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.