Motorcycle Rider Basics
5May/16

OMG! My Husband Wants a Motorcycle!

image Just when you thought everything was going great, your husband announces that he is thinking about getting a motorcycle. Somehow you manage to keep a passive face while inside you are thinking "That's not going to happen, no way, no how, uh-uh, no motorcycles in this family." Or maybe you have always had a secret desire to get a motorcycle yourself and this announcement fits right in to your fantasy.

Whatever your initial reaction, once you sense that he is dead serious (oops, bad choice of adjective), you should probably get serious about what to do with this new obsession. In this blog I will give you all of the information you need and maybe some information that your husband should know. At the very lease you will be in a position to discuss motorcycle riding from an informed point of view.

Emotional

The first thing you should ask yourself is wither or not you would like to ride a motorcycle. presumably, your better half wants you to participate on this new motorcycle and no matter if you are driving or riding as a passenger, you share the same experience.

Forget about the facts for a minute and take a look at the emotional side of riding a motorcycle. Some people do not want to ride on a motorcycle no matter what. They have had some bad experiences or maybe they are just not interested, period. If that's you, you probably should listen to your gut feelings and let you husband know that buying a motorcycle is going to be a problem.

Don't try to be understanding and to compromise because if you are dead set against having a motorcycle, getting "talked into" a motorcycle is never going to work.

However, if you are not completely against the idea of getting a motorcycle, read on and get the facts. Once you have the facts, you can make an informed decision. Or by the time you know the facts you will have already made a decision one way or the other.

There are a lot of couples out there where only the husband rides and the wife never participates. To me this is not really what riding is all about. I believe that the non-riding spouse will always be projecting their personal fears onto the other spouse and the motorcycle will ultimately be something that takes away from the relationship rather than adds to the relationship. But everyone is different and as they say, "whatever floats your boat."

Facts

Let's cut to the chase, how dangerous is riding a motorcycle? There are a lot of statistics available on motorcycle deaths and injuries. you can check the Department of Transportation or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (or my own blog) and find out more than you ever wanted to know about motorcycle danger. Here is the short version.

Motorcycle Death and Injury Statistics

2007
People killed while riding in a car 41,059
People killed while riding a motorcycle 5,154
People injured while riding in a car 2.49 million
People injured while riding a motorcycle 103,000

These are the raw numbers for 2007. For a meaningful view you must account for the number of drivers/riders and miles traveled.  I put riding a motorcycle at 2 to 4 times more risky than driving a car.

But for a raw look at motorcycle riding risk, this is it,  pure and simple, a motorcycle is much riskier than a car but they both have risk of injury or death. It comes down to how much risk are you willing to accept to enjoy riding a motorcycle.

Alcohol and Drugs

Does your husband drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol? If the real answer is yes, then a motorcycle is not the kind of new toy you should have in your family. Statistically, 50% of motorcycle deaths are a result of riding while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. So, forget about a motorcycle (and you should really take some affirmative action to eliminate any driving under the influence).

Sports Bike or Cruiser?

The most dangerous motorcycle is the "Super Sports Bike" a very powerful street and road racer. The "Super Sports Bike" is the top of the line road racer in the Sports Bike category. The Sports Bike category is often called the "Ninja" or Crotch Rocket.

The safest motorcycle is the cruiser. It does not need to be a Harley, just a cruiser.

To put it into perspective, the "Super Sports Bike" is four times as likely to be involved in an accident than a cruiser.

Still with me?

OK, now that you have the facts on how dangerous it is to ride a motorcycle, here are some more facts that are not quite as upsetting.

Passenger Riding or Riding "2Up"

Have you ever ridden on the back of a motorcycle? The most common passenger comment is there is a feeling of not being in control. You go where ever the driver goes. Too fast or too slow, you are just along for the ride. To some, this can be unnerving, not being in control.

There are passenger responsibilities to pay attention to such as sitting upright and avoid leaning against the turns. You will need to keep you feet on the pegs when you are stopped at a light. You will need to avoid falling asleep at 75 mpg during a long ride.

