Wayne Dietz, 66, of Pittsville, Wisconsin, died almost immediately on September 22, after losing control of his motorcycle. Robert Haag, of New Lenox, Illinois, died when he collided with a hit-and-run driver, September 12. Michael Harris, Bryan Hern, Chase Orr, and Jerry Johnson, all motorcyclists from Illinois, have died this past October because of losing control or crashing into another vehicle or obstacle. The list of other people killed in motorcycle accidents in Illinois, Wisconsin, and the rest of the U.S. in October alone would take up the rest of this page.
There's no doubt that riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving a car, but how much more? Of the roughly 30,000 deaths on the road annually, about 5,000 are motorcyclists. Some would say that there are far more car/truck deaths (25,000) every year than motorcycle deaths, but that would be misleading, since there are many more cars and trucks on the road (over 250 million) than motorcycles (about 8 million). You are 30 times more likely to be killed riding a motorcycle than driving a car or truck. That is 3,000% higher! You are even more likely to be seriously injured riding a motorcycle than driving a car.
You could be a very safety-conscious motorcyclist, but there are many reasons to avoid riding motorcycles. I will name just a few... bad weather and road conditions, unexpected and sudden obstacles, and, most of all, other drivers!
In bad weather conditions, it is far easier to be injured or killed riding motorcycles than driving cars. The same applies with bad road conditions, and, as everyone knows, numerous roads are in need of repair every year. Going over a pothole in a car can be frustrating, but on a motorcycle it can be extremely dangerous. In a car you simply have more protection. At night the percentage of motorcycle mishaps compared to cars is staggering. 60% of all motorcycle deaths occur at night!
Unexpected and sudden obstacles often lead to motorcycle deaths. Joseph Doubek, 52, of Johnson Creek, Wisconsin, died after a deer ran out in the road, this past September. Many other motorcyclists die every year because of deer or other obstructions. I was driving through a wooded area in western New York many years ago when all of a sudden, a deer came out of nowhere. I could not avoid hitting it, and my car got a little banged up. Except for my nerves, I was totally fine.
Now for the single most important reason to avoid riding motorcycles... other drivers! Sometimes drivers can be very irresponsible. When my dad was in his 40's, he drove a motorcycle to save money. One time he had to avoid a driver who wasn't paying attention. He lost control and was severely injured, even though he was wearing a helmet. He went through a lot of pain and therapy. The rest of the family felt terrible. If he had died, it would have been devastating, like it is with many families when a loved one passes before their time.
Some years ago, in Illinois, a neighbor lady of ours had a son in his 20's who died riding his motorcycle. She was completely crushed. Devastated. I do not want that for my family. I've asked my children not to own any motorcycles. I don't want to be constantly thinking about their safety on the road. There is plenty to worry about already!
Should you have a right to own and ride a motorcycle? Of course. All I'm saying is: think long and hard about your loved ones who would no doubt be shattered if you were to die because of a motorcycle accident. Remember... better to be safe than sorry.