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. glasswave

    glasswave Been here awhile

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    Not so, failure to yield (on the part of an auto motorist, usually turning left in front of an oncoming moto) is right up there with excessive speed or riding beyond one's ability. These acciedents usually occur on high speed surface street's close to one's home.

    Most serious accidents fall into one of these two categories and are very close to an even split.

    Contributing factors are drunkenness and darkness. These are not really causes. Not knowing how to ride is a subjective and infinite scale that cannot easily be quantified, but at least one study shows that those who have had formal training are much less likely to have a serious accident.

    Yes, I'm sure it is to be overly dramatic. Most soldiers in Afghanistan see very little, if any actual combat. We have had 10's of thousands of soldiers in Afghanistan for more than 10 years, with less than 3500 killed.

    OTH, motorcycling is much more dangerous than most adventure sports, likely including the two you've mentioned. Oft repeated stats say you are 35 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident than in a a car accident (per mile ridden). Most "adventure sports" are much safer than driving a car, a commonly made comparison.

    Dakez is right though, in that there is much that can be done to lower the risk serious injury or death when motorcycling.

    #1. Always wear a helmet, gloves and sturdy footwear. Statistically, other gear does not seem to do much is terms of reducing serious injury or death. Abrasion injuries while often painful and scarring are seldom serious.

    #2. Never drink and ride and minimize your riding at night.

    #3. Learn good motorcycling control and accident avoidance skills and practice them frequently.

    #4. Ride conservatively, save excessive speed for the track.

    #5. Minimize riding on multi-lane high speed surface streets, especially during high traffic times. Motorbike commuters significantly increase their exposure to risk.

    Following these suggestions will significantly lower the hazard level of the sport.
    #21
  2. glasswave

    glasswave Been here awhile

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    I guess you don't consider Afghan civilians to be people.


    "The decade-long War in Afghanistan (2001–present) has caused the deaths of thousands of Afghan civilians directly from insurgent and foreign military action, as well as the deaths of possibly tens of thousands of Afghan civilians indirectly as a consequence of displacement, starvation, disease, exposure, lack of medical treatment, and crime resulting from the war."
    wikipedia

    :cry
    #22
  3. dolomoto

    dolomoto Destroyer of Motorcycles

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    Gold, pure gold.

    If you do these two things, odds are that you will not be in a moto mishap of your own doing...and much less likely to be in a mishap of another's doing. What gear you wear is irrelevant if you can avoid the mishap.
    #23
  4. Stan_R80/7

    Stan_R80/7 Beastly Gnarly

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    A term not talked about much, is defensive driving. Translated to motorcycling, that is anticipating bone headed maneuvers and possible interactions with other drivers that can result in a collision (or evasive action). Conservative riding is one description, but a more complete description, substituting 'riding for driving' is (from wikipedia):

    The standard Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations, ANSI/ASSE Z15.1, defines defensive driving as "driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others."<sup id="cite_ref-1" class="reference">[1]</sup> This definition is taken from the National Safety Council's Defensive Driving Course. It is a form of training for motor vehicle drivers that goes beyond mastery of the rules of the road and the basic mechanics of driving. Its aim is to reduce the risk of collision by anticipating dangerous situations, despite adverse conditions or the mistakes of others. This can be achieved through adherence to a variety of general rules, as well as the practice of specific driving techniques.
    #24
  5. dirty_t

    dirty_t Been here awhile

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    Liars, damn liars and statisticians... :norton

    I would imagine, statistically speaking of course, that reading web discussion forums (especially motorcyling ones) exposes you to a greater risk of finding out about how dangerous motorcycling is, than your risk of sustaining serious injury or death from riding your motorcycle.

    So.

    Quit reading, and go out and ride. :ricky
    #25
  6. ObiJohn

    ObiJohn Screaming Banshee

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    This reminds me of the folks who get bent out of shape over the risks of guns. If you don't do drugs, sell drugs, or hang around those who do or sell drugs, your chances of being killed as the result of a gunshot wound are lower than your chances of winning the lottery.

