Viewing 37 posts - 1 through 37 (of 37 total)
  • STW getting a motor bike and safety concerns.
  • highpeakrider
    Full Member

    So when younger I always rode enduro off road bike an club coipition level.
    For years I’ve only had mountain bikes and my bike.

    I’ve always fancied a motor bike just to ride round the Peaks on sunny days in retirement keeping to the quieter back roads that I know.

    Really fancy a small BMW 310, its nothing fast and I think it would be ideal to potter about on.

    I keep getting dead enthusiastic about it, then come the day to test ride and buy I start thinking about safety and crashes.

    I just can’t make my mind up if this is a good idea, neighbour has 3 bikes and not had any issues.
    So who has a bike to add to a mtb and are the roads really that unsafe if you are slow and careful?

    Full Member

    How, where, what & when you ride have a massive impact on stats. Sounds like you’ve got the right plan for it 👍

    Free Member

    I was completely against motorbikes for years, Mrs Sharkey is from a family of bikers and I dissuaded her from getting one for a long time as I thought they were dangerous. Did my test 5 years ago and completely changed my mind. With decent training and awareness I think safety is mostly down to you. Yes someone can essentially knock you off but 9 times out of ten the rider could/should have spotted the hazard and done something about it. If you ride like a d*** then yes you can come unstuck very quickly.
    If you havent been on the road in a while maybe do a refresher lesson with an instructor, do a police bikesafe day?

    Full Member

    i passed my test in my mid thirties, rode for just over two years, sold my bike at the time and havent been on one since. I was either going to lose my licence for a long time or end up seriously injured or dead.

    But that clearly says a lot more about the way i rode bikes than it does about bikes themselves.

    I know people who have ridden for years and never had any issues. But equally quite often see utter pillocks giving it the bigg’un on the road.

    so i think it mostly boils down to how you decide to ride them. Which by the sounds of it, you are much more at the ‘sensibly’ end of the scale.

    Worst case, you try it, dont like it and move on. But at least you dipped a toe!

    Full Member

    I rode motorbikes from 2014 until last year, including commuting year round, trips to Europe, including 2 weeks in the Alps. Probably close to 50k miles in total.

    I decided last year to sell my one remaining bike, partially due to not having space but also because of the risks increasing with road riding.

    Riding a bike on the road, 95% of instances can be prevented by reading the road/other drivers, and as a biker you simply have to take ownership of your own safety.

    Having said that, you’ll be classed as a ‘born again biker’ which is the category of biker at the most risk of having an accident – only riding in dry, warm conditions, riding again after a break of several years/decades, etc.

    For me, I was on the verge of giving it up, and a journey down a nearby b road to drop off my forks for some work confirmed I was making the right choice, in the space of 15 miles I had 3 instances of cars halfway into the opposite lane on a blind corner, in a car you can avoid these idiots but clip one of them on a bike and it doesn’t matter if you’re only doing 40mph, it’s going to hurt.

    Off-road MTB riding, worst case in a crash you have a few broken bones. Worst case in a motorbike, you’re not getting back up. It only takes a split second lack of judgement or an irresponsible move by another driver to end the life of an innocent biker.

    Down here in Kent the deaths at this time of the year increase massively as all the summer only riders brush the cobwebs off their 150bhp bikes and wobble around the country roads, gunning it on the straights and making dodgy overtakes and losing it on gravel/oil left on the road…

    So yeah – do it if you want, but please get a refresher course, and be aware of the risks if things do go wrong.

    Free Member

    Yes someone can essentially knock you off but 9 times out of ten the rider could/should have spotted the hazard and done something about it.

    refreshing. I know a few people who are all “Its other people who are dangerous”, but then ive seen how they ride/drive, and they are a flippin liability. I suspect its more common than not tbh.

    Full Member

    Valid concerns I think. I passed my test in November and I was dying to buy a bike but I still haven’t taken the plunge.

    Living in central Sheffield is off putting. The standards of driving and the behaviour of the people in cars is shocking. I currently walk to work so I’m passed by hundreds of cars every day and a good proportion of them are driving with their eyes in their laps where they keep their phone. Everyone else is drag racing away from every light and junction. It’s really chaotic and I want no part of it. I trust myself to not ride like a muppet but you can’t control other people.

    Sunny evenings in the Peak do sound idyllic though and I’d love to do some long distance touring eventually.

