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to feel this way about motorbikes?

(66 Posts)
WriterofDreams Thu 30-Jun-11 15:16:10

Having seen an "think bike" ad this morning I started wondering, should they be banned completely? It just strikes me as odd that you can get fined for not wearing a seatbelt or for talking on a phone while driving and yet, despite the fact that on average your risk of dying on the road is 35 times higher on a motorcycle than in a car, motorcycles are still valid road vehicles. I know loads of people love them and I have nothing against them per se and I do have a sense that banning them would be sort of a nannyish move. On the other hand I know no one who has been in a serious car accident but my FIL, two uncles and cousin have all been in serious bike accidents. None of them would ever ride a bike again and my uncle in particular feels that they should be banned, despite being obsessed with them when he was younger.

A doctor friend of mine said that fatality rates are so high among motor bike accident victims that they're referred to as "organ donors" before they even arrive. Why are such dangerous vehicles considered a valid form of transport?

MrsTwinks Thu 30-Jun-11 15:18:56

i see where you are going but YABU. the same arguement could be said of cyclists, cos if we are honest with ourselves whos going to win in bike vs car. But then who wins in car vs truck?

MrsBethel Thu 30-Jun-11 15:20:24

As long as they're not hurting others, I don't see the state should interfere too much.

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Thu 30-Jun-11 15:22:15

YABU - where would we draw the line.........any vehicle can be dangerous, not just motorbikes.

WriterofDreams Thu 30-Jun-11 15:22:43

That's why I was unsure about it, it does seem unclear where to draw the line. I suppose my concern is to do with young men who feel invincible and don't realise the risks of bikes. But I suppose babying them and banning bikes won't really make much difference will it. It's their own lives that are on the line.

Tchootnika Thu 30-Jun-11 15:23:47

YABU - (understandably so, though, IMO).
Yes, motorbikes can be incredibly dangerous, but as MrsT's said - so can many other great inventions/forms of transport.
Far more dangerous to ban potentially dangerous things than to point out the dangers and allow people to do what they're passionate about (and risk their lives doing so, if they choose)...
JS Mill was right on this one, I think (not sure he was into bikes, but still...)

fuckmepinkandCALLmegoran Thu 30-Jun-11 15:24:05


WriterofDreams Thu 30-Jun-11 15:24:55

My argument Betty was that motorbikes are very significantly more dangerous than cars. If there was a move the government could make to cut the risk of death for a particular person by a factor of 35 I think most people would want that. Banning bikes would do that for all bike riders.

pingusmumtoo Thu 30-Jun-11 15:26:11

Well, they are not dangerous vehicles for a start, it's the idiot that doesn't see you in the car/bus/lorry that is driving dangerously, and it's a bit like saying ban horse-riders.
And yes you get fined for talking on your mobile - so you bloody well should - at least you can't do that on a bike.
All of the motorcyclists I know are amazingly safe riders and much more aware of their surroundings than any car driver. There are obviously some idiots who don't wear proper clothing and ride like nutters - but as far as I'm concerned if they have an accident that's just natural selection.
Of course the fatality rate is higher than cars - Donorcycles I hear a lot from medical friends - well I guess there's a huge waiting list for organs so perhaps that's no bad thing.
I have no doubt that at some point they will be banned in this insane nanny state we live in but it will be a very sad day as far as I'm concerned.
We can't all live forever.

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Thu 30-Jun-11 15:29:16

Well they are more dangerous than cars purely because the rider is more vunerable but the accidents are not necessarily caused by the motor bike drivers but by the carelessness of other drivers on the road.

My BIL has a motorbike and I love going out on the back of it....he is very safe and doesnt take chances but of course there is always other idiotic drivers to contend with.

But despite the fact I love going on the back of a bike there is no way I want DS having one...hypocritical I know but there you go. We have a joke list of things I have written down that he cant do......owning a motorbike is right up there at the top.

WriterofDreams Thu 30-Jun-11 15:30:40

I totally agree that a lot of bike riders are very safe pingu - my relatives are all careful conscientious men who had accidents through no real fault of their own. It is very difficult to see bikes when you're driving a car, which is another reason I would suggest banning them, although I know that seems unfair. Overall they just don't seem fit for purpose - they go at speeds which in a car are relatively safe but for a person only protected by a helmet and leathers is very dangerous. They're narrow and so difficult to see. I know they're great fun to drive (or so I'm told - too chicken to try) but it saddens me to think of the families that lose relatives (and we could easily have lost four) to bikes every year.

Pootles2010 Thu 30-Jun-11 15:32:05

I don't think they would ban it, because you're only really putting yourself in danger.

If you're old enough to drive one, you know the risks, and it's your call.

WriterofDreams Thu 30-Jun-11 15:35:07

True, pootles. I was quite young when my uncle had his accident but I remember how much it shook him up. He was very much the cool dude and had tatoos and a very very cool bike but when he had his accident it sort of broke him. I honestly don't think he realised how vulnerable he was. He now only drives a car when absolutely necessary and drives incredibly slowly. From what he says I think he would argue that making bikes legal makes them seem safe when in fact they're hugely dangerous. I know that's probably not a good reason to ban them. Yup I think IABU. Oh well. Was interested to hear views all the same.

MrsBethel Thu 30-Jun-11 15:35:38

I agree it is a bit odd that you have to wear a seatbelt in order to protect your health, yet these nutters can zip around balanced on little more than an engine block.

I guess what needs to be taken into account is how much of an impact a law has on personal freedoms.