    Similarly, not riding at night, not riding in a reckless manner, ATTGATT, and not riding impaired will greatly reduce your odds of serious injury or death. We have the counterexample... when someone around a campfire says, "Hold my beer, and watch this!"

    No one says we have to be a statistic... we can choose.
    #26
  7. BCKRider

    BCKRider Been here awhile

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    After recently reading a book "The Last Gun" published in 2012 I think I have to quarrel with you first paragraph. A few memorable things stand out from my reading of this book from the library:
    1. For at least the last decade, the total number of gun deaths in the US has increased slightly almost every year, though the number of households that admit to owning one or more guns has decreased to something like 25%.
    2. The total number of automotive deaths (around 30,000 a year) shows a slight downward trend, though every year there are more vehicles on the road.
    3. In 10 states, your statistical odds of dying from a gunshot are almost as great as dying from a motor vehicle crash.
    4. The "big change" in gun sales the last couple decades (which if you are an older hunter/target shooter you likely missed as I did) is that gun manufacturers have seen the steady decline in younger people buying shotguns and deer rifles. No question; hunting license sales are down across both the US and Canada. (And we wonder why there are so many deer?) So the gun companies responded by selling the idea of "personal defense" with semi- auto (and large magazine) rifles and pistols modeled on military weapons.

    Apparently, they have been quite successful. And many of those guns, easily purchased in the US, also end up in Mexico and Canada.

    Please don't think me "anti-gun." I treasure my shotguns which I've used for both targets, pheasant and water fowl. I like my .22 rim fires for both targets and dispatching the occasional raccoon or bobcat that was killing domestic birds. I've also used both types of guns to introduce my grandchildren to target shooting and gun safety. And I wish I had been introduced to deer hunting at an earlier age - they are fine food.

    Read this book, no matter your present opinion on gun issues. I guarantee it will give you food for thought.

    Sorry if one guy's single paragraph hi-jacked this thread. I have thoughts on the other stuff as well, but will leave it for later.
    #27
  8. chasssmash

    chasssmash Banned

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    Mmmm...I think I prefer to live in the real world. Of all the dead people I have seen almost every single one killed accidentally has been killed in a motorcycle crash. Maybe it's just a coincidence .

    Like I said I ride every day and I won't stop doing that. But it is interesting and important to know the raw statistical risk involved in this pursuit.
    #28
  9. Jacl-Kampuchea

    Jacl-Kampuchea Booze Merchant

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    Is it?

    Why?

    I don't find it interesting nor important. Just a great big statistical mountain. And no stats presented in that book really apply to ME or YOU, just to the LCD's.
    #29
  10. Paebr332

    Paebr332 Good news everyone!

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    If you want to consider your risks in a statistically valid manner you cannot just use the overall motorcycle death rate. The reason is this statistical cohort consists of a number of distinct subgroups that have significantly different death rates. Those who ride after drinking are one such subset. Young riders on sport bikes are another.

    Assuming that YOUR death risk is the same as that of a rider who engages in known risky behaviour is a poor assumption. Unless, that is, you are a squid who rides without proper gear after drinking and at speeds well above your skill level. :wink:
    #30
  11. Navy Chief

    Navy Chief Long timer

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    ummmmm ya,

    I will take a 400 mile day in the saddle over having mortars and rockets fired into my compound every day anytime....

    Statistics don't show the whole picture, as has been said on a bike I can control the risk level to a certain degree through various means.

    There is nothing you can do about a RPG impacting next to you walking to the latrine... :deal
    #31
  12. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    I'd say the author is writing bullshit for monetary reasons. I was a scout pilot in Vietnam. I've been racing and riding motorcycles since my tour ended. There is no comparison. Not even statistically. I would guess that if you added up all the combat mission days from 1965 to the end Lam Son 719 in April 1971, the crew losses per day would be immeasurably higher than any type of motorcycle riding statistic you could invent. Actually, you could just take the flight crew losses from Lam Son 719 alone.

    LS719 was the South Vietnamese attack into Laos. Some twelve weeks worth of campaign. Helicopters from the 101st Airborne flew them in and then tried to get them out after being rebuffed by the NVA. The losses were staggering: 168 helicopters destroyed and over 600 more damaged...