    To start with I really fancied a Royal Enfield Meteor. Half the price of a decent E-MTB and they seem to be universally liked by people who aren’t in a rush.

    Having said that, you’ll be classed as a ‘born again biker’ which is the category of biker at the most risk of having an accident

    Probably why my insurance quotes are sky high for anything half decent. Maybe I should have ran around on a 125 for a while.

    Free Member

    I’ve been riding a Triumph Bonneville for the last few years, a bike that’s happiest at speeds under 70 and so more comfortable to ride accordingly. I borrowed a Kawasaki GTR1400 for a long (800 mile) round trip recently. After half a day I was all for selling the Bonnie and buying a big sports tourer. After three days I realised that the abilities of that bike were too exhilarating and addictive, and I don’t have enough self control to ride it sensibly. So I’ll stick to plodding along on the Triumph.

    Full Member

    If you havent been on the road in a while maybe do a refresher lesson with an instructor

    This, if only to decide between “yeah, I can do this” and “actually, it’s not for me after all.” It’ll put your mind at rest either way.

    Full Member

    Derbyshire Poluce regularly run biker training sessions, given the accident rate in the county, a biker mate says they are worthwhile.

    With decent training and awareness I think safety is mostly down to you

    It’s certainly a big factor, how and where you ride has a big effect on your risks, like cycling.

    Full Member

    If you havent been on the road in a while maybe do a refresher lesson with an instructor

    It’s entirely possible that you’ll do a day ride and decide you can’t be arsed with it.

    Full Member

    With decent training and awareness I think safety is mostly down to you. Yes someone can essentially knock you off but 9 times out of ten the rider could/should have spotted the hazard and done something about it. If you ride like a d*** then yes you can come unstuck very quickly.

    I rode motorbikes for years. I used to be a road tester for a bike mag and I figure the fact that I survived unscathed suggests I was a pretty competent rider. I sold my last bike because I basically reached a point where I figured the risks were unacceptable relative to the enjoyment I got from riding them.

    I hear all the stuff about riding defensively, being sane – what’s that all about then on a motorbike? 😉 – and I mostly agree. If you didn’t believe that, you wouldn’t ride a motorbike. But here’s the thing: if you’re in a car you have a cage of metal to protect you, on a bike you’re basically taking most of any impact yourself. The human body isn’t good at surviving impacts with solid objects at speeds of over 40mph – stuff like road furniture, kerbs, trees and cars. Sure, you can spot most of the hazards most of the time, but sometimes you simply can’t things happen that you can’t avoid no matter how well you anicipate them. Classically a car coming round a blind bend on the wrong side of the road leaving you nowhere to go. Or driving straight into you on narrow lane, which is what happened to a PB journo called John Robinson, who was a legendarily smooth, safe, intelligent rider. It put him in hospital for months.

    And it rains all the time in the Peak too. And the standard of driving is woeful. Particularly in the summer and at weekends.

    All of which sounds a bit bleak, but it’s better to be aware of what the risks are than blithely zoom around assuming bad things will never happen because you’re such a talented, aware, careful, non-aggressive rider. For me the risk/reward balance tipped, but everyone’s different and I do totally get why folk ride motorbikes, but don’t kid yourself that it’s safe, because when things do go wrong, they often go very badly wrong.

    And yeah, I still occasionally wish I had a motorbike, probably something like a big trailie or a silly little 400 sports bike.

    Full Member

    Derbyshire Poluce regularly run biker training sessions, given the accident rate in the county, a biker mate says they are worthwhile.

    I did a course with Cambridge Police many years ago – absolutely superb – learnt loads. Sadly you see so few bikes following any of the basics and 99% just ride like total idiots.

    Free Member

    Ive ridden motorbikes since i was 21, im now 38.
    most of the time its down to you, ride defensively and you will be fine, ive had moments where i escaped by the skin of my teeth and other rides which went by with no hassle, most of the issues have all been my fault and how i was riding.

    Twice in my motorbike career i have nearly been knocked off by someone who either wasnt paying attention or did something unexpected and in both instances i foresaw it, slowed down enough to evade the issue.

    I had a very good instructor when i learned, who instilled some very vital bits of info to me.

    1) The decision not to overtake is never the wrong one.
    2) Treat everyone else on the roads like they are trying to knock you off.

    After a while hazard spotting becomes second nature, go out and do it you will not regret it.

