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Riding a motorcycle is risky. That's obvious, but everything we do in life is risky. For example, the riskiest place in your home is your bathroom. More people are injured while bathing than all other home injuries combined. Does that mean that we stop taking showers? I hope not. Instead we become aware of the risks. We check the temperature of the water before stepping into the stream to keep from scalding ourselves. Our tubs have non-slip surfaces to keep us from losing our footing and falling. We don't let standing water accumulate, we use anti-bacterial cleaners to stop the spread of germs, and we do many other things both conscious and unconscious to keep us safe in the most dangerous room in the house. Above all, we are aware of the risks and do what we can to actively mitigate and minimize those risks.

Motorcycling is the same. Yes, we know its risky. Yes, we know that we have a greater risk than cagers. But we manage the risk through several methods.

Mental Preparation: The most important part of the motorcycle is the rider. Anytime we plan on riding, and before we throw a leg over the saddle, we need to ascertain our mental state. Have we just had an argument with our significant other or our kids. Is there something on our minds that will take away our attention as we ride?

Physical Preparation: Did we get a good night's sleep? Are you feeling any aches and pains? Are you under the influence of anything? Over the counter cold medicines can make you drowsy and can, in some circumstances, make you just as impaired as a few stiff drinks. Precription meds can do the same.

Mechanical Preparation: Is your bike ready for riding? When was the last time you checked your tire pressure and tread wear? When was the last time you checked ALL of your lights? How about your linkages, battery voltage, hydraulic levels, and oil level? Doing a complete T-Clock check before every ride is a tremedous risk mitigator.

Experience and Training: Every ride is different. Have you done this ride before? If you have, have you become complacent, taking chances and pushing the margins because you know the road so well? If not, are you willing to click things down a notch to avoid surprises? Have you taken a recent class (MSF-BRC or ERC, Track Day, Riding Schools, etc.) to help you tune your riding style and correct (or at least identify) any bad habits you've fallen into?

Environmental Factors: Are you dressed appropriately for the temperature, precipitation, and other environmental factors that you may encounter during your ride? Do you know what the weather is predicted to be during your ride?

All of these things are a few risk factors that you should take into account and apply the appropriate mitigation to prior to starting your bike. Once you get on the road there is a whole new list. Most of these are done without thinking, almost becoming habitual or instinctual.

Risk management is something that we do on a daily basis, whether we are riding a motorcycle or taking a shower. What are some of the things you do to manage the inherent risks or motorcycling?
 

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Red said:
I carry darn good medical insurance! :oops:
Me too - and I pretty much tripled my Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance.
 
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