Has riding been ruined?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by adrianbrewster, Jan 22, 2018.

  1. adrianbrewster

    adrianbrewster Adventurer

    Apr 20, 2013
    This may not be the correct place to post this, but I was hoping y’all might be able to offer some insight on how you stay motivated to keep riding after people have consistently gotten worse and more distracted while driving.

    I got my first dirt bike when I was seven and have been riding ever since. After thirty-something bikes and thousand upon thousands of miles, I’ve loved motorcycles for as long as I can remember. My dad has been riding my whole life until just a couple years ago after we both were in gnarly accidents in the same year. His wound him up with a broken collarbone after he lowsided going out a turn with garbage in the road and mine was after someone turned into me cruising on a two lane highway. Bike was totaled and my helmet cracked badly in multiple places but certainly saves my life.

    I just started searching around for another bike after a move across the country and I’m struggling to find as much joy in something that was once so life giving. I literally have dreams about riding to this day. But with drivers getting so darn distracted by phones and new car tech, it almost seems like accidents are more and more inevitable.

    I’m curious if any of you have shared a similar sentiment and how you overcame the fear or concern that other drivers have stolen the fun of riding. If this post is in the wrong place, please feel free to move it or tell me and I will delete it.

    Tallbastid, Alexander B and Hi-De-Ho like this.
  2. 2manyrides

    2manyrides shifty charactor

    Aug 17, 2008
    Citrus Heights Ca.
    I share your sentiment. I have not found a way. I am more fearful than ever.

    My hours per year has severly diminished in the last few years but this is due to multiple "other" circumstances. So I continue to dream of riding, but find less chances to fulfill those dreams. I have seen my share of horrific incidents that weigh heavily in the back of my mind. And thus, slowing, taking less "chances" and extremely defensive driving are the only things I can control.
  3. BkerChuck

    BkerChuck Been here awhile

    Nov 7, 2012
    Having spent several years working part time for a dealership I saw more than a few mangled wrecks brought in for insurance quotes or repairs and lost a few customers I considered friends. I watched some of the luckier ones who walked away from accidents walk away from riding and go on to enjoy new different hobbies after they could no longer ride or felt the risk too great. Me, I've gone the other direction. Last year was my highest mileage year ever and I intend to break that this year. I've become more vigilant when riding. I'm now more of an ATGATT proponent. I tend to be more selective in the when and where I ride camp. I've been down 3 times in my 32 years of riding on the street. I'd say 2 of those 3 were completely my fault and avoidable. The deer strike in 2002 I don't know if anything I could have done would have changed that in any way.

    I don't know if I will ever quit riding. I've told my family that if that is how I go out please know I went doing what I loved. Riding may not add days to my life but it does add life to my days.
  4. TommyTuenz

    TommyTuenz n00b

    Sep 21, 2015
    Colorado Springs
    We often focus on things that seem to be the largest concern but what we need is some perspective. Thousands of people die every day from heart attacks, cancer, stroke, falling down the stairs, etc. Did those people have any say in how they died? Not likely. It's mostly genetics or blind luck or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Motorcycling is dangerous. Life is dangerous.

    As riders, though, at least we have some means to affect the outcome. We can wear gear. We can avoid being in blind spots. We can refuse to ride after having a beer. We can keep our skills up with training. All these things might not make any difference at all, but if you enjoy riding you do what you can to keep enjoying it until your number is called.

    For me, I wear an air bag vest, (ATGATT+ you might call it), have attended 2 trainings outside of the BRC, keep my eyes on the mirrors and my head in the game. I commute to work nearly every day, even in winter, so I am exposed to the worst the driving public can throw at me.

    But on my otherwise mundane ride to work, when I look over at my shadow being cast on the ground--the shadow of me on my bike--and in the same view is Pikes Peak and the other mountains in the Front Range, and I know I am part of that scene in a way that I can't be in a car, it reminds me what I enjoy about riding and why I take the risks.
    SocalRob, DKCJ, Bors and 14 others like this.
  5. Hewhowanderz

    Hewhowanderz Adventurer

    Feb 11, 2015
    I'm similar, but my take away is that you could go at anytime regardless from your own hand or someones lack of awareness.....
    I commute on my bike if weather permits, but would never go downtown DNVR on it.
    I hit a tar strip on a tight turn on my 1290r that saw a pucker moment, but realized that I was pushing limits. I do spend more time on dirt, but trees are just like cars, just they seem to get you no matter what... Be safe and ATGATT.
  6. mississippimadman

    mississippimadman Long timer

    Feb 21, 2014
    It's just another hazard to be aware of and to look out for but it hasn't diminished my will to ride
    sharps5090 and Ginger Beard like this.
  7. NorskieRider

    NorskieRider Been here awhile

    Mar 19, 2011
    Statistically, half (or more) of the accidents are still single-vehicle, i.e. ran off the road etc. That's not denying that more are distracted and causing dangers for us, but there's still a large risk to riding totally unrelated to the drivers around us.

