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dimeadozen
dimeadozen Reader
8/14/11 1:36 p.m.

A few years ago, when my wife and I moved in together, I got a screaming deal on an XJ550, and was weeks away from signing up for an MSF course. We went out to dinner one night, and about a mile from our house saw paramedics unsuccessfully attempting to revive a rider in a motorcycle vs. SUV accident.

Up until that point, I honestly believed that it was possible to avoid all stupid drivers... However, this woman had been riding for 20-something years, was traveling the speed limit, on a BRIGHT YELLOW Honda VFR, with BRIGHT YELLOW leathers, and a BRIGHT YELLOW helmet. There were no other vehicles anywhere near her on the road that she could have been obstructed by. The 93 year old driver of the Jeep Cherokee that broadsided her said "Oh, I didn't see her!"...

My desire to ever ride on the street pretty much vaporized after that... The bike is still sitting at the back of my garage, and although we've never discussed it, I think my wife realized what happened. To her credit, she never brought it up, or "Forbid" me from riding, although I could tell that seeing that accident got to her as well.

BAMF
BAMF Reader
8/14/11 4:01 p.m.

A lot of good points have been brought up here, as well as some excellent safety tips.

All that said, if you don't feel like it's safe to ride anymore, it isn't. As others pointed out, it doesn't have to be permanent. My mom had bikes from age 18 to about 26, my dad rode hers from about 21-26. My mom sold her CB550 around the time I was born. I doubt it had much to do with safety, and more to do with who would be riding it, how often, and what else could be done with the money from selling it.

At 23, I got my first scooter, and have ridden all sorts of bikes since then. At 25, my mom got tired of watching me have all the fun, and she bought another bike. A couple months later, my dad bought his own, almost identical to mom's. That was 6 years ago, and they have since had a lot of fun on their bikes as more mature adults who have successfully raised 4 children.

44Dwarf
44Dwarf Dork
8/14/11 6:42 p.m.

Since I have been an adult** I've been down on the road once, i was the 3rd vehicle in the wreck....1st guy stopped dead in the road do to sun glare....he was hauling a boat with no trailer lights....WTF...His fishing buddy was behind him in a pick up with a camper insert...he rear ended the boat trailer. I endo'd in to the camper head bent the screen door. I left two two skid marks. As i fell i heard a car sliding i got up and bolted the car came to rest on top on my rd400's seat.. I was lucky only 6 stitches in my ankle from the shifter lever poking it. I took a couple years off of street riding after fixing the bike. then a friend (Aaron Creamer) pasted away on the race track and at his parents request the funeral procession was on motorcycles. So I grabbed my brothers MotoGuzi Lario 650. Week later we bought the C50 Suzuki. When we were pregnant i had plans to store the bikes and sell the race cars but since life dealt us other cards we now both ride and love it.

So drain the gas the gas change the oil etc and put it away untill the bug bites you again.

** Down on pavement twice as i kid on dirt bikes doing not so legal riding...

44Dwarf

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon SuperDork
8/14/11 7:35 p.m.

I rode dirt for years. I don't ride dirt at the moment, but that will change soon I hope. I got off street bikes for a long time due to safety concerns, but I am back on in a small way (the street tracker). Plans are to save it for pleasure riding on the weekends etc, I am not nuts about being surrounded by texting soccer moms. I see far too many of those obliviots in everyday traffic.

Xceler8x
Xceler8x SuperDork
8/14/11 7:39 p.m.

I've ridden for a decade at least. I'm not keeping count. I've owned Buells (tubers) and a TL1000S.

The TL was my fourth bike. I sold the TL after not riding it for a year and then riding it like a cruiser for a year after that. A riding acquittance, a guy I didn't know that well, died from an SUV over dose in the mountains. He crossed the center line. I knew him by reputation as the safest rider all my friends knew. That scared me quite a bit.

After selling the TL I was without a bike for a few years. I got the itch and restored a derelict Buell S3T I got a great deal on. I haven't ridden it in four months. I was going to go the other day but it rained.

I don't know when I'll ride again. I will. I'm enjoying my Miata and other rides. The bike is there any time, waiting on me. I could sell it. I might. Then again, I'll most likely keep it and know that I can ride any time I want. That's often enough.

minimac
minimac SuperDork
8/15/11 8:42 a.m.

I've been street riding for 45 years and raced for 3 before that. I've had more than my share of close calls and have seen plenty of stupid things by both biker riders and cagers. I am convinced of one thing....when your time is up, it's up. It doesn't make sense. It doesn't matter whether your riding a bike, driving a car, playing baseball, or or walking the dog. No one is guaranteed a long, happy life. I'm not going out of my way to tempt fate, but I'm not going to stop doing something that I thoroughly enjoy because I might get hurt. It's a matter of priorities That said, if you're overly concerned or scared, it probably would be better for you to park it. If you still enjoy riding, maybe it's just your 'type' of riding has changed. Instead of blasting the twisties on a rocket, maybe it's time to putt the backroads on a tourer or a scooter and enjoy the scenery.

