Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Risk - should i have said no?

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by jphanna, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. i am still coming ot terms with this as it could have been a fatal error. it would have been on my head.....

    this is the background. we had yesterday booked to take our 2 cruisers for a club ride to Clare, via various scenic stops. its a 300km round trip. my son wanted to sit on back of my mbike. i told him to be at our place, with helmet at a set time, so we could meet the group at start spot. instead, he rolled up midnight, after a 400km round trip to MORGAN on saturday, to do trail bike riding all day. he was already knackered when he rolled up, WITHOUT the helmet.

    now instead of getting up at reaonable time and just hopping on back of the mbike, he now had to wake up at 6.00am to do a 90km round trip back to his home to get his helmet. i told him that he was in danger as he would be too tired as it was going to be hours on back of a mbike at 110 kph. he insisted on coming along.

    well after 5 hours....we were heading home, by this time in the rain, we were about 40kms out of clare when i felt his body slump onto me. WTF do you do at 110kph in the wet in this situation? what if he slumped backwards?

    he was only slumped for a few seconds but i got the guilt of knowing that i could have killed my son because i let him come along, KNOWING he was knackered.
  2. I can only imagine what you must have been feeling at the time, but must have been one awful moment. Doubt it'll ever leave you.

    You of course know the answer to your question using plain logic, with hind sight.

    You were aware of the issue of fatigue & how you son had compounded it. suppose one argument you could have used is that the pillion is the only one in able to keep himself on the bike and their is nothing you could do to help him. Yet you are responsible for his well being as the one in control of the vehicle and also as his father.

    Borrowing from OH&S:

    1. Identify the risk (you did that).

    2. Considered the probability of occurrence (you thought high, he maybe thought low).

    3. Consider seriousness of probable outcome (Loss of life - high probability, possibly both of you - slump to the side?)

    4. What can you do to reduce the risk? (Practically here, avoidance is about it).

    Weigh all these factors up and choose your path.

    There was a very real risk here and when you are younger you often discount it.
    I know I did, In earlier days I've twice woken up at speed (car) off the seal, headed for a guide post.

    I've Lost a young family member in a single car accident, moments distraction or fatigue? Will never know and it is with you every day.

    Death effects a far larger circle than the subject often considers.

    I feel for your guilt.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. Had exactly the same thing happen to me,only it was a mates kid coming home from a Castrol 6hr at the now gone forget the name not Amaroo race track.NEVER AGAIN.
  4. Hmmm, don't know what to say, except my pillion (son) always falls asleep on the back of the bike. He has never fallen off.
  5. My partner goes to sleep sometimes as well. Not so bad up where I live but I still wake her after a couple minutes.

    I don't like that route south of Clare, too many speed zones now.
  6. You need to get a better technique.

    More seriously, to the OP, it probably wasn't as close as you thought. Many cruiser pillions report falling asleep (cruisers will do that to you). Although I assume it's normally with a sissy bar.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  7. I regularly spend all day on the bike, that many kms or double that, after four hours sleep (insomniac). What is one going to do, retire? Of course we each make our own choices regarding risk; he made his (not you)* and nothing came of it except a tired, fun day out, and a light snooze.

    *Yes he, not you - any manly endeavour will involve this truth and some of the associated tendency to mislay blame.
  8. Yeah mattb, i suffer from the same problem, cant sleep on a good day let alone when im itching to hit the tar for a big ride the next morning.

    But im sure you will agree, after shit being that way for your entire life a lack of sleep doesnt screw with you as much it would a normal person.

    Cigs and coffee and an hour on the bike and im good.

    As for op, yeah, thats why i dont pillion. If someone wants to take on the risks of riding, they should be individually responsible for them, also i would never be able to handle hurting or killing someone who was on the back of my bike.
  9. #10 mattb, Aug 12, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
    I suspect you're right. The old body is used to just stepping up while needed, knowing it can collapse later.

    This is what Aristotle called a practical syllogism (piece of reasoning with a behavioural or emotional consequence) :

    Premise 1 (rule) : If I don't block others from, in full knowledge and fully warned by me, "insistently" engaging in a risk-involving passtime of mine at a level of risk of which I vocally dissaprove, then I have enacted ("killed") any harm that comes to them, and am responsible for the potential of that (which I imagine to myself as if it happened).

    Premise 2 (report) : Your reported situation.

    Conclusion: guilt

    Spot the fallacy....
  10. Us parents have the age old problem of how much protection to provide. We have the experience to know where the limits of risk should be, but should we take the opportunity of earning that experience away from our offspring?
    It's tempting to intervene at every point of danger but in truth, all we are doing is preventing them from gaining that understanding for themselves.
    Maybe by leaving the decision to your son, you have actually allowed him to experience something he will learn from. It may even save him later.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  11. Adding to what Titus said, did you discuss the incident with your son? Even something as simple as: "You were fairly tired you had me worried at one point."

    Maybe something simple like that will subtly enforce the point. Parents worry, it comes with the territory.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. My mum told stories of when she and my dad lived in WA when he worked for the mines. They'd do regular long trips on his harley (1600km give or take) as they were in the middle of nowhere. She would often begin to fall asleep so he'd have to reach his arm back and hold her.
  13. it comes down to this. he, we escaped unbelievable grief and pain.

    if he ever wants to ride again, and rolls up late at night with no helmet.

    he wont be going.......
    • Like Like x 1

  14. Same here.

    A couple of times I know i've really pushed it driving the cage absolutely buggered. Probably as bad as driving drunk as I couldn't concentrate at all. Luckily i've pulled over and slept in the car when it's gotten bad.

    Amazing though how being a smoker, lighting one up will automatically wake you up - even driving!
  15. I used to do shiftwork and I remember driving home, particularly in the mornings and not remembering parts of the trip. It was only 25mins. I remember coming up behind a concrete pump truck one morning and nearly running into the back of it. The truck was originally white but was generally grey/dull/covered in concrete and we were heading into a cloudy overcast sky on flat ground. I "became alert" very suddenly.
    I also found after lunch on a sunny day driving into the sun was also a good way to put myself to sleep.