Motorcycles are dumb (After research)   Leave a comment

So, I spent the day reading crash stats for motorcycles.

At its most basic, it goes like this: you are 25 to 36 times more likely to be a fatal accident per motorcycle mile than car mile.   I knew that motorcycles had higher crash stats than cars, but I didn’t really know how much.  So, why?

Accidents have phases.  (1.) Unsafe situation begins (2.) Response (3.) Accident (4.) Secondary accident (caused by the unsafe/abnormal situation created by the first.)

Motorcycles have such high fatality stats because the fail at every turn.

(1) Motorcycles are more likely to be in accident because people look through the motorcycle to see the car behind it.

(2.) Response is crappy because reflexive actions are opposite of what is needed.  In emergencies motorcycles steer backwards (counter-steer) and braking needs to be bringing the the front wheel to the threshold of lockup.  Unless you have enough practice that you reflexively do something “wrong”, you will over break the back wheel and skid, not swerve fast enough, and increase your stopping distance.

(3.) Once the accident begins, you suffer from the problem of ejection.  In cars thats what happens when you don’t wear you seatbelt.  You go flying out of the relatively safe car.  On rare occasions ejection saves lives.  However, most of the time it kills.  You are 25X more likely to die in a car accident after you get ejected.   In the end, a motorcycle has exactly the same safety as a bodiless, windshield-less, convertible without seat belts.  In fact, every piece of safety equipment on a motorcycle is directed at keeping you alive and in one piece after ejection.

(4.) So now the bike is down and so are you.   Downed bikes can’t steer out of on coming traffic.  After the intial accident you are still flying down the road…but now without brakes or steering.  That and the lack of side impact protection is the extra 10X increase in fatality.  There is no way to avoid secondary collisions.


If you want to ride a motorcycle…that’s cool.  Life is full of risk.  In fact you could reasonably go as far as saying life IS risk.  We balance and risk in different ways.  Some people skydive, some people fuck strangers.  Some people ride machines that have a 35X higher risk of killing you per mile than cars.  Not me.



Posted May 3, 2012 by israelkwalker in Uncategorized

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