Monday, February 06, 2006

Death by Motorcycle

In my post of Feb. 3rd, I mentioned a cousin who survived WW2 and then lost his life in a motorcycle accident. This morning in our newspaper, there is an article written by Jay Price, which states:

" Since 9/11, more American troops have died in off-duty motorcycle accidents than fighting in Afghanistan. Nearly 350 GIs have died on bikes since the 2001 terrorist attacks compared with 259 killed while serving in Afghanistan, according to safely records kept by each service. The number who die in crashes each year - nearly all in the United States - has more than doubled since 2001, hitting new levels in 2005. Nearly 1,000 more have been injured, draining power when the Pentagon needs every soldier.

A big part of the problem, say commanders at NC bases, comes when soldiers return from war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan with months of tax-free salaries and extra pay for combat and overseas service. They buy high-powered motorcycles and hit the streets to burn off adrenaline, testosterone and boredom."

What a horrible waste of our young men! Surely that money could be put to better use, especially since many of these guys have wives and families. How do we educate our young service men - as well as others who are entertaining the purchase of a "hog" - so that they see the risks and opt for less dangerous methods of curing their boredom? Motorcycles should have a warning sticker like those found on cigarette packs, although for all the good that has done, it probably wouldn't be worth it.

If you know someone who is thinking about buying a motorcycle, would you try to talk them out of it?


srp said...

Yes. A middle age man I worked with decided he wanted a scooter, not a full motorcycle mind you, but a scooter. His reasoning? The little boy across the street from him growing up had one, his mom couldn't afford one and he was jealous. Now he had money (no common sense) so he bought one. Several times he almost had an encounter with cars pulling out of our lab parking lot. Then one day on his way home (barely 2 miles from the lab) he was behind a FedEx truck. The truck stopped and his scooter couldn't. He slammed into the back of the truck. It crushed his femur into more pieces than could be counted. (At surgery they stopped counting at 35) He had a delayed rupture of his spleen and had to have his previous hip replacement re-done. Yes, he got on a scooter already sporting two hip replacements. Not a bright person.

Anne said...

This is sad :(

I don't like motorcycles and I know there is a huge debating out there but I have a friend who had someone cut in front of him (sadly many people driving cars act as if motorcylces aren't vehicles) and he lost part of his foot and had broken bones, etc. and lots and lots of therapy-and he was one of the lucky ones!

I tell DH he is asking for divorce if he buys one!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I sure would try to talk anyone I know out of buying a motorcycle...
Many years ago my brother, (he was still a teenager) had a minor..MINOR accodent on a motorcycle and was pretty badly banged up, including loosing a front tooth! That was the end of his days of riding a MC....Later, another guy I knew was coming to our Theatre...and I don't know what happened but he had a terrible accident with a car, right in front of Theatre West and he was very VERY badly injured and his passenger was so badly hurt, that she died.

Even with Helmet''s still such a dangerous thing to do...I know it sure scares the hell out of me!

Raehan said...

Such a sad statistic.

Thank you, and yes, I will do as you say.

Maria said...

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my brother and I were in a serious motorcycle accident years ago. I would never get on another one. Inspite of knowing what happened to me and to their uncle, all of my boys, as adults, have had motorcycles for short periods of time. Stupid choice, but I think they have it out of their systems now.

Lisa said...

motorcycles scare me to death! I rode on one once (wasn't driving) and I was just sure I was going to die...

Jamie Dawn said...

That's a troubling stat. How very sad indeed.
I'm not a fan of motorcycles. I know they are fun, but they are so dangerous.

Merle said...

Judy ~~ Thanks for visiting me and leaving such nice words.
As for motor-bikes apart from our friend June, I do not know of too many women who like them.
My son John has one, and I only learned this past Christmas that he, along with other cyclists rode with presents for the needy.
With his girlfriend on the back.
He is 51 and very reliable BUT I
still worry. He does not ride often, but just spent a weekend
riding to the mountains. Cheers.

Zee said...

I must say it would depend on who wanted to purchase one. Depends if the person has a sound head on their shoulders. I've lost two friends to motorcycle accidents -one was pulling tricks on the freeway, one was killed by a drunk driver.

I've been riding since my teens. My hubby just got me one a short two weeks ago, and I practice caution every time, just as when I get into my car. It's wonderful to ride.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I own a motorcycle for a couple of years (in fact it is my second one) and I agree with all of you that it is a 'risky' hobby to say the least. No matter how hot, I ALWAYS wear a full protection-suit.

I have no illusions on the protection it would give on serious impact with a car, but I would never dream of getting on my bike wearing just a helmet, a t-shirt and shorts like others.

Taking a motorcycle tour on a sunny day, for me, is a rare but very pleasant treat. However, I always have mixed feelings doing so, because I am very aware of the risks involved. The thought of getting injured or killed in an accident and no longer being there for my wife and children often keeps me up at night after a ride.

I drive my motorcycle as if every-one else on the road is a half-blind, drunk maniac with a total disregard for my life. Unfortunately, way too often this presumption simply prooves to be true!!!

The point is that, even though I adapt my driving-style to the knowledge that I am very vulnerable on my bike, I have no control over anybody elses' behaviour. And the total disregard that some car-drivers show for my life (ex. hugging to my rear-wheel with a few inches to spare) makes me really mad sometimes.

Finally, there's the look on certain people's faces when I am waiting at a crossing, making me feel like a criminal. I drive slower and more careful on my (stock, silent, non-tuned) bike than with our family mpv, yet I immediately get compared to other nutcakes on two wheels.

As far as I am concerned, performing stunts or running at 'indecent' speeds on a public road should be subject to immediate loss of the vehicle and the driver's licence! There is absolutely no excuse for endangering others' lives, no matter how many wheels you have touching the asphalt.

These mixed feelings make me seriousely consider getting rid of the bike. Especially when I see how my little 3 year-old son is already fascinated by the motorcycle. I am afraid it's already too late and that he will go out and buy a one by the time he is law permits him.

A thought that scares the hell out of me to be honest.

kenju said...

Anonymous, I hope, if you keep your motorcycle, you will be diligent in teaching your son to be cautious with his driving habits, whether it be on a cycle or in a car.

A child I know has a motorbike, and his dad took him to race on a motocross track when he was 10-11. He had a collision with another bike and broke both of his legs in several places. It was a horrible accident, and he had to be air-lifted to a hospital, and then spent months in rehab.

I don't see how it is worth it to risk that, either with a child or an adult.

Anonymous said...

I am a 21 year old female and love to ride motorcycles more than anything. In October my fiance had a terrible accident on his bike (someone in a car changed lanes into him). You can't give up something that is in your blood just because you have a little scare. We went and bought another bike yesterday. It's not the bikes that kill people. It's the cell phone holding, lattee drinking drivers in cars that do.

Anonymous said...

You have no right to set up standards and ideals for other people...

Please, please, please stop giving me all the motorcycle horror stories. All who ride have heard them before. It's like standing in front of the skydiver telling him he could get hurt doing this. HE KNOWS!!!

stella estrella said...

No, I wouldn't talk them out of it. I have been riding motorcycles since I was 15, in fact learned to ride before I could drive. I love the thrill and the freedom. However, like another commenter, I ride like everyone else on the road is driving with their heads up their butts. You have to. A good rider does know the danger and the risk, but will do it anyway because it's what they love, just like the skydiver.
Too many of these kids that are getting killed are just not skilled riders, on roads with incompetent drivers who think it's just dandy that they can talk on the phone, drink their lattes, apply makeup (like I saw one woman doing a few mornings ago), and eat their Big Macs while rooting around under a seat for a CD or changing the radio station.