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I'm 51, never had a street bike, but always wanted one. I've rode dirt bikes on/off throughout my life, got rid of my last dirt bike (KTM350SXF) 5 years ago because I didn't ride it often enough.

I've always been interested in motorcycles, and I've never shaken the desire to have a street bike.

If I were to get a street bike I would take the MSF training course and wear safety gear. I'm no spring chicken but I think my reflexes are still quite good.

However, my wife is STRONGLY against me getting a street bike as she is concerned I will get killed on it. She believes it doesn't matter how good a rider I am, the only thing that matters is whether the oncoming driver sees me.

I understand her concern and her logic is reasonable. But I also know that not everyone who rides a motorcycle dies on one.

Have any of you had a similar situation? If so, how did you handle it?

Have any of you had a long riding career without any near-death experiences?

If you are hyper-vigilant (to prevent accidents) while riding, how is the act of riding pleasant/stress-relieving?

Any other advice you can share to someone who wants to become a rider?
 

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I'm 51, never had a street bike, but always wanted one. I've rode dirt bikes on/off throughout my life, got rid of my last dirt bike (KTM350SXF) 5 years ago because I didn't ride it often enough.

I've always been interested in motorcycles, and I've never shaken the desire to have a street bike.

If I were to get a street bike I would take the MSF training course and wear safety gear. I'm no spring chicken but I think my reflexes are still quite good.

However, my wife is STRONGLY against me getting a street bike as she is concerned I will get killed on it. She believes it doesn't matter how good a rider I am, the only thing that matters is whether the oncoming driver sees me.

I understand her concern and her logic is reasonable. But I also know that not everyone who rides a motorcycle dies on one.

Have any of you had a similar situation? If so, how did you handle it?

Have any of you had a long riding career without any near-death experiences?

If you are hyper-vigilant (to prevent accidents) while riding, how is the act of riding pleasant/stress-relieving?

Any other advice you can share to someone who wants to become a rider?
"Have any of you had a similar situation? If so, how did you handle it?"
Well, not exactly and I don't know if that girl was still there when I got back from the races. She said she might not be there when I got back. I always wondered about her...

"Have any of you had a long riding career without any near-death experiences?"
No, probably not..... Not if they've been riding long enough.
 

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You can tell your wife that the chances of you getting killed on the bike are almost slim to none. In almost every fatal wreck the rider comes off the bike very shortly before he dies.

And near-Death experiences are not really bad things. They are cause for celebration. It's the Death experiences that you want to avoid.
 

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A serious suggestion, which may or may not work: agree to take it slow. Start with a very low-displacement, slow street bike. Get used to it and let your wife get used to it. The reasoning being that speed is the major factor that gets people killed or maimed - not just the bike getting away from you, but the faster evaluation and reaction times needed in traffic when you are going fast, that you don't have yet. At least while you are learning to see the road like a biker, to quickly process all the information coming at you, and to develop second-nature behaviors you will need more time. The more time you have, the less likely you are to panic; the less likely you are to make mistakes, and the less likely to kill you the mistakes you do make will be. Explain that to your wife and agree to start with a 150, 200, or 250cc bike. Take a year or two on that bike to become as experienced as you can, and also to give her time to get used to you riding. Then if you want to go faster, you and she are both "prepped" for it.

Maybe that will placate her a bit, if she knows you are listening to her and taking her fears seriously. On the other hand maybe it will have the opposite effect. It depends on the kind of person your wife is, which only you can judge.

My situation may be similar enough to yours. I'm also 51. I just started riding in May. I don't have a wife, but I do have a father who made me promise never to ride a motorcycle. We are both old men now but we are very close and his opinion and approval are still very important to me. He was a personal injury attorney (now retired) who represented quite a few riders. He sometimes says my education was paid for with the blood, bones, and corpses of bikers. When I told him I had taken a motorcycle course he was not happy. He asked me if I was thinking of buying a motorcycle. He asked it in a way that you knew he was poised to argue me out of it. So I told him no, I just wanted to see what it was like. I have the option of simply not telling him I ride, and then riding in a way that will not kill me and break his heart. You do not have the option of not telling your wife, which is a key difference - hence my suggestion above.

