Playing down the fear angle
July 29, 2008 at 3:45 pm #1809
There have been a series of high profile motorcycle fatalities around here in the last little while, and now people who previously expressed no interest in my bike are pretty much certain I’m going to die tragically. I don’t know how to explain that I can reduce my risk by riding defensively, that I ride with my head on a swivel, that my experience as a cyclist has opened me up to assessing risk on the fly. This is not to say that a accident or close call is not in my future, but I certainly don’t feel like I need to adjust my life insurance or write a will. What do you say to people who are freaking out?July 29, 2008 at 5:06 pm #9516BuddParticipant
Just tell them that you yearn for the sweet release of death. J/K. Tell them the truth. It is a calcutated risk like crossing the street, riding an airplane, or eating bacon. Tell them that when the good lord calls your name, you are going regardless of whether or not you are on a bike.
“I am the best there is at what I do, and what I do ain’t nice.”-WolverineJuly 30, 2008 at 2:51 am #9566ScottyJParticipant
Mmm, bacon.July 30, 2008 at 3:36 am #9574AmorylParticipant
and when that doesn’t work, understand that nothing you say or do (not even the act of never dying) will change their minds that motorcycles are flying death traps of fiery explody doom.
My mom, for instance, simply hates the idea of anyone ever riding a motorcycle, and is absolutely convinced that every single person who even sits on a motorcycle (engine off, two burly chaps holding the bike upright, no gas in tank) is going to die horribly. every motorcycle accident, every squid who cracks his helmetless skull open on the interstate cuz he did a wheelie on the interstate at rush hour going 100+ through heavy traffic simply proves she’s right. the 70yr old harley rider who’s never been in an accident and learned to ride a bike before he could walk, isn’t even an exception, it’s simply not part of the equation (yay for seeing only what you want to see, eh?) and the thought of her baby boy getting on one of those evil death machines breaks her heart. even though I’m most likely more at risk of dying in my cargo van, simply because I’ll spend 10-20x driving it through all kinds of horrible traffic particularly durring the rush hours while horribly distracted by trying to find customer’s homes in poorly labled adresses and small maps, than on my bike, riding on my days off at hours where there’s little traffic in areas more devoid idiots (as much as thats possible anywhere) seriously, I drive like everyone’s trying to kill me, and every single day I spend driving all over hell and back in that huge eyesore, I’m at increasing risk of having someone smash me up good. sure I’ve got more protection in the van, but I’m FAR less nimble (and you’ve never seen blind spots till you’ve been in a laden cargo van)
honestly, I think the worst thing you can do is cave into their fears and give up riding (not that you’ve implied this was even an option) because then they’ll feel they’ve managed to “save your life” and will live in that bizarre dual state of fear that you’ll start riding again someday (and die) and the post traumatic state of having JUST averted your imminent death. the only thing you really can do is assert that you will continue to ride the bike, and that you’ll take every precaution possible, and not be a squid, and they can either accept that, OR it’s on them to try to ignore the fact that you’re out there right this moment….ridingJuly 30, 2008 at 3:59 am #9575
Mental.July 30, 2008 at 5:03 am #9581AaronMerlotParticipant
Wow my dad calls my bike “that death machine” and my gear “that death gear” I call it “anti-death gear”. One of my brothers and I both ride, and my father never misses a chance to let us know exactly how he feels about bikes. But you know, I just remember lima beans (no I am not loosing it), I hate lima beans no matter what you do to them, I hate them, and I know how good they are for you. The point is, some people just hate bikes no matter what. Period!! You just live your life the way you want because unless the Buddhists are right, it is the only one you get. So be safe be smart and live your life!July 30, 2008 at 3:14 pm #9601
I think lima beans look like fetuses. And it keeps me from enjoying them.July 30, 2008 at 7:19 pm #9619canstaettParticipant
The way i figure it there are three parts of you getting hurt on a bike. Knowledge/Experience (how to ride safely), Gearing up, and the other idiots on the road. With an MSF under your belt and ATGATT you negate 1 1/2 of those, the other 1/2 is negated by choosing to ride safely. The MSF can teach you how, you have to go out and actually do it though. That’s two out of three right there. you can’t do anything about the idiots except anticipate the stupid thing they will do (like the three, yes three different people who pulled out in front of me on the way to work this morning and refused to do the speed limit).
