How dangerous is motorcycling?

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SillyEddy
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I've been a car driver for around 2 and a half years now, and I think I'm fairly good at it. I try to be as sensible as I can and I have never come into bother through my driving. But I still massively prefer the idea of motorbikes instead of cars.

Naturally, they are more dangerous machines because of their lack of protection, but I'm wondering how accurate the statistics are. I see a lot of young motorcyclists doing dangerous things (bad filtering, nailing the throttle to overtake absolutely everything) and I wonder how safe motorcycling actually would be for a safe rider.


I don't doubt that some experienced riders will make the occasional mess of a manoeuvre and fall/crash, but what about the general statistics for it? Are there a lot of dangerous riders who cause the statistics to be unfavourable for motorcyclists?

Are there any numbers on it? The number of collisions caused by, or caused to, motorcycles?
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Crazyd943
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Hi there,

Being a motorcyclist myself, I can give you a little information.

However observant you are in a car, expect to work on it!

That's all I can give you relevant to a car, as I have never owned one!

I bought a motorcycle with the intention of commuting, with the odd trip to enjoy the newfound freedom. The decision to look at bikes over a car was purely financial. I spent my time as a rider obeying laws, and common sense, contrary to popular opinion of young riders.

One sunny day in March, I decided to go for a ride after an early shift at work. I leathered up, and left for the dry, warm, light, 30mph road through town in the afternoon. I slowed down for a dithering car in front, to about 20, with good time. A perfectly safe manoeuvre. I was hit from behind at about 30-35 (witnesses say). Hit and run. I spent 3 months on crutches, and still walk with a limp. I suffer immense pain daily, which is unlikely to ever get much better. Plus the less important bike, which still has £500 to pay off. No insurance payment (tpo) and no compensation.

That said and considered, I am currently retraining (out of choice, and for confidence) and hope to be on the road in the new year.

It's dangerous. Even at low speeds.
But I wouldn't get a car, even with the financial assistance offered.

Not to put you off, just consider everything.

If you buy one, you won't regret it.

Perhaps I went on a tangent, but thought that may help. Good luck whatever!
Lou.
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SillyEddy
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I think those were some very relevant comments. I know a lot of cars just don't notice bikes, which is a major hazard. My parents were really against me getting a bike, but I am old enough now so I am able to make the choice for myself. It's odd, because they have no problem with me riding a bicycle on the roads, but a motorbike is considered a lot more dangerous. I've nearly been killed several times because my bike is so slow in comparison to the traffic... I'd feel safer with a machine that is able to keep up with the other vehicles!

I just wonder if there is a distinct trend between the quality of the rider and the probably of crashing. Accidents will always happen, but I wonder how many of them could've been prevented by riding properly.
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Dukeofwembley
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i dont think its worth the risk

but id do anything for a vespa
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lauraaaa.xo
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I have never ridden a motorcycle, only been on them as a passenger but I think a lot of the danger comes from car drivers.

I have a car and was actually talking to my dad about this the other day as he is a motorbike rider and has been for around 20years. I like to think of myself as a pretty good driver and im always cautious to be very aware of what is happening around me. My friend recently hit another car because she didn't check her blind spot or mirror on her left before moving lanes. I think alot of drivers tend to forget about motorbikes and their blind spots and this poses a huge danger. If my friend had hit a motorbike its likely they would have come off the bike and could have been injured which is alot worse than scrapping someones car.

People just need to be more aware and make sure they check blindspots and look out for bikes weaving in between lanes and stuff.
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Juno
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(Original post by SillyEddy)
I think those were some very relevant comments. I know a lot of cars just don't notice bikes, which is a major hazard. My parents were really against me getting a bike, but I am old enough now so I am able to make the choice for myself. It's odd, because they have no problem with me riding a bicycle on the roads, but a motorbike is considered a lot more dangerous. I've nearly been killed several times because my bike is so slow in comparison to the traffic... I'd feel safer with a machine that is able to keep up with the other vehicles!

I just wonder if there is a distinct trend between the quality of the rider and the probably of crashing. Accidents will always happen, but I wonder how many of them could've been prevented by riding properly.
I've heard that around 80% of accidents could be avoided but I don't know how reliable that is.

Biking is fun, though! I'll even let you have a go on phyllis if you like :-)

Sent from my GT-S5363
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SnoochToTheBooch
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it seems easier to get injured but the upside must surely be that if you crash, you probably aren't going to be trapped in any burning wreckage, which must be one awful way to die.
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mattymorse
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(Original post by SillyEddy)
I've been a car driver for around 2 and a half years now, and I think I'm fairly good at it. I try to be as sensible as I can and I have never come into bother through my driving. But I still massively prefer the idea of motorbikes instead of cars.

