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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone. I am a new rider, 17, and still in high school. Whenever I tell people I ride or they see me on my bike, the first words are usually “omg you are going to die” or “have fun dying on your death machine”. Sorry if this is a morbid topic, but I have heard these statements countless times and was wondering if anyone else has people saying these bold things. If you have, how did you handle the conversation? Sorry if this is in the wrong forum section I am new.


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Simply ignore them. Only people who have never ridden make comments like that, which totally invalidates any opinion they have on the subject.

Buy good gear.
Never outride your headlight or your talent.
Constantly learn - MSFs, track days, etc.
 

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Something like 80 to 90% of motorcycle fatalities involve a rider with no formal training, unlicensed/no motorcycle endorsement, or intoxicated, either alone or in combination. You can explain this to people and that it doesn't apply to you, or just do it the right way but don't talk about it.

Found this by googling. it is from Michigan but I know I've seen similar numbers from New Jersey
"A second analysis of the 2013 motorcyclist fatalities revealed that nearly 85 percent of those riders killed had not taken a certified motorcycle training course anytime in the last ten years, supporting the initial theory that the unendorsed motorcyclist fatalities also lacked proper motorcycle operation training." https://www.ghsa.org/resources/MI-motorcyclists15
 

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Something like 80 to 90% of motorcycle fatalities involve a rider with no formal training, unlicensed/no motorcycle endorsement, or intoxicated, either alone or in combination. You can explain this to people and that it doesn't apply to you, or just do it the right way but don't talk about it.

Found this by googling. it is from Michigan but I know I've seen similar numbers from New Jersey
"A second analysis of the 2013 motorcyclist fatalities revealed that nearly 85 percent of those riders killed had not taken a certified motorcycle training course anytime in the last ten years, supporting the initial theory that the unendorsed motorcyclist fatalities also lacked proper motorcycle operation training." https://www.ghsa.org/resources/MI-motorcyclists15


Wow I did not know or even think about those statistics involving the unendorsed bikers and the ones without proper training


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Something like 80 to 90% of motorcycle fatalities involve a rider with no formal training, unlicensed/no motorcycle endorsement, or intoxicated, either alone or in combination. You can explain this to people and that it doesn't apply to you, or just do it the right way but don't talk about it.

Found this by googling. it is from Michigan but I know I've seen similar numbers from New Jersey
"A second analysis of the 2013 motorcyclist fatalities revealed that nearly 85 percent of those riders killed had not taken a certified motorcycle training course anytime in the last ten years, supporting the initial theory that the unendorsed motorcyclist fatalities also lacked proper motorcycle operation training." https://www.ghsa.org/resources/MI-motorcyclists15
I’m an ER nurse, and I’d say that 80-90% is a fair estimation of causes of any of the self inflicted trauma cases we see (as in, case where the patient was also the cause). Gunshots, chainsaws, work accidents, power tools, ladders, cars (or pedestrian vs car) you can almost always guarantee the police/medics who brought them in are going to tell you later it was alcohol/drugs, stupidity/ignorance/lack of training/lack of safety gear, or crime/some legal matter. The only difference is usually these mechanisms of action maim the patient very badly, whereas motorcycle they die more often than not (many DOA, many medics even will pronounce at the scene not worth the resources to transport).

The automobile is the single most prolific and efficient killing machine ever created by humans, yet no one is saying “Ride a moto to work it’s statistically far safer.” In fact, we regularly give licenses to undereducated teens with more regard for who is texting them or what radio station is on than safely operating it.
 

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Buy good gear.
This cannot be emphasized enough. Buy well fitting, high quality gear and WEAR IT EVERY TIME.
Never outride your headlight or your talent.
This is probably the best and the hardest to follow advise someone can give you. Best, because if you have the self-control to follow it, it will save you from injury on more than one occasion. Hard to follow because that means acknowledging that you have shockingly little talent. No offense. Swap in the word control for talent and it still makes sense but is less personal. So don't ride outside of your control and constantly track and protect yourself from the things that you can't control; other riders, traffic, road conditions etc.
Constantly learn - MSFs, track days, etc.
Train early and train often. Learn to ride the right way and you won't have to break bad habits later. Keep practicing no matter how long you've been riding.

And I would add, practice humility/ zen/ whatever keeps you from getting pissed off and doing something stupid. Because you will inevitably be unseen, ignored and even openly threatened while riding and there is nothing you can do to retaliate that won't make the situation worse.

