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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I spoke to a fellow rider I met this past weekend. I am sure everyone here has heard this statement: "it's not when you go down it's how and where." I refuse to buy into this concept and I have heard this from several people too.

I believe in statements like this geared toward say cowboys in the PBR bull riding; "it's not how you get hurt but when." Our sport isn't as dangerous as bull riding is it?

I had gained some respect while talking to this guy too b/c I could tell he was very knowledgeable about bikes and road craft. He had a very bad low side to a high side to 120ft. launch through mid air where he hit a van and the bike landed beside him then slid into him. He had all the hardware in his arms and legs and scars to prove it.

His claim/warning to me was IT ISN'T WHEN YOU GO DOWN BUT WHERE AND HOW HARD. Then when I told him I commute he was really shocked and like I can't believe you haven't gone down yet and followed that up by, "I was not even a commuter." He then starts naming friends he has lost and following their names with "and he was a commuter," etc...Any thoughts on this?

I mean I am not wuss and I do love to ride and a stupid cliché probably won't change that but I am still perturbed by this credo I seem to keep hearing. Not to mention it makes us sound like stupid roulette playing moron thrill seekers here.
 

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Lots of people here say the same thing. I imagine it is like anything in life though, you can't expect to drive a car without having a crash at some point.
 

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something to think about... I know a retiree rider who has ridden bikes all his life and never had an accident... until he went to bike week about 2 years in Florida when he was rearended at a stop light by a young guy looking probably at women walking around and he went down and had a nice little bruise plus bike was in shop for couple of weeks getting repairs. Not his fault other than not looking in rear view mirror constantly for something like this to happen which I don't harldy any of us do.

I know another guy who is older rider on a BMW tourer that never had an accident.... until he went to park bike on a slanted parking lot with some loose pavement... he lost his footing moving bike around to safe spot and fell and broke his collarbone and broke a lever and few other minor scratches.

I don't think that "everyone" will one day have an accident but... I don't care how careful you are... it can happen and with the ever increasing amount of traffic, distractions etc... I think chances grow every day. I have a friend here at work (son of the retiree meniotned first) who has ridden on street since 16 (now in 30's) and never had accident... but with 2 kids now... he is telling me he is considering giving up riding because he doesn't feel as safe anymore... too many near misses with traffic and reads too many reports of accidents in news and online and many times its not the rider's fault. He doesn't do sport riding because he has an ST-4 and a Magna cruiser but he doesn't enjoy it as much as he used to because of worrying about accidents and being around for his kids. I kinda understand where he is coming from.

just something to think about ;)
 
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I've been street riding 20+ years now and haven't lost anyone yet, so as far as going down being guaranteed, I don't believe there's any way one could claim that unless they can see the future. It's definitely a possibilty -maybe even a probability- but it can't be a certainty.

There's a certain degree of risk involved with many normal activities: skiing, swimming, running, shooting, stamp collecting (you could get a nasty paper cut and die from the infection!). The only way to mitigate the risk inherent in life (other than hiding under the bed) is to take every reasonable precaution you can - gear, education, equipment, awareness etc...

Ride safe!

:)
 

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To me, the enjoyment of being on my bike, away from everything else, far outweighs the negative sides of motorcycling.  People pulling out in front of you, cutting you off, tailgaiting, yelling, cigarette butts, obscene hand gestures, etc. are part of the experience.

However, I do completely understand someone who has a new family and doesn't want to risk puting their loved ones through a funeral or having little Suzy open daddy's katsup bottles for the rest of his life.  It's all in what kind of person you are.

I do believe that everyone will go down at some time in their life.  I haven't been down yet, but I figure I will, living in a city environment.  I only hope that I'm able to get back on and keep riding.  Whether or not the injuries are physical or mental, getting back in is probably the toughest part.

If you're constantly worrying about getting off, perhaps motorcycling isn't for you.  I'm not trying to talk you out of it.  Lord knows we need all the motorcyclists out there we can get.  But ask yourself if the risks outweigh the enjoyment.

Choose wisely.
 

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I completely believe in that statement. "It's not if you'll go down, but when"

I'd like to believe that since I've already been down and had my turn that I should be good to go for now.

Although, my husband's dad has been riding for a long time, and has never gone down. Had some really close calls, but has not happend. My husband has also never been down, and he sometimes says he wonders when it's his turn. But you can't ride scared! If you do, you're going to be all freaked out so when you may have a "close call" you won't react well. You might get all grabby with the front break while you're trying to swerve or something. Plus, if you ride scared, it takes all the fun out of riding.

I just love riding too much to give it up because I'm worried about crashing again.
 

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Like they say...

There's two kinds of riders...Those who have been down and those who haven't yet....

I must say that I am one of those in the former group.  I got it out of my system at a young age... Learned from my mistakes.  It happens.  You just need to be prepared for it.  In my short little life I have met plenty of motorcycle riders... all of the serious ones have been down.  Most of the weekend warriors have been down too.....  

It's a fact when you participate in a very dangerous sport.  Just think....  Our bulls are 2 ton behemouths with idiots on their cell phone behind the controls....  Me... I'd rather dodge a bull than a Suburban....
 

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i'd guess 98% of people eventually drop a bike within their first 25,000 miles of riding, usually due to some crazy conspiracy of unforeseen circumstances.  maybe you'll be one of the lucky 2%, who knows.  but probably not.  if you're in the top 5% of the population when it comes to riding smart, planning ahead, and riding defensively, then you have a good chance of being in the other 2%, but again probably not because by definition, 5% is a small percentage.
 

