There have been so many ‘top ten’ lists recently about rider life in many online forums, blogs and social media and many the time we hear that riders know the risks so they don’t need to be told…so here is a top ten – “I told you so!”
- “Don’t look after you bike and it won’t look after you!” Regular is the mantra…maintain your bike…check the chain tension, the tyre pressure, etc. How many times have you seen riders just get on and ride and not have a connection or interest in the condition of what they are riding? Like so many road vehicles these day, bikes are getting more sophisticated and ever reliable that many newer riders are losing, have lost or never gained that connection and do not think about bike maintenance. Looking after a bike is more likely to engage a rider in how a bike may function & perform under varying conditions so ultimately the bike will look after the rider.
- Riding like a prat will always end in tears! Well most of the time it will if we have a
long enough timeline that is. Eventually it will catch up with you and it will either be
your worst day or it will be for someone else! I’m not saying don’t have fun or never
stretch the legs at appropriate times, but riding should not mean stupid & unnecessary
danger. Ride like you want to ride again another day and not like it’s your last day!
- “Of course you don’t need to wear protection!” Yep, who’s to say what you have to
wear and how much protection you should wear. Who’s to say that you’ll be alright and
you’ll never have an accident, even if you do, well it’s your choice and you’ll live with
the consequences. Nobody expects to have an accident and in terms of
probability…the chances of having an accident are low…but they do happen!! So
wearing something that will at least provide some protection from the road acting like a
cheese grater on the skin…is probably a good idea!
- “I’ll never have an accident!” well what you probably should say is: “I hope I never
have an accident and I’ll do all I can to avoid having one!” Whether you’ve just started
to ride or have been riding for 50 years, you can only prepare so far but ultimately who
knows what will happen. Just because you are an experienced or advanced rider does
not mean you are immune from having an accident. Having lots of experience and
taking extra riding courses is a great quality to draw upon when out riding but it can
also lead to over confidence and complacency which is always a recipe for road kill
- ‘Riding Angels & Driving Demons!’ Just because you ride a bike, does not mean
you are in the right or have the right to control the goings on the road, let alone have
the right to own the road. It also does not mean that drivers are repulsive biker killers
who deserve to be hung drawn and quartered. Of course there are some drivers who
need an education…but the same could be said of some riders and many times riders
are also drivers. So the next time you want to flip the bird or berate someone in a
car…that certain someone may just well be another rider in driver’s clothes!
- The young and the born again riders! Whilst accidents happen in all age groups, all
social backgrounds and genders…it is a myth that the most likely to have an accident
is one specific group. What about those riding the sports bikes…surely they’re just
accidents waiting to happen! It is very easy for drivers to pigeon hole riders as carefree
& reckless, but it is also easy for certain rider demographics to lay the blame at other
rider types. If we consider bike accidents on a global scale, rather than just on a
regional one then we’ll find that the numbers are fairly spread amongst all rider types
and all types of ride!
- ‘Make sure you wear really expensive protective gear because it will protect
Errrm…no it won’t! Just because you wear protective gear…whether it is expensive or
not, will not necessarily mean you will be protected in all cases. Protection only works
up to a certain point and gives some protection against abrasion and light impacts. Any
substantial direct impact and the protection may help, but there is no guarantee. It is
rendered quite useless at high speed impacts with solid objects. Don’t ever think that
just because you’re wearing protection you will be totally protected. The best protection
will always be avoiding the accident in the first place and hoping the protective gear
does help if you ever have an accident!
- “They may make us wear a helmet…but they will never take our…FREEDOM!”
There has and I’m sure will continue the debate amongst many riders about the right to
choose to wear a helmet. Whilst I somewhat sympathise with the notion of more
restrictions being placed on riders. The reality of motorcycle accidents is that there is a
high probability that the head will receive an impact…so wearing something will help.
Just ask anyone who has suffered a fatal blow to the head if they’d wished they’d worn
a helmet…oh…bugger…you can’t…because they are dead!! There are no absolute
certainties in riding, but among the many myths of helmets and injuries there remains
this truth. If you wear a helmet…if it is strapped up properly…then it will help to protect
your head and brain to a certain degree. It will probably enable you to continue in the
future to ride and drive and live your life. The only discussion that remains is what type
of helmet should you wear…and aren’t you glad you’re still here to make that decision!
- “All riders have a death wish!” …No they don’t! But many drivers and pedestrians
may well be given that impression by the way we act or how we might be portrayed in
the media or on TV & film. Just like all riders or bikers…especially those wearing black
leather are not necessarily the nasty & criminal type. We cannot blame ‘the public’ if
they have a negative impression of us when we regularly reinforce that. The absolute
vast majority of riders are responsible road users who do treasure their own mortality
but unfortunately it is always the few that forge lasting opinions. It is upon us all to
continue to portray ourselves in a good light and lead by example in rider and general
- “Don’t Say I Didn’t Tell You So!” There is so much information out there, in the ether,
about how to better your bike or your riding and every man and his dog has an opinion
on regulatory restrictions or safety matters. The access to this information is largely
widespread now and no rider needs to be in isolation when it comes to improving their
knowledge. Some is for free and some has to be paid for…some quite cheap and some
really expensive. The best you can do is absorb as much information as possible from
either contact with other riders, taking courses or training or just by reading up from
magazines or online sources, then ultimately take that information and use it to YOUR
benefit and YOUR improvement. Some things will not work for you, but other things
will. Having an open mind will help and always retain your own identity. Never try to
‘Keep up with Jones’s’ for the sake of it and never believe that you can easily be as
good as those racing heroes. I ain’t no ‘Rossi’, so I don’t ride like him either. I ain’t no
‘Driving Miss Daisy’, so I don’t drive like Morgan Freeman either. I have my own
method, my own pace and I go my own way! I am responsible for my own decisions
and how I ride and ultimately how safe I can be and how much fun I can have.
There you go…that’s it! That’s my top ten told you so’s!