    Personally, I avoid the riskiest situations and have curtailed my riding. Like BkerChuck, I'm more selective when/where I ride, and even how. I used to ride "because I can", but if the rewards are low, I take the car. For example, anything that involves metro traffic (no lanesplitting in MN) or commuting to work or running errands on flat straight boring roads or if the weather is inclement ... I take four wheels. It's much more convenient, safer, economically a wash.

    Most of my riding nowadays is for recreation in remote places; either a day in the driftless area or three weeks playing in the mountains. In both cases I have scaled back speed and lean angles. I've also started to get more offroad, where the speeds and traffic are much lower.
  8. AHRMA17L

    AHRMA17L Been here awhile

    Sep 29, 2006
    • I consider myself an off-road rider and have been since I was 10 years old—41 years. It is just within the last 15 years that I have ridden anything on the road, which have been converted off road bikes for dual sporting so I can hop on the slab to get gas. I have just in the last 2 years started what I would consider street riding (KLR650 for cross continental rides and I bought a Sportster for day rides).

      Would I commute to work on a motorcycle? Not on your life. Would I use it as daily transportation? No way, but the opposite from you, this new for me riding on the street is exhilarating. When I ride the KLR across the US, I purposely ride on roads where I don’t see anyone for miles. I avoid cities like the plague, and regard every vehicle out there as a threat with the intent of running me over.

    • Perhaps that is part of the rush but if anything, discovering pavement riding has just fueled my enthusiasm for riding. I do have to say it is all recreational—there is never an impending requirement to use a motorcycle to actually go somewhere and get something done.
    ikonoklass, Battmo and joe a like this.
  9. diegosaenz

    diegosaenz Been here awhile

    Jan 9, 2011
    The Flatwest, Chicago
    ATTGAT gives me half the peaece of mind I need, the other are my eyes. There will be dumb cagers everywhere but hopefully you'll react fast enough to dodge anyone if the time comes. Hopefully it doesn't.
  10. BMWBUD

    BMWBUD Should be old enough to be better.

    May 15, 2006
    Mid-Wurst Southern Illi-noise
    Not sure the age of the OP, but at 71 I'm paying more attention as I ride because my reflexes are not as good, my eyesight isn't as good and my tolerance for idiots seems to be waning. Having said all of that, I'm still planning a large western US/Canada loop this summer.

    What I do have is lots of experience. Some call it a 6th sense in anticipating the actions of others on the road. Slowing top speed down a little also gives me more time to react in situations.

    Still on 2 wheels. Had a sidecar rig but liked riding a bike more than driving the sidecar rig.

    Hoping that hip surgery, if necessary, will be scheduled soon enough to let me enjoy riding this summer.
    otto, Alexander B, michaeln and 7 others like this.
  11. sieg

    sieg Wearing out tires......2 at a time, day after day.

    Jul 9, 2008
    Southern Illinois USA
    All those bad drivers just help to keep this old rider's skills sharp.
    Ginger Beard, Hi-De-Ho and scottdc like this.
  12. retiredgentleman

    retiredgentleman Been here awhile

    Jul 3, 2011
    Calgary Alberta Canada
    No riding has not been ruined. Riding a motorcycle is still one of the great joys in life. We all have to ride defensively and assume that cars and trucks are going to do dumb things. Always assume that the car/truck is going to turn in front of you at intersections. Keep a safety buffer area around yourself, don't tail gate. Never drive in another vehicle's blind spot.
    FJ Fun, sector7g, DesertPilot and 5 others like this.
  13. vicster

