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Reality of riding safety!


1960apache

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I have been concerned lately,(just had my 43rd birthday)about my lifespan if I keep up with my current lifestyle! I originally bought a 2002 RT, but gave in to the rush and feel of the K1200S. I am contemplating getting a good used R1200RT for 2 up riding.

Also, I used to live in the Reno area, and there were 2 motorcycle deaths in the same weekend, 1 sportbike, and 1 harley (the guy tried to swerve to avoid some type of wood in the road, and ended up being de-capitated!) harsh penalty for a Sunday ride.

I now try to avoid riding too much after dark, during the rain, during rush hour, stick to the highways and low traffic streets. Am I getting tainted? I dont hear alot of people on beemers, and goldwings getting in many accidents?? Is is due to maturity of the riders? Maybe the experience of the riders?

Anyway, just curious what others think, and also their riding habits, patterns etc.

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Paul Mihalka

1960apache, you sound like you think you are getting old. What a joke (sorry, grin.gif). You will ride dangerously if you ride in fear of accidents. $hit can happen in anything you do, or even when you do nothing. Ride when and where you think it is enjoyable, but don't let preconceived ideas like rain, dark, traffic etc. spoil the fun. Let's face it, life is extremely dangerous - it ALWAYS ends in death. Might as well enjoy it while you got it.

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Accidents= any rider, any time. I think you will find a large portion of the riders here have gone down.

 

Wear the gear and do everything you can to ride safe all the time.

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It would be interesting to hear of traffic death statistics beased on motorcycle make/model and age of the involved riders. You also need to factor in deaths per 100,000 miles of riding. I am sure there are a disproportionate amount of totaled sportbikes with very low miles on the odometer. I am sure young sportbike riders are the most at risk and us elders on BMW's the least risky. It could also show BMW and Goldwing riders also have a lot of deaths because we do a lot of long distance riding.

All you can do is ride as if everyone is out to kill you and enjoy yourself.

Sure I worry about hurting myself but when you find a passion, the desire overcomes the need to avoid risk.

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Paul is my idol. A bazillion years riding and loving every minute of it. Doubt he has any regrets.

The desire overcomes the need to avoid risk.

Again, I broke the only bone in my body walking out of my kitchen! dopeslap.gif Don't ever ride your kitchen, especially in the rain. grin.gif

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Paul Mihalka

Again, I broke the only bone in my body walking out of my kitchen! dopeslap.gif Don't ever ride your kitchen, especially in the rain. grin.gif

The only accident I had that left not fully healed damage was falling off the stairs in the house. Stairs are dangerous! I spend much more time on the bike than on stairs! wink.gif
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I think its interesting that there seem to be 3 types of motorcyclists: those that view accidents (their own and others') as opportunities to try to improve their riding safety; those that view accidents as opportunities to reevaluate why they still ride; and those that aren't really interested in any of the above.

I feel I can understand groups 1 and 3, but the group 2 people are somewhat mysterious to me. I'm wondering why they still ride if accidents affect them in that way. I like to think that I'm in touch with reality all the time. Folks who need an accident to jolt them into some other way of perception I just don't get. I would imagine that many of them are struggling to justify the risk of riding, but why they bother is beyond me.

Take care,

Dave

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Living in the Reno area, I have observed that there are a much higher percentage of fatal vs non fatal motorcycle accidents in this area as opposed to Southern California as an example. Harleys do seem to make up the majority of these accidents. I attribute this to the following:

 

First the Harley issue. Yes, there are a lot of Harleys involved in accidents in this area. There are more Harleys in this area than any other type of motorcycle. On top of this, there is a thriving Harley rental business based in Reno. The recently decapitated rider was on a rental. Experience with the type bike being ridden may have contributed to the accident.

 

The two most common types of accidents in the area are either failure to make a curve on one of the area's mountain roads, or someone turns directly in front of the rider. Speed on most highways is 55MPH or higher.

 

Medical assistance response time is also not what it is in the high population areas. Get out in the middle of the Great Basin and an otherwise minor accident could be fatal.

