearing the armour/boots they can. A lot of motorcyclists who have serious foot/lower leg injuries (which incidentally, are the most common injury in most forms of motorcycling) would have been better off had they been wearing proper/better boots.

    Daveinva: If you really want to mess with them, you can point out that not letting the kids out of their neighbourhood, for fear of them being abducted by some child molester is statistically-speaking, practically handing them over to a paedophile. The overwhelming majority of cases involve a family member or someone who lives within the next few houses.

    It's one of the weird things about risk, even when presented with concrete evidence to the contrary, otherwise rationale people have an extremely hard time debasing their "gut instinct" enough to do what is statistically safest.
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  11. ErockPDX

    ErockPDX Adventurer

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    Hmmmmm. I just took a flip through the book. A couple of things....

    First, IMHO, this is a) questionable anthropology and b) mediocre science. There's a way to approach these types of questions with respect to populations (actuarialists attempt this all the time), but this doesn't seem to be the way. That, or the presentation is just poor. Any actuarial scientists feel like commenting? I'd love to hear the input. This book just seems to be a sensational look at numbers with little consideration of the actual variables that make the populations and their environments unique.

    Also, I'm a deputy medical examiner. Just out of curiosity I did a little casual case review of motorcycle deaths in the county and a neighboring county in the last few years. The bottom line is, don't drink and ride. Just don't. There is an interesting series of studies by University of Notre Dame that is paraphrased here:
    HTML:
    http://oade.nd.edu/educate-yourself-alcohol/your-body-and-alcohol/
    that has some good information about absorption rates and muscular response to ethanol. Fast-forwarding to the nudity, your eyes, hands and ears begin to go first, quite early, which affects your hearing and equilibrium just a little bit early on. Sketchy.
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  12. fastdadio

    fastdadio Still gettin faster

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    Has the author of said book engaged in either or both actvities, Or has he simply re-hashed data read from other sources? I am very skeptical of authors and self professed 'experts'. There are simply too many variables in war to make this comparison vaible.
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  13. chasssmash

    chasssmash Banned

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    I guess he looks at death rates for both activities and does a pretty simple comparison.

    To be honest I think that the stats make sense. I used to be a volunteer fireman and I came across several motorcyclists who had fatal crashes. I really didn't see that many dead by other means. It was the predominant mode of death around my area. No idea how many were drunk
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  14. DoWorkSon

    DoWorkSon Been here awhile

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    Way too many factors to say how truly dangerous riding a motorcycle is.

    You have to take into account:

    - use of alcohol/drugs. Riding requires hand/eye coordination and quick reflexes. Both things alcohol diminishes

    - use of riding gear/safety equipment. A guy on a Harley wearing a plastic helmet that looks cool, vs a rider in full riding gear.

    - level of riding ability.

    -type of riding. Very aggressive fast riding seems a whole lot more dangerous than cruising and riding defensively
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  15. bradluke0

    bradluke0 Been here awhile

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    Hi all ! Your chances of having an accident is 5 or 6 times greater after just 1 drink . It is also amazing that the frequency of single vehicle accidents are so great . Those two facts spell it out....don't drink and ride and don't ride over your head .
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  16. sphyrnidus

    sphyrnidus born to ride

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    The statistics on motorcycle related accidents vary much depending on the age of the rider. In de MAIDS report on European two wheelers, which also includes mopeds, tells us that a majority of accidents happen below the age of 24. Between 24-55 the fatality rate is rather similar to car accidents and after the age of 55 the risk is somewhat bigger again.
    Now the age of people in combat tends also to be the younger age group. The fatality rate for adults on motorcycles is not that bad.
    In the Netherlands they have several types of training. Some are to make you a better rider, some focus on risk recognition. The people who did the latter die less often, the people who did the advanced motorcycle training actually got into more accidents because they dared more and were more focused on the riding than on the dangers.
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  17. Bluebone

    Bluebone half band

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    was the comparison to 'war' just to be overly dramatic? how many people ride 400 miles in a day? not many and certainly not EVERY day. how does it compare to say, swimming or hang gliding or perhaps or the workplace. the whole statement is pointless. it's up to the individual to determine what his/her level of accepted risk is.
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  18. Paebr332

    Paebr332 Good news everyone!

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    The term is Neglect of Probability.

    Humans are really, really bad at properly accounting for either highly likely or highly unlikely probabilities. Even though over 30,000 Americans will die in automobile crashes this year almost no one gives it the slightest thought when they get in/on their vehicle. On the flip side, people freak out about boarding a plane or fear lightning strikes or murder at the hands of strangers, all of which are statistically extremely unlikely to ever occur to you.

    The use of the micromort metric should clue everyone into the fact that while statistically motorcycle riding is comparable to being a soldier in Afghanistan the odds of death actually are very low for both. Poor diet and lack of exercise is much more likely to kill either one. :wink:
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  19. GoUglyEarly

    GoUglyEarly Boots Still Clean

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    Statistically, I must already be dead.
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  20. ArmyJoe

    ArmyJoe Long timer

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    Eye pro and reflective belts. :D
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