    vicster Long timer

    Aug 22, 2007
    I don't know that it's been ruined, but for me the bloom is definitely off the rose. Last year marked my 50th year riding on the street, and I had more close calls last summer than I've had in the last 20 years combined.
    In one instance I had to take evasive maneuvers to avoid an oncoming driver who came over into my lane and continued on across it, only swerving back onto the road after hitting the wrong shoulder. Broad daylight, dry roads, light traffic, 35mph zone.
    In another an oncoming woman driver swerved, startled, back into her lane only after apparently looking up from her phone. Again, broad daylight, 35 zone.
    Had a woman run a stop sign at a Y who would have hit me had I not already observed she likely would not stop. Broad daylight, 25mph zone, and I'd been laying on the horn because I thought she would do what she did.
    Twice after stopping at an intersection I had to accelerate rapidly to avoid an at least low speed rear ending accident.
    Etc,, etc. In all the above instances I was paying max attention, going the speed limit or less and was pleased with my successful reactions to the situations.
    As cars get more and more crashworthy it will only get worse, it's just the way our species is wired.
    Even when my well being is not being threatened, I've noticed the increase in bad drivers and traffic lessens my enjoyment considerably . I'm on a bike, but I'm not really on a bike ride, if that makes sense.
    I'm a 3rd generation rider with a serious addiction, but I shocked my family last year when I told them I can see hanging it up in a year or two.
  14. usgser

    usgser Long timer

    Nov 6, 2005
    Westside WA
    I started legally riding in the 60's and yeah the danger factor has increased with the increase in population, traffic, and distractions but still love it. I know my reflexes aren't what they used to be and nowadays my body breaks rather than bounces so I DO have to keep my head in the game more but it's still great fun. I also avoid large traffic intense cities even in my truck. Just had my eyes fixed (cataracts) and plan to keep riding till my old body doesn't allow it or riding creates more paranoia than joy. Essentially keep going till it ain't fun no mo. Only "you" can decide when it's time to quit.
    sharps5090, FJ Fun, 2thdrinOR and 2 others like this.
  15. adrianbrewster

    adrianbrewster Adventurer

    Apr 20, 2013
    I really appreciate all of the great responses so far.

    A lot of what has fueled this concern is the fact that my wife and I were in two separate car accidents last year that both resulted in our cars being totaled and were no fault of our own.

    The first accident we had been T-Boned when someone who was living in the US illegally and therefore did not have a license ran a red light. He was borrowing his cousins friends car or something and if I had been driving anything smaller than my Toyota Tundra, we would have likely been very injured if not dead.

    The second accident we were cruising along a two lane highway with a 45 mph speed limit when two kids street racing came up behind us. The one in the same lane as us rear ended us hard enough to push the trunk into the back seat of our new Toyota Corolla. The police believed he was going in excess of 120mph in order to do the sort of damage he did to both of our cars. Again, he was not a legal immigrant. Thus is life in Atlanta Georgia.

    Either way, I think this may be a great opportunity to start doing more dirt/adventure riding and stay off of pavement.
  16. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Sep 26, 2007
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    Much depends on where you live.

    I live in northwestern Vermont, which is pretty sparsely populated. I'm on nice motorcycle roads as soon as I pull out of my driveway. So for me, no, the desire to ride is as strong as ever (despite having been broadsided by a car in 2011 that broke my femur -- but I was also living in Burlington at the time, Vermont's largest town).

    But if I had to live in a more urban area, such as the DC suburbs where I grew up, I doubt I'd be as enthusiastic about riding. Part of this would be due to the increased risk of idiot drivers, but a really big part of it would be due to the slog of getting out of the suburbs to some nice motorcycle roads. I have some friends in major metro areas who don't ride as much as they used to for exactly this reason.

    ROAD DAMAGE and Hi-De-Ho like this.
  17. Plebeian

    Plebeian Scruffy-Looking Nerf Herder

    May 14, 2015
    Shoreview, MN
    Give trail riding a try and see if it scratches the riding itch. Lots of skills to learn and improve on. A lot of fun equipment and farkles to try out. Might be what you need to reignite the passion.

    Trees still hurt though....
  18. HarveyMushman

    HarveyMushman Long timer

    Jun 21, 2002
    LoCo, Virginia, USA
    No one survives life. Live accordingly.
    sharps5090, FJ Fun, runpet and 9 others like this.
  19. zuma

    zuma Been here awhile

    Jun 2, 2009
    As the old saying goes. "Life is a sexually transmitted disease which is 100% fatal".
  20. 69DirtBiker

    69DirtBiker Adventurer

    Feb 13, 2016
    When I get off offroad, I know it was my own decision.

    Bouncing back from injuries should be a methodical learning process. You are doing it right...buying the right new bike speeds up the process though:)