Sorry for the rambling. I'll get to the point.

Practice these things and then you can tell all the doubters that you have stacked the deck in your favor to a point that the risk is worth the reward.
 

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Jeremy Clarkson had a hilarious version of this in an article
"Recently, various newspapers ran a photograph of me on a small motorcycle. They all pointed out that I hate motorbikes and that by riding one I had exposed myself as a hypocrite who should commit suicide immediately.

Hmmm. Had I been photographed riding the local postmistress, then, yes, I’d have been shamed into making some kind of apology. But it was a motorcycle. And I don’t think it even remotely peculiar that a motoring journalist should ride such a thing. Not when there is a problem with the economy and many people are wondering if they should make a switch from four wheels to two.

Unfortunately, you cannot make this switch on a whim, because this is Britain and there are rules. Which means that before climbing on board you must go to a car park, put on a high-visibility jacket and spend the morning driving round some cones while a man called Dave — all motorcycle instructors are called Dave — explains which lever does what.

Afterwards, you will be taken on the road, where you will drive about for several hours in a state of abject fear and misery, and then you will go home and vow never to get on a motorcycle ever again.

This is called compulsory basic training and it allows you to ride any bike up to 125cc. If you want to ride something bigger, you must take a proper test. But, of course, being human, you will not want a bigger bike, because then you will be killed immediately while wearing clothing from the Ann Summers “Dungeon” range.

Right, first things first. The motorbike is not like a car. It will not stand up when left to its own devices. So, when you are not riding it, it must be leant against a wall or a fence. I’m told some bikes come with footstools which can be lowered to keep them upright. But then you have to lift the bike onto this footstool, and that’s like trying to lift up an American.

Next: the controls. Unlike with a car, there seems to be no standardisation in the world of motorcycling. Some have gearlevers on the steering wheel. Some have them on the floor, which means you have to shift with your feet — how stupid is that? — and some are automatic.

Then we get to the brakes. Because bikes are designed by bikers — and bikers, as we all know, are extremely dim — they haven’t worked out how the front and back brake can be applied at the same time. So, to stop the front wheel, you pull a lever on the steering wheel, and to stop the one at the back, you press on a lever with one of your feet.

A word of warning, though. If you use only the front brake, you will fly over the steering wheel and be killed. If you try to use the back one, you will use the wrong foot and change into third gear instead of stopping. So you’ll hit the obstacle you were trying to avoid, and you’ll be killed.

Then there is the steering. The steering wheel comes in the shape of what can only be described as handlebars, but if you turn them — even slightly — while riding along, you will fall off and be killed. What you have to do is lean into the corner, fix your gaze on the course you wish to follow, and then you will fall off and be killed.

As far as the minor controls are concerned, well . . . you get a horn and lights and indicators, all of which are operated by various switches and buttons on the steering wheel, but if you look down to see which one does what, a truck will hit you and you will be killed. Oh, and for some extraordinary reason, the indicators do not self-cancel, which means you will drive with one of them on permanently, which will lead following traffic to think you are turning right. It will then undertake just as you turn left, and you will be killed.

What I’m trying to say here is that, yes, bikes and cars are both forms of transport, but they have nothing in common. Imagining that you can ride a bike because you can drive a car is like imagining you can swallow-dive off a 90ft cliff because you can play table tennis.

However, many people are making the switch because they imagine that having a small motorcycle will be cheap. It isn’t. Sure, the 125cc Vespa I tried can be bought for £3,499, but then you will need a helmet (£300), a jacket (£500), some Freddie Mercury trousers (£100), shoes (£130), a pair of Kevlar gloves (£90), a coffin (£1,000), a headstone (£750), a cremation (£380) and flowers in the church (£200).

In other words, your small 125cc motorcycle, which has no boot, no electric windows, no stereo and no bloody heater even, will end up costing more than a Volkswagen Golf. That said, a bike is much cheaper to run than a car. In fact, it takes only half a litre of fuel to get from your house to the scene of your first fatal accident. Which means that the lifetime cost of running your new bike is just 50p.

So, once you have decided that you would like a bike, the next problem is choosing which one. And the simple answer is that, whatever you select, you will be a laughing stock. Motorbiking has always been a hobby rather than an alternative to proper transport, and as with all hobbies, the people who partake are extremely knowledgeable. It often amazes me that in their short lives bikers manage to learn as much about biking as people who angle, or those who watch trains pull into railway stations.

