So you’re a keen biker and you’re expecting a new arrival in the next few months. What should you do with your motorcycling hobby?
As a parent, having a baby changes everything, and it allows you to reflect on what’s important in your life. Should you quit motorcycling altogether, or keep it going? No one should tell you what to do, but if you’re on your motorbike every day, you and your partner might feel uncomfortable now that you have extra responsibilities. Maybe there’s a way to keep riding your motorbike, while minimizing the risk to your health?
In this article let’s take a look at whether dads should ride motorcycles.
Should dads ride motorcycles? Is it selfish to ride one?
It all depends on you and how passionate you are about motorbikes. For many motorcyclists it’s a real thrill to get on the bike and ride. If you’re a father and a keen biker, you should definitely ensure you have sufficient protection in case something awful happens to you. Purchase sufficient life insurance so your family is fully covered.
If your partner really doesn’t like you using a motorbike, and it causes many arguments, you need to have a frank discussion together about it. Maybe you can compromise? For example, only use your bike in good weather with good visibility. Moreover, could you use your bike on special circuits, or ride dirt bikes to minimize your risk of serious injury with other vehicles on the road? This might satisfy your need for biking, and it’s a lot safer.
However, if it’s a not a strong passion of yours, and you’re an expectant father, you probably won’t have much time to get on the bike anyway. Having children changes people and you might just feel biking is something you can give up, when you start thinking about what’s best for your family.
What is the best age to ride a motorcycle?
You can ride a motorcycle at any age really, unless you’re a minor, in which case you’ll need parental permission to ride on the back with a legally permitted rider. In the UK, there are a lot of riders between 20 and 30 who use their bikes frequently, but there is also a big demographic of riders who are over 50. In the USA, the average age of a motorcyclist is 48.
At what age should a man stop riding a motorcycle?
You should stop riding a motorbike when it’s no longer safe for you to do so. Maybe your health has deteriorated, particularly your eye sight, or it’s hard on your body to ride at all. However, there is something to be said for experience and safety with older riders. Younger motorcyclists tend to be more aggressive when they finally get the keys to their new toy!
Despite having slower reflexes, older riders have a wealth of experience of riding different bikes, in different weather and traffic conditions. A quick look at this thread will show you there are bikers still going strong well into their 80s!
What should you wear when riding a motorcycle?
Here is a list of essential items you should wear when riding a motorbike:
In the US, you need a helmet which is DOT certified. Spend time picking one which fits your head perfectly and never buy a used helmet. Most helmets should have a life span of around 5 years.
You need gloves which have tough protected stitching and abrasion resistant materials. Your hands are usually the first things to impact the ground if you’re falling so take your time to pick the right pair. Furthermore, if you can find some which have some armour around the palms, that will add some extra protection during any impact with the ground.
Motorcycle jackets are made of textile or leather, and you need to decide which one type is best for you. Leather jackets are more durable, but they are not as comfortable in different types of weather. Textile jackets are cheaper, and often include water resistant materials. Make sure you choose a jacket which fits comfortably when you’re in your riding position on your bike.
Like jackets, you should choose textile or leather trousers. Avoid wearing ordinary denim jeans as these won’t protect your legs if you fall to the ground.
Choose a pair that supports your ankles and shins, and prevents your foot from twisting in an impact. You should look for ones which also have extra protection around the heel and toes, and ideally some armour around the ankle and shin.
If you want extra protection for your body in the event of a crash or accident, you should definitely purchase some armour. Whether you buy it separately and add it to your existing gear, or purchase clothing which has it built in, it should not move around too much as you need it firmly in place in case you have a collision. Armour is designed to absorb the kinetic energy instead of your body during impact, so it’s worth investing in.
What clothing should you avoid?
You should avoid any clothing which doesn’t offer sufficient protection in case you fall off your motorbike. This could be a helmet which doesn’t meet the legal requirements. You should avoid wearing dark clothing when there’s poor visibility as other road users won’t see you clearly. Loose clothing is also a big no-no as it can be distracting and it isn’t as safe as tighter fitting attire.
Furthermore, try not to wear regular scarves as they can come undone when you’re riding. It could potentially land on the windscreen of a car, or block your vision if it comes across the visor of your helmet.
How to be safe on a motorcycle?
Here are 5 useful tips for using a motorbike safely, minimizing the risk to you and other road users.
- Ride defensively, not aggressively
Always ride with your headlights on and stay outside a car driver’s blind spot. Most accidents are caused when other vehicles block a motorcyclist unintentionally as they can’t see them. Don’t ride like a maniac undertaking and overtaking other vehicles at speed, as it’s only a matter of time before you have a serious accident.
- Follow all the traffic rules
Don’t go too fast, and obey all the road signs.
- Wear the appropriate clothing
We touched on this in the previous section, but ensure you have attire which fits you properly and protects you in case you have an accident.
- Check your motorbike before riding
Look for any oil leaks, check fluid levels and any signs of wear and tear on the tyres.
- Don’t ride if you’re tired
You need to be totally awake an alert when you’re riding as one wrong decision, or if you don’t react quickly enough, can result in a serious accident.
Why shouldn’t you ride a motorbike?
Unfortunately, you can’t ignore statistics. They are 38 times more dangerous than driving a car, and if you have an accident, you’re far more likely to get hurt or die. You’re more exposed to the elements, such as rain or ice, which can increase your chances of skidding. Also, being a smaller vehicle, sometimes cars and trucks can’t see you and crash into you.
And it’s not only other vehicles which can pose a risk to your life. If you’re in a car and you hit a fox, badger or a deer, it might cause some damage to the chassis, but in the safety of the cabin with all the airbags, you are well protected.
However, in a motorbike, it’s just man vs nature. Even smaller animals can pose significant hazards to you if you’re travelling at 50mph. Whether you hit them head on, run over them or swerve to avoid them, each scenario is likely to result in an accident. Basically, you don’t want to see an animal in the road if you’re a motorcyclist.
What percentage of motorcycle riders die?
In 2018, the estimated number of motorcycles in use in the USA was 12,231,000. In the same year, 4,985 riders died in crashes. Therefore 0.0004% motorcyclists died in that year (or 4 in every 10,000 riders).
How many people die each day on a motorbike?
Here is some data on the number of motorcyclist fatalities each year from 2009 to 2018 in the USA
|Year||Number of deaths from motorcycle accidents|
Therefore, on average 4,846 riders died each year between 2009-2018, which equates to 13 riders a day.
It isn’t advisable to ride a motorcycle when the temperature is below freezing, as ice poses a greater risk to smaller vehicles. As for an ideal temperature for riding, that is more subjective. Over at the Motorcycle Forums, it seems most riders prefer around 10-23 °C (50-75 °F).
You don’t need to have amazing balance to ride a motorcycle, but you if you can ride a bicycle ok, then you should have sufficient balance to use a motorbike without any problems.
On average a motorcycle should last between 12-15 years, but a lot depends on how well you maintain it, whether it is a more expensive vehicle with better quality parts, and whether you’ve had major accidents or breakdowns.
It’s actually a misconception that you need to let your motorbike run for 15 minutes occasionally even if you’re not using it. All you’ll do is drain the battery. During the winter months when it’s too cold to ride, you’re better off disconnecting the battery completely and connecting it to a tender. You could also add some fuel stabilizer to the tank and give your bike a good wash, dry and wax before leaving it in the garage.