    Full Member

    Worst case, you try it, dont like it and move on.

    There are worse cases I can think of…

    Mate of mine went to do the CBT. Scared the crap out of himself and immediately sold all the gear he had bought in anticipation of buying a bike.

    Full Member

    It depends massively how YOU ride I would say, much more so than how others drive.
    You just have to expect that everyone will try to kill you (even though that’s blatantly not true) and ride accordingly.

    I passed my test at 18 and have had bikes on and off all my life (48 now)

    I had a few accidents when I was younger.One where I wrote off an RD125 I’d only had two days, and one bad one where I had a compound fracture in my arm and lost half my little finger and they were 100% my fault if I’m honest.

    I definitely ride chilled now. I’ve never been interested in sports bikes. Old jap bikes and custom bikes are my thing.
    Used to have an original 1974 z900 which was beautiful and have enjoyed older bikes ever since.

    Currently I have a 2000 Suzuki GSx750 Inazuma.
    To be honest I rarely bother going above 65. I just like cruising around exploring places which it’s brilliant for.

    I honestly don’t think the roads are particularly worse than they were. If you’re approaching a junction with someone waiting at it, you take just the same approach as years ago.

    In ten minutes I’m out in the countryside and mostly away from the nutjobs.
    Love it.

    Get one 👍

    Free Member

    I rode from 16 to 48, often my only form of transport and for my last decade, I used them as my ‘commuter’ – doing upwards of 20k pa running in/around London & the SE, big bikes too 900/1000/1050. Did a bit of racing when younger too.

    Fell off a fair few times in my teens, but then never again – and TBH at the speeds we use to go, they’d have been scraping me up…

    I stopped when we came north, commuter traffic is nothing like it was down south, and not felt the urge to ride one since.

    Q – the vehicle in front has its right indicator on, what’s the only safe assumption you can make?
    A – the light works…

    Free Member

    I did my CBT and Theory last year in anticipation of completing the rest this year. So far, I’ve not committed 100% to this being a good idea. Same as the OP, most likely be a fairweather biker, stick to the quieter stuff, weekends, weather permitting, looking at Royal Enfields rather than Ducatis.

    Maybe it’s the “wife and kid” element that holds me back a bit, but at 46 and a half, I feel like if I don’t do it now I probably never will. Bikes have been in my family all my life and I still get warm feelings at the smell of an exhaust or the burble of an 80’s Honda

    Full Member

    Riden since I was 18. Now 53 and have had alsorts of bikes. Raced and done advanced training plus quite a bit of green lanining a few years ago. Of course bikes are dangerous but I regularly do 40mph downhill on way to work in lycra. At least on my gs I’ve all the gear on.

    Full Member

    Rode for a number of years commuting into central London. Small bikes but immense fun. Every ride there seemed to be someone trying to kill me.
    Couple of small offs, wet road, big diesel spill, by the time I smelt it the front wheel was going sideways. One big off into a Nissan (he didn’t see me and pulled out of side turn) which had be flying through the air. Totally shattered left wrist which is now screwed and plated and still can ache 20 years later.

    Not ridden since the big off. Partly my choice, partly young family and pressure from wife. Not sure I really miss it. Sometimes think about getting a bike but tbh I don’t ride the mtb enough and that would keep me fitter. Having a motorbike would leave even less time for other stuff.

    Full Member

    I’ve had a range 49, 125, 250, 250, 750, 535 and enjoyed it. However, I found even on my rural (sensible) rides some **** was too often on my back wheel. I’ve a MC tester mate in a wheelchair. The odds didn’t stack up for me and binned it.

    Full Member

    It depends massively how YOU ride I would say, much more so than how others drive.
    You just have to expect that everyone will try to kill you (even though that’s blatantly not true) and ride accordingly.

    Very much agree with this. I passed my test in 2004 and had a couple of bikes in my 20s, then started again when I was 39. I’ve always been a fairly cautious biker – in that I enjoy driving and speed and all that but I enjoy living far too much to want to risk it all for a 30 second 100mph+ thrill – and I’ve found that actively assuming cars are going to pull out on you/turn in front of you/overtake coming the other way makes for a generally safe journey.

    First bike when I started again was a KTM 390 Duke, very similar to the BMW 310. Absolutely cracking bike, perfect for commuting and the odd bit of B-road scratching. Now with a KTM 990 Supermoto for longer touring and a Yamaha R6 track bike so when I want to go fast I can do so in an appropriate setting.

