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I think you can evaluate risks by outcomes.

We seem to have a fair number of, shall we say, seasoned riders here, among which I count myself. Been riding for more than 40 years, been on Medicare a couple of years. Never a serious street accident. Seems awfully unlikely, if it was as dangerous as some say, that any of us could have survived this long. Probability would dictate against it.

Which, in turn, likely points out that it is not a matter entirely of probability. If you wear the right gear, take the proper precautions, develop the right skills, and are diligent in your situational awareness, it CAN be done safely.

Certainly there are far greater opportunities for things to go badly wrong if you fail, however. It is largely up to the individual to take the necessary steps to make it safe. Certainly the average distracted, unskilled driver, if transitioned to a motorcycle, would have a short, unhappy experience. I suspect that the disinterest in motorcycles by our younger generations is partially due to a disinterest in putting forth the effort to learn how to do it correctly and safely.

I suspect the same people that claim motorcycles are dangerous would claim that guns are dangerous. And speaking for themselves, they are probably right.
 

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While I'm not quick to admit it... I'm nearly old, too.
I've broken my back twice, ribs twice and a complete shoulder separation. All separate crashes. All during dirt racing.
On the street bikes and in aviation, I never purposely exceed 70% of skill, equipment or circumstances. Its a personal rule for me.
 
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I've broken my back twice, ribs twice and a complete shoulder separation. All separate crashes. All during dirt racing.
Yep, have a number of noteworthy fractures and injuries myself dirt-biking. But that's different. On dirt bikes, if you are not crashing occasionally, you are not riding hard enough. Decided enough was enough when I narrowly averted a lifetime wheelchair when I was 40, and got off the dirt bikes.

If I was going to teach a youngster how to ride, I'd start them on dirt bikes, as you are, almost all the time, operating on the limit of traction, cornering, braking, acceleration, or just a little past it. Build the automatic responses to loss of traction and other technical skills, so all the attention can go to situational awareness when you are on the street. But I'd also caution against the almost certain injuries if you pursue dirt biking as a hobby.

One of the benefits of taking rider safety courses is the judgement of the instructors. When my wife took a scooter class, there were a couple of people in the class that the instructor firmly but gently washed out, telling them that they were never likely to develop the skills and attitudes necessary to ride safely. An elderly friend (yeah, even older than me) saw me riding my motorcycle, and said he thought about trying it himself, for the first time. I'd seen him driving, and knew he wasn't up to it. So I suggested he take a scooter course to start. Predictably, he was asked to drop out after a few classes. Probably saved his life.
 

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I would agree that off-road riding is different and routine crashes can/should be expected. It's a young man's game and requires good physical conditioning to participate in.

I also believe that lots of dirt experience translates well into keeping you safe on the road and that people with a strong dirt experience do better down the road than those who have ridden strictly street. I don't have any true dirt bike experience, but have done a lot of dualsport single-track-type riding miles on 650-cc machines that I believe add to my bank account of riding wisdom.

Well said by Jimding above. He described it perfectly.

Take out the drunks, the squids, the risk-takers and the people pushing a bike they're not used to yet and the statistics for motorcycle crashes probably don't look nearly as bad.

There's a huge difference between somebody who started riding minibikes/small dirt bikes as a kid and progressed on up through different motorcycles over the years and some 50-year-old guy who suddenly decides he wants to ride a motorcycle and starts out on a 900-pound Harley Davidson.
 

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I think you can evaluate risks by outcomes.

We seem to have a fair number of, shall we say, seasoned riders here, among which I count myself. Been riding for more than 40 years, been on Medicare a couple of years. Never a serious street accident. Seems awfully unlikely, if it was as dangerous as some say, that any of us could have survived this long. Probability would dictate against it.

Which, in turn, likely points out that it is not a matter entirely of probability. If you wear the right gear, take the proper precautions, develop the right skills, and are diligent in your situational awareness, it CAN be done safely.

Certainly there are far greater opportunities for things to go badly wrong if you fail, however. It is largely up to the individual to take the necessary steps to make it safe. Certainly the average distracted, unskilled driver, if transitioned to a motorcycle, would have a short, unhappy experience. I suspect that the disinterest in motorcycles by our younger generations is partially due to a disinterest in putting forth the effort to learn how to do it correctly and safely.

I suspect the same people that claim motorcycles are dangerous would claim that guns are dangerous. And speaking for themselves, they are probably right.
Without going into reams of detail, that is not how how risk analysis is done. And for good reason.
 

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Without going into reams of detail, that is not how how risk analysis is done. And for good reason.
Maybe in a mathematical or actuarial sense. But in the real world, on an individual basis, it seems to work. If you can repeatedly do something, day after day, year after year, without adverse outcome, then for you, personally, there isn't much risk. I've been using chainsaws for decades, never a nick. But I am extremely careful and thoughtful. Is the potential for injury there? Quite obviously. Can they be avoided? Yes, that too.

Clearly, some individuals have successfully mitigated the risks for decades. Statistically, the general population will suffer injuries and deaths. But that does not affect them, or me, personally.

The local police and fire unions tout the 'fact' that they are risking their lives every single day, when it comes time to negotiate their contracts with the city. With almost a thousand police officers, it is a rare year when an officer loses his or her life in the line of duty, and then almost always for a violation of procedure or protocol. Firemen, even less common. So how much risk are they taking, really? Fact is, neither of those occupations makes the top 10.


You can do the general stats, and arrive at probabilities. But I'd bet the error bars, or standard deviations (depending on how you want to look at it) tend to be pretty large. Worst case, a kid gets a pocket rocket and crashes it on his first ride. Best case, half-centuries without injuries.
 

