So Many Better Ways to Kill Yourself

It looks like spring if finally shaking off its shyness in the northern hemisphere and this is a glorious period for the riders, as they can now be reunited with their bikes after several months of winter and all sorts of enemy elements.
However, I just think about how fast local newspapers, forums, Facebook pages and all the social media will become full with RIPs and all the mourning and flower emoticons. So maybe this time my weekly column will sound more like a rant, but it's completely astonishing to see the same thing happening each spring: riders dying or being severely injured all because of their own stupidity and ignorance.

Some say it's the young riders who make mistakes. Well, some of the crashes are indeed caused by the lack of experience, and everybody knows rookies are more prone to getting in trouble, but they account for a small part of the total number of crashes and deaths.

Still, safety-oriented websites are created on an almost weekly basis and safety foundations are offering tons of data in info one click away, for free and... seemingly, in vain.

Once the sunshine is no longer a poor substitute for “fair weather”, everybody wants to ride, and nobody can be blamed for this. Since one buys a motorbike, I can presume he or she has developed a passion for riding, and not being able to ride for 2, 3 months and sometimes more, might build up some frustration.

Yet, I still fail to see the way such desire to ride could account for acting like a mindless moron. And I felt unnerved after recently seeing some amateur and police footage of riders failing to comply with the basic safety measures, and obviously ending their riding season just as abruptly as it kicked off.

One thing was seeing a series of riders, some of them with pillion passengers, running the red light and obviously crashing in the nastiest ways, with several accidents resulting in fatality.

Now, I guess I'll never be able to understand what's wrong with these riders and what they are thinking in the split second when they decide to run the red.

If driving a tank, running the red might seem less dangerous... and it would really be so: having a car smashing in could even be fun behind inches of reinforced steel armor, and weighing 40 tons. The tank would definitely shake a bit, and maybe even move 2 or 3 inches, and that would be all, even if the car outside would be reduced to a pile of smoldering metal.

But running the red while riding a bike is as close to suicide as it gets. It lacks the cold and (almost) 100% success in getting killed after jumping off a 30-store building, or pulling the trigger of a 12-gauge double-barrel gun in your mouth, but it's close, quite close.

Maybe some of you think I am a little too harsh and brutal. It may be so, but this is really smooth like the finest silk compared to what ramming your bike at 60 mph into a car feels like. And maybe some of the guys reading this will be thoughtful enough to spend some more time with their younger, inexperienced friends and fellow-riders, reminding them that motorcycle riding is about having fun and making it back home in one piece, to tell the story.

I happen to know a lot of older riders and they all told me almost the same thing, in slightly different manners: each time they get on their bikes they remember how fragile a biker is, and this is happening regardless of whether going shopping or starting a 3-week biking vacation. They never overlook that they are sharing the road with all sorts of other riders and car drivers and motorcyclists will always “ride in the wake of danger”.

It's not fear and by all means it's not “cowardice”, like I unfortunately happened to hear it called. It's simply one of those small things which account for these guys still being able to ride a bike at 60, after 40 years or more spent in the saddle.

We really see no glory in dying like an idiot just because the mind was not strong or trained enough to relate the red traffic light and the need to stop. Sincerely, if you're planning to get yourself killed, there are so many better ways to do it without involving your passenger or pedestrians, car drivers and passengers, all innocent and not at all willing to partake in your demise.

Ride safe, and I really mean it!
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