I ride a motorcycle.
Those few words seem to scare some people. I’ve noticed that most people don’t go out of their way to tell someone in an econobox about all the accidents they’ve seen in which a small car got crushed. They also don’t tend to go out of their way to tell every person who drives an SUV about the rollover risk they face. They don’t need to warn every football player about the risk of knee injuries. Yet, they feel compelled to inform me about the dangers of riding a motorcycle.
I get it. I don’t have a cage around me. I’m more exposed. A bike is generally harder to see. But folks do realize what I do for a living, right? I’m a personal injury lawyer; I help accident victims. I see car wreck after car wreck day after day. I deal with bike injuries on a regular basis.
But I choose to ride. Why? Well, there are many reasons. To keep this short, I’ll list just a few here.
First, it’s just fun. You feel so much more connected to the road and to the environment when you ride. You have to pay constant attention to thousands of little details. I actually make a game out of knowing where everyone is around me; it’s fun and keeps me alert. It makes me a better driver even when I’m not on a bike. And, let’s face it, bikes are cool. The bike pictured here is a BMW R1200C from the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies. My bike is the same basic bike, but in black and with a modified rear seat.
Second, I know and adhere to all the safety stuff. I know that doesn’t eliminate the risk, but tell me, can you ever eliminate risk? No, the thought that you can is just an illusion. I may not be welcomed in some biker groups because I care more about safety and protection than how cool something looks. I also wear stuff that really stands out, and I always ride with armor. No vest and skull cap for me, and definitely no t-shirts and flip flops. Even though I have a lot of riding experience, I still took a bike safety class earlier this year (and I learned some things, too – thanks to Monty and Marc).
Third, bikers are a fraternity. Despite my comment above about not being welcomed in some groups; I’ve never experienced that. Bikers wave to each other on the road. They talk about their bikes and their favorite rides. It is something of a brotherhood.
Finally, I firmly believe my life is in God’s hands. Yes, I know that doesn’t mean it’s okay to go play in traffic. But it does mean I trust him for my well-being. I do my part with education, training, and gear; but I trust him for the rest. If the goal in life is to minimize all risks, by all means, don’t ride. For that matter, don’t get out of bed!
Now, that said, I understand riding a motorcycle is not for everyone. We all have our own levels of risk acceptance. For instance, I won’t ride a bicycle on the road if I can help it. But I love mountain biking, skiing, and riding my motorcycle. Different strokes.
So, if you’re not a biker, please keep an eye out for my two-wheeled brothers and sisters. If you are a biker, please drive safely and responsibly. God is unlikely to nullify the consequences for poor decisions, so keep it safe.
Enjoy the ride!