But I also know that not everyone who rides a motorcycle dies on one.
BTW I would suggest NOT expressing it to her in those words. Better to say "very few people who ride a motorcycle are seriously hurt." Because 1) she doesn't care about what happens to "everyone" but about what's going to happen to YOU. 99 out of a 100 is "not everyone" but it's still crappy odds. And 2) death isn't the only thing she's worried about either. It may not even be the thing she's worried most about. If you die, she's heartbroken but she moves on. If you are paralyzed, she's heartbroken and chained to you for life. In other words, she may be more worried about herself than she is about you. She may love you too much to ever admit this to you, but that doesn't mean it ain't so.
 

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I've been riding for fifty years this month.
Over 300,000 miles.
Sure, I've had a few "incidents" over the years, especially in the early years.
But I learned from them and adjusted my riding style accordingly.
And here I am, fifty years later, still enjoying the hell out of riding.
 

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A serious suggestion, which may or may not work: agree to take it slow. Start with a very low-displacement, slow street bike. Get used to it and let your wife get used to it. The reasoning being that speed is the major factor that gets people killed or maimed - not just the bike getting away from you, but the faster evaluation and reaction times needed in traffic when you are going fast, that you don't have yet. At least while you are learning to see the road like a biker, to quickly process all the information coming at you, and to develop second-nature behaviors you will need more time. The more time you have, the less likely you are to panic; the less likely you are to make mistakes, and the less likely to kill you the mistakes you do make will be. Explain that to your wife and agree to start with a 150, 200, or 250cc bike. Take a year or two on that bike to become as experienced as you can, and also to give her time to get used to you riding. Then if you want to go faster, you and she are both "prepped" for it.
Welcome! Excellent advice from everyone!

I'll share my experience: I lusted after sport bikes since I was in my 20's waaay back in the '90's. I didn't have much common sense then but I did know that I wasn't disciplined enough to not get into serious trouble so I found other ways to get into less trouble. :smile_big: Fast forward through wife, kids, growing more mature, etc. Last spring, it hit home that I was approaching my 50th birthday and I still really wanted to learn to ride a bike and I still lusted after a sport bike. I'm in reasonably good shape and the reflexes are still there, but age has noticeably crept in and I knew that if I did not get my license soon, I likely never would. So, after convincing my wife that I had a logical plan and would be mature while riding, I took the MSF and started riding a nice little Ninja 300. As I (and my wife) grew more comfortable and more experienced, I learned my limits while avoiding mishaps and injuries... for the most part. Philosophical question time! If you low side in an empty parking lot, due to going too slow while practicing turning, and no one else sees, did it really happen? Anyway, after putting close to 8000 on the 300, I upgraded a little over a month ago to a F4i and haven't looked back.

All the advice here is good! I will say that the body positioning of the sport bike is not for everybody. It has prompted me to lose a little weight and work more on my flexibility and endurance over my usual strength training.

Looking forward to hearing how it goes for you!
 
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Well, as 'Eye' said in one post, for the most part anyways, "More bikers have died from excess consumption of deep fried foods, than from accidents." But I seriously think that if a person wants to ride and takes the MSF course, gets the most out of it, starts out with a medium size bike, wears at least good riding boots jeans , goggles and a helmet, ( even if the state does not demand the use of one ) gloves,, does a Pre-Ride he/she will do pretty good, remembering, The best safety equipment he/she has is between the ears, if it does not look safe, don't do it, after having ridden a couple of years to take an experienced riders course, and to always want to stay educated in motorcycle safety, Don't let the MSF basic riding course be your LAST course in education.

My wife was worried about me riding a motorcycle, but I was riding 6 yrs before I met her, so I did not have to go into,'I want to ride a motorcycle thing', however she was worried, I took her out to the yard and showed her what I do before I ride, explaining the pre-ride I could see she felt better about it, that as much as she knows I love riding, She knows ,"I take it seriously."

I have heard of those who don't take motorcycling seriously though, sort of just enough to be legal, "I passed the MSF course and got my Motorcycle endorsement." and that was it. . .It is a pretty good start, BUT I learned things from reading other books and I know that what I read kept me from having an accident, one particular time, edge traps, I knew I had to come at it by at least a 45 degree angle, the cost of that book is small compared to messing up the bike, getting burned and probably a broken leg if the bike fell over on me. There is this guy, Motorman and his 'ride like a pro' course, it is good, I have taken the time to practice from time to time , doing tight offset cone weaves, brake an swerve, tight u-turns, so to SUM UP for those getting into riding, "You can really enjoy motorcycling IF you take it serious.
 