    Why people who know nothing about war continually attempt to draw comparisons with everyday living is beyond me. I've never heard of a motorcyclist suffering from post traumatic stress disorder from riding. :D
    #32
  13. Paebr332

    Paebr332 Good news everyone!

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    Afghanistan is a VERY different war than Vietnam. Vastly different casualty and mortality rates. If we compared mortality rates from Vietnam with motorcycle riding they are orders of magnitude apart.

    Comparing war to other things is a valid measure as war is generally considered the riskiest endeavor people engage in. It is the only one where other thinking humans actively are bent on killing you. So finding mundane activites with war-like fatality rates gives us some idea of comparative risks.
    #33
  14. chasssmash

    chasssmash Banned

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    I definitely accept that these raw statistics do not tell the whole story and are definitely generalized.

    In a way it's like smoking.Statistically it shortens your life but you can ameliorate it by being in great shape for example.

    However I also don't think it makes sense just to say they are completely invalidated if you wear the proper gear or don't drink and ride.

    For example I never drink and ride but I do ride in the Winter on ice and snow just to get to work. So while I decrease one risk I increase another.

    Personally I like looking at statistics.The one that told me there is a 30 times greater chance of getting shot if you have a gun in your house influenced me to get rid of my guns. Despite the fact that I was careful with them I could clearly see that they posed a substantial risk to me and my kids, one way or another. Also the statistics on the dangers of swimming pools has changed the way I treat my pool. I almost had 2 kids drown in my pool over the years so for me at least the statistics had validity on their surface.

    Another example is that I just bought a convertible to do chores with.Things I did exclusively on my bike.My main justification for this expense was that it would reduce my risk going everywhere on the bike. Basically I did cost/benefit analysis and if made sense to reduce my risk. Everyone has a free choice but I think it's good to know the odds either way
    #34
  15. Navy Chief

    Navy Chief Long timer

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    One thing the statistics for all of these won't show is how the number of people who are Darwin Award candidates to begin with skew the numbers. I find it sad that people would be willing to remove things they enjoy in their lives based on statistics.

    Remember: There are lies, there are damn lies, and there are statistics.

    The numbers can be made to show almost anything, it does not mean they are accurate or correct.. :deal
    #35
  16. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Taking the time and having the interest to actually learn to ride is about the biggest safety feature there is on any bike.

    Some ride as a novelty and are shocked when they're run over in an intersection,a long time rider would have been scanning that intersection and proceeding when safe,and only when safe,not when the light turns green.

    Many really bad crashes are operator caused 100%,forgetting what your doing and running off the road or into a tree or car,hard to blame the bike but people do. Then there's the drunks on bikes and 0 experience thrill riders.

    Yeah its dangerous riding bikes,having concentration and not riding like a squid goes a long ways in avoiding drama,if your always doing panic stops and thanking the ABS for saving your ass again.............your doing something very wrong.

    Magazine guys are always going on about ABS saving their lives,if they werent riding like they were in a superbike race it wouldnt happen much at all.

    If a person looks at statistics a lot,it would seem any set of statistics can be found to prove almost anything,it depends on who is paid and how much for each set of stats.
    #36
  17. duck

    duck Banned

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    This is why I always stop after riding 399 miles.
    #37
  18. paulrn

    paulrn Been here awhile

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    My fellow healthcare workers give me hell about riding motorcycles. I will relate to you what I say to them.

    We generally see three different groups that come in from bike crashes. People that are drunk. 0.43 blood alcohol one time.
    40-50 year olds with some disposable income that think bikes are cool so they buy a harley and crash it.
    18-25 year olds that purchase an R1 as their first bike and crash it.
    I then ask them when they last saw a pt that did not fit into one of the groups I just listed. That ends the conversation and the ridicule.
    #38
  19. Paebr332

    Paebr332 Good news everyone!

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    Protip: You may want to investigate the term confirmation bias and then take a statistics course before you make any more life choices based on statistics you read in the general media.
    #39
  20. Paebr332

    Paebr332 Good news everyone!

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    Double tap
    #40