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So today was my first day back at work since I took a little spill a few days ago. I was on crutches, sitting at my desk w/ my foot elevated. People were in and out of the office. Everyone had some kind of story about motorcyle accidents! Most of the stories were light-hearted conversations about the inherent risks involved with riding. "My brother had one and crashed it into a parked car," or "I used to ride, but after my fifth crash, I decided it was time to stop." These were the kind of responses I got. Then this older guy came in and asked me what happend. I told him the standard 411. He gave a little sigh. He sat down at my desk and told me his son was killed 14 years ago riding his motorcycle to the Vet in Philly. The wind had pushed him off the bike. He broke his neck and the handle bars had somehow sliced a major artery in his leg. He ended up bleeding to death. He said he never even had a chance to say good bye.

So I guess my real question boils down to:

Do you ever think about dying from an accident on your bike?

I'm not saying that I am too scared to ride now. I love to ride and it will always be a part of my life. You can't be affraid of the "what if" situations out there, but his comment had really put things in realistic perspective.
 

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Since I ride an obviously battle scarred bike, I am constantly regailed with stories of horrific motorcycle deaths. I really resent it. Usually in talking to these people, I am able to drag out of them that the person was not wearing any kind of protective gear, or inadequate/inapropriate riding gear (one person gave me a story of her brother's face being ripped off. He was wearing on of those DOT skull cap harley helmets). Of all the horrific stories I've been told, only a few have come down to someone who was trained, experienced, and wearing appropriate gear, and killed by someone else's actions.


I think about dying on my bike. I'm aware of it, and I take steps to avoid it. I am offended by motorcyclists who don't. They give us a bad name, and force us to stand around and listen to these stories. Wear your gear, don't ride drunk, get some training. I don't want to listen to your mom tell me about how you died.
 

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The Big Fear.

It's different for everyone.

The summer of 2000 I got to spend almost a month in the hospital and three months in a wheelchair thanks to an idiot in a car. I broke my left ankle, right radius and ulna, and suffered a massive compound fracture of the right tib-fib from where my shin put a six-inch deep dent in the Camry's bumper.

Early September of 2001, I bought my roommate a used 250 Ninja as a combination birthday/X-mas/"thank you for giving me a place to stay while I healed" present. They delivered the bike to my place of business and I rode it back to the apartment for him, and that 1.5 mile ride on that little bike just told me I couldn't stop riding. Within a week, I bought a TL1000S.


I'm still scared on the road. I admit it. I was damned lucky I wasn't killed, and once one driver has looked right at you and then driven into you, you realize that any of them could, at any moment. But I have to ride. I have to. I could no more stop riding than I could stop breathing.

I'm a lot slower through corners now; slower than I should be. Having been down and knowing what it's like can really put the fear in you if you overcook one. Thankfully, I've been riding for 12 years and my instinctive reactions keep me safe even when my conscious mind is scared and wants to tighten up on the bars or grab the brakes in a turn.

If you're at all sane, a serious wreck'll probably slow you down some for a while.

But you know what? After a bit of recuperating, you'll probably come out a better and smoother rider, (even a faster one, when it's safe) because it'll really make you look at your fundamentals.
 

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Being an O-L-D bachelour & knowing how hard it is to hobble.fumble around alone at home---- I can think of how any accident that would take me off my feet to be a problem. Most of all, way back inside, I fear that I could be paralized.
Still this is my 56th yr of constant riding so you can see my enthusiasm overcomes my small bits of fear everyonce in a while.
Basically when on the bike the fear is never there.
 

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Ok maybe Im twisted. I think about dying all the time on my bike. but I rationalize it this way. we are all going to die, so damn it if Im gonna die I may as well die with a smile on my face!
 

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I think about having fun, but being careful, riding within my limits and remembering my responsibilities to my wife. It is true we will all go sometime, but, as Kevlar7R says, we can all take protective steps to postpone that day.

Most folks I know that ride have been in accidents of some kind. Almost EVERYONE I know that drives a car has been in an accident, too. It is a dangerous world out there, no matter what you do. Bicycle rider, moto rider, car driver, pilot, etc...

I feel there is a big difference between an accident that I create for myself (riding beyond limits, miscalculation, etc) and those caused by someone else's error (drunk, putting make-up on, cell phone, etc). If I go down due to my mistake, that's riding. Motorcycles are forever at gravity's mercy. Last cager that really scared me by blowing an intersection, I pulled over so I could bitch at her. I yelled and told her how sad, lonely and pissed off my wife would be at her for offing me. I yelled until this woman cried to get my point across and then drove off to change my shorts.

There is dangerous stuff out there at every turn and I think about it. I am not afraid, but aware. Given the choice (whether my fault or others') I would prefer to go doing something I enjoy, just not right now.

A really weird twist to my life is my wife's new interest in mountain climbing. While I consider my riding to be relatively safe, her climbing around avalanche chutes, scrambling up mountain peaks scares the crap out of me.

