Motorcycle Safety: bikes aren’t dangerous.

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How many times have you heard someone refer to a motorcycle as a death-trap? They’ve seen a couple of headlines about motorcycle safety, citing the odd crash, and persuaded themselves that bikes are a bad thing. Far too dangerous. Well, that’s simply not true. Sure, you can hurt yourself on a bike, but you can hurt yourself doing anything. How many people do you think trip over, pissed up every Saturday night? And you’d be surprised how many people fall onto things arse-first, and need a medical professional to help dislodge it (they told me I was the fourth person that day).

No, there are hazards everywhere you look, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking motorbikes are any more dangerous than anything else. Like that one last pint. Or that ketchup bottle with a condom on. Every bike throttle works both ways, so when someone tells you it’d be way too dangerous for them to ride a bike, they’re talking out of their botty. This is why…

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but one day, you will die. It’s the one fact of life that we can all be certain about. In fact, in the UK alone, over half a million people die every year. But, contrary to popular misconception, not many of them are actually due to motorbike crashes. Some are, but it’s rarely much more than a couple of hundred. Thousands die from old age, every week. When you look at it like that, you’d have to say it’s safer to ride a motorbike than it is to simply get old.

Now we’ve established the fact that you are indeed going to die, but it’s probably not going to be on a motorbike, let’s examine why that is. Firstly, despite being a shit load faster, modern bikes are ten times safer than they were a few years ago. Well, ten-ish times safer. I’ve not actually done a scientific study, but you catch my drift. With all sorts of electronic gismos doing their best to keep you upright, tyres that actually grip the tarmac and engines that don’t lock the back wheel up just for the sake of it, you’ve got to be really trying, to throw yourself off a bike these days. Motorcycle safety has never been more on point.

If you do manage to throw yourself off a bike, you’ve obviously been riding like an absolute hero (or an absolute twat). Either that or someone didn’t see you and they’re about to have a bike shaped dent in the side of their car. Whatever the reason you part company with your bike may be, if it does happen, chances are your modern riding gear will do its job (let’s hope you are wearing some). Modern helmets, back protectors, boots, gloves and kangaroo leathers with integrated airbags are saving the lives and limbs of riders (or crashers, more to the point) every day. And the kit that’s available to us just keeps getting better and better.

And my final point is probably the most pertinent. It’s the fact that a motorbike will only do what you tell it to. It’s not like riding a horse, with a mind of its own. If you open the throttle, it will accelerate, if you pull the brakes, it will decelerate. It really is easy. And if you don’t want to go too fast, don’t open the throttle too much. Even the fastest bike in the world can be ridden slowly, and therefore safely. It’s complete bollocks when people say a bike is dangerous, just because it’s got a load of power. Sure, it can be ridden dangerously, but so can anything. The old adage that “the throttle works both ways” is absolutely true.

So, if you are thinking of entering the world of motorcycling, don’t delay. Motorcycle safety has never been better, so you’re very unlikely to kill yourself (despite what your mother thinks). Why not pop down to your local bike dealership to see if they’ve got anything that takes your fancy. Don’t forget your chequebook.


13 Responses

  1. Here fkin here! Excellent words, excellently arranged. (not sure about you being the 4th that day – I reckon it was your 4th visit that day …)

  2. I recorded a video on the subject whilst at Lexmoto
    Bit waffley but Motorcycles provide the freedom to choose how safe you want to be via the kit you mentioned. Car users are forced to have safety equipment like seat belts, airbags as they are designed to crash. Motorcyclists are allowed to go out with flip flops if they so desire. It’s a bad idea.

  3. I was behind Boothy in the queue at A&E. If you believe he fell arse first onto the can of Fosters they pulled out of him, you’ll also need to believe it happened to have a hamster sitting on it at the time…

  4. Less people crash in bikes than cars because there are less bikes. Per road user, bikers have a staggeringly higher number of fatalities. I love bikes and always will but we have nothing to gain by sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that they’re not dangerous.

    1. Let me rephrase that. Motorcycle are more dangerous than cars. Car and dangerous too or they will not kill anybody. Bicycles are dangerous too (and sometimes danger is more vicious as you cannot ride defensively with a road bike). I am a road cyclist for as long as i can remember but there is a big stigma with motorcycles.

  5. I have a 2020 s1000RR and I would class myself as a slow rider. That said I don’t think I can go out with breaking a ton easy. So often you roll on second look down and see 130. But it feels like 90.

  6. Every time someone says to me “bikes are dangerous” (usually when I’ve stopped somewhere) …. I just stand and point at the bike and say “explain to me how that is dangerous right now” … they say the same rubbish as usual, and I argue with the fact of “how is that motorcycle, right now, stood there dangerous”… unless it explodes or jumps out and bites you it’s literally not doing anything… “I’m the connection to make it dangerous, or the drivers who aren’t paying attention”. Makes me chuckle every time.
    Lots of Love you guys.

  7. Your central tenet is correct; the bikes themselves are not the killer. Statistics show that the no.1 killer of bikers are themselves- that is they ride above their abilities and sooner or later it catches up to them i.e. taking the bend too fast incorrectly road position, thereby binning the bike and themselves when they over-cook it. I remember a mate of mine once describing his near fatal crash as “the mountain came out of nowhere”… yes, mountains are infamous for sneaking up on your. As such more road training for sure and track days to hone those positioning skills safely. PS did you know the no.1 motorcycle accident is not getting T-boned at a junction, it’s falling sideways when going slowly (or in Loomies carpark)- maybe those off road cones circuits shouldn’t be laughed at 😉

  8. The whole industries from advertising to riding gear manufacturing, trainers, instructors, authors, bloggers, lawmakers prey and feed on fears and anxiety of current and would be motorcyclists. To sell them some crap directly or lure them into clicking, viewing, sharing or liking some crap.

    It’s not specific to the industry, negative news and scaremorgening sell very well elsewhere and, importantly, distort our minds. Social media and internet in general made effect instantaneous. Critical thinking is increasingly hard, independent risk management is not endorsed by public, media or governments.

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