It’s a two way street- the key to understanding Biker safety

Posted by Wild Ride Radio Crew February 5, 2018 Comments are off

It’s a two way street– the key to understanding Biker safety

By Dallas Hageman | Wild Ride Radio Host | | Feature photo by Wild Ride Radio

I’m giving you fair warning… this editorial might just raise you blood pressure. Actually, if you have a weak heart or constitution it may behoove you to read other articles written which are easier to pallet, often found in publications like Nickelodeon or H.O.G. magazine. Needless to say it might be a bumpy ride, but I promise if you stick with it to the end, this article may just make you a safer rider. See, I’m the type of talk show host who likes to push my listeners thinking… not their buttons (yes there is a difference).

Pushing people’s buttons is a cheap and lazy way to gain listeners and readers attention- if only for a short time. It’s a tactic of using inflammatory rhetoric, even if the presenter doesn’t personally believe it, to get numbers and ratings up. I never do this, haven’t in the past and don’t plan on it in the future. What I DO find myself doing and think is quite necessary, is pushing people out of their comfort zone and popping the safety bubble most individuals surround themselves in. I find that the more people are pushed to think instead of just absorb, benefits them individually. And if I can help out my fans by making them uncomfortable every now and then to benefit them, it’s worth it. So… here goes that BPM raising article I promised…

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For most of my riding career I believed that drivers of cars are absolute, knuckle dragging morons. Think Geico’s “Caveman” but with less of a GPA. Now, I haven’t changed that hardline opinion 100% but I have realized something that literally knocked me out of the studio chair. See, one day I was doing my show and reading through some crash statistics from the National Highway Traffic Administration; a practice that was done literally 50 times over the course of my radio career. But for some reason one of the stats hit me in the face like a bird when riding in the mountains. The stats were from the NHTSA of “at fault” situations and the researchers found that only 51% of riders, who were involved accidents, involved another vehicle… leaving 49% of riders involved in non-vehicle related crashes.

 (1) Data shows in 2013 that the most harmful event for 2,448 (51%) of the 4,774 motorcycles involved in fatal crashes was a collision with a motor vehicle in transport. (2) Motorcycles are more frequently involved in fatal collisions with fixed objects than other vehicles. In 2013, 22 percent of the motorcycles involved in fatal crashes collided with fixed objects, compared to 18 percent for passenger cars, 14 percent for light trucks, and 4 percent for large trucks.

(1) (2) NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts 2013 Data May 2015 DOT HS 812 148, NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590

Adding to these stats was the fact that 27% of riders wrecked due to intoxication!

(3) In fatal crashes in 2013, motorcycle riders involved (killed and survived) in fatal crashes had higher percentages of alcohol impairment than any other type of motor vehicle driver (27% for motorcycle riders, 23% for passenger car drivers, 21% for light truck drivers, and 2% for drivers of large trucks).

(3) NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts 2013 Data May 2015 DOT HS 812 148, NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590

Now, I had always held the belief that 99.99999999999999% of accidents were the drivers fault and the other 0.0000000000000001% was still the drivers fault. Essentially all accidents (in my closed minded approach to everything pro-Biker) was not the Riders fault, but the operators fault… and far be it from me to let pesky stats and truth ruin a good story.

However, when I saw these stats during this particular show it began a process of me doing a little soul searching, and that searching gave way to months and months of dissecting what I knew and what I thought I knew about motorcycling as a whole. Turns out, I had some ideas about motorists and motorcyclists that were all twisted around. I’d like to blame the Riders before me who handed down preconceived notions and half-truths they themselves heard from their predecessors but since I’m a grown ass man, I feel it was my responsibility to own up to the misrepresentation of facts in my skull and admit that I should have done my own research before puking back false information. I found that alas, I fell into a trap that everyone seems to at some point or another in their life, and that trap is to accept someone else’s false information as the gospel truth… CAN I GET AN HALLELU-JER!

Here’s what I realized, that accidents are the Riders and drivers fault, nearly 50/50 straight down the middle! And add to that nauseating fact which knocked me off my high and mighty “I’m a Biker and it’s never my fault” pedestal is that of those 49% of Riders at fault, if you took away alcohol related incidents, the accidents of Riders would drop by 27%.

I’d like to add another point that was also brought up in the study where, if those at fault Riders were operating their motorcycle as safely as possible and abstaining from riding like a bat out of hell, I wonder how much the percentage would drop even further..? Could it be safe to say another 20%? If so then by riding safely, taking an advanced riders course and not drinking until kickstands are down for the night might make the Rider less than 10% at fault in an accident, vehicle related or not, thus reducing overall accident risk and nearly assuring a safe return home every night.

(4) In 2013, 34 percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared to 21 percent for passenger car drivers, 18 percent for light-truck drivers, and 8 percent for large truck drivers. (5) Twenty-five percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2013 were riding their vehicles without valid motorcycle licenses at the time of the collisions, while only 13 percent of passenger vehicle drivers in fatal crashes did not have valid licenses.

(4)(5) NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts 2013 Data May 2015 DOT HS 812 148, NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590

I know that there are many other factors involved in these stats and researches that have much bigger and more amply filled craniums have done a lot more in-depth studies of crashes. I’d like to think that staying up on all this research is part of my job and for that reason I have more of a back door insight to this; but Lord knows by the time this goes to print there will be a myriad of cranky emails in my inbox attempting to rebut these numbers and add an element of victimhood instead of personal responsibility to their own lives.

The truth is that sometimes it’s hard for a lot of people to accept responsibility of circumstances and actions (just look at our idiot politicians that have been re-elected time after time). Please know that for years I literally lead the charge on “I’m a Biker and it’s never my fault in a wreck”. Hell, I all but started petitions to ban four wheeled vehicles on roads purely based on my bias of cars drivers. However, stats don’t lie and if you take a deep look inside yourself, you’d have to admit what I realized too. On the road, it’s EVERYONE’s responsibility to operate their vehicles safely.

In writing this I sincerely hope it doesn’t come across like an angry old man sitting on a porch and waving a shot gun at kids passing by telling them to “get off my lawn”. However, if I didn’t care about or think that pushing you a little wouldn’t benefit you in the long run then I could have written a easy to read and self-inflating article. Maybe one about how hard it is to bungee cord a jacket onto a bike, then I could submit it to H.O.G. Magazine and probably get it published…. but my head isn’t nearly empty enough for that task and neither is yours.

Are car drivers morons? Maybe. But as a Rider, it’s your job to pay attention to how you operate your vehicle and take responsibility of your own zone. Wear appropriate gear, take an advanced riding course, stay alert and don’t just rely on loud pipes to get your ass safely home. If you do these steps you may realize that car drivers aren’t as bad as us Bikers have made them out to be and chances are, you’ll also make the roads a lot safer for yourself and others.

Stats in this article taken from: NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts 2013 Data May 2015 DOT HS 812 148, NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590




Photo by Felixe

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