Cotton
Cotton Dork
8/15/11 8:50 a.m.

Growing up I was grateful for my father who allowed me to ride go carts, atvs, and motorcycles....and even encouraged it. He bought me my first motorcycle when I was around 8 years old and I've been riding ever since.

If I were a father not only would I continue to ride, but I would encourage my family to participate as well if they showed interest.

On the street vs dirt.....I ride both. The problem, for me, sticking strictly to dirt riding is there is a lot more planning and preparation involved. If I want to ride street I just hop on the bike and go.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt Dork
8/15/11 9:49 a.m.

The crash thread I posted had me wondering the same thing - I have an 11 month old son and my wife is particularly worried after I crashed trying to avoid a Jeep that pulled out 100 feet ahead of me. (At least I did manage to reduce things from a two vehicle to a one vehicle crash, and I walked away from that one.)

I ended up deciding on a compromise - we've got a financial goal of selling a house that we're very upside down on so we can move closer to where I work. So, I think I'll sell this bike and put the money to paying down the mortgage - and then save up for another once we've moved. In this case, I wasn't too worried about the level of risk as much as feeling that I couldn't justify the money for new gear, repairs, etc when we have a bigger financial goal. So the circumstances seem to call for taking a short hiatus.

tuna55
tuna55 SuperDork
8/15/11 10:09 a.m.

I don't ride, and that is why. I saw two sheets (as we heard about in the dead body thread) from a motorcycling accident that could not have been prevented from the bike. If I were you, I'd do trail riding, ATVs and track days with a motorcycle. It's way safer on the track, and probably a lot more fun anyway.

Osterkraut
Osterkraut SuperDork
8/15/11 1:18 p.m.

ATV riding is very dangerous, because ATV riders will be among the first lined up against the wall and shot when the revolution comes.

ppddppdd
ppddppdd Reader
8/15/11 2:25 p.m.

Riding is 30-35 times more dangerous than driving. Driving is already the leading cause of accidental death, so no matter how you slice it, it's dangerous. Swap it out for the car once a month and you've just doubled your odds of getting killed in a motor vehicle accident.

At the same time, you have to balance how important it is for your kids to have a happy, interesting, engaged and well-adjusted father. If riding is part of what makes you that guy, do it. It's for them to see you taking risks the right way, anyhow. Risk is about exposure. If you love riding but want to limit your odds of dying, do it less and do it in a way that minimizes your risks. Sunny days, safe roads, proper gear and take it seriously.

I don't ride, but the Miata has some of the same type of stupid. A 2000lb 20 year old car is way more likely to get someone killed a 5 year old 3500lb one with 8 airbags and a roof. I still take a kid out in the Miata once or twice a week, though. Never at night, rarely on high speed 2-lane roads, never after a beer, etc.

It's important to me that my sons get some good father/son memories and I remember riding around in MGs and Triumphs and Fiats as a kid so fondly that I can't deny them that. Kids today get stuck in the middle back seat unable to stick a hand out the window or turn their heads and have a conversation with their parents until they're almost teenagers, and that doesn't seem like a good way to jump start a love of cars. Cars are a family value! Sports cars are all about family values! :)

dogbreath
dogbreath Reader
8/15/11 2:36 p.m.

The risk is like icing to me, just a little extra characteristic of my vehicle to let everyone else know what I'm not the type to wrap myself in a shell and hope everything works out.

JThw8
JThw8 SuperDork
8/16/11 12:01 p.m.

I started riding when I was 10. Mostly backroads but the area we were in let me take those backroads the whole way to town and noone cared.

Somewhere around 20 I had a very breif moment of youthful clarity which made me realize I was young, I was stupid and I was going to kill myself on a bike. So I hung it up.

18 years later I realized one day that I was older, wiser and calmer and started riding again. The only risk I mitigated was my own stupidity, the others still exist, but to paraphrase what another poster said and what I often tell my wife. I'd much rather worry about how I'm going to live my life than worry about how it will end.

Death is out there waiting for all of us, you never know what it will be or when it will be. All you can do is enjoy the time you have and if riding is a part of that then do it. But if the enjoyment is tempered by the fears of leaving behind your loved ones then put it aside, find a new way to enjoy life, but do enjoy it :)

fasted58
fasted58 Dork
8/16/11 12:32 p.m.

Don't know if anybody touched on this yet. If you ever wanted to ride or been putting it off till later... maybe do it now before you can't.

One work buddy who hadn't ridden in thirty yrs. planned a Goldwing on retirement and a trip through the northeast and Canada w/ his wife. He had kidney failure a few yrs before his planned retirement and went out on disability. His condition worsened w/ heart complications and only lived a few more years after that. He never did ride again.

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