The good news is that as a passenger, you are not always on, you are not always 100% focused on the ride. You can take a break and enjoy the ride a lot more than the driver. See the sights, smell the forest, really enjoy the ride.

Passenger Seat

Now your husband will probably want a passenger seat that is pretty small and unobtrusive and looks cool while he is riding alone. No sissy bar or at best, a small sissy bar (backrest). Pay attention to this as whatever ends up as the passenger seat will become near and dear to your backside.

The passenger seat becomes more that a "stylish" piece of leather. On a fifteen minute ride to the store, almost any passenger seat will suffice but on a longer ride, forget about style and focus in on comfort. Your backside will thank you.

Today's cruiser has a very cool seat option; actually change the seat for single or 2Up riding. Sounds complicated but there is really only one thumb screw involved, maybe 5 minutes to go from a single rider "looking cool" seat to a 2Up comfortable seat. This is usually not an option on a Sports Bike.

Helmet Hair

Yes, after riding for a few hours or maybe even just fifteen minutes, when you take off your helmet, you will have helmet hair. To most guys, this is not a big deal. In fact, it may be kind of a macho look, a kind of battle scar that lets everyone know they are out there living on the edge (or something like that).

But if you never ride in a convertible because the wind messes up you hair, you are not going to be very excited about your hair style when the helmet comes off. Or maybe, if you are looking for that $600 "just-woke-up hairstyle", a motorcycle helmet may be just what you are looking for.

More importantly than the hair issue, is the helmet itself. First of all, I believe that every rider must wear a DOT approved helmet. There are three main styles of helmets, the half helmet (top half of your head is protected), the 3/4 helmet (top and sides of your head) and the full face helmet (top, sides and face are protected).

The big news here is that only the full face helmet will protect your face when you are skidding along the asphalt. That's it, if you want to make sure to keep your face intact during a crash, you need to wear a full face helmet.

Leathers

There are fashion leathers and motorcycle leathers and the two are not interchangeable. While fashion leathers may have the motorcycle look, they fall short when you really need the protection.

However, as motorcycles have gained popularity, so have the motorcycle leather fashions. Check out the Harley clothing and see what's going on today. You will be pleasantly surprised and maybe a little shocked at the prices.

Weather

Yes, you will be out in the weather, I mean, really out in the weather. In the warm summer months, riding is a unique pleasure. The wind in your face, the smells, the overall feeling of freedom is wonderful. But it does rain and it does get cold and you are still out in the weather.

You wear the proper clothes, gloves, boots and safety gear and you are doing just fine in the weather. The changing weather adds to the adventure. You will never feel more together with your sweetie until after you have weathered the ride together.

And if You are Still with Me

Now how about the actual motorcycle riding which is what your husband is really interested in in the first place? Well, this is the fun part.

Riding a motorcycle together with your sweetie is fun. Not just going to a movie fun or having a picnic fun, but adventure fun.

I joke with my wife that she needs a destination when we go for a ride and all I need is a direction. It's true, it's all about the ride. Once you get to your destination there is almost a change in the atmosphere. The ride is over and no matter how exciting the destination may be, the ride has been suspended until you get back on to ride home.

Riding along in the wind, you have a feeling of oneness, togetherness that is hard to find in any other activity (except maybe one other). Sharing the adventure together just seems to put the color into life. And you have this available sitting out in the garage, ready to go at any time.

Now you know the facts;

  • Motorcycles are more dangerous than cars but you are not automatically sentenced to death when you ride a motorcycle. In fact, safe riding can really minimize the risk.
  • Alcohol and drug use while on a motorcycle dramatically increases the risk and is just plain stupid.
  • Super Sports Bikes are much more dangerous than cruisers.
  • Wearing leathers and experiencing weather can be a lot of fun.
  • Riding a motorcycle is not for everyone but for those who ride, they only wish they had started riding earlier.

Like I said in the beginning, whatever floats your boat. Ride safe!

