Choices in a pandemic; Ride or Not?

Choices in a Pandemic:  Ride or Not?

It should be noted that hidden in the word “pandemic” is the word “panic.”  We all make choices about all sorts of things, and panic is not a useful baseline stance for making them.

Of all the choices we make each day, one of the lesser ones is whether or not to ride our motorcycles. I’ve read many fine pieces by people I like and respect outlining why our motorcycles should be left “side stand down” until this is over.

I respectfully disagree.

Back in 1981 a USC professor by the apt name of Harry Hurt published the Hurt Report, the most (and pretty much only) comprehensive and widely publicized study of fatal motorcycle accidents done to that time, and barely challenged since.  It makes fascinating reading. 

I once “proved” to my wife that I could not be killed on a motorcycle, because if you studied the report and added the percentages together of riders that died who were a.) drunk, b.) fleeing from the police  c.) had less than 6 months riding experience,  d.) did not have an endorsement and e.) were on a stolen bike, the total exceeded 100%!  It was impossible for me to be in several of those categories, and highly unlikely I would ever fit the others.

Alas, my wife had enough understanding of statistics to point out that many of the deceased occupied more than one of those categories. In fact, most of them did, and a few, all of the categories.  Still…

You can play games with statistics.  More people in the United States die every year playing golf than come to their end riding motorcycles.  The trick is, of course, that the number of people playing golf is exponentially higher.  By a lot.

If I stay home, what then?  I could check the stats for the number of senior citizens (I’m 73) who are injured or die by falling in their own homes.  Since I do not ride my motorcycle in the house, I can subtract that percentage from the risk factor of riding my motorcycle.  At some point you can dig so deeply into various statistics that it becomes silly.

On my motorcycle I’m covered from head to toe in excellent riding gear, and I’m not (hopefully) within 6 feet of anyone. I can fill the fuel tank with helmet and gloves on.

Breathing involves risk.  Living involves risk.

Probably best to honestly assess your own situation, the weather, your health (which I hope is excellent), and any other factors that apply to you as an individual, and make a choice based on current conditions. Is this the day to go out and try to set a “lap record” on your favorite back road? Probably not.  A gentle ride on roads you know well and that have little traffic?   Maybe.   Your choice.

That is probably safer and more sensible than allowing your thoughts and feelings to swing wildly based on what you just read on the Internet.

Including this.

Copyright 2020    David Preston

About david

I am a 74 year old motorsports nut who lives in Snohomish, Washington. After a 31 year career as an English teacher, I segued into a self-created job in the motorsports business. Now retired, I was involved in customer relations for Ride West BMW in Seattle, after almost 10 years of similar work for the Cycle Barn MotorSports Group. I own, at the current time, a Triumph Rocket 3 (2020), a 2020 Triumph Bonneville, and a 2016 Ford Focus ST. What else would you like to know?
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