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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Safety Evangelism: The Point of Diminishing Returns

One of the truly interesting facets of riding is how our motorcycle nation is divided into motorcycle tribes often with factions squabbling over brand, style or purpose. We are wonderfully dysfunctional. Since this is the "Training, Safety and Riding Techniques" forum I think the subject of "Safety Evangelism" is a fair discussion. Looking up "evangelism" you'll find plenty of Christian tie-ins and somewhere in the clutter you'll find this:

"zealous advocacy of a cause"

Where I work there was for a couple of years a "Technology Evangelist". Yes, that was the job title. Here's part of an actual job description posting:

"Working in a team environment, the Technical Evangelist is responsible for assisting Business Development Managers in expanding their technical capability with SoftwareONE’s customers and partners..."
http://www.softwareone.com/en-us/AboutUs/Documents/Technical%20Evangelist.pdf

So a Tech Evangelist helps the not so technically oriented become more proficient using a particular technology. That can mean working with completely technology ignorant folks or simply helping the savvy cross-platform to new software or hardware. (I just acquired me a thesaurus--can you tell?)

I've seen the term "Safety Evangelist" batted about a little before; generally in a negative context. There are some fairly caustic names applied to those that try to openly share the safety culture and"Safety Fascists" is one of the less offensive ones. Generally if you're viewed as controlling, telling people how to act or if you are condescending then you can pick up the "fascist" tag.

My question is where does simple good-natured concern for others cross into that place where riders feel the pressure of compulsion and a loss of rights?

When is walking up to a stranger and commenting on their riding style or gear choices an appropriate behavior? I've never had someone walk up to me or comment out of the blue "You should do more wheelies!" In fact, I've had very few, if any, suggestions that my behavior isn't risky enough. I've been asked for a wheelie video but I may be getting too old for that stuff.

I have had people reproach me on line when they feel I'm "not safe enough" or as I like to say, I "break from the orthodox doctrines of safety". When I bought a dedicated motorcycle jacket that was camo I got a shocking amount of push back from folks. Got called a couple of names and I considered my position and kept wearing the jacket because I love it. I've retired it because 2 summers of hot Idaho sun should have degraded it to the point it's not as effective as it could be...and it's faded a lot too. I've got heat on not including enough or the right information in a book or video.

I get "Why didn't you---" and "you should have---" sprinkled with "you're a poor example---" and even a "you're a bonehead" once in a while. But I'm cool with that. I'm public. I'm putting it out there. I'm expecting push back. I ride motorcycles, and just like most riders we expect someone, even strangers, to eventually say, "You know what they call bikers? Organ donors!" Or relate a particularly gruesome story or to pass along some unwanted safety anecdote. This could be the root of the problem.

I expect two groups of people to give me riding advice:

My family and friends, people with a genuine interest in my safety are allowed to worry about me and to engage me in a way that (though annoying) is really concern for my health and safety. I can then directly deal with them and ease their minds. They love me, they're allowed to worry.

Well-intended strangers. These are people who range from riders to non-riders who for whatever the reason feel the need to tell me how to take care of my own bidness. I imagine that they could dealing with regret because they failed to warn someone and feel badly that they didn't. Or they could be sharing grief or simple fear.

Or they could just be nosy and annoying.

So. What's your line? Can you go too far OR what is going too far in dealing with you the rider? I know at some point folks tune out, they hit the point of diminishing returns and stop listening. Where's yours; on either side of the line?
 

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My feelings on the matter are that adults should be able to decide for themselves how much risk they are willing to accept.

I would never walk up to a rider and tell them what they should wear or what they should ride.

When asked for an opinion, I will give it. I'm often asked about my thoughts on several issues such as if a half helmet is sufficient (if you plan to land on top of your head), or if a certain type of motorcycle is good to learn on (it depends on what you will be using it for most).

I think education is important to be able to make informed decisions about safety. There are a lot of old wives tales and popular misconceptions about motorcycle riding. You can only help educate those who are willing to learn.
 

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Yep, I'm one of those half helmet guilty parties.....Didn't really think it through too much when I first purchased it. I thought, well, atleast it's better than nothing. Now that I'm finding my speed picking up, so is the helmet pulling up while at higher speeds. Sure, I'm still going to get that a little bit with a full face but not as bad. I've had claustophobic issues, so I added a shorty shield to it to ease my way into a full faced. But a full face is on my christmas want list.....
 

