Motorcycles are not the danger

If a person were to sit in a crowded room full of people and load a gun while talking on a cell phone and smoking a cigarette, I’m willing to bet more than a nickel that everyone in the room would be—at the very least—nervous and concerned. Yet, on a daily basis, people thoughtlessly jump into their car or truck and speed down the road paying little or no attention, even though motor vehicles account for 39 percent of accidental deaths nationally, while firearms are involved in 0.6 percent.

Motorcycles, scooters and bicycles are not dangerous, despite constant warnings and sentiment from all directions—starting with your mother and ending with your helmet label. The chances of a person on a two-wheeled vehicle crashing due to simple operator error are very slim. However, four-wheeled vehicles—or I should say people driving four-wheeled vehicles—are extremely dangerous and potentially fatal, due mostly to a total lack of concern, attention or respect for others and the road.

The Asheville area has become flooded with all sorts of bikes, along with all sorts of terrible traffic and a need to be extra cautious. As a motorcycle rider of 13 years, I have had my life put in total danger many times by someone in a car or truck because they were driving aggressively or simply not paying attention.

In the last couple of years, this area has become a fight for your life because of people in cars. I have had at least a dozen friends and people I know and love get hurt or killed on two wheels or even on foot in the last two years. There is no excuse. You had a bad day, you’re tired and just want to get home, you’re spaced out. No! Pay attention to the road and realize that lives are in your hands. We want to get home too, and telling my mom that you “just weren’t paying attention” won’t be good enough when she has to see my body go into the ground.

— Brandon Oliver
Asheville

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14 thoughts on “Motorcycles are not the danger

  1. Dionysis

    Agreed. Add the increasing use (or rather, misuse) of cell phones by already inattentive drivers, and the risks grow exponentially.

  2. msfixit

    I absolutely agree. I also am an avid motorcycle rider. I drive my bike 3-4 days a week and constantly avoid being run over or cut off. I have become hyper vigilent and I follow all the same laws as I would in my car. I constantly hear people utter the same warning. Motorcycles are dangerous. Yet, we rarely are the cause of an accident, but are almost always the victims.

  3. Rob Close

    i remember being on my bike on the montford bridge, traffic at a dead stop, when a truck decided to merge into me/my lane without looking first. i pushed backwards a foot at last second to avoid being crushed – we are out there!

  4. metoo

    True. Motorcycles are the not the danger. Fifteen years ago I rode daily. Bike now sold. There’s more traffic, people are more distracted by cell phones and road congestion, and checking out the latest storefront. The smaller vehicle driver has to be the one to adapt. It’s not fair. It is intelligent.

  5. djc_avl

    No matter what the cause, no matter who’s at fault, none of that matters once it happens. With 40 years of riding experience, a 17 year old driver didn’t see me, turned left in front of me and hit me pretty much head on. This was just a little over a year ago and I will never walk again as a result of it. Be sure you understand and are willing to live with the consequences. Call it dangerous or not, accidents happen and the results can be extremely unforgiving. And don’t kid yourself into thinking that if it happens that you will roll away in your wheelchair set for life. It doesn’t work that way.

  6. Al Cottingham

    Motorcycles ARE THE DANGER> These overgrown juvenile delinquents are loud and act like jerks on their Harley loud pipe bikes. Screw em. I wish the cops would enforce the noise laws like they do in Chimney Rock Village.

  7. J. Young

    I’ve riden for over 35 years, and there are some real jerks on motorcycles! But, the majority are extremely good riders that learn very early that you have to be alert for every driver out there. It’s a dangerous sport, but so far is well worth the perceived risk.

  8. bobaloo

    Motorcycles ARE THE DANGER> These overgrown juvenile delinquents are loud and act like jerks on their Harley loud pipe bikes.

  9. Dionysis

    To djc _ avi, your experience is indeed tragic, but you are to be commended for offering a very sensible lesson. Thank you.

    To Al Cottingham, J. Young and bobaloo: there are responsible people and irresponsible people behind the wheels of cars as well as riding motorcycles. Neither group has a monopoly on stupidity, but from my own experience, I would agree that those who drive cars are more dangerous; too many times I’ve seen cars pull right out in front of motorcycles as if they were bicycles, and once watched in horror as a cycle slammed right into a car.
    As for the pipes, there really is no valid reason to mess with factory pipes (almost exlusively done by Harley owners) other than to (as some have said) “let people know we’re coming.” Contrary to popular misperception, louder pipes do not enhance safety. If a louder noise is needed for safety reasons, get a louder horn.

  10. bobaloo

    Dionysis,
    Yep, there are stupid people on bikes too.

    As for the pipes, you can improve the performance of the bike with new pipes, air intake and PCI. Lots of bikers, metric and Harley/Victory owners alike, do these mods for their bikes. It’s not exclusively Harley at all, especially since their pipes are usually pretty rumbly to begin with.

    Yes, the horn works too, but I’d rather you know I’m there before I have to use the horn. It doesn’t “enhance” safety, nothing will do that except proper gear, but it does make us more noticeable, and that’s half the battle.

    In any case, what of it? The percentage of outlaw bikers running through town gunning their engines just to upset the timid is miniscule.
    Good God, just leave us alone and we’ll leave you alone. We’re not hurting anyone.

  11. Dionysis

    “As for the pipes, you can improve the performance of the bike with new pipes, air intake and PCI. Lots of bikers, metric and Harley/Victory owners alike, do these mods for their bikes. It’s not exclusively Harley at all, especially since their pipes are usually pretty rumbly to begin with.’

    I don’t know much about motorcycles myself, but my comments were based upon information given to me by a co-worker who has a Harley. You seem to be savvy about such things, so I defer to your expertise.

    “Yes, the horn works too, but I’d rather you know I’m there before I have to use the horn. It doesn’t “enhance” safety, nothing will do that except proper gear, but it does make us more noticeable, and that’s half the battle.

    In any case, what of it? The percentage of outlaw bikers running through town gunning their engines just to upset the timid is miniscule.”

    I can’t refute these views, but only comment that I have heard many, many people complain about how “rude” loud motorcyclists are. They are entitled to their opinions as well, don’t you agree? Personally, I’ve always like BMWs because they are cool looking and pretty quiet too.

    “Good God, just leave us alone and we’ll leave you alone. We’re not hurting anyone.”

    It does not appear that anyone is trying to give you or other bikers a hard time. Keep in mind that my posts were supportive of the letter writer.

  12. bobaloo

    Sorry for coming off as so defensive.

    Many people do think that loud motorcycles = rude riders, but that’s rarely ever true. We just like to be noticed. :)

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