Why I ride a motorcycle every day, despite the motorcycle risks.
“Never fear a motorcycle, but always respect it,” said my dad to an adolescent me. With a firm tone and extended index finger he coached me as I sat stiff-armed with my hands on the bars and unblinking wide eyes locked on him.
Fear should never be confused with respect.
He shouted a few more instructions and then shoved me as I released the clutch, sending me off with one big slap on the back. Fearing a motorcycle can get you hurt, but respecting one can make you feel more alive than a car ever can.
My father lost his brother to a motorcycle accident when he was 23 and two of his father’s friends had already became amputees. So, why was he teaching his only son how to ride such a dangerous thing, encouraging young love that today is full grown? I can’t answer that, but I’m thankful he did.
Many of you four-wheel suburbanites think riding a motorcycle is this dangerous, careless action–that’s an irrational fear. People are still scared of flying despite the fact that you have a better chance of dying in the car on the way to the airport than in a plane, why? Because, if you breakdown on a plane you can’t just pull over to the curb and wait for AAA. Similar to how a fender-bender in a car would equate to a life-threatening accident to me on a motorcycle.
Yes, the statistics say there are more motorcycle than car deaths, but that’s not a fair estimate of the risks. To quote a bad movie, Biker Boyz, when the young hot shot makes a bold attempt at a stunt, the experienced rider, played by Laurence Fishburne, tells him he could have been hurt, his response, “Could’ve got hurt getting out of bed.” So, does it stop us from getting out of bed? As a man I respect and former boss, David Freiburger, once wrote, “Since Sonny Bono died skiing into a tree, should we stop all skiing or should we cut down all the trees? No. The passions of the many outweigh the losses of a few.”
Unfortunately media portrays our niche group as an evil, dangerous lifestyle, catering to those fear-mongers who attend a NASCAR race just to watch a wreck. The general media muckrakes the scary side of motorcycles in an effort for ratings. Skewed statistics and media paint a scary picture of motorcyclists and blur the actual risks involved.