Trunabout is fair play, I guess. Strange to be on the other side of worry, though.
 

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jrm: I climbed mountains-------

-----along with ski mountaineering from 1949 till '63. So I know the enjoyment your wife is having. In fact I moved into a mtn town to set up a sport shop that specialized with mountaineering & skiing equipment from '54 to '63 & in that way I was within minutes of doing the above.
Yes I have had had falls, escaped some avalanches & been cought in a few.
With the above climbing skills & no fear of height I also took on special jobs with 'danger pay'.
I started m/cing legally in '45 so into comp events from '47 till '89---- well you can see my fear is rather small.
 

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It is just weird having the shoe on the other foot.

I would guess that the majority of folks on this board who race/ride fast consider themselves as the more dangerous of the husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend couple. I am comfortable with my moto life, as I am sure they are, because I am in control of it--I make the decisions--I drive the bike--my safety is largely up to me. As long as I don't make a mistake, I will be there for my wife/family.

I am sure Christa thinks the same of climbing. She is comfortable, in control, etc, and has confidence she won't make a fatal mistake. It is really the first time I have felt I could be the one who experiences a lost loved-one through a dangerous activity/sport.

Remember when you first got your bike and everyone told you that you were more likely to go down in the first 6-12 months of ownership than you were the rest of your riding life? Christa is about 3 months into the climbing thing, which I look at in a similar light. Now is her most dangerous time, too.

It took years of convincing her that I was a safe rider and would act responsibly on my bike. Guess it will take time for me to grow comfortable with the climbing, too. She supported me in all my crazy actvities of choice and I will support her in hers, but it is hard.

Refering back to the original post--Yeah, I think about riding, living, dying and having fun on the moto all the time. Doesn't make me stop, but makes me ride more conservatively.
 

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jrm: Look at it this way --------

------ I am still riding with a '97 YZF600r & '00 Honda 929 plus a '87 Yamaha TZR-250 I use to road race on.
Simply did not have the time to get back to climbing as I was a full-time fruit orchardist from '63 till '74. As of Dec '89 I injured myself AT HOME in smashing in the left hip at the wrong place. That ended any dirt comp which I was doing up till then & any thoughts about climbing.
So the big slow-down was a home accident & not while competing in dirt events, or practing for them, or on the hwy (you see from '46 I ALSO had street irons), or when competitive skiing in Downhill or Giant Slalom, ski mountaineering, normal skiing, or when climbing mts. It was a simply at-home accident.!!!!!!!!
 

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My personal view is that death is a part of life, although a part most people ignore... and life is temporary. Looking at it strictly from a motorcycle perspective is rather short sighted.

Assuming that death is not on the calender lets folks take their lives and the lives of their loved ones for granted. It's simply lazy. You think you don't have to say "I'm sorry" or I love you" because you'll get around to it tomorrow.

This takes a toll when someone is snuffed out, unexpectedly; so many things that should have been said but weren't.

People and relationships are transitory. Spouses, children, friends; all our time together is temporary.

Don't waste it. :)
 

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JRM...

jrm said:
...A really weird twist to my life is my wife's new interest in mountain climbing. While I consider my riding to be relatively safe, her climbing around avalanche chutes, scrambling up mountain peaks scares the crap out of me...
I'm sure she's told you this, but there are ways to minimize the risks in climbing, just like in riding. She's been doing it about three months, you say, so she should've learned a lot about slopes and snow composition and weather conditions and risk assessment. I've been climbing for almost two years now and have had only a few close calls; interestingly enough, not on Rainier or the other big guys, but on little ole Olympic Mountains peaks. It's good to see that you let her do her thing. I'm thankful for my understanding wife in regards to my climbing.

If she hasn't already, talk to her about signing up for a class. The Mountaineers and a few other clubs offer stuff, and some community colleges do, too. Relatively inexpensive, and nothing beats knowing what you're doing up there. It would be good peace of mind for you, too.

Back on topic: I think about dying once in a while, but not to the point of distraction. I figure if something happens, it happens. I try not to worry about things so much that it keeps me from doing things I enjoy. Besides, life is risk, that's how it works. I do hate the saying "dying doing what he/she/they loved", though. I'm not sure dying of head trauma in a motorcycle accident or freezing to death at 12,000 feet in a storm is what they had in mind.
 

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Just to add a bit of what some may call short sightedness..I'm of the mind that ya gotta go sometime..and riding a bike, we all know has some risk involved, in fact..allot, regardless of long you've riden for..you have no control over what other people will do, i.e. cages that either don't care, or are just morons..I've been riding for over 10 yrs..raced for 6..I've been down on the street 4 times...no serious injuries..clap twice, and spit in the wind...at this point in my life, at 54 yrs. young, I'm fully aware of the risk's that I, and all riders take..I always wear FULL gear, ..yep leathers, and even a back protector always..and still..1 wrong move by a driver, talking on cell phone, reading the daily paper, putting her makeup on..ect..ect..can end it all in a heartbeat..am I preparded to die ?...sometimes..do I want to..nope, BUT..I'd rather go doing what I love, than to have a stupid heartattack while watching t.v...no dis to those that have lost lovedones that way..

Also...I ride a bit different on the streets now,then I did even 3 months ago..I would drag hard parts at any given chance, if I was following a slow rider, I'd go even slower so I could get a run ata a turn and toss it in so I could drag something..the last 4 times out, I haven't even drug my knee..except once in a deserted local..a guy wanted a pic..so I take to the track for the faster riding..:D

And ya know the worst part of it all..????? when something does happen..how many times will you hear it..I told ya so..those dam motorcycles..even if it was someone else fault..so my take as you may have gathered, is, if your not willing to risk anything..stop riding..simple as that...Still...I know Karma's on my side, I'm the worlds nicest guy...:D :D
 

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Scotty--My wife is definitely in the Mountaineers and it is their group in Rock-1 that is doing all the climbing. I DO feel WAY better that she is in a reputable, experienced group and know most all her partners in the class. I don't think she could go about learning to climb any better way.

When I took the WMRRA new racer school, I felt I was taking the same, careful, experienced approach as she is to climbing. I know I am feeling exactly what she did when I took up riding.

Joss--You make an excellent point, too. Making the most of a relationship and keeping up to date on the things you wish to say and do is important. It is a good reminder.
 

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When I was in college, a student was walking downtown when a woman pulled straight out of an alley without stopping or looking. The student ended up over the hood of her car and with broken bones. Could have easily been different.

Also, anyone in the columbus OH area may remember a couple of years ago a construction crane fell over and crushed a car AS IT WAS DRIVING BY killing the driver.

Even more recently, a windstorm in Chicago blew a window washer's gear off of a building (I think it was the hancock bldg.) and killed some passers by.

All I am trying to say is: no matter what you are doing, you can always be easily killed through other's negligence or "outside forces" (act of God if you are so inclined). None of the above people were doing anything most would consider "dangerous" yet they still bit it in the end (except for the first guy). So the quandry is this: do you live life scared that you will be snuffed out at any moment and therefore don't ever leave the house just to be sucked into a tornado, or do you just go about your business of being happy and keep the thought in the back of your head to keep you sensible?
 

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Interesting posts. I guess I have never thought about getting hurt riding my bike until today when I saw a bike down in the road. Kind of made me think...but I think I agree with Hammer. I am not going to dwell on it. I used to be a professional rider (horses not motorcycles) and saw many accidents including a fatal one on the racetrack and find that if you think about how you can get hurt, you ride worse and make yourself even more vunerable to accidents. I am not going to quit riding (horses or motorcycles) just because I could get hurt.

Lucky for me, my husband rides a bike now and used to ride horses so he understands and is very supportive of anything that I am interested in doing even if it is a little risky :)
 

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Bobas: "no matter what you are doing, you can always be easily killed through other's negligence or "outside forces" ".

This was exactly what I was trying to say in that focusing strictly on the risk of a motorcycle is "short sighted". Life loves irony and black humor (cynicism, not African :) ) is rampant with examples of people that barricade themselves away from risk... only to have the barricade fall on them.

When your number is up you better have your bags packed. :D
 

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To die; and yet, to live

My motto: Always wear protection. If death comes to visit me on my bike then so be it. I refuse to live fearing that I may die. And I refuse to die fearing I may not have lived.
 

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I too can see both sides of the coin.

I've been down 3 times on the street, 2 of which were not my fault. The second time, my bike was totalled, nearly run over by a van, but walked away without a scratch.

Was I afraid of dying? Actually, no. I guess the MSF course I took really stuck in my head. If there was anything I learned in that class, it is to stay calm and level headed. That statement has saved my life more times than I can recall.

When I started racing, my (at the time) girlfriend didn't like the idea, because of the risks involved, and that I could be hurt, maimed, or killed. She supported my because she was an excellent partner who did not stand in the way of me and the things that I enjoy doing.

The other side of the coin is she started doing trackdays with me. Everytime there is a bike down, and she's out, I worry. My heart thumps, and I get anxious. She is going to race for a local Kawasaki team this year, and now I worry more. But as mentioned, I should give her the same respect she gave me.

People are always going to worry about people, especially if you mean ANYTHING to them. So, be thankful that people are telling you these things (like when your mother tells you this and that... is only because she loves you... unless you and your mother don't get along :D). It's just people's ignorance, as mentioned... inappropriate equipment, riding over your limits, other cars.

Some people were destined to ride forever. Some people were destined to experience it for a short while. Some people were destined never to ride at all.

You need to figure out which category you belong. Personally, I believe I was destined to ride forever. Riding is in my blood (since I was 6 years old)... I can't hang my leathers. It's not time.
 
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