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I've been fortunate enough to not have gone down in 13 months and 12k miles. Almost all city riding. 150 miles on the track. Every once in awhile I get scared of riding and think the risks are too great and think it doesn't make any sense that a motorcycle should be able to stand up, lean over, turn, etc. But then I get on again and I forget about it... for another two months.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to be a nervous wreck one day :-\
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Personally I dont ride scared at all. I actually only get to thinking about things like this when I am not around my bike. Today for instance I could not ride to work b/c my battery was dead for some reason and I had to throw it on the charger. I am actually very surprised at how automatically I have fallen back on my rider skill sets in bad situatuions. I have so far never done anything to cause doubt in myself and this thread really isn't about doubt.

It is more about the origins of this Bull$hit statement of "it isn't when but if." I refuse to believe this and people who have already been down are of course the biggest supporters of this stupid a$$ statement.

My question to the people who have already been down and their support of this statement is; maybe all of us who have not been down are just better riders than those of you who have?  
 

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I don't agree with the concept either, I could stop riding today and having never gone down, completly flaw the whole idea.
Then I could tell people "No, I rode a motorcycle and NEVER went down"

However, to think that you can ride a motorcycle, or car for that matter, for many many years and not expect to be in some sort of accedent you are being pretty nieve. Not because it is GOING to happen but because the chances of it happening are pretty positive.

Best thing you can do is be a safe rider, and be extreemly defensive.
 

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I also believe that eventually, everybody goes down. Sure some worse than others, and some more frequent than others. And I also believe that the great majority of these get-offs are preventable. But it is impossible to always ride completely 100% focused 100% of the time. It only takes a split second for something to go wrong.

How you ride, I belive, also plays an important part of how and when you will go down. Regardless of the rider's skill, if you take someone who tears through the Gap on a regular basis, I would bet that they will go down sooner than if that same person rode just to get around, or doing some mild touring.

But I think that the flip side to that is that because our (the riders that like the twisties, and like to push it a bit) crashes are more predictible, we often dress with the assumption that we are more likely to crash (full leathers etc..) where as crusers and commuters I think are more likely to be "hit" by something, and therefore, harder to predict.

These are just my thoughts, and are obviously not backed up by any kind of proof. Just me thinking aloud ;)
 

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The odds are high, though not an absolute certainty, that any one individual rider will go down during their riding career, regardless of rider skill. The odds of this should go up when commuting, especially if done within one of the major urban rat-traps such as NYC/Jersey, L.A., Chicago, D.C., etc....
 

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just a way of saying , don't get cocky, nobody is above crashing no matter how good you are.

I've been down a several times if I include my 0 mph tipovers, and I ain't goin to say that I've had my crash so I won't crash again
 

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Kevin said:
I spoke to a fellow rider I met this past weekend. I am sure everyone here has heard this statement: "it's not when you go down it's how and where." I refuse to buy into this concept and I have heard this from several people too. .....
......
I mean I am not wuss and I do love to ride and a stupid cliché probably won't change that but I am still perturbed by this credo I seem to keep hearing. Not to mention it makes us sound like stupid roulette playing moron thrill seekers here.
I was talking like you up until 2 months ago when out of the blue a car drove right into me. I was going the speed limit, I was maintaining lane dominance. It was middle of the day, well lit. Some guy was in a hurry was at a stop sign got inpatient and just drove out. In hind sight its easy to say I should of done this or I should of done that but like some other have mentioned you can never predicted every situation. Just hope for the best.

If you ride with any consistancy there is a very high probablity that at somepoint sooner than later. You will go down.

Don't forget to post here after you do.
 

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Kevin said:
My question to the people who have already been down and their support of this statement is; maybe all of us who have not been down are just better riders than those of you who have?  
Do you think so? Do you figure yourself to be a better rider because you haven't crashed? Many are better riders having crashed before. But perhaps your some sort of motorcycling savant who escapes crashing through amazing skill and reflexes?

It's simply not true that a rider is destine to crash...and it's been proven countless times over to be false. There are very very few longterm riders who haven't crashed, but it is possible. Or one could ride a bike for a weekend and not crash it....

On the flipside: I've crashed twice... this doesn't magically make me less liable to crash in the future unless I learned and gained skill which gives me more smarts when I ride.

It can be assumed that frequent track days, hard ridden twisties, and aggressive urban riding greatly increases the risk of crashing.

Come on people...quit being so superstitious when you ride. Chances are...you're going down, but you might get lucky.

(Anyone else appreciate that irony?)
 

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RandyO said:
just a way of saying , don't get cocky, nobody is above crashing no matter how good you are.

I've been down a several times if I include my 0 mph tipovers, and I ain't goin to say that I've had my crash so I won't crash again
Exactly... and very well put. I put a bike down in my riders safety course & still passed :D and I am not afraid to ride now, just a little bit leery of wet pavement.
 
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My old man was in the "not-if-but-when" school and I've adopted the same attitude. I've been down a couple times in my 15+ years of riding (one of them last year - doh) and never been seriously hurt.

The angle I always drop on the naysayers and doomsdayers that say 'eventually you will get hurt' is this: your odds of losing it don't go up as you ride longer - it's not a cumulative thing. Day-by-day there is some chance you are going to panic, go wide, get bumped by a car, drop it, slide out on a dead squirrel, etc.

I think the odds go down as you ride longer, get more experience, and get past all the 'almost crashed' scenarios. You aren't going to panic as much when you're more experienced. You won't drift wide as often. You'll be better at anticipating the actions of other drivers. You'll learn to reduce torque on slippery squirrels. Each time you save your own butt, that's one more data point on how to get out of a potentially bad situation later. You only get better.
 

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statistically, the more you ride the more chance of going down, it's that easy

it all comes down to risk management, wear full gear and decrease the likelyhood of getting hurt, but it is not a fullproof thing, people have died wearing full leathers and others lived with no helmet or gear, it is a risk
 
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