 

Nothing wrong with being cautious. In every one of the situations you mentioned (after dark, during the rain, during rush hour, stick to the highways and low traffic streets) there is always a risk / benefit analysis to be performed. Everyone's risk tolerance is different. If you can get where you want to go with an acceptable level of risk to you then great, otherwise an alternative means of transportation may be your best bet.

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Ahh! BTDT.

Paul is quite correct...the Brown stuff do happen and we all know the ending to our particular life story but never how many chapters there will be grin.gif!

Me...I almost died twice in my life already, once in an auto accident and once with Cancer. I also outlived my poor Dad who died when he was 48.

So now I do not find it difficult to accept the shit and so I get on with my life with a great deal of alacrity and a goodly amount of joy grin.gifgrin.gif

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Riding a motorcycle IS dangerous. Anyone familiar with the significantly higher motorcycle fatality and injury rates, can readily see it.

 

The trick is to understand and decide whether you are prepared to manage the risk factors, while still being able to enjoy the sport.

 

While it may appear some have a 'just do it - life is dangerous anyway' approach, the likely reality is that through their extensive experience they have developed a strategy and 'sixth sense' to detect and avoid dangerous situations.

 

Being highly skilled at defensive driving techniques will alow you to know when your risk factors are low, or whether extra care is appropriate.

 

Even then, it is always factors outside of your control that are more likely to bite you.

 

No matter how skilled you are you cannot remove the exposure and inherent lack of stability provided by a motorcycle, compared to other vehicles.

 

The only issue is whether you are comfortable with your ability to manage the risks, and accept the consequences if you fail.

 

Wayne

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russell_bynum
You will ride dangerously if you ride in fear of accidents. $hit can happen in anything you do, or even when you do nothing. Ride when and where you think it is enjoyable, but don't let preconceived ideas like rain, dark, traffic etc. spoil the fun. Let's face it, life is extremely dangerous - it ALWAYS ends in death. Might as well enjoy it while you got it.

 

Definitely. Fear makes you do dumb things, and that's bad.

 

That's not to say that we shouldn't understand and respect the risks, but if you're riding scared, your are a ticking time-bomb.

 

One thing I've noticed, is I've seen a bunch of people who I thought were REALLY good riders crash. Folks who have been riding bikes since God was a small child, who you almost never see them make a mistake, who seem to have a sixth sense about where the road is going and what the bike is doing, and who REALLY understand riding.

 

And they crash anyway.

 

Despite all of their experience, their training, and the conservative way they pick their lines and their speed, they crashed anyway. Deer jump out in front of them. They hit nearly invisible sand in the road. They run over road snot in a corner. And they crash.

 

I had always told myself...well, sometimes sh*t just happens. One of the few universal truths is that People who ride motorcycles sometimes fall down.

 

This summer, it happened to me. I was riding conservatively, doing the whole slow in/fast out thing, taking a REALLY conservative late apex to make sure I could see where the road was going, and when I saw what was going on and I was confident that I understood what the corner was all about, I tipped it in....and lowsided on gravel that I never saw (despite specifically looking for stuff like that). Probably 60 bikes went through there while I was standing on the side of the road waiting for help to arrive, and none of them had any trouble. Probably another 60+ riders from our group went through that same turn over the course of the UnRally, and none of them had any problem with it. But...I really don't see where I did anything particularly wrong. I was slow in, I stayed wide to see where the turn went, I stayed out of the gas until I knew what was going on, then I tipped it in and gently got on the gas. If I had turned in a few inches earlier or later, I wouldn't have hit that gravel, but the fact is I never even SAW it (even later, when I walked back to the scene, it was nearly impossible to see) so I really couldn't have done anything different.

 

In other words: Sh*t happened, and a person who rides a motorcycle fell down.

 

There's certainly stuff we can do to improve our odds. Training, attitude, physical condition, no alchohol, avoid excessively risky scenarios like the Texas Hill Country at dusk in the springtime, etc. And we can improve our chances of survival by riding a prudent speed, and wearing good gear.

 

But the bottom line is that no matter what we do, sh*t can still happen.

 

If a rider doesn't accept that, then they shouldn't be riding.

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The other thing to keep in mind is that not all accidents are fatal. In fact, most of them aren't. You hear about the fatal and spectacular ones because they make the news or the police reports. Sliding out on gravel in a corner, like Russell did, certainly sucks but it isn't the end of the world.

