Everyone here, has heard me say this in various forms for as long as I have been a member of this forum.
It occurred to me, that this is a cornerstone of my professional life...... And that my career is almost completely based on the lack of fundamental knowledge required for a successful conclusion of some facet of a process. Yet my professional recommendation is inevitably
to engineer out that need for knowledge..... To make it 'sailor proof'.
That dichotomy disturbs me.
I can see the inevitable conclusion of this process.
I ride motorcycles, because it is an affirmation that I can accomplish a difficult, challenging, dangerous, high stake, life threatening adventure. By and large (>99%) the sole responsibility for the outcome is in my hands. I have a low probability of causing significant harm to others, during the pursuit of my passion. In the near 200,000 street riding miles I have accumulated, I have injured one other person through my actions. If I assume 50 mph for my average speed, it's reasonable to state I am approaching 40,000 riding hours.
40K hours. I have been physically struck by one car..... In stop and go traffic, 30 years ago.
Every other event leading to damage to me, my bike, or property not my own has been the result of a decision I made. Each crash, near miss, accident, ticket, enraged driver...... Wake up calls. Sometimes I listened, more often a specific behavior would be repeated, until it bit me.
I am quite certain that I would not be riding today, without the active participation of my wife.
I wouldn't have it any other way.
I'd be dead.
Each crash, I end up with better gear.
Each crash, a thorough review of technique
, material condition of the bike
, physical condition and mental state of the operator
, and the scenario occurs
. Additional training is often a gating requirement for continued participation.....
Train the operator
The physics are harsh. Reality does not embrace foolish behavior. Lack of knowledge is no excuse. The physics don't care.
Impact speed which assures a fatal outcome is low. It's the sudden stop that does it. Glancing blows don't impart the full change in velocity. A crash at 60 mph into a grassy field, or gravel trap has completely different consequences than hitting a tree.
Jumping out of a second story window, gravity will accelerate anything to about 25 mph. Drunk college students die every year this way. Many more don't; I'm sure most falls at parties aren't reported. It's the ones that hit concrete, we hear about. Belly flops, headers, etc.
Paratroopers tuck and roll, to change that impact energy into a glancing blow. A significant number of serious injuries occur when the terrain is bad, because gravity and physics don't care. Training is paramount, but doesn't cover the random variations which are a certainty.
Proper gear helps. Not a panacea. Training, helps...... Controlling the situation, helps.
In a perfect world, a rider in shorts and flip flops is perfectly safe.
I don't recommend it.