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Why Ride Safely?
Riding plugs you directly into the real world
Why ride safely? Well why ride a motorcycle at all? Riding is fun, a joy, a feeling of being free. I started riding because it was a cheap way to go from A to B. That's still true, but riding is also a great way to go from A to B. People ride for many reasons, but for me, now, it's the experience. Riding plugs you directly into the real world. For a time you forget everything but the here and now. Its a sense of "being there" that's more than fun - its life incarnate.
Riding safely is for riders who enjoy riding, and want to keep doing it
If you enjoy something, don't you want to keep doing it? This book helps you do just that, because if you cant ride safely, you wont ride long. Few ride motorcycles to be safe, but equally few ride with a death wish (or a hospital bed wish). Given fun or safety, I choose fun and safety. Why trade short term pleasure for long term pain, when you can have long term pleasure? Real riding and real safety can go together. Riding safely is for motorcycle riders who enjoy riding, and want to keep doing it.
Most of the ideas in this book are based on life experiences
My credentials to write this book are that I have ridden motorcycles for over thirty years, and am still doing it. Being alive is my credential. Sounds simple? Doing it is not so simple. With motorcycles, many begin, but not so many continue. Words are cheap, but we all know that actions can be expensive. Be assured that the words in this book are based on life experiences.
Strange as it seems, I could not just write down what I "knew". Experienced riders sometimes move left or right, or change lanes, or slow down or speed up. Why? To find out I had to actually ride, and then, at that moment, think "Why did I do that?" I had to "translate" from actions to words, like one translates from one language to another. So when you read this book, you have to translate back. The words in this book have no value unless you put them into practice.
Should I follow your suggestions?
This book is what I do, but even I don’t do it all the time
Not necessarily, as everyone is different. This book is what I do, but even I don’t do it all the time. So don't blindly follow what this book says. The only way to take advice is to make it your own. Everyone has their style. Read mine, and if you find something useful, then take it up! Even if you only do one thing, it could save your life one day. Embrace the best and leave the rest. You are the rider, you take the consequences, so you decide what you do.
Safety is for everyone
If a man in your life rides, or wants to, he needs to ride safelyThis book is for motorcycle riders, but safety is for everyone, young and old, men and women. For example, few women ride motorcycles in America, but many women know men who ride , either as boyfriends, husbands, sons or fathers. If a man in your life rides, or wants to, he needs to ride safely. Give him this book. He may see the risks, and change his mind. If he is going to ride anyway, he might as well get good advice.
If you drive a car and read this book, you will likely learn something
Most principles in this book apply to car drivers as well. If you drive a car and read this book, you will likely learn something. The chapter on Attitude applies as much to drivers as to riders, as does the chapter on Situations. When people talk of the "road carnage" they are not kidding. In 2003, 42,643 people died on US roads. Over forty thousand in one year! Compare that to the few thousands killed in Iraq or on 9/11. And for every death, many more are injured or maimed. Most of these deaths did NOT involve motorcycles. Vehicles affect safety, but the problem is often the "nut behind the wheel". Research suggest mental not mechanical things cause most accidents - things like inattention, misperceptions, aggressive hurrying and attitudes. This book is all about such things.
Some suggest that a book - "Riding Dangerously: How to push the motorcycle limit and tempt death" would be more successful. Be that as it may, this is a not a book on fancy riding skills, with high speed cornering tips. Thrill seekers look elsewhere. This book gives useful advice to everyday riders. If you want more thrills, put this book down right now. If you want to live to tell the tale of thrills, then read on.
Life is risk
One way to reduce risk is to do nothing risky, but this can mean you have no life
Isnt the best way to be safe not to ride a motorcycle at all? Well is the best way to live safely to not live at all? In one sense it is, so to minimize risk, you should spend each day in a padded room, like the girl in the movie "Final Destination". However that is not a good way to live, and in that movie, even then the girl died. Life is about opportunity as well as risk! One way to reduce risk is to do nothing risky, but this can mean you have no life. Even TV couch-potatoes, who never do anything dangerous at all, still die of obesity and heart attack!
Life is ultimately a fatal condition, and the only “cure” is to live it!
Risk is built into life, so this is not a “how-to-be-100%-safe” book. There is no 100% safe, because without risk there is no life, and without a worthwhile life, what are you afraid for? Freedom to ride is also the freedom to fall, and there is no getting away from this. If it is any consolation, no form of transport is 100% safe. People trip and hurt themselves when walking, yet we still walk. People die when planes crash, yet we still fly. Each year thousands of Americans die in cars, yet we still drive. Why? Because taking no risks means taking no actions, and taking no actions means missing the opportunities of Life. Life is ultimately a fatal condition, and the only “cure” is to live it! To take no risk as foolish as to take every risk. The ready rider solution is to find the balance between paralyzing fear and arrogant bravado.
Send me a thought
The reality of riding is that you never know what will happen, so thinking you know, is like a mental handicap
This book is my thoughts to you, but writing it is dangerous for me, as I might think I knew about motorcycle safety! Having that thought puts me at risk on the road. The reality of riding is that you never know what will happen, so thinking you know, is like a mental handicap. Only knowing you don't know gives you a chance on the road. Its the difference between something open and something closed, whether a bottle, a pair of eyes, or a mind. If you think you know, then you're immediately in danger. So do me a favor, and send the thought to me right now: “You Don’t Know "
Welcome to the club
Long term motorcycle riders are a special breed
Long term motorcycle riders are a special breed. Whether men or women, black or white, young or old, they are people who know what it takes. When they meet, they relate immediately. The rider camaraderie cuts across age, sex, race, culture, religion, status and all the other divisions. Before the realities of riding, we are all in the same category. Welcome to the club!
|© Brian Whitworth, 2004, 2005|