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ShovelStrokeEd

I long ago accepted the fact that climbing on a motorcycle involves risk. Hell, I have a list of broken bones and assorted scars to prove it. I have been riding since Methusela was a pup and it still scares me a little every day. It also brings a smile to my face every day. That is what is called risk/reward. It has been a couple of years since my last getoff and I'm starting to get concerned. I'm about due. The good news is that even my limited track experience has made the idea of pushing hard on the street seem somewhat silly to me. With the slowing of my reflexes and deteriorating vision (I'm 64 now) I have slowed down somewhat from the days when I was indestructlable. I also work on skills more than I used to, thanks to this board.

 

Yeah, the reality is that doo-doo do happen. The more you ride, the more exposure you have to risk. The thing is, things that reperesent a risk to a new rider are no more than a change of position or a slight change in speed relative to traffic flow for the guy who has a million or so miles under his belt. Sure, we'll both get clobbered by the cell phone addled driver who runs a red light at 20 over the local limit. That's why they call it what it is. Doo-doo.

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There probably are some factors like age and experience of one grouping of riders that make them less likely to have accidents than another way one might group riders together, but really it's all about reducing the risk in riding. The only way to eliminate it is not to ride. Even then you might be in motorcycle accident if you're hit by one while walking!

 

Really, just like about anything else, all we can do is continue to hone our skills and knowledge toward eliminating the 'common' things that get a lot of us. Knowing how to get the bike around a curve without riding off it, is at one end of the spectrum, we then work up the list from there.

 

It's the tried & true 80/20 rule and rule of diminished returns. As we get to the point where we can handle, and thus avoid, falling victim to more and more things, the odds improve in our favor, but when all is said and done, there will always be something out there that can get us.

 

And if and when it does, well, I had a lot of fun along the way getting to there so it could!

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NoLongeraK1200RSRider

as a new to BMW riding person who also has way more than a million miles on other assorted bikes.. including the aforementioned Harleys.. I can only say this "I fell down once due to lack of riding experience (a painted arrow on the road coated with oil and no traction enhancers in it)and did very little damage to either me or the bike. blush.gif I actually was able to ride it home. One other incident whereby a Lady turned into me while driving alongside me on a city street..she wanted to go into a store and simply didn't think about me being there. tongue.gif Now, with all that said.. I have since ridden over a million miles without incident. I ride fast but only in a semi-controlled fashion.. no other cars nearby, etc. As an example just a couple of weeks ago I passed my son on his motorcycle as he was doing about 140.. I was doing 154 or so.. 2 lanes going our direction.. no cars.. no overpasses.. no place for the police to hide..etc. lmao.gif So you should be able to plainly see that I am not a timid rider.. nor do I have a death wish... I just love going fast at times. Do I worry about crashing? Sure, but I don't allow it to restrict my enjoyment of riding. I started riding at about 14 and am almost 60 now. Ride fast.. ride safe.. ride slow, ride to the limits that YOU set.. not what others set for you! dopeslap.gif My son and I sometimes ride with one or more of his friends.. they are young.. fast riders, but they know that I will not allow them to set my speed or level of bravery.. I do that for myself and they respect me for it, as well as wait for me to catch up before jetting off again. lmao.gif I wouldn't ride with them if they didn't.thumbsup.gif Just my .02c

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As an example just a couple of weeks ago I passed my son on his motorcycle as he was doing about 140.. I was doing 154 or so..

 

Sounds crazy to me. Were you paying more attention to him or to what you were doing? What if there was a 2x4 in the road? Doesn't that belong on the track?

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I have seen this quote many times "If you ride a motorcycle often, you will be killed riding it. That much is as sure as night follows day. Your responsibility is to be so vigilant and careful as to push that eventuality so far forward that you die of old age first"

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ShovelStrokeEd

Will,

There are times and places where 150+ is no more unsafe than 1/2 that is safe. I have a downhill, 2 lane on ramp near my house that is about 1/4 mile long and has a merge lane for another full 1/4 mile after it levels out. If I get the entrance turn right, I can get to an easy 140 or so before I need to slow for the merge. No problem at all slowing back to 80 or so to merge with the surrounding traffic. Just leave it in 4th and coast. Well, one small problem, it is a favorite place for the state troopers to run lidar and catch speeders coming up under the bridge. Been a couple of times I nailed that turn only to see a LEO standing outside his car looking up the road. eek.gif Hard to be sedate going by after coming around a corner leaned that hard. So far, all they do is grin.