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You can do the general stats, and arrive at probabilities. But I'd bet the error bars, or standard deviations (depending on how you want to look at it) tend to be pretty large.
Somebody explained to me the difference between odds and probability, when I was a kid . It lurks in the back in the background as I make decisions.
If you flip a coin 499 times and it comes up heads every time ... the probability that it will be heads on the 500th flip are astronomical. The odds are 50 / 50.
 

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Maybe in a mathematical or actuarial sense. But in the real world, on an individual basis, it seems to work. If you can repeatedly do something, day after day, year after year, without adverse outcome, then for you, personally, there isn't much risk. I've been using chainsaws for decades, never a nick. But I am extremely careful and thoughtful. Is the potential for injury there? Quite obviously. Can they be avoided? Yes, that too.

Clearly, some individuals have successfully mitigated the risks for decades. Statistically, the general population will suffer injuries and deaths. But that does not affect them, or me, personally.

The local police and fire unions tout the 'fact' that they are risking their lives every single day, when it comes time to negotiate their contracts with the city. With almost a thousand police officers, it is a rare year when an officer loses his or her life in the line of duty, and then almost always for a violation of procedure or protocol. Firemen, even less common. So how much risk are they taking, really? Fact is, neither of those occupations makes the top 10.


You can do the general stats, and arrive at probabilities. But I'd bet the error bars, or standard deviations (depending on how you want to look at it) tend to be pretty large. Worst case, a kid gets a pocket rocket and crashes it on his first ride. Best case, half-centuries without injuries.
You're misunderstanding the nature of risk and probabilities, and making the usual mistake of overvaluing a limited data set.
But, it's a big topic, and I have other things to do today, so I'll leave it here. :)
 

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Statistics are like people: torture them enough and they'll tell you exactly what you want to hear.
As the old saying goes, some people use statistics like a drunk uses a light pole...for support instead of illumination. ;)
 

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Probably need to explore the difference between saying it is intrinsically dangerous vs. potentially dangerous.
 

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When riding at or under our experience level, not being under the influence, and "trying" to avoid cage drivers and critters.......it aint so dangerous riding IMHO. For me the risk vs reward is so worth it, I ride for my sanity and nothing else I've ever done frees my mind and gives me the feeling that riding/exploring on 2 wheels does. :)
 

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I could really care less what my co-workers think of my riding.

The more they think I am nuts, the less they will bother me.
 

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I could really care less what my co-workers think of my riding.

The more they think I am nuts, the less they will bother me.
Agree, I'm lucky however that all my work colleagues are jealous of my riding and adventures. :)
 
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Agree, I'm lucky however that all my work colleagues are jealous of my riding and adventures. :)
Although I have never had one of my co-workers ever express this verbally, I suspect there is a lot of truth to this. I do get the occasional comment about where I am going, if I bring my bike to work loaded with camping gear.

In the winter when I ride in to work in cover-alls and with my heated vest wire dangling, they look at me like I am homeless. But more than once, they have offered to pick me up some lunch, knowing I rode the bike that day.
 

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ride for my sanity and nothing else I've ever done frees my mind and gives me the feeling that riding/exploring on 2 wheels does. :)
There has been one thing better for me. I got my private pilots license. A plane with amphibious floats would be the dream come true. But I quickly realized that flying is beyond my tax bracket so motorcycles are the next best thing. I don’t care what my coworkers think of my riding but I do care what the government and insurance company thinks of it. When our government decided they didn’t want people smoking they just started to increase the price until people decided it just wasn’t worth it. I feel they are doing the same with motorcycles. They are just increasing the insurance until we all give up on it.
 

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In the winter when I ride in to work in cover-alls and with my heated vest wire dangling, they look at me like I am homeless. But more than once, they have offered to pick me up some lunch, knowing I rode the bike that day.

I ride to work everyday, there's no snow or ice here. I usually get the "you rode in today?" comments when the weather is less than perfect.

The Harley guys think I'm an Ironman. 😁
 

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Plus, if you're sober, licensed, insured, geared up, reasonably polite, and riding a bike in good condition, you'll place yourself far, far above 99.9% of the riding riffraff out there in they eyes of any law enforcement you may encounter. Quite often they'll release you back into the wild unharmed... ;)
RyanF9 did a great video about this several years ago. My wife is not thrilled that I ride, but recognizes that by taking reasonable precautions, the risks are not nearly as high as she previously believed. She is one of those people who has become scared of going out the front door and I keep pointing out that actual risk vs imagined can be drastically different. So after a discussion, I pointed her to this clip. It isn't that I disagree riding is more risky than driving a car. I'm a hi-viz ATGATT acolyte. I put extra lights on my bike to make me more visible. I don't ride after drinking any alcohol. I don't ride if I'm tired. I don't ride if I don't feel like putting on all my gear. I minimize the amount of time I would ride after dusk/at night (central indiana farm country is lousy with deer). I don't ride with large groups and the guys that I do ride with are also members of the ATGATT brigade. I have one friend who looks like the stereotypical Harley guy and he only wears a half helmet and maybe earplugs. After he picked up a new to him HD, he stopped by my house. My eight year old son gave him a lecture about not wearing gear and after he left, my son asked me to tell my friend to wear gear or that I would be extra careful if riding around him.

Like others have said, none of us get out of here alive. I'd rather be out riding than sitting around watching America's Next Big Cupcake Baking Talent Fashion Show while slowly melting into the couch.
 

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When they finish their rant just say "noted" and leave it at that. :)

And spend zero time thinking about the blah blah blah they just spit out. Kind of zero value to you to try and change their minds.

Very very different if a spouse has worries/concerns.
 
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