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Are crashes inevitable?

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by MeltingDOg, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. I've only been riding for about 1.5 years and, of course, have had my fair share of close calls and expect many more.

    All of the older riders I've spoken to always have a story to tell about a serious crash in which they either ended up in hospital and/or wrote off or seriously damaged their bike.

    Do you think that during your time as a rider a crash like this is inevitable?

    Has anyone gone 30+ years without a crash?

    (either way I'm still gonna keep riding :) - just curious)
  2. I went 30 years without a crash. I only got my L's when I was 31. The time before that was crash free.
  3. Not inevitable, but there are some crashes that you can do very little if nothing about.

    I'm sure there's plenty of people who haven't crashed in 30 years of riding - same as there's people that have never crashed a car, and others who can't drive down a road without hitting something
  4. No, no and no. It isn't inevitable that you will crash and it is within your control.
  5. No, it is all up to you and you alone.
  6. lol. I think there's a bit of luck involved as sadly many serious crashes aren't your own fault. I'd say it's inevitable you'll drop it at some point, but if you plan for it and make sure you give yourself space and wear your gear then chances are it will be minor.

    and anyone who says ALL crashes are avoidable either spend too much time wrapped up in cotton wool at home or are just lucky and naive. cars are a hazard and the only way to be 100% safe is not to go on or near the road.
  7. Yep, plan the when and where before you do it. Its like doing top speed runs, time and place.
  8. lol, not quite what i meant... more like ride to the conditions, wear your gear, and where possible consider what you will slide into... if you're on a track and aren't going to slide into anything then you can push harder than if you're going to slide into oncoming traffic, off a cliff, or into a cheesecutter fence.
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  9. I used to think that crashing was inevitable too. I blame the TAC propoganda machine for that. I spent a while watching crash vids on youtube and came to the conclusion that 90+% of them were avoidable, and within the riders control. Probably more if you get serious about roadcraft.

    There will always be the odd time when things really are out of your control, road surfaces, mecahnical failure, stupid cagers, 68 in a 60 zone, roos etc, but with practice and road smarts, i think you'll find that there are very few situations where you cannot be in control.

    It doesn't make much of a headline, but on any given day 99+% of riders go about their days without crashing, and as robsalvv says, the odds have never been better..
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  10. 90% is probably right...even 99% cause lets face it we all spend our fair share avoiding morons trying to kill us.. and we generally ride to conditions which means we're avoiding accidents... but theres that other 1% or 0.1% or whatever where regardless of what you do you can't avoid it... or you might crash while avoiding something more serious. But even doing 60 instead of 68 won't stop 100% of crashes.
  11. Whilst technically you cannot say every crash is avoidable as you can get that rare set of circumstances. I think you can get it to a level that the risk is approaching zero, and even if the crash is inevitable, then you can do things to lessen the impact. Vehicles do not appear out of nowhere no matter what the smidsy stating drivers say.

    I have done probably 250K-300K kms with a half a dozen crashes (not including dirt bikes on dirt), all my crashes I could have done something to avoid.
  12. Depends on how you look at it.

    Statistically, it is likely that most riders will crash at some time. Most crashes will hurt but whether your injuries are 'serious' is often a personal judgement. Bikes get written off for the most negligible damage these days, too.

    You DO have to understand and accept the risks. If you don't do that, you're kidding yourself and you're a liability to everyone else. But hardly any individual crash is or was 'inevitable'. A different approach, strategy or reaction could change almost any set of circumstances, and their outcome.

    I like the idea of riding with the attitude that you can beat the odds. Not by luck, but by positive risk management. And I also think that the belief that you can ride - hard, at times - without crashing will go a long way towards getting you through the occasional tough spots.
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  13. My ex and his friends had one of those freakish events about 8 years ago. Coming back from Phillip Island in the rain, very early morning, no other traffic around. They came across a massive oil slick across 2 lanes the highway at 100kms per hr (give or take a few). 3 out of 7 went down but there was no other traffic so it was just lots of sliding up the road and red hot bottoms by the time they stopped (all in leathers which they still wear).

    The main casualty was his bike which slid up the road on it's side in a shower of sparks, hit a catseye, flipped and proceeded to grind away on the other side. All he could do was watch it. But, that's the only accident he's had in 20+ years of riding.
  14. We went through all this in another thread recently. If you were to ride for an infinite amount of time then yes, a crash would be inevitable.

    So really it's only a question of whether you'll die of other causes or otherwise give up riding before you crash or not. The more kms you ride or the more risks you take the higher the probability is that you'll crash - the trick is making sure it doesn't happen on the day you decide to wear shorts and a t-shirt ;).
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  15. I think nearly all crashes are avoidable, but there is a very small percentage that are caused by things out of your control.

    I'm not talking about traffic, other road users or road conditions here, but things that are REALLY out of your controll.

    Things like previously undetectable mechanical failure, earthquakes, maybe swallowing an insect (my mum's cousin died after he swallowed a wasp, it stung him all the way down and he suffocated).

    99.9% of the time though, your life is in your own hands, and that's the way it should be.
  16. It is not 1% chance, nowhere near.

    There is about 220Bn Kms done in Australia. Even on the very conservative estimates motorcycles do 1% of that. That is 2.2Bn kilometres. There are about 220 fatalaties a year of motorcyclists (not pillions). Therefore a fatality every 10 million kilometres, but that includes the 50% that the rider is "at fault". So even if all "not at fault" collisions were unavoidable then based on a 20km average trip, there is a 0.0001% chance of a fatality by another user on a trip.

    Most "not at fault" crashes can also be avoided in my experience as well (though I guess I am less certain about fatal ones).
  17. And that's why no one ever measures chance per trip/km, it's either per year or lifetime.
  18. As you gain more experience (that's the general "you", not anyone in particular), you will, or should, find that not only do you experience fewer situations where your own mistakes might kill you. You will also experience fewer situations where someone else's mistakes could kill you.

    Having now been riding for 23 years and, I hope, learning throughout that time, I hardly experience one non-self-inflicted near=miss from one year's end to the next. That's not (well, maybe a bit) through luck or particularly conservative riding, but can mostly be put down to having learned to be in a road space where even the most idiotic cager will be going, regardless of what they do or whether they've seen me.

    As I noted in the other thread where this was churned over recently, I'm confident that I can reduce my risk of crashing on any given ride to as near zero as makes no practical difference. I do have doubts about my ability to maintain that level of focus all day and every day, particularly as, being a utility rider, I don't get the choice to not ride if I don't feel like it. That isn't an excuse not to try though, or throw up my hands and say that there's just nothing I can do about it. It's also not an excuse for not, when conditions ad concentration allow it, experiencing the very real pleasures of riding in a level of gear that would cause the ATGATT evangelists' heads to explode :twisted:
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  19. 4 car crashes and 1 bike crash. One of the cars was my fault, the others someone hit me.
  20. It is still way less than a certainty even over a lifetime, I would argue also that the more years you ride the lower the risk becomes, a rider that rides a million kms over their lifetime is not 100 times as likely to die as a rider that rides for one year and only does 10000kms.

    Lifetime is really meaningless.