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In Living

Motorcycles: a safe or stupid mode of transportation?

Sound-off: Are motorcycles more dangerous than cars?


Every year, spring brings a fresh batch sounds, including bird chirps, children's voices and the rumble of motorcycles. Although this is officially Harley Town, Milwaukeeans like to zip around on all kinds of bikes and enjoy the few precious riding months our climate offers.

Not everyone likes the influx of bikers. Some believe the mode of transportation is too dangerous, whether wearing a helmet or not. But what do you think? Is riding a motorcycle is dangerous? More dangerous than driving a car? Sound-off, Milwaukee, and sound off now!

Yes, motorcycles are way more dangerous than driving a car. The problem with driving a motorcycle is that you're not protected. Even a minor accident, which wouldn't harm you in a car, could kill you on a bike. There are articles every week, sometimes more, about local people dying on motorcycles. Motorcycle riding is fun, but it's just not worth the risk.

No, motorcycles are less dangerous than driving a car. Statistically, you are in more danger driving a car than riding a bike. If you practice safe, sober riding, there is absolutely no reason why you should fear death. Motorcycle riding is a safer, cheaper form of transportation and less harmful to the environment.

Talkbacks

gregrnel | March 30, 2009 at 4:54 p.m. (report)

Doesn't the HD rider course teach you to ride a way overweight bike you'll never be able to handle, never to wear a helmet 'cause they're not cool, ride with plenty of beers in you, and without any regard to peoples hearing? That's what I thought....

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sparkle616 | March 30, 2009 at 3:24 p.m. (report)

Harley-Davidson teaches both safety and how to ride right at their dealerships - great eye opening program whether you become a rider or not. www.ridersedge.com

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Rider111 | March 30, 2009 at 12:05 p.m. (report)

The literal answer to this question, are motorcycles more dangerous is, of course they are more dangerous. Cars (while keeping the operator captive inside), have all kinds of safety measures. Newer models are designed like big crash cages, with airbags, crush zones, seatbelts, etc. This said, the motorcycles can be safe, if riders are careful, lucky, and minimize all possible risks. As it is, the U.S. motorcycle safety record has by official reckoning getting worse year after year for the last decade. More deaths, more injuries, even when increased registrations are considered. Why? This is the great debate. Motorists fault? Rider's fault? Lack of helmets? Lack of safety gear? Alcohol and drug use by riders (2.5X worse for killed operators of bikes than cars). My answer: Probably all of the above. Traffic density is worse, people have distractions galore in cars. Riders need to be super alert, well trained, not trusting others to see or watch out for them. And they ought to choose to wear gear, regardless if they are legally required to or not! These measures increase a rider's chances, but there are no guarantees. It's a risk you should accept, or don't ride. And again, it's a risk you should prepare for too. Some riders like to emphasize the fault of others making them crash. Well, that is true. There's a lot of bad drivers out there not looking out for riders. But even so, why not prepare with at least some gear that might help if you make a quick get off? Again, no guarantees, but reducing risks where possible only makes sense. Here's an article on the pending replacement for the "Hurt Report." http://motorcyclesafetynews.com/?p=90 Like I said, lots of opinions are out there. Fact is, the U.S. has not had a proper study like USC/DOT did in the 1970s since that time.

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bcvfr | March 30, 2009 at 10:28 a.m. (report)

Motorcycles are dangerous, but I accept that risk everytime I swing my leg over the seat. I wear my full faced helmet, leather jacket, gloves and pants to protect myself. I love riding my motorcycle and is one of the best feelings of freedom without any distractions. When I ride I'm focused on the road and other drivers, and not distracted by talking on my cell phone or changing radio stations. I'm not a dangerous rider; its the other drivers that are dangerous to me. Almost everytime I ride, a driver pulls out in front of me, runs a stop sign, or cuts me off. All I can do is pay attention and hope no one ever seriously hurts me or kill me. For anyone that hasn't ridden a motorcycle, take a motorcycle ride or sign up for a motorcycle safety course and see for yourself how much more aware you become of other drivers especially motorcycles and your surroundings.

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CoolerKing | March 30, 2009 at 9:36 a.m. (report)

I also ride and drive. As a rider for almost 30 years, I had 2 "accidents" on a motorcycle. One was on a dirt bike when I was 18 and very stupid. The other was a gravel spill with no other vehicles around and very minor. Aside from that I agree with Wordsmith that drivers are way too distracted with their cellphones and texting(!) these days. Many riders know you have to assume you're invisible out there because to many drivers you are. I've also worn a helmet for the entire time I've been on a bike. I've spent way too much money on tuition and a degree to have it all over the asphalt. For all of you folks in the medical profession, I'm surprised you failed to mention how a majority of the fatalities in Wisconsin are due to head injuries. That being said, any of you bikers out there riding down I-94 doing 70-80MPH in shorts, a tank top and no helmet should just sign the back of your driver's license now.

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