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Ed,

 

I wasn't commenting on the speed as much as I was the idea of racing with his son. Showing off on the street doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

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Again, I broke the only bone in my body walking out of my kitchen! dopeslap.gif Don't ever ride your kitchen, especially in the rain. grin.gif

The only accident I had that left not fully healed damage was falling off the stairs in the house. Stairs are dangerous! I spend much more time on the bike than on stairs! wink.gif

 

UGH! And don't even get me started on bathtubs or ladders. I avoid taking baths when it's raining or dark because of the danger. It is getting so I don't even like to take a casual weekend bath... eek.gif

 

Seriously though, 1/3 of motorcycle deaths occur on Harleys. I would attribute this to older riders returning to motorcycling and buying more bike than they can handle. There were people in MSF who were looking at Fatboys as their first bike. Yikes!. 1/2 of deaths occur while riders are drunk. One statistic that I liked is that there were very few BMW deaths.

 

Do a google search on highway safety statistics. There are all sorts of stuff you can do to educate yourself so you can get back to enjoying the ride.

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The only issue is whether you are comfortable with your ability to manage the risks, and accept the consequences if you fail.

 

Wayne

 

To quote Larry Grodsky:

 

"Safe riding isn't superior skills or encyclopedic knowledge of motorcycles, and it isn't the total elimination of risk.

It's the personal acceptance of a level of risk comensurate with our skills, our experience, our expectations for life and the needs of others whose lives are interconnected with our own"

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1/3 of motorcycle deaths on Harleys. Very few on BMWs.

I wonder how number of Harleys vs. number of BMWs on the road fit into that statistic.

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gave in to the rush and feel of the K1200S

This is where your highest risk lies my friend. The K1200S is a bike that begs you to get stupid on it. If you give in, I would guess your odds of feasting on asphalt will increase.

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1/3 of motorcycle deaths on Harleys. Very few on BMWs.

I wonder how number of Harleys vs. number of BMWs on the road fit into that statistic.

 

There are ALOT more Harleys, but the statistic I am recalling is from a 2001 or 2002 Fars report. I went there when I was calculating my risk/reward. It came to to something like 1500 Harley related deaths and 9 BMW deaths. I just can't imagine that the bike ownership ratio matches that statistic. I am trying to find the database that lets you run queries but all that I am finding is precanned reports now. :-(

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gave in to the rush and feel of the K1200S

This is where your highest risk lies my friend. The K1200S is a bike that begs you to get stupid on it. If you give in, I would guess your odds of feasting on asphalt will increase.

 

grin.gif I test rode the K1200S. I did not buy it based on the asphalt feasting that was likely to occur. I went with the tamer K1200GT. thumbsup.gif

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1/3 of motorcycle deaths on Harleys. Very few on BMWs.

I wonder how number of Harleys vs. number of BMWs on the road fit into that statistic.

 

There are ALOT more Harleys, but the statistic I am recalling is from a 2001 or 2002 Fars report. I went there when I was calculating my risk/reward. It came to to something like 1500 Harley related deaths and 9 BMW deaths. I just can't imagine that the bike ownership ratio matches that statistic. I am trying to find the database that lets you run queries but all that I am finding is precanned reports now. :-(

 

The most meaningful statistic would be the number of deaths/mile ridden for each brand.

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ShovelStrokeEd

Nothing wrong with a K1200S, in fact, it is much more capable than many others on the road. Now, it does come with an ability to get stupid fast in a great big hurry and therin lies the problem for some. Lots of power requires a good deal more skill to modulate and, I might add, a good deal more restraint. Something I never forget when riding my Honda. I just can't get stooopid with it like I could with my 1100S. Ditto that big K and maybe even more so. Large, fast motorcycles have ways of biting you that their lesser brethren haven't even thought of yet.

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