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Comments (9) Trackbacks (0)
  1. If “riding a motorcycle at 2 to 4 times more risky than driving a car”, and “the Super Sports Bike is four times as likely to be involved in an accident than a cruiser”, then aren’t you saying that statistically a cruiser is between “equal” and “twice as safe” as a car?

  2. Any type of motor vehicle is dangerous. A motorcycle can be safe and dangerous. It is all about respecting the motorcycle and taking the proper precautions when you are riding. Taking riding classes and safety classes are a great way to learn how you can be safe on the road.

  3. The statistics are both incorrect and very misleading. The ratio between motorbike owners vs car owners should have been taken into consideration. Yes there are more accidents in cars than bikes…. But there are a hell of a lot more car owners than bike owners. If you take this into consideration it will clearly demonstrate the real danger that a bike represents. Also, bike riders being under the influence? No…. More accidents are caused by cars hitting bikes. That is the danger… Cars simply don’t look out for bike. We are automatically tuned to look for other cars, not bikes passing is at speed. All it would take is changing a cd or turning a corner and slightly going into the other lane. Believe me I know. Women with any intelligence will know this was out together by a man trying to convince his wife. If she is into it too, understands the risks then great. I think I might being a Herron user. It’s fun, you get that feeling of freedom and a high, I understand the risks but what the hell, the joy and the rush outweigh the risks right?

  4. In my house, it is the opposite. I ride, husband wants nothing to do with it. I think the Motorcycle Safety Foundation safety course is a must for anyone who wants to maximize their chances of survival. I highly, highly recommend it.

    BTW – Ninja makes a 250 cc that has the look of a crotch rocket without the crazy power/speed referenced here. So don’t need to freak out quite as much with that one as some of the more powerful models.

  5. Hi I have been a car driver for 30 years motorcycles always seen to have got the blame daft fast overtaking near bends etc but at the age of 51 finally took up motorcycle lessons and car drivers are terrible not all of them but a lot more than I thought a bike rider covers a lot more road awareness to pass 4 parts of the test to get a full leicence they have to think for the car driver be three steps ahead of everything they do when doing car lessons I was told to look twice for any bikes that was it motorbike have to read minds of car drivers I just wish all road users were told more about each other a weakness speed and common sense we should work together on the road to make it safer for all everybody only wants safe journeys and arrive home ok

  6. I’ve been with my husband for six years. We are in our early 50s. He just recently told me recently he wanted a Harley. He has had crashes on motorcycles in the past and I thought he was over it. I was not happy about it. I know he’s a responsible guy and a good rider, but it’s the other idiots out there in L.A. not paying attention that I worry about. You hear about riders going down every day. The only reason why the percentages of motorcycle crashes are less than car crashes is because there are less motorcycles than cars to begin with. But two of his friends recently got one so it made him want one again. He bought a Harley about a month ago. I have to admit it was beautiful. I am saying WAS because yesterday he got in an accident with someone who wasn’t paying attention and pulled a U in front of him. Now he’s a mess with a broken foot, a messed up arm, and road rash even though he had been wearing protective gear. He spent the day at the USC trauma center yesterday and he’s in bad shape. The trauma center said they see about five or more motorcycle crash victims in the ER there every day. You would think that would deter him from wanting to ride, but he’s already talking about getting another Harley. He might be divorced if that happens because he’s the one hurt, but I’m the one taking care of him and I love him too much to worry about both of us going through that again. I guess he’ll have to decide which one is more important to him.

  7. The more you get used to the idea the better your relationship will be 🙂
    Don’t worry and remember to enjoy the ride 🙂

    There many happy couples that ride endlessly!

  8. I don’t really see the problem with a bloke buying a motorcycle even if his wife isn’t onboard with the decision. Aslong as he can afford it and she isn’t pressured into riding (quite a few guys I know actually prefer to ride alone because of the added responsibility of a passanger) then there really isn’t a problem. You’re a man, if you want a motorcycle, go buy one.


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