This is something one of the guys wrote on cruisers.net and I sort of thought it was worth sharing...
I've been having some discussions regarding risk management lately, and I thought I'd share a few thoughts that it all has brought to my mind. I may quote a thing or two that others said to me here, and if I do, well, credit where credit is due, those that said them know who they are....I felt those ideas worth repeating, anyways. This is a bit long...
My discussions focused mainly on the fact that driving a vehicle (car, bike, whatever) is the most dangerous thing that the average person will ever do (those of us that don't sky-dive or rock-climb, or whatever) and yet, because we ALL do it, all the time, we tend to have minimal regard for or even awareness of just how much risk is actually involved. Consider;
(From the World Health organization website) In 2002 nearly 1.2 million people worldwide died as a result of a road traffic crash. This represents an average of 3242 persons dying each day around the world. In addition to these deaths, between 20 million and 50 million people globally are estimated to be injured or disabled every year.
A casual attitude towards speed...let's look at what happens when a pedestrian gets hit by a motor vehicle; (From the U.K. Dept. of transport)
A pedestrian hit at 30kmh has about a 95% chance of survival
A pedestrian hit at 50kmh has about an 80% chance of survival
A pedestrian hit at 55kmh has only a 50% chance of survival
A pedestrian hit at 60kmh has only a 10% chance of survival
Do you see why there is ZERO tolerance for speeding in school zones? Think of how this applies to a mostly unprotected motorcycle rider - like most I see on sunny days - no safety gear and minimal helmets. It is unlikely that you will be travelling at LESS than 60kmh anywhere - because almost everybody speeds by at least 10kmh.
Look at that figure for a 60kmh impact again. Only a 10% chance.
Now consider that every vehicle around you is doing 60kmh or better, too. If you collide with another vehicle, chances are the impact velocity may be much greater than 60kmh. Head on, it would be 120kmh.
There is old saying, "There are old riders and there are bold riders, but there are very few old, bold riders." It's very true.
Think about those skydivers. They are WELL aware of the risk they take. I know a few people that do this. Do you think that they cut safety corners? Not on their life, they don't. All the gear, all the time, and everything is double and triple checked before they jump.
How about rock climbers? I know a couple of those, too. Fanatical about quality and safety of their equipment, and you bet they double and triple check everything before they trust their life to it.
My friend is a pilot. Full pre-flight check, every flight, maintainance logs, etc. etc. Pilots understand the risk and they don't cut corners, either.
On a bike, if something goes wrong, you stand a really good chance of being seriously injured or killed. And yet,
How many riders do you think pre-trip their bikes before every ride?
How many really wear all the gear all the time?
How many allow poor driving habits to put them at greatly elevated risk every ride? Tailgating is #1! Excessive speed! Riding in a position where you cannot see, or riding where you cannot be seen! Doing the unexpected (Shoulder riding, filtering, etc.) all these and more GREATLY increase the risk of riding, yet many do it all the time, without even considering the dangers involved.
All this rant does not mean don't ride or drive. Yep, you might step off the curb one day and get hit by a bus, but does that mean you shouldn't keep looking both ways before crossing the street?
Understand that the risk level is very high.
Always take the appropriate steps to minimize that risk.
Get to enjoy riding for a nice full lifetime.
Seems a good trade-off to me.
One last thought, and this is a direct quote from someone I know. There seems to be a "fatalistic attitude amongst some people after someone else dies - (s)he died doing what (s)he loved Well what you love should not be the instrument of your death!" How awful is that!
How sad is it that a rider might die because of something so simple as they didn't feel like wearing the full face helmet today. Or because they - or someone else - simply made a lane change without a proper shoulder check. Or because someone was simply answering their cell phone. Simple, seemingly inconsequential actions, or inactions, that end up having fatal consequences...
I LOVE bikes and riding with a passion. But I never forget the huge risk that I face each and every time I ride. All these tips I write? I really do all that stuff. Hope to be riding that way for a long time to come.
Wow what a rant that all is. If you stuck it through to get all the way to here, thanks. If you skimmed ahead to here becasue it sounded like preaching, yah, maybe it was that, too. Whew.
Advice and tips by me are offered free and are based on generally accepted best practices. Effort is made to ensure accuracy and completeness but no guarantee is expressed or implied. Use your own judgement.