A Look Back On Me and Motorcycle Safety
I can remember the days I had my fist experience with a motorcycle safety course in the Navy. I was riding a 1 year old 1976 Suzuki 750 that I had dressed out with a Shadow fairing and some saddle bags. I had fabricated a CB radio in the saddle bag (with helmet,
headsets/mic) and found out just how valuable communicating with truckers was after
saving myself several tickets and avoiding accidents on the hi-way. The military had just started requiring a safety course and classroom instruction with a certified Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) instructor. Even in MSF's infancy, founded in 1973, I found the course to be informative, and even learned a few new skills. Of course, compared to today's rider education, the course was very basic and more of a refresher on proper riding techniques.
I can remember when the use of turn signals and headlights during the day were optional, and the only people that wore riding gear were folks that raced bikes (unless you were a die hard biker with a leather jacket and boots). Most of the safety features on bikes started out as performance related items and eventually looked good enough to market as average motorcycle fashion. Insurance companies would eventually increase premiums on anything over 750cc. I think this happened when the manufactures started increasing the horsepower to 1000cc.
Statistically the amount of riders has increased and the average number of fatal motorcycle accidents has decreased over the last 40 years.
There are a lot of variables that account for motorcycle safety statistics, but we all know that nobody intentionally wants to be a statistic.
Besides motorcycles becoming more safe (visibility, tires, brakes,), the rider has also decreased the risk by actively making a choice to be visible, participating in courses that encourage techniques on how to handle their motorcycle in different situations (offered by certified instructors), protecting anything your wanting to use later in life, and being proactive in motorist awareness/ motorcycle safety.
Sure, wearing adequate protection and doing your best to actually follow the best of instruction will reduce the risk, but there is always going to be a risk, and that's what we consider calculated, prepared, and necessary in order to enjoy the freedom of the ride.
In conclusion, I believe taking a look back can help us appreciate the sacrifice those have made to promote motorcycle safety so we can make a choice to keep the sport alive. We all have a responsibility to ourselves, those we love and the community of shared motorists on the road.
Steve & Shirley Kremer