‘Never fear a bike, but always respect it.’
The never ending reminders from the media, our parents and society in general tend to instill a fear of bikes in us much before we are even old enough to ride them. ‘A car is much safer and more practical’, they say. And it is a bit difficult to argue with that isn’t it? But if we lived our lives trying to be as safe and practical as possible, we would all be walking around covered in bubble-wrap while we sip on some nutrient-enriched smoothies instead of beer. There would be no adventure and thrill in our lives; we would be like robots, performing the tasks required of us while minimising all possible risks. Now I ask you, where’s the fun in that?
Coming to the point of this article, we concede that bikes aren’t the model for safe transportation but that shouldn’t necessarily stop you from ever riding one.
Risks associated with bikes
Let’s get the elephant out the room shall we? Yes, bikes are not as safe as cars, but that really shouldn’t stop you from riding one. Statistically, you’re going to be much safer staying in your bed all day long when compared to going on a roller coaster, but we both know that isn’t going to stop you from going to an amusement park. When a plane crashes, do people stop flying in them? Of course not. It’s the same with bikes. Just because some bikers get into accidents doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ride a bike. Instead, you should ride more sensibly and try to avoid making the same mistakes as others.
Unfair stereotyping of bikers
It’s a sad truth that the media along with every movie and TV show potray biking as a dangerous and evil lifestyle followed by the rebellious folks who have a hatred for authority. This is far from the truth. Not every biker wants to set a speed record every time he’s out for a ride much the same way that not every car driver considers a traffic signal to be the start light at a race track. The media loves using wrong statistics to paint a scary picture of motorcyclists in order to increase their ratings. However, none of the statistics about bike accidents factor in inexperience or carelessness of the driver. If the rider who was involved in a crash was not wearing a helmet or happened to be drunk, the fault is entirely his and it cannot be attributed to the entire biking community.
Why bikes are better than cars
Driving a car requires a lot less focus than riding a bike does. When you’re in your car, you fiddle with the AC, moan about the traffic and mull over all the problems in your life. Riding a bike, however, makes you alert and uses all of you. You feel the elements, shift your body to steer, your eyes scan the road ahead, and all of your limbs are used for controls. You can’t put it on cruise and lean the seat back, riding takes all of your attention. And that is what makes it so special – you ride away from your thoughts and stresses with a twist of the throttle until the only thing on your mind is the ride. There’s a quote that sums this up the best – ‘Driving a car is like watching a movie, riding a motorcycle is like starring in one.’
Suggested Read: Superbikes vs Supercars. Who wins in the pursuit of speed?
One thing you’ll never fall short of as a biker is finding like-minded people with the same passion for bikes. While movies and TV shows would have us believe that every biker group is a bunch of angry anarchists who just want to wreak havoc and get drunk, the reality is so very different. Bikers are genuinely some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet for the simple reason that you can’t be too angry if you’re on a bike. And the best thing about making biker friends is that they truly care about you just because you ride a bike. You can be a person with a bad job or an unappreaciative family, but when you’re with your group, none of that matters. You are remembered for who were on the bike as a part of a brotherhood and community that is much larger than any individual, and that is just brilliant.
Life is short, make the most of it
This is not an invitation to do stupid things like popping wheelies on crowded roads or riding home after one of those Saturday night drinking binges. Instead you should spend your time having experiences and creating memories rather living a sheltered life just because you are too scared to try new things. It might seem a bit preachy but think about it; Would you rather die with the memories of epic adventures you took on your bike or with the regret that you were too scared to ride one?
For a true enthusiast, riding is constantly a challenge. Every time bikers leave their house they learn something new and push themselves harder. Not necessarily faster, but better. Every day it brings something out of them that nothing else can.
Fearing a motorcycle or not respecting one can get you hurt. No helmet, drinking and careless behavior loses your respect for a bike, but riding sensibly can make you feel more alive than anything on four wheels.