The seatbelt law doesn't really inhibit your freedom that much. You can still drive a car. The only impingement on your freedom is a little bit of time and expense.

Banning motorbikes, OTOH, would have a much greater impact on personal freedom.

MrsTwinks Thu 30-Jun-11 15:36:56

thats your own experience thou, in mine I've never known a bike fatality, but i've lost cyclist friends and more to car accidents that I care to count, including nearly myself. Yet I've not had one biker friend have an accident (well if im honest no accident on their bike). I've also lost a cousin to a 2-car accident as a pedestrian. I think speed and lack of awareness by other drivers is as much an issue as the cycle itself. cycles can go at speed too by the way, I have a friend who was done for speeding on a bicycle.

UKSky Thu 30-Jun-11 15:38:52

As you state they had accidents "through no real fault of their own". So why not ban the reason for their accidents? Cars perhaps? Bikes are NOT difficult to see when driving a car. Car drivers just need to pay more attention.

The majority of accidents on bikes are caused by car drivers "not seeing" the biker and riding into them. How can that be the fault of the bike rider?

Until having DD I regularly rode about 20,000 miles per year. I wear a hivis jacket (god help me), always ride with my lights on. Ride in the correct part of the road and STILL a lot of cars pull out on me. It's not my fault if an idiot in a car can't be arsed to take the time to look properly.

However, I have done a huge amount of miles abroad, where motorbikes are much more prevalent and in general this doesn't happen anywhere near as often as drivers are much more aware of bikers.

Perhaps we just need to educate car drivers better.

WriterofDreams Thu 30-Jun-11 15:39:25

True MrsBethel. I suppose with the seatbelt thing you could also argue that an unrestrained passenger is a danger to other people in the car, whereas a motorcyclist rarely injures anyone but him/herself.

VelveteenRabbit Thu 30-Jun-11 15:40:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WriterofDreams Thu 30-Jun-11 15:42:48

Perhaps UK. I totally agree that some car/van drivers are very dangerous on the roads - I've had people pull out on me when I'm in a car! They clearly don't look at all when pulling out. However, I consider myself a very careful driver and I have had a couple of scares when bikes have been weaving in and out of traffic and have pulled up suddenly beside me. I think motorcyclists who've never driven a car assume it's easy to see them when in fact it isn't always that easy. As my DH said, now that he's a driver he's a much more careful pedestrian as he realises how easy it is for a driver to miss someone coming out onto a road or to not be able to stop in time.

OTheHugeManatee Thu 30-Jun-11 15:43:59

If you believe that it's reasonable for external rulemakers to take all decisions about personal safety on behalf of society, and impose a centrally-determined vision of risk management on the population, then YANBU - motorbikes are very dangerous.

If you believe that people shouldn't be infantilised by a nanny state but left to make their own decisions about personal risk then YABVU.

WriterofDreams Thu 30-Jun-11 15:46:22

I disagree with your argument that bikes are no more dangerous than cars Velveteen - the stats don't bear that out. In all types of accidents, single vehicle, multiple vehicle, vehicle versus wall etc you're between 10 and 35 times more likely to die or be seriously injured if you're on bike than if you're in a car. The fact of the matter is, if you're in a car you have a huge metal cage around you and a safety belt holding you in. On a bike any impact is pretty much guaranteed to send you flying in one direction or other and the only protection you have is a helmet and leathers. What frightens me is three horrible incidents witnessed by friends where a biker's head came off. The problem is your body and head are covered but your neck is very vulnerable. Hence the number of death and incidents of paralysis.

pingusmumtoo Thu 30-Jun-11 15:47:19

My DP rides almost every day, has done for years and years (and years and years grin) and has had a few accidents, luckily none were serious.
Two immediately spring to mind, one where a woman just drove into him at red traffic lights - he was OK, bike was a write off - and told the police officer he must have reversed into her. The other was when someone pulled out right in front of him and again, he was OK, bike was fixable, but again the driver accused him of riding too fast. I happened upon this accident and probably didn't help when I pointed out to the PC in a slightly shouty voice that if he was riding too fast he was unlikely to be standing up talking to us.
I have (touches a whole forest) only come off once when a women I was overtaking on a dual carriageway pulled into me. Luckily I slid the bike and bar a pulled shoulder was fine - she drove off - but as it was the day before my test and I couldn't physically life the big bike off or onto the centre stand I had to take test on 125 blush - still passed though!
I have had my license for (ah-hem) over 15 years but TBH haven't ridden for a lot of that and certainly not since having DS (2.5) because I'm a bit nervous since becoming a mum.
Having said that I have recently had a yearning to go off for a ride on almost a weekly basis, so I may well get back into the saddle.
Only thing I will never do now is ride pillion with DP. Couldn't bear the thought of orphaning DS.
I would never ask DP to stop riding and I'm sure I won't like DS having a bike when he's growed up but it would be his choice, if they haven't been outlawed.

WriterofDreams Thu 30-Jun-11 15:48:04

That's the problem Manatee. I don't think the state should hold everyone's hand and tell them what's safe but at the same time I agree with them making car seats and seat belts mandatory. The problem, as others have pointed out, is where to draw the line.

MrsBethel Thu 30-Jun-11 15:48:17

MrsTwinks, your mate who was done for speeding on a bicycle - was that under a park bye-law or something? Because AFAIK speed limits on the open road apply specifically to motor vehicles.

WriterofDreams Thu 30-Jun-11 15:50:53

As an aside - my DH's grandad was done for speeding on a mobility scooter grin He was a nutter who souped it up.

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