Whatever. Because they are so knowledgeable, they will know precisely why the bike you select is rubbish and why theirs is superb. Mostly, this has something to do with “getting your knee down”, which is a practice undertaken by bikers moments before the crash that ends their life.

You, of course, being normal, will not be interested in getting your knee down; only in getting to work and most of the way home again before you die. That’s why I chose to test the Vespa, which is much loathed by trainspotting bikers because they say it is a scooter. This is racism. Picking on a machine because it has no crossbar is like picking on a person because he has slitty eyes or brown skin. Frankly, I liked the idea of a bike that has no crossbar, because you can simply walk up to the seat and sit down. Useful if you are Scottish and go about your daily business in a skirt.

I also liked the idea of a Vespa because most bikes are Japanese. This means they are extremely reliable so you cannot avoid a fatal crash by simply breaking down. This is entirely possible on a Vespa because it is made in Italy.

Mind you, there are some drawbacks you might like to consider. The Vespa is not driven by a chain. Instead, the engine is mounted to the side of the rear wheel for reasons that are lost in the mists of time and unimportant anyway. However, it means the bike is wider and fitted with bodywork like a car, to shroud the moving hot bits. That makes it extremely heavy. Trying to pick it up after you’ve fallen off it is impossible.

What’s more, because the heavy engine is on the right, the bike likes turning right much more than it likes turning left. This means that in all left-handed bends, you will be killed.

Unless you’ve been blown off by the sheer speed of the thing. At one point I hit 40mph and it was as though my chest was being battered by a freezing-cold hurricane. It was all I could do to keep a grip on the steering wheel with my frostbitten fingers.

I therefore hated my experience of motorcycling and would not recommend it to anyone."
 

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According to NHTSA, when you ride a motorcycle you are 38 times more likely to get hurt and/or die than when you drive a car. Not 38%, 38 times. As in 3,800%!
Imagine your cell phone bill goes from $100 a month to $3,800 a month. That is how dangerous riding a motorcycle is compared to driving a car.

And Jamie is right, just by taking actual, formal motorcycle training courses and applying what you learn there you can reduce your chances of being in a crash by A LOT.

Be wise, get trained, wear your gear, be safe.

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OP, I just read in another thread that you are asking about recommendations to replace the fairings on your bike. PLEASE invest in things that are more likely to save your life before you start prettying up your bike. Get trained, buy quality gear, get quality tires, make sure the brakes and suspension are doing their job, etc.
THEN you can worry about pimping your ride and impressing the chicks at school.

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Discussion Starter #10
OP, I just read in another thread that you are asking about recommendations to replace the fairings on your bike. PLEASE invest in things that are more likely to save your life before you start prettying up your bike. Get trained, buy quality gear, get quality tires, make sure the brakes and suspension are doing their job, etc.
THEN you can worry about pimping your ride and impressing the chicks at school.

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I do have proper training, gear, tires, and changed the brake fluid and the pads, and checked suspension and nuts and bolts. I did all that before making sure my bike looks good. It was a project bike and I made sure to make it function properly before putting money into it.


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I do have proper training, gear, tires, and changed the brake fluid and the pads, and checked suspension and nuts and bolts. I did all that before making sure my bike looks good. It was a project bike and I made sure to make it function properly before putting money into it.
Yay!

Then keep it easy while you build those good habits (based on what you learned during training) and enjoy your ride! :D
 

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Yay!



Then keep it easy while you build those good habits (based on what you learned during training) and enjoy your ride! :D


Thank you for the input though, I can always learn and take notes from others especially since I am a new rider on the streets


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Something like 80 to 90% of motorcycle fatalities involve a rider with no formal training, unlicensed/no motorcycle endorsement, or intoxicated, either alone or in combination. You can explain this to people and that it doesn't apply to you, or just do it the right way but don't talk about it.

Found this by googling. it is from Michigan but I know I've seen similar numbers from New Jersey
"A second analysis of the 2013 motorcyclist fatalities revealed that nearly 85 percent of those riders killed had not taken a certified motorcycle training course anytime in the last ten years, supporting the initial theory that the unendorsed motorcyclist fatalities also lacked proper motorcycle operation training." https://www.ghsa.org/resources/MI-motorcyclists15
I mean...

