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What contributes more to safety, bike or rider?

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Tone, May 21, 2006.

  1. Hi all,

    Mrs. Tone is hassling me to buy a newer scoot (she won't let me have a bike yet ;)), because she is convinced that a brand new scoot would be inherently safer than my 21 year old Spacy. However, I'm not convinced that a newer scoot would make me that much safer because the rider has a greater influence on his or her safety whilst riding than their bike does.

    My theory is that as long as I do all I can to be safe, such as wearing the right gear, keeping the scoot well maintained (tyres, brakes, wheels, engine, frame etc) and riding responsibly makes more difference to my overall safety than upgrading to a newer bike/scoot.

    I know that some of the newer bikes and scoots have extra safety features such as ABS, and would also benefit from being newer in terms of structure - although the Spacy seems bulletproof in this regard - but I think any gains in safety that I could hope achieve would be nominal at best, and certainly not worth a huge outlay. I also reckon that in some cases, a newer bike would be less safe - especially if it was underpowered and/or poorly made.

    Finally, I believe the most valuable way to improve my safety as a rider is to keep riding and invest more in quality riding gear rather than a newer bike.

    Just looking for opinions (and ammunition to use next time Mrs. Tone hassles me to buy a new scoot :D).
  2. The rider is the key factor in safety, for sure...

    But a good rider can be safer on a better machine. No argument there.
  3. Don't think the construction of the bike makes much difference, by the time it hits something there's a good chance you might be elsewhere anyway. Better handling/brakes may help avoid an accident - but so will better skills and attention. Of course there are some situations that can't be avoided, so the best idea would probably be to keep the current scoot (till you can get a bike :wink:) and put the money towards better gear and/or some extra rider training.
  4. You can always take the rider training with you when you upgrade to a bike.
  5. Active safety, in the guise of experience and applied common-sense, will always help in PREVENTING accidents, no matter what you ride.

    In the end, it's the nut behind the wheel that determines what will happen; passive safety is there to limit the serious consequences of rider failure..
  6. Dude -your Mrs. is hassling you to go & buy a new bike. What exactly is the problem here? Surely there are some bike shops open today in your area. More power is a definate necessity -got to keep in front of all those cars you see. Don't waste your opportunities man.
  7. this might sound weird but i think the spacy is one cool looking scoot.

    once once read somewhere "barring a catastrophic mechanical failure, the problem tends to be with the carbon based organic interace"
  8. 80% Rider and 20% Bike
  9. Operator is always teh biggest factor with anything.
    Assuming that both old and new bikes were maintained as they should be (ie roadworthy) and the fact that the old bike should have decent tyres by now.
    If you ride the bike within it's and your limits, you can't do much more to reduce your risks. It may mean a bigger gap for braking for the older bike or whatever, but you should know that as the operator.
    Comparing my 1977 Z to my 1990 GTR, I actually think the newer bike may be a little LESS safe in teh braking area. The GTR has such good brakes, requiring so little lever travel, that I can see it being VERY easy to lock a front compared to the Z in an emergency, and I wonder if this has been more than a casual factor in many accidents?
    Interestingly, both the Z and the GTR have the same size front tyre, so it's a pretty valid example.
    The Z has a nice progressive lever and will not lock a front under normal circumstances.
    I am not arguing against good brakes, I just think they have not been refined so much as made better, and I think teh argument that newer is safer with many things is a marketing ploy to sell more units.

    Regards, Andrew.
  10. what does 'rider' include? Skill and attitde?
    And is 'Bike;' just accelleration?
  11. Without the rider, the bike is resting safely in the garage. So it's 100% rider! QED :cool:
  12. Thanks for the feedback!

    To be honest, the reason I decided to get onto a bike in the first place is because I'm a cheapskate. :grin: I wasn't originally looking for scoots (or, indeed, the Spacy) but as a cheap hack for daily commuting, it's pretty hard to beat. The fact that I have an obscene amount of fun getting to work and back these days is a huge bonus.

    I'd prefer to spend more time/money on rider training and gear than a new bike right now. Perhaps one day - when I'm feeling a bit more free and easy with my dollars and I've convinced the Mrs. that I can handle a bike - a 'proper' bike could be the go. That said, I think I'd still use the Spacy as a daily commuter ... the plan is to see how long it'll keep going with basic maintenance before it totally dies.

    It DOES look cool, in an 80s 'Stormtrooper Transformer' way. ;)

    This can be applied to almost any type of vehicle, from jumbo jets to roller skates.
  13. i think i actualy read that on an IT support complain site. http://www.clientcopia.com/ :LOL:
  14. On an IT web-site it would be described as PEBKAC; Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair.