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motorcycles are dangerous featured 2

Are Motorcycles Dangerous? (Spoiler alert: yep)

Motorcycles are dangerous! Never EVER ride one!

I’ve heard the lecture a million times.

So have you, I bet.
It always starts the same way.

Oooh, motorcycles are so scary!
They’re death machines!
You’d never catch me getting on a bike!

Well, then, don’t! I want to say.

Spend the afternoon curled up on the couch, nice and safe with your teddy bear.
Get your PJs on.
Maybe watch a little children’s TV.

teddy bears are safer than motorcycles

And in the meantime, get out of my way, because I’m going riding.

Why do so many people  love to tell you motorcycles are dangerous? They’ve seen an accident on the news, or heard some horror story they just have to share. Yes, we KNOW motorcycles are dangerous. We ride them all the time. But listen up, instant motorcycle experts – there are a few things you don’t quite understand…

People with no experience of bikes simply don’t get it.

All they can see is red-lights-flashing-sirens-screaming motorcycles are dangerous!
And so begins another lecture.

Now, it wouldn’t be quite so annoying if the Motorcycles Are Dangerous Lecture was simply boring.

But it’s worse than that.

The person happily telling you all about the dangers of motorcycles knows NOTHING about bikes.

Your wise old Uncle Arthur has plenty of opinions about motorcycles.
He acts like he’s sharing breaking news that you’re too stupid to know about.
But Uncle Arthur doesn’t ride.
In fact, he’s never been near a motorcycle.

Yet he’s the expert, and you’d better listen to him.

That makes me completely CRAZY.

motorcycle danger lecture makes me crazy

And if it’s not Uncle Arthur handing out advice, it could be a complete stranger with an opinion.
It seems everyone and his dog knows all about the dangers of motorcycles.

What can we do about it?
Well of course, I have a few ideas…

How to Silence the Motorcycles are Dangerous Lecture Once and For All

Next time Uncle Arthur, your cousin Bob or some know-it-all at the gas station starts telling you all about the dangers of motorcycles, try one of these comebacks…

Response no. 1

Newsflash! Life itself is dangerous!

life is dangerous

Riding a motorbike does involve some risks, that’s true.
We’ve spotted that, thanks.
No-one’s denying it.

But lots of things are dangerous.
And I wonder if any of the instant motorcycle “experts” out there indulge in any of these other high risk behaviours themselves:

  • Eating meat – linked with everything from heart disease to cancer
  • Falling in love – can lead to major emotional pain, and seriously wacko behaviour
  • Driving a car – accident stats are pretty high here too, after all
  • Drinking or smoking – responsible for death and destruction on an epic scale
  • Working for a living – negatively affects your mental health because it takes up all your precious riding time.

Life itself is dangerous.
If we all focused on the horror of what might happen, we’d sit rocking in a corner, too terrified to do anything.

But while we’re nice and safe cowering in the corner, there might be an earthquake.
Or someone might break into your house, and shoot you.

It’s just not possible to live in a cotton wool cocoon.
And who would want to?

Response no. 2

You know a few things about motorcycle safety

Point out to sweet Uncle Arthur that there’s a smart way, and a stupid way to ride a motorcycle.

You don’t have to be a complete maniac with no regard for whether you live or die.
You don’t have to wheelie out of the driveway, and then do 200 miles an hour through your quiet suburban streets.

riding a motorcycle dangerously

You can actually use your brain to ride as safely as possible.

For example:

  • Wearing protective riding gear

Your carefully chosen jacket, jeans, boots, helmet and gloves make up a suit of armour for the road.
Each piece is designed to protect you from harm.

That’s not the same as riding in shorts with bare feet, and no helmet.

  • If you’re a passenger, you travel with a safety-focused rider

You wouldn’t get into a car with an unlicensed or drunk driver.
And if you ride pillion, you wouldn’t get on a motorcycle without being sure that the rider is experienced and safety aware.

That’s not the same as wobbling down the road with a 17 year old who’s just got his first bike.

  • The motorcycle is roadworthy and responsive

Many riders fuss endlessly over the tiniest details of their bikes.
They know what makes them tick.

They’re alert to any new noise or the slightest change in behavior.
If that bike’s out on the road, you can bet it’s in tip top shape and ready for anything.

How many people can say that about their cars?

Response no. 3

Riding a motorcycle is an experience that moves the soul

This is not about getting from point A to point B as efficiently as possible.

A motorcycle ride soothes your soul, fixes your mood, and puts a smile back on your face.
No matter how bad your day has been.
(And no matter how many people have been handing out free advice about motorcycles.)

Car drivers really don’t understand that the experience of being on a motorcycle is life changing and mood altering.
It’s the best medicine you can take for your mental health.

So yes, it’s worth a little risk to feel THIS much better about every single aspect of your life.

motorcycles make you happy

Unless you own an Aston Martin, driving a car is first and foremost a practical thing.
You drive a car to get to work.

To buy groceries.
To drop the kids off.

But riding a motorbike is an experience in itself.
If you want to pick up some milk and bread while you’re out, fine, go ahead.

Either way, the destination always takes second place to the riding experience itself.

Riding a motorbike is about feeling vibrantly alive.
It’s about hearing the throb of the motor, and being a moving part of the world around you.
It’s not about fuel economy, or whether you’re late for the school run.

So there you have it.

Three practical (and mostly polite) ways to silence the Motorcycles are Dangerous Lecture.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you never had to hear it again?


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8 comments

    As a recently new rider I’ve lost count how many times someone has gave me this lecture. One guy even told me outright that everyone he knew that had a motorbike is dead!

      Wow! That’s an extreme version of the boring lecture problem!

    Had a crash on May 29 2016. Driver ran a stop sign looking at his Google Maps app and hit us. Lost part of my foot and a titanium bar is now in my leg.
    Almost every time people ask why I limp and tell the story, I get “well, you shouldn’t have been on a motorcycle” (or some variation of that) instead of,”driver shouldn’t have been on his cellphone”.
    And yes, I have A Yamaha VStar now and have been riding again 10 months later.

      So sorry to hear that, Rory, and good on you for getting back on the horse. Your story is a great example of this really infuriating problem – blame the rider, no matter what! Obviously YOU were watching the road and doing everything right! It drives me crazy.

    Excellent article from an interesting viewoint steeped in logic; an enjoyable read.

      Thanks, Kenneth! Glad you enjoyed it.

    Perhaps not as common as the “motorcycles are dangerous” lecture, but also annoying is the “the only way to really live life is to do something physically dangerous” lecture. Just because someone doesn’t skydive or ride motorcycles doesn’t mean they sit fearfully home with a teddy bear or are not doing exciting and interesting things with their lives.

    Life would be more pleasant for everyone if people weren’t so eager to lecture each other on how they ought to be living it. (PS, I own a vintage Triumph Bonneville and have ridden motorcycles throughout my life, but I don’t tell everyone they ought to do it too.)

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