    I’d go for it, OP. You appear to be aware of the dangers and I’d say that sets you in good stead for actually riding a bike safely.

    Free Member

    One reason I am still alive is denying myself a motorbike.
    I have little skill or experience but an overpowering desire to wrench the throttle wide open to see how fast I can go.

    Maybe abroad where the roads are quieter and better weather but not in the UK.

    Full Member

    He bikes for years, used to ride for work and currently using a 250 cc yam scooter for commuting into London. As with cars, bikes and mtbs etc you don’t have to ride like a tosser to enjoy it
    Tbh I don’t have massive safety fears riding, cycling in London is probably more risky, give it a go and if you don’t enjoy it sell the bike.

    Free Member

    I learnt to ride motorbikes late, started at 38. Passed my test, and did loads of extra training, too (mostly free or heavily subsidised – there’s lots out there (of course, the riders who really need it would never take it…)).
    Rode for several years, mostly commuting but also trips out – one fantastic summer with a BMW K1200R Sport showed me I really didn’t need a fast bike – then got taken off totally unavoidably on a big roundabout in rush hour, breaking my wrist and writing the bike off.
    Wrist healed up ok, but it was so unfair on my better half who then had to do pretty much everything for 6 weeks and all the driving for the family for even longer, I decided to put my gear away and revisit the idea of motorbikes once our daughter was independent and driving herself.

    That’s happened this year (7 years, 1 month and 18 days since the crash today, but who’s counting? 😉 ) and I have looked deep into myself… and decided that, having been back on push bikes for a couple of years or so now, there’s nothing I want from motorbikes at the moment that I don’t get from riding pedal bikes… I’ve replaced the chance of getting seriously hurt on a motorbike with taking up mtb this year, after all! But I get the time to myself, the reliance on myself, the use of riding skills, even the thrill of speed at times, the open and empty rural roads – all just the same from push biking, and it adds exercise and (relative #cough#) cheapness.

    I was a bit surprised at myself, but I’m genuinely happier on a bicycle.

    Full Member

    I’m in the ‘its your choice how safe it is’ camp. I was a danger to myself so stopped and bought a mountain bike.

    If I did it again it would be on something less sporty and my brain now understands risk v reward a lot better.

    Full Member

    I was thinking about this as I was giving it the beans down off a mountain on a roads bike last week. It did cross my mind that this seemed far more dangerous than my motorbiking. Been riding maybe 15 years, used to commute on a 650 single cylinder BMW it was a great fun bike, rarely went over 70. Did IAMS training and test which was very helpful. Hard to sell the bike and get an auto car after a off at Bike Park Wales which needed 2 ops to walk again! Now I have a short commute by bicycle and my only bike is the one my old man left me a 1978 Honda GL1000. I pootle about on it every once in a while, it’s good fun, although I can confirm bloody scary at speed if the road has corners or is anything other than completely smooth. There’s risk for sure but taking it steady and keeping aware can massively reduce that risk

    Free Member

    I’m in the ‘its your choice how safe it is’ camp. I was a danger to myself so stopped and bought a mountain bike.

    I only went to hospital once during the 30 years I rode a motorbike on the road, and that was for an x-ray (nothing broken), the MTB on the other hand…

    Full Member

    Would agree with the comments about it being mostly down to how you ride and would also recommend getting some good rider training.

    After I passed my test 28 odd years ago I spent a weekend with a bike mag journo up in North Lincs/Yorkshire and he taught me how to ride really fast, safely (ish). The problem with that was that I then rode really fast everywhere. Couldn’t help it.

    Came to my senses in the end and stopped riding after I realised I was getting up earlier and earlier so that I could have the A272 to myself.

    Conversely, good friend of mine has a collection of 2 stroke ’70’s and ’80’s trail bikes and another has a collection of ’60s Triumph trials bikes. That looks much more sedate and appealing.

    Full Member

    OP I’m in a similar position to you, although different backgrounds. I spent my 20s on bikes. Looking back now I used bikes as a way to get out of North London where I grew up. Yes I commuted on the bike, but on a sunny evening/weekend/holiday I could be riding in Hertfordshire/Wales/Tuscany!