I took MSF when I started riding (06). I haven't done a *certified* training course in the last decade, but I've done dozens of trackdays, a significant amount of racing, and a significant number of schools.

I suppose if I die I fit into the 85% who haven't taken a certified training course in the last decade. That doesn't mean I don't train, or take well regarded courses.
 

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I mean...

I took MSF when I started riding (06). I haven't done a *certified* training course in the last decade, but I've done dozens of trackdays, a significant amount of racing, and a significant number of schools.

I suppose if I die I fit into the 85% who haven't taken a certified training course in the last decade. That doesn't mean I don't train, or take well regarded courses.

I would consider SOME properly-coached track days and other established schools as valid, even if they are not endorsed by an official state certification.


Although I must say, about a month ago I taught an Intermediate Riding Clinic and one of my students—who bragged about having raced a lot in the past—really struggled with basic braking and crash-avoidance maneuvers.

You learn a lot in the track (I love it!) but not all track days/schools teach techniques that translate into actual safer street riding.
 

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To answer your original question, when told I am riding on a death machine (or I hear about their cousin who works in an ER and refers to "donorcycles") , my response varies with my audience.

When my family members or good friends express genuine concern that I will die in a ditch or on sprawled across the hood of somebody's lifted and left-turning Dodge Ram, I explain that I have a good bit to live for and so I take precautions to minimize the risks they fear. I wear good gear. I don't drink when riding. I ride well within the limits of my vision and my bike's capability. And I have had and try to use the training and experience I've received to constantly asses and manage the risks that come with riding.

If the comment comes from some ignorant assh*le offering an uninformed opinion, I point out that at 66, I have already lived more life than they can ever imagine and have no intention of "going gentle into that good night," but that even old and cranky as I am, there are still strong bonds which tie me to my life. And that I intend to continue riding because it would be dull to pause and rust unburnished.

And when they look at me confused, I point out that they too will die, cackle and ride away.

Ride if it gives you pleasure. Ride well and carefully if your life rewards you.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
To answer your original question, when told I am riding on a death machine (or I hear about their cousin who works in an ER and refers to "donorcycles") , my response varies with my audience.

When my family members or good friends express genuine concern that I will die in a ditch or on sprawled across the hood of somebody's lifted and left-turning Dodge Ram, I explain that I have a good bit to live for and so I take precautions to minimize the risks they fear. I wear good gear. I don't drink when riding. I ride well within the limits of my vision and my bike's capability. And I have had and try to use the training and experience I've received to constantly asses and manage the risks that come with riding.

If the comment comes from some ignorant assh*le offering an uninformed opinion, I point out that at 66, I have already lived more life than they can ever imagine and have no intention of "going gentle into that good night," but that even old and cranky as I am, there are still strong bonds which tie me to my life. And that I intend to continue riding because it would be dull to pause and rust unburnished.

And when they look at me confused, I point out that they too will die, cackle and ride away.

Ride if it gives you pleasure. Ride well and carefully if your life rewards you.


Cackle and ride away, I like that haha. That is a good point, we all have to go at some point and I guess you can’t live life paranoid 24/7 or else something is bound to happen the more you stress about it. Thanks for the input


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In addition to all the good advice above, I'd strongly recommend reading David Hough's "Proficient Motorcycling".

It's a really good book that delves into a lot of the thought process that goes into riding safely.
Yes, proper gear and training is important, but nothing is more important than how your mind is working, what it's thinking about and focused on, while you're riding.
 

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I'd strongly recommend reading David Hough's "Proficient Motorcycling".
+1
There's also an article by Nick Ientasch called The Pace which offers some wisdom about riding in groups. At some point, you'll want to ride with friends and this article offers insight on doing that safely.
 

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The bottom, line, there is merit to their statement. You can actually die riding a motorcycle. It is dangerous but we still do it because we love it. At 17 and being a new rider you are a ticking time bomb. The moment your adolescent kicks in on the bike is the day your whole life can change. I don't even understand how me and SOME of my friends are still around the way we used to ride at 20. I once road with a new rider who took the MSF class and got his license. We rode together and he rode like he was an experienced rider. I stated to him, "I thought you were new." He told me how he took the MSF classes. I lost a lot of skin and blood learning the things he learned. I took the class soon after and the things they teach you will really help to keep you from getting into a jam. As for me, I've been riding way too long that it's just natural for the people in my life now. When random nobodies says things like that, I either ignore or just answer with, "I hope not"
 
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