A good friend of mine wrote in response to my recent post:
Every person that I have ever known that has had a motorcycle has been in an accident, and I would hate to see that happen to anyone else.
I’ve had numerous people say the same thing to me over the years, and while I appreciate the sentiment, I’ve always found the statement a bit annoying, so I’d like to talk about that sort of statement in general (not picking on you, Nick…)
People have a poor perception of what the true risks of an activity are, and their perception is often based on whether they participate in the activity or not.
There’s a process I like to call filtering going on here. The same people who make such comments about motorcycles don’t make them about automobiles, because they understand automobiles and aren’t thinking about the risks.
It’s true that motorcycles are statistically more dangerous than cars, but it’s also true that there are lots of stupid and/or drunk motorcycle riders. I was rarely the first, and never the second. I’ve had friends who had two or three accidents in 5 years, but I didn’t notice anyone telling them they should stop driving.
Life is full of risks. I’m actually a fairly risk-averse person – I didn’t take big risks when I was riding, and I don’t take big risks when I’m cycling or skiing. I work on my skills to reduce my risk, but I think you have to take risks to do the things you love.