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Went through this same thing with my family. I'm the first person in my family to want to do anything even remotely dangerous that isn't related to the military. Motorcycling isn't nearly the most dangerous thing on my list. They still try to fight with me every time I come to their houses but they're slowly beginning to realize they will never stop me, so they're at least doing some research about motorcycle safety and statistics. I'm with the others on this. Go slow and ease yourself and those you love into it.

I don't remember who, but a couple days ago someone told me not to wear a helmet when I'm riding because "all the force will be inside the helmet and will turn you into a vegetable". And there's "no point in having other gear if you're not wearing a helmet". Ah yes, so I should wear no gear at all because I shouldn't try to protect myself, even in a minor crash. I know I live in a state that doesn't require helmets...but if the two-wheeler can go significantly faster than a person can run, you bet I'll have a helmet on.
 

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Three years ago I had a pretty bad wreck. I went high side and landed on my elbow, ripped my shoulder out of the socket and did "major league damage" according to the surgeon. I landed at the edge of a really steep hill and was staring down the hill at a big effing tree. My wife (then fiancé) was pretty shellshocked and I decided to give it up. She has some serious health issues and the thought of losing me really scared her. I get it.

I am taking the class to get my endorsement again this week. I have decided to get another bike to ride to work. Trina is on board with it, although she isn't thrilled. It is partly circumstantial due to my parking situation at work.

For me, if she isn't on board, it isn't worth the headache. But my marriage isn't typical. My wife has brain cancer and a rare nerve condition. She needs help to go through life. Just my $.02
 

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I'm 45. I had the urge since childhood. Dad and siblings had bikes and rode, but I never got the opportunity. Fast forward a bit to wife insisting that I would be decapitated as soon as I swung a leg over a bike. Everyone had horror stories of motorcycle accidents. I finally decided to take the safety course. Maybe I wouldn't even like it. Maybe I couldn't pass the course. But I did on both accounts, then bought a used motorcycle. That was nearly a year ago. I wish that I had started 20 years ago. It is a blast. Only you can decide what is right for you though.
 

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I was in a similar situation to you. I started street riding when I was 40, that was 10 years ago and I've now piled up over 100,000 miles. No issues. A few points:

Education and practice keeps you safe. Take the MSF class and keep learning. Riding 10 years does not give you 10 years of experience if you don't keep learning, take the next class, read, practice more.

I know far too many people that have been riding for years but never learned a single thing. People tell me all the time they have 20 years of riding experience. But from my estimation they've been riding 20 years but have about 1 month of experience 240 times over. It's scary when I get out on a ride with a guy and he can't even negotiate a basic curve or turn his bike around.

Regarding your significant other: non-riders feel like motorcyclists are just beach balls being bounced around in the street, kind of like the old Bugs Bunny cartoons where the trucks have no drivers they just run over whatever happens to be in front of them. see if she'll just take the basic msf class with you. Most people that take that class come out with a completely different awareness. Plus it's fun, it's not like she has to get a motorcycle license and go riding motorcycles. It's safe, it's fun, good together time.

You have control over your motorcycle Where you ride and how you ride. How often do you get hit in your car? Probably not very often, if ever and that's not just because of the drivers see your car. It's because you drive defensively and understand you don't want to get hit, so you do your best to avoid it (if you are one of those people who are constantly having not at-fault accidents, at fault accident etc then you should probably rethink your riding) On a motorcycle we should be significantly more careful. Things I do in a car I probably wouldn't do in on a motorcycle. You need to pay attention to lane position, speed, time of day... All these things factor into whether you are safe rider or not. Sure, sometimes the other driver doesn't see you but it's up to you to understand that you need to be in a position where it doesn't matter if the other driver is paying attention and sees you.

I used to work bike nights at the local cycle gear for the insurance agency I have. There was always a couple guys there they were constantly getting hit, stories about cagers coming in on them, kicking cars, constantly being run off the road. These guys were always having some sort of altercation, some sort of accident. Then there's others that have ridden for decades, hundreds of thousands of miles, in all types of conditions and all over the world. Never one issue for those guys. The difference is the rider, not luck.


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Went through this same thing with my family. I'm the first person in my family to want to do anything even remotely dangerous that isn't related to the military. Motorcycling isn't nearly the most dangerous thing on my list. They still try to fight with me every time I come to their houses but they're slowly beginning to realize they will never stop me, so they're at least doing some research about motorcycle safety and statistics. I'm with the others on this. Go slow and ease yourself and those you love into it.