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I'm not sure what your point is with this thread. I've been riding approximately 45 years, and in all those years I've not come across people who felt the need to infringe on my personal space and question my riding apparel, my riding style, or even why I ride.

Now my mother did, and as a mother, she is afforded special privileges in that regard. She only has your safety at heart so she is allowed to speak her mind. But walking up to a stranger and commenting on their riding style, their choice of gear, I've just never had that happen.

Could be we just don't experience your level of rudeness in this area with other people/riders. I'm known to wear my helmet 50 percent of the time, my choice. But I've never been excoriated by any other rider for not wearing a helmet. Not even by those who wear enough gear to survive a 200 mph crash. Not even my brother who rides like hell on his Ducati but will not ride without his full-face helmet, never questions my sanity of not wearing a helmet. Do I need educated by some dolt on another bike about helmet safety? No.. I know the safety value of a helmet. But in this state we fought long and hard to have that choice, and that's what I think it should be, I do avail myself of that choice at times.

You say you expect two groups of people to give you riding advice. I only accept it from one, that would be family. And they never say a word. Friends, only make comments like, "won't you be cold wearing that," or some other gibe just to mess with each other.

Well-intentioned strangers need to remain strangers. I'm in complete agreement with Dods, I would never walk up to another rider and express my concern with their gear or ability. It's none of my business, nor is mine theirs.
 

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Nightfly
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You're probably one of those who knock on my door telling me I need God. Not knowing if I have a relationship with Him or not. You barge your way into my life uninvited. You believe that only you are right in your assertions and that because of the choices I make I should be slapped down.

The fact that some riders choose to not wear a helmet has almost no effect on the cost of insurance. High-powered statisticians called actuaries set insurance rates. Actuaries crunch lots of data about accidents, drivers, road conditions in states, tickets, types of cars, color of cars, ages of drivers and many other factors you may not even consider as having an impact on insurance rates. But the actuaries figure out how much each of these factors affects the cost of insuring a car or motorcycle.

If the costs for your age group, gender or area of the country go up, then your rates will go up. This applies even if you weren't a contributor to the higher rates—if your driving record was completely clean, you never speed and you drive only a few miles a day. Still, your rates will go up if the cost of your overall demographic goes up. That's how insurance actuaries cover the risks.

Much of the cost of automobile insurance is linked to the costs of car repairs. A simple, 3-inch scratch on the door of a car can cost more than $300 to repair, while additional accidents cost even more. These rising auto repair costs must be absorbed into the premiums, so this also causes a rise in rates.

And of course those involved in a car accident will probably sue the person who was at fault and sue the insurance company to get what they feel is coming to them. Insurance companies tend to pay as little as possible, and will sometimes deny claims that seem obviously payable. It is in these cases that attorney's fees begin to rise. This means the cost of doing business rises, and the cost to the insured rises in turn. The cost of insurance goes up, even if you are a great driver and never have an accident. While it doesn't seem fair, it is the way insurance companies keep prices average for everyone.

That young immature teen you care so much about is one of the most dangerous objects on the highway. They text, they play with their stereo, they talk to everyone in their car, they eat, they drink, they mostly pay attention to everything but operating their car. And of course no matter the age, they are all the greatest drivers on the road, just ask them. What are the chances they will listen to some old dude telling them how to do it. Damn slim... I don't need some do-gooder who wants to inculcate what he thinks is right onto my person. I deal with enough of that crap from the government trying to run my life, I don't need you as their backup plan.

Stay loose, I'll make my own choice's...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
There is always this question of "what's going to happen when I post this?" That goes through my head as I hit submit.

I think I just watched the interaction I was curious about!
 

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The motorcycle world is all about freedom ... and I believe that has to be respected. Freedom comes with a sharp edge - people die doing what they love. And that especially holds true with bikes. It is ... what it is.

There's also a very large dose of individualism, rebellion, and even anarchy amongst the motorcycle crowd. All those things can be a GOOD thing in their own way. Taken to excess - yes they are destructive. But they are innate human qualities. And the motorcycle world gives people a chance to embrace them. Again ... it seems positive to me.

I dont think we should be beating each other up.

I DO think we should spend more time wondering about a few BASIC issues that could save countless lives of riders ... LIKE ...

