Tougher than Thou: Riders Have to Be Emotionally Tougher (Part 2)

Motorcycle crash simulation 1 photo
Before I set off with the second part of the Tougher than Thou coverstory, I have to tell you that I am not a politically-correct guy, and I despise political correctness to the point I openly speak against it.
Once you have understood this, it's maybe time to hit the red X on the corner of your screens in case the political correctness BS is one of the so-called values you hold so dear. Some of your social beliefs might get thrashed in this piece, and you might feel offended. Good!

Oh, and if this sounds a bit ranty, maybe it is. I feel that I have the right to feel indignation instead of offense watching how our kids are pampered excessively. As I wrote yesterday, life on the road is dangerous, and being ready to face the reality, even though a rider's learning is never through.

Extreme conditions demand extreme responses

The phrase may sound a bit too harsh, but when you're on your bike out on the street, it depicts exactly how things are. No matter how much you enjoy the ride, the company you're in, or the scenery, the dangers won't ever grow smaller.

Awareness is a key skill, and a rider who lets his or her guard down is in peril. Distributive attention goes hand in hand with mental strength, and together they can help a rider avoid dangerous situations or make the best decisions and reduce the damage as much as possible.

Those who commute using their bikes know very well what I am talking about. They, just like me, run in trouble at least once or twice a week, and some of these close shaves with other road users need a strong spirit to be dealt with. Otherwise, you will hear dreaded words such as "it's not worth the risk," "I guess I'll quit riding," and so on.

Things get even worse when one of the guys you know is being killed in a crash or is injured severely. Sometimes, this can happen while you ride together, and you may be the last person who sees the unfortunate guy alive.

Or, if things get only gory, without being also fatal, the one that has to keep the guy alive until the emergency teams arrive. Open fractures, splintered bones, blood, perforated lungs, having to improvise and use a tourniquet, these all come with the job, so to speak. And people MUST know what they might run into when they decide to become motorcycle riders.

Riding courses should be more in-your-face

This is a most sensitive subject, because people are becoming more easily "offended" these days. George Carlin's rant on euphemistic language is probably one of the most iconic discourses about how we are trying to trick ourselves.

A lot of people strongly and dumbly believe that, if they avoid naming things with which they are not exactly comfortable, this might alter reality. Tough luck, buddies, life doesn't work this way. And when the time comes, it's way better to be able to at least cope with an emergency, if not even take control and manhandle the situation, preventing it from worsening.

People who are taking riding and road safety courses should know both sides of the story. The nice and sweet one, with rides in the sunset, and vacations, friends and all the cheesy things, is very seductive and easily palatable.

The dark side of motorcycling is, however, not that fun. Riders should be informed that what they are being taught to do and how well they will learn to react is the only thing that keeps them on the bright side.

Riding responsibly and not being two- or three-wheeled idiots is one of the main prerequisites of living a happy life. And, for the sake of truth, they must know what dire consequences being a complete idiot or an absent-minded rider exposes them to.

You can't show blood to people, it's indecent and gross and <insert your preferred attribute here>

Unfortunately, this is what a lot of people think. If I were a bit harsher, I'd say these fellows are a bunch of hypocrites. In a way, it's like saying that blood is gross but being thankful when a doctor successfully operates on them and restores their health. Or when a surgeon performs a C-section and delivers their child, even though he or she has to stick their hands in the bloody entrails of the mother, then make sure she's safe and sound, too.

Sounds like a forced comparison? Well, it's not. It's just the way things are. Those who dream of becoming motorcyclists must learn that being stupid on two wheels is exceedingly costly. Unlike those who got licensed, say, 20 decades ago or earlier, modern-day riders have the INTERNET as an ally.

They can witness from the safety of their chairs generic types of crashes, accompanied by the corresponding comments. They can analyze the causes of a crash, the errors that have been made by the road users, and they also get a glimpse of how they should react in similar scenarios.

Some might say that showing a hard crash to a teenager might affect him or her. Of course, they also assume that these kids have never watched much more disturbing videos already on their own accord of simply watching news bulletins on the TV. If this isn't delusional behavior, I don't know what it is.

And to make things even clearer, I am not speaking about filling motorcycle safety courses with videos of splattered brains, fatal hemorrhagic wounds, and so on. Even so, I guess many of those opposing helmet laws would think twice before riding away if an educational video showing people how fragile the brain actually is would be shown to them.

This goes for a whole lot of motorcycle don'ts, and is not creepy or inappropriate. What IS creepy and inappropriate is seeing a young guy who gets his license and dies with a cracked skull for not wearing a helmet or becoming fatally injured in a terrific crash that could have been avoided, anyway.

"What you don't know can't hurt you" therefore brings in the biggest disservice imaginable. When it comes to riding a motorcycle, the more you know about what you're doing and about what's happening around you, the better your chances are to make it home in one piece.

Yes, it may sound a bit arrogant, but riders HAVE to be tougher than the rest.

Tougher than Thou: Guilt versus Wheelchair (Part 1).
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