Riding a motorcycle is dangerous. We all know this, and there is no end to the number of people who remind us. Knowing ahead of time how things might go south quickly enables us to be more prepared for such eventualities. The great philosophers known as Megadeth tell us that there are 99 ways to die. MCRider goes over five ways that are specific to motorcycles.
Watch the video for his full explanation, but here is a summary of his points.
- Riding the wrong motorcycle. Hitting the road on a BMW S 1000 R immediately after passing your MSF parking lot course on a little 125 is a recipe for disaster. He recommends that your first bike be no larger than 500 cc. My first bike was a 650, which wasn't that much more powerful yet far below a liter bike, so that's as far as I'd go.
- Riding above your skill level. This is a mistake any rider can make, no matter how new or experienced. New riders are usually rather careful since they're still getting used to riding. After six months to a year, though, you might think, "I've got this," and kick the pace up a couple of notches. That's where you have just enough skill to be dangerous.
- Riding like you're on the track. This can easily happen on your favorite twisty road, thinking you can take that corner just a little bit faster than last time. You shouldn't be pushing the limits that closely anywhere outside a race track anyway. Tracks don't have any traffic that isn't paying attention or expecting you to be there. If you want to ride like you're on the track, just go to a track. It's more accessible than you might think, even if you have no interest in racing.
- Returning riders with old skills. It's bad enough when you know you're rusty from just a few months off during your first ride of the year. It's even worse when you haven't ridden in 30 years and want to take it up again the way my dad did. Not only are the skills rusty, but motorcycle technology has improved by leaps and bounds over the old Harleys or UJMs they once rode. It's good for even experienced riders returning to motorcycling to take a basic rider course to get their legs under them again.
- Drinking and riding. We say it until we're blue in the face, but booze and bikes is a deadly combination. According to MCRider, 35 percent of motorcycle fatalities involve alcohol. Just don't do it.
As Police Squad's Detective Lieutenant Frank Drebin says, "You take a chance getting up in the morning, crossing the street, or sticking your face in a fan." Avoiding these five pitfalls will help pull your face away from those spinning fan blades and stay alive on the road.