* WHY on Earth did we ever design a freeway system in America where cars and motorcycles travel together in close proximity? Why didnt we just separate the pathways for these two kinds of vehicles. How much extra space would it take to create separate "motorcycle lanes" on freeways?? Truly - not that much extra effort or space. The lives saved would have been big. Of course, now that the US freeway system is largely built - it's not so easy to go back and modify it. But when we build new highways and freeways in the future - WHY arent we doing this???????

* WHY dont the big auto manufacturers start a major effort to design and install an auto-motorcycle warning system in cars (and motorcycles). I'm not talking about any kind of physical barrier ... just a warning system built into the dash of a car that would alert drivers that a motorcycle is close by and to take extra care. Such a system is entirely feasible. How many drivers have said after an accident ... "Well officer, I never saw the motorcycle". OK, thats easy to fix. We will give you a warning system that definitely tells you. No mistakes, no ignoring the warning. Its not that hard to do.

Bottom line ... there are significant steps that we could take as a society that would make a major reduction in motorcycle fatalities. But the people in charge are doing nothing.

Its BECAUSE they are doing nothing ... that I have no problem with installing loud pipes on my bike, or riding in a way that has a certain level of "deterrent value" built in.

It is ... what it is.

dT
 

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I hope I take a different approach but honestly I cannot see myself from the outside so all I know is my intentions. If someone suggests that it is OK to do something unsafe I will try to point out why I think it is unsafe. I do not try to tell them what to do as that would be intrusive. If someone asks for opinions, I give them my perspective to accept or not on their own. I do not consider myself an evangelist but some people may see me that way because I never withhold advice I have been asked to give.
 

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In all forms, I do not like evangelism if it entails handing out opinions for free.

Either lead by example --actions speak louder than words -- or drop it.

I appreciate an intelligently presented position, a spirited debate, and even learning how wrong I can be ...BUT not when I have not asked for your opinion.
If you ask for my opinion, I will be honest.
If I ask for yours, I hope you will be honest too.

However, in the internet forum, the reason for interacting IS to share views and opinions. I frequently learn I am wrong about things. Usually, the more spirited the discussion, the more likely I am to pay attention.

So, I guess I hate evangelism I do not ask for, and I like the evangelism that I do.
 

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I believe in freedom of choice. Like the helmet law. You start giving into the government wants and they will ask for more. Hey if someone wants to ride their bike with flip flops and shorts its on them. I know I like my skin where it is so I choose to cover it. But I cant force my beliefs on someone else.

I personally cant stand people who knock on my door preaching the lord. I believe in my own way I dont need it shoved down my throat.
 

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"CaptCrashIdaho" said: "My question is where does simple good-natured concern for others cross into that place where riders feel the pressure of compulsion and a loss of rights?"

First off, my friend.....I think everyone in here, who knows the amount of material you have put out there in book form, videos etc., respects what you have done, are doing, and will do for the world of motorcycling.

There is no doubt that prophets are needed, to keep the message clear and available, to protect each new generation of riders, and remind the seasoned ones of the basics that save lives.

We collectively (I believe it is safe to do so) can applaud your efforts in that regard. Even "I" bought one of your books!!

That said, it is true of course, that the "in your face" (even when done in a friendly way) approach to caring for others, is going to be met with some resistance, and you know it. You've experienced it.

As is known: "There is no worse antagonist to smokers, than a non-smoker who USED to smoke!"

The same applies in all genre's of life. You've been there, you've done that, and now you're tempted to share that.

Sometimes, it takes a few years of developing a relationship with someone, before you can speak your mind or offer advice in a way that they will find palatable. Nobody is the same (of course) and each has to be approached differently.

I had a grandfather who was very outgoing. He'd walk up to perfect strangers and start talking to them as if he'd known them all their lives. There are "liberties" there that should not be assumed, but he assumed them. Sometimes to his own disadvantage.

I am, for all intents and purposes, very much like him in that way. I can be very open with anyone, regardless of race, creed, gender, etc.. But sometimes that gets me into trouble when I find a person who has no time for people like me. Generally it's because they have some issues in their lives that stop them from wanting ANYONE to talk to them, be close to them, etc..

When you walk up to a person, they don't wear a sign saying, "I welcome conversation" or "I'm not sociable," or whatever. Too bad, actually. If they DID, it would make the world a bit simpler. But we have to risk it, don't we?.