Naturally, they are more dangerous machines because of their lack of protection, but I'm wondering how accurate the statistics are. I see a lot of young motorcyclists doing dangerous things (bad filtering, nailing the throttle to overtake absolutely everything) and I wonder how safe motorcycling actually would be for a safe rider.


I don't doubt that some experienced riders will make the occasional mess of a manoeuvre and fall/crash, but what about the general statistics for it? Are there a lot of dangerous riders who cause the statistics to be unfavourable for motorcyclists?

Are there any numbers on it? The number of collisions caused by, or caused to, motorcycles?
I'm 17 and have been riding for about 2 months.
I absolutely love it, you get a feeling like no other every time you get on it.
Yes you'll have to become ridiculously observant. Every other second i'm gauging something different.
I think the stats are 1% of vehicles are motorbikes.
20% of road accidents include a motorbike.
However shockingly, 90% of motorbike accidents are down to rider error and not the car.
This stat points out to me that if you're a safe rider, you're not at too much risk.
Just ride defensively
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SillyEddy
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One other potentially useful fact: I probably wouldn't need to ride the bike through much of a city at any point. Largely country roads, maybe a dual carriageway here and there. I'd pretty much get all the glamourous side of it! Overtaking would be the biggest hazard.

Snow and ice are obviously the other major hazards, and I would try to drive throughout the winter. But hey, that leaves pretty much 3/4 of the year for riding a bike down fairly nice roads.
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mackemforever
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(Original post by SillyEddy)
I've been a car driver for around 2 and a half years now, and I think I'm fairly good at it. I try to be as sensible as I can and I have never come into bother through my driving. But I still massively prefer the idea of motorbikes instead of cars.

Naturally, they are more dangerous machines because of their lack of protection, but I'm wondering how accurate the statistics are. I see a lot of young motorcyclists doing dangerous things (bad filtering, nailing the throttle to overtake absolutely everything) and I wonder how safe motorcycling actually would be for a safe rider.


I don't doubt that some experienced riders will make the occasional mess of a manoeuvre and fall/crash, but what about the general statistics for it? Are there a lot of dangerous riders who cause the statistics to be unfavourable for motorcyclists?

Are there any numbers on it? The number of collisions caused by, or caused to, motorcycles?
It's very difficult to say how dangerous it is because there are far too many factors involved.

Example, a family friend is now in his 60s, has ridden bikes for 40 years, and still rides far too quickly and takes a lot more risks than I would on my bike. In 40 years he has had precisely 2 accidents, one where he hit a patch of ice at about 20mph and one where he left his disk lock on as he tried to ride away.

Then at the other end of the spectrum was about 8 months ago a lad who lived in the same village as me, 22 years old, had his bike license for just under a year, and having ridden with him a few times I can say that he was one of the most careful, most sensible riders I had ever ridden with. He was knocked off his bike and killed while commuting to work.

So yes it can be extremely dangerous, but you do learn a lot of ways to minimise the risk. You become extremely good at observing what other motorists are doing, learn to always try and put yourself in a position where you can safely react to the actions of another vehicle, and generally keep yourself pretty safe. But at the end of the day there is only so much you can do, you can't eliminate the risk, you just have to do your best to minimise it.

Personally though, even though it can be dangerous, even though I know people that have been killed or seriously injured while on a bike, I can't see myself stopping riding any time in the future.

*EDIT* Also, I've been riding for almost 3 years now and in that time I've been involved in 2 accidents, one when I hit a patch of gravel while going around a bend at 30mph, and once when I locked up the back wheel at 110mph at Castle Coombe. Only injury was some minor tendon damage in my right wrist, and that was from the 30mph off!
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S.R
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(Original post by SillyEddy)
I think those were some very relevant comments. I know a lot of cars just don't notice bikes, which is a major hazard. My parents were really against me getting a bike, but I am old enough now so I am able to make the choice for myself. It's odd, because they have no problem with me riding a bicycle on the roads, but a motorbike is considered a lot more dangerous. I've nearly been killed several times because my bike is so slow in comparison to the traffic... I'd feel safer with a machine that is able to keep up with the other vehicles!

I just wonder if there is a distinct trend between the quality of the rider and the probably of crashing. Accidents will always happen, but I wonder how many of them could've been prevented by riding properly.
Yeah but if you crash your bicycle it will be at around 15-20 mph rather than 40-70 mph and even if a car crashes into you the combined speed will still be much lower and you're wearing virtually the same amount of protection as on a motorbike. Not to mention that cyclists tend to wear hi vis which is something that motorcyclists turn their nose up at in favor of cooler black leathers.
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SillyEddy
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(Original post by S.R)
Yeah but if you crash your bicycle it will be at around 15-20 mph rather than 40-70 mph and even if a car crashes into you the combined speed will still be much lower and you're wearing virtually the same amount of protection as on a motorbike. Not to mention that cyclists tend to wear hi vis which is something that motorcyclists turn their nose up at in favor of cooler black leathers.
I do see what you mean. I suppose that's where the luck of the draw comes into it all. If I slip a bicycle over (has happened on the road to me before) then at worst I fall a couple of metres forward. It hurts a bit, but no real injury. Falling at speed on a bike in a busy area could mean you slide into a building or under a wheel... Afterall, the suits are designed to encourage a controlled slide.