    This was my passion til about 30 when I had a big bicycle accident and smashed up my throttle hand. 6 months later, still unable to open a throttle properly I sold my last motorcycle.

    Time passes and I have long since left London and am much happier as a result. Bicycles have mostly filled the gap. However, my dad has motorcycled all his life and since I stopped riding we’ve grown apart slightly. We used to go to the odd GP, and had ridden across Europe together in the 1990s. I’d like to do that again with him while he still can. I also can’t shake lovely memories of the sound and feeling of a twin cylinder engine and routinely find myself scanning eBay for bargains!

    Not sure where my pondering will end, but I want a bike more now than at any time since I stopped biking 19 years ago

    Full Member

    I finally took it up in 2012 in my 30s, and did 5 years daily commuting into London from Surrey. I always felt that cycle commuting for years was great practice – taking to heart things like ‘everyone may try and kill me’ and ‘keep a particularly close eye on Addison Lee’ drivers! Aside from a couple of slow speed hiccups which were down to my own technique or failure to concentrate, all good.

    After a break for a couple of years I have taken it up again. Commute is much shorter and doesn’t involve London, which is nice, and I now have time and enthusiasm for some occasional leisure rides. It’s great: relaxing, fun, and a brilliant way to explore and switch off from the day-to-day.

    I have not taken any lessons – although I will do some bikesafe style something at some point. I have read the Roadcraft book which is excellent, and watched a lot of YouTube videos. They are useful for the odd little tip – one I took recently was to think every ride about how you can improve or practice something: smooth cornering, forward obs, whatever. I also sometimes try to ‘commentate’ the ride: describe what’s ahead and in my mirrors and what they may do. That’s hard but great for maintaining focus and developing road awareness.

    You are vulnerable, of course. And the roads are busier and busier and drivers can be distracted, stressed, or stupid. But while there is a higher risk to biking than some other things, it doesn’t outweigh the significant benefits of it, for me. They are immense.

    Free Member

    Just over 40 years or motorcycles here. I would say that a m/c is way safer than a bike on the road. You rarely get close passes as you are riding at the same speed. Yes you are going faster than a bike so you have less time to react but a) your brakes are better and b) don’t ride like a dimwit. Of clurse I ssume that people remember that we have a 70mph speed limit and don’t ride like complete morons. If you do and have an off it serves you damn well right.

    Free Member

    How about a westfield with a bike engine? Wind in your hair, in touch with the road, crazy speed if you want, but you have a crash box around you, and a boot, albeit a little one.

    Free Member

    One thing that has stuck with me since an early age. My Mum said to me “whatever you do in life don’t get a motorbike.” I never have but I’ve always been intrigued with the power and freedom they’d provide. Don’t reckon I’ll ever get one but I certainly see the appeal but I wouldn’t trust myself.

    Not sure if this helps but my thoughts.

    Full Member

    How about a westfield with a bike engine?

    There’s one of these over the road from me. He bought it a couple of years ago for 13k and he’s spent more than that just keeping it alive. He now has to run a lead out of his front door and plug it in to warm it up. Something to do with his new dry sump or something. He then has to push it uphill off his drive because it doesn’t have reverse. All this with the engine running and the stupid exhaust droning away for the whole street to enjoy. He arrived home late the other day on a recovery truck again but I don’t know what the damage is yet.

    I’ve been around ridiculous, modified cars all my life but that thing has seriously put me off anything too wild, especially just for road use. I’m glad he bought one before I did. I’d be much happier with a poverty spec Elise.

    Full Member

    51 years this year, on and off. 23 years into the latest stint. I don’t take risks and don’t tend to ride with others, so don’t get tempted to ride like a tit. I still like to ‘make progress’, though. It doesn’t really matter which bike you get (over a 125), they all go fast enough to get you in trouble or are capable of pottering along. Some of the sports bikes are hideously uncomfortable, though, IMO, and don’t encourage pottering. As someone else said, just ride like everyone else wants to hurt you and you’ll be OK. All that said, My S-I-L has just passed his test and his ‘enthusiasm’ is worrying me a bit.

    Full Member

    It depends massively how YOU ride I would say

    If you have been riding pedal bikes on roads for long enough, your situational awareness is probably pretty decent. There’s no reason why riding a motorbike sensibly should be any more risky. Round here, it tends to be the people who think they should be riding Moto GP who end up finding out that dry stone walls are hard.

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