Keep doing what you're doing, bro. You fill a vital role. You are the voice of reason in the wilderness, and we thank you for your efforts. Just be a little less "up close and personal" with folks. Give a little more space, and offer your thoughts in a one-on-one situation with cautious kindness (as I'm sure you do).

Being a "bull in a China shop" doesn't get much in the way of positive results.

-Soupy
 

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Capts videos arnt preaching to me atleast. They are educational and very very funny. They have helped me learn a few things or two. Maybe even three. They are alot better than the boring put me to sleep videos in basic riders course.

And soupy its not nonsmokers that are the worst its the ex smokers that nag the most.....
 

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I believe all forums "assume" you are there to get information. I don't see anyone making a person be there. So it works both ways. If you don't like what you see, drop back out. Think about this, if you actually saw someone murder another, that person is "alleged" to have done the deed. Same thing on forums.

All information is the "opinion" of the person giving it whether it's fact or not. Now a lot of this so called evangelism wouldn't actually be there if people looked for information before they asked the same question that's been ask every possible way it could be asked. But that is not the way it works.

New people come on all the time asking the same questions. So it begins to look like evangelism. But look at what's causing it. I as well as many others get tired of answering the same questions.

Some have a high tolerance or deeper concern so hang in there. Again looking like evangelism. I just don't think it is. But don't shoot the messenger.
 

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New people come on all the time asking the same questions. So it begins to look like evangelism. But look at what's causing it. I as well as many others get tired of answering the same questions.
As a new member of the site, I've asked a few of those questions (though I did go through the forums - and still do - looking for people that have asked the same questions before me).
I've found almost everyone here to generally be extrememly helpful, especially in going on to explain why the poster of a question asked a million times before is wrong even if it isn't what they want to hear (But why CAN'T I get a ten-bazillion hp superbike as my first motorcycle ever???)
 

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Cap Crash ... I think your videos are very helpful to people - at all levels of skill and experience. Personally, I think the "video thing" is the RIGHT way to approach the safety training problem. People can watch videos IF they want and WHEN they want. That is total freedom.

There is NO problem with that ... and you are making a very positive contribution in this way.

dT
 

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The problem that I have with the situation ... isnt with the MC riders at all.
Many MC riders take safety VERY seriously - a lot of riders are constantly thinking about their equipment, how to plan rides, how to improve their skills. Some MC riders actually take a generous amount of their own time and devote themselves to becoming better riders. What is better than that?!!

The PROBLEM is the cages ... the auto drivers.
On average, they are becoming stupider and stupider.
What do most cages do - to set some level of driving skills? They pass a basic driving test (once at the start of their driving career), and then spend the rest of their lives trying to avoid taking another one. They NEVER go to any sort of advanced driving training. They DONT spend time thinking about how their eyes and brains process information ... or how they could improve their alertness. They DO spend money on all kinds of in-car accessories that create a major distraction to their focus on watching the road. And they DO keep texting and making phone calls while driving ... although they know this is a significant distraction to their alertness. The ONLY real factor that is causing cages to pay some attention to their driving skills - is the FEAR that their insurance rates may go up if they crash their vehicle.

It shouldnt fall on MC riders to become "superhuman" - just to avoid the incredibly poor behavior of auto drivers. But that is essentially what we are being asked to do. The situation is going to inherently produce MC riders who are more hostile in their attitude on the street, and less "supportive" to the authorities who run the daily road systems around the world.

dT
 

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I feel somewhat responsible for this thread. I recently started a thread entitled "Black, black, black" where l was somewhat critical of a new rider that l saw on the road on a black bike with all black gear. Some of the responses suggested that l was being a busybody and that l should mind my own effing business. I am okay with that...everyone sees things in different ways, and responds differently as well.

FWIW, the rider that l was using was merely meant to be an example, a metaphor if you will. It was not my intention in any way to tell people what they should do or how they should do it. It was really nothing more than a convenient way to get that conversation started. I guess l probably did not communicate that very well, and for that, l apologize. That being said, within that thread there were a lot of good safety tips exchanged, as well as good old fashioned common sense. So even if the approach was not favorable, l believe that some positive came from the thread nonetheless.

On another note, what are these videos people are talking about CaptCrash?
 
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