But still, the last person to try and kill me was trying to overtake my bike through a very narrow practically-one-way road (cars parked on both sides). She was on the phone, and I had to dart back into cover as she tried to overtake me. Silly woman. She could see me from very far away, and I signalled properly, but she didn't care. If she had hit me, I would've slammed into the next parked car. If I were on a motorbike at 30mph, she wouldn't have been near me because I would've been half a mile ahead of her all the way through. I never did find out what happened to her licence after I reported her...


A real nasty case of luck.
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S.R
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(Original post by SillyEddy)
I do see what you mean. I suppose that's where the luck of the draw comes into it all. If I slip a bicycle over (has happened on the road to me before) then at worst I fall a couple of metres forward. It hurts a bit, but no real injury. Falling at speed on a bike in a busy area could mean you slide into a building or under a wheel... Afterall, the suits are designed to encourage a controlled slide.

But still, the last person to try and kill me was trying to overtake my bike through a very narrow practically-one-way road (cars parked on both sides). She was on the phone, and I had to dart back into cover as she tried to overtake me. Silly woman. She could see me from very far away, and I signalled properly, but she didn't care. If she had hit me, I would've slammed into the next parked car. If I was on a motorbike at 30mph, she wouldn't have been near me because I would've been half a mile ahead of her all the way through. I never did find out what happened to her licence after I reported her...


A real nasty case of luck.
While it was ultimately the woman's fault what you should have done is take centre position in the road at narrow sections. I always do this if I'm coming up to a section where one lane is in roadworks or whatever and more often than not the car behind me takes it as a signal that I am a confident rider who will not tolerate any half assed overtaking attempts on a unsuitable section of road
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SillyEddy
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(Original post by S.R)
While it was ultimately the woman's fault what you should have done is take centre position in the road at narrow sections. I always do this if I'm coming up to a section where one lane is in roadworks or whatever and more often than not the car behind me takes it as a signal that I am a confident rider who will not tolerate any half assed overtaking attempts on a unsuitable section of road
Yeah, I usually avoid cycling directly in the cycle lane... I usually push out a little bit. That way, there's not the possibility that there "might" be a gap. Truth is, I didn't have time to move out. I always do adequate checks, and signal with plenty of time, but they came hurtling through as I was moving out. It's a heavy mountain bike, so I can't go very fast on it, so I try not to hold up traffic, but I put myself in an awkward position too. It's not always very nice.
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Crazyd943
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(Original post by S.R)
[IMG] you're wearing virtually the same amount of protection as on a motorbike.
Image

Really?
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Bathwiggle
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I've been riding 6 years, offs have been landing in a field when riding too tired, the back wheel coming to see me as the previous owner put the rear wheel on wonky and outside lane on the m25 when filtering. On the other hand each itme i've picked up the bike and carried on biking.

It is more dangerous than a car, but i do 20000 a year on my bikes, wouldn't change it for the world. I do however wear jacket, gloves, boots, backprotector, helmet and now we're back in winter, a hi vis. Then i've done all i can do to be seen. The rest is down to predicting what the idiots are going to do. And some of them can be really inventive!
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S.R
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(Original post by Crazyd943)
Image

Really?
Those leathers will stop your skin from ripping off and get you girls but it sure as hell won't prevent any crushing or smashing injuries. Seeing as cyclists don't need the leathers because the speeds they crash at are too low then the protection is about the same. Motorcycle helmets are better but again the increased speeds cancel out the advantage.
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Bathwiggle
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i've had more injuries cycling than biking. and body armour can help dissipate some of the impact force providing more protection. If it's what he wants to do, theres not law to stop him riding in shorts and a helmet though.
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Steezy
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More dangerous than eating a sandwich, less dangerous than fighting lions.
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mikeyd85
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I've been biking for a few months now, predominantly in rush hour through and around the centre of Leeds.

So long as you assume that every other vehicle on the road is out there to kill you, you should be fine. It's always good to maintain a high level of observation, it's saved me on a few crashes already. Eventually, you'll get better at predicting traffic and you'll use your road position to greater enhance your chance of avoiding accidents. It's a shame that you can work really hard at being a great biker and have just one idiot on the road ruin things. :sad:

Still, saying that, the closest I've come to dropping it was walking it out the garage and slipping on some wet fallen leaves!
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