This is the argument i will be using at the family get together in Sept. if my sister tells my mom/grandparents about my bike like she told my dad. Dad was actually pretty cool about it, but mom had always been anti-bike. We shall see if it works.
I will also have a picture of me in full gear to show them- see! No skin showing anywhere- even in the 100+ AZ heat! All I have to do is hydrate and watch for stupid people.July 30, 2008 at 9:56 pm #9625CBennettParticipant
I was afraid to ride, still am to be honest not a overwhelming fear but I just know that it IS more dangerous than driving a car becasue you have no roll cage/crash zone around you and the smallest things that would not phase a car like a rut,rock,deer,gravel,etc,etc,etc can cause you serious damage on a bike..but these gas prices are even MORE scary and they have led me to overcome my fears..I know its NOT the reason most people ride/get bikes but for me its just a MPG saver and even a 250 Motorcycle is cooler than a scooter but gives you 2X better MPG than a car for running around and back and forth to work.July 30, 2008 at 11:00 pm #9633
I’m just going to tell them I always ride so fast nothing can hit me. j/k
My mom has been the best, surprisingly enough. Just once or twice she’s mentioned she doesnt’ LOVE the thought of me on a bike and left it at that. Other people go pale every time they see it in the garage.
Secretly, I think kthey’re just jealous….July 31, 2008 at 2:42 am #9643AmorylParticipant
I honestly think that the bigger, tougher, “safer” cars actually put you in more danger, because you’ve got a false sense of security, and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the very worst drivers I see on the road drive around in huge honkin SUV’s. they believe they’re so safe and secure in their wheeled titanics that they stop actually driving. they weave in and out of traffic, drift over lanes, cut across multiple lanes when they realize they’re about to miss their turn, they plow through left turns long after the turn light turns red (the suburbs of chicago are notorious for 2-3-sometimes even 4 cars making left turns after the turn light turned red) all while talking on a cell phone, drinking coffee, reading maps, or paperwork, doing makup, scolding kids in the back…
on a bike you need to actually ride. you need to pay attention to the road, to the traffic, to conditions, your speed….you concentrate so much more, you notice so much more (because if you don’t you’ll get creamed) yeah people don’t notice you and try to kill you, but people don’t notice anyone and try to kill them all the time. people try to kill me and I’m in a huge van. sure I’ll likely survive most accidents I’d be in, but because I pay attention, I give people room, and I expect other people to try to kill me, I’ve not been in an accident in….over 10 years. (I was young and not nearly as defensive a driver as I am now) and never an accident since I started driving this van for work.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that in many ways riding a motorcycle is likely safer than driving a car, you’re generally more nimble, you pay more attention, you learn to anticipate problems that 99% of drivers never will, and you have FAR less blind spots than any car.
the counter is that no matter how safe you ride, no matter how cautious, how aware, and how defensive you are, there’s always the chance that you’ll be in an accident, just as in a car, and in that way a bike is much less safe then a car, if all your skill, knowledge, and luck run out and you impact with someone or something, the chances of walking away are much less, let alone without injury.
so (and this is extremely scientific and accurate numbers pulled magically out my rear) I’d figure, assuming that YOU are a good rider, that 80% or so of threats on the road are actually less for a skilled rider on a familier bike, and the remaining 20% or so of risk is more dangerous than a driver.
personally I’d rather bet on the 80% vs the 20% (even though that 20% is whats more likely to kill you)
I could be horribly wrong, but thats my impressionAugust 14, 2008 at 7:05 pm #10524AndrewParticipant
I’m 34 and I was surprised that my mother had no problems with the bike whatsoever. She had a brother who rode all his life and worked on them for a living. My wife has been a different matter. She was all supportive until I passed the MSF and then reality set in. I don’t have a bike yet but she calls it the death trap. She’s kind of joking on that since she has said she doesn’t feel really strong about it either way. She has told me that I will be upping my life insurance though. Nothing like mixed messages.August 14, 2008 at 8:52 pm #10543
I’d better be sure not to mention the suicide throttle…..August 14, 2008 at 8:52 pm #10544
I’d better be sure not to mention the suicide throttle…..
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