I don't remember who, but a couple days ago someone told me not to wear a helmet when I'm riding because "all the force will be inside the helmet and will turn you into a vegetable". And there's "no point in having other gear if you're not wearing a helmet". Ah yes, so I should wear no gear at all because I shouldn't try to protect myself, even in a minor crash. I know I live in a state that doesn't require helmets...but if the two-wheeler can go significantly faster than a person can run, you bet I'll have a helmet on.
Even if the bike isn't going to go faster than a person can run gear is important. Tell those people: go ahead and run as fast as you can and bash your head into a cement wall, see how you feel. You're not going very fast so it shouldn't hurt right?. Try falling off a motorcycle going 20 miles an hour; you're going to wind up with road rash. Now tried it at 40 or 50 miles an hour, you're going to wind up in the burn unit cuz that's where they put you with that kind of road rash with no gear.

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Even if the bike isn't going to go faster than a person can run gear is important. Tell those people: go ahead and run as fast as you can and bash your head into a cement wall, see how you feel. You're not going very fast so it shouldn't hurt right?. Try falling off a motorcycle going 20 miles an hour; you're going to wind up with road rash. Now tried it at 40 or 50 miles an hour, you're going to wind up in the burn unit cuz that's where they put you with that kind of road rash with no gear.

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Good point! I just brought up statistics about how a helmet is pretty much like a car's seatbelt and other gear is like a crumple zone.

To quote the IIHS:

Because serious head injury is common among fatally injured motorcyclists, helmet use is important. Helmets are about 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries.
 

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Regarding your significant other: non-riders feel like motorcyclists are just beach balls being bounced around in the street, kind of like the old Bugs Bunny cartoons where the trucks have no drivers they just run over whatever happens to be in front of them.
You, sir, won a jillion internet points for the Bugs Bunny mention! Ah, I think that's a huge part of what's wrong with the world today... no more Saturday morning cartoons. When everything is available all the time, it loses it's "specialness"...

I used to work bike nights at the local cycle gear for the insurance agency I have. There was always a couple guys there they were constantly getting hit, stories about cagers coming in on them, kicking cars, constantly being run off the road. These guys were always having some sort of altercation, some sort of accident. Then there's others that have ridden for decades, hundreds of thousands of miles, in all types of conditions and all over the world. Never one issue for those guys. The difference is the rider, not luck.


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Very true! You only have to watch a few YT compilations to see riders following too closely, lane splitting when there is clearly not enough room, etc. and then raging at the cagers. Not going to have a very long riding career acting like that!
 
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You, sir, won a jillion internet points for the Bugs Bunny mention! Ah, I think that's a huge part of what's wrong with the world today... no more Saturday morning cartoons. When everything is available all the time, it loses it's "specialness"...



Very true! You only have to watch a few YT compilations to see riders following too closely, lane splitting when there is clearly not enough room, etc. and then raging at the cagers. Not going to have a very long riding career acting like that!
Pretty much everything I know about anything comes from Bugs Bunny.

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I wish I was on the bike yesterday instead of the truck. Some dude going 40 on a 55 country road. I tried to pass him and he veered left and put me half in the ditch. I hit the horn and i guess it startled him and he came further left. I went further in and it was a fight to get the truck out i guess from now on I will hit the horn and maybe install air horns.

Plenty of room to pass with a bike.
 

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The difference is the rider, not luck. Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
I so agree with you on that, There are many reasons why two people on two bikes will have totally different experiences in riding.

Fast Jack, always in a hurry, to do a proper pre-ride lights an horn work, wow even checked his oil an gas!
BUT his tires? He can't remember last time he checked to see if they were up to proper pressure, he is 25 years old and still tries to do stunts he never got good at, still doing them only a lot faster. . .Likes to show off and never punctual he rides to work an gets there late, boss tells him 'Be on time or you're out of here. Fast Jack still leaves to work on a bike, but wanting to get there on time he speeds, maybe 10 miles over but it just rained, oil from the road an water. . .yeah his friends were there at the funeral parlor...So what caused him to become a statistic? contributory negligence? any number of things could have caused Fastjack to meet the grim reaper.

Then on the other end of the street "Doug Do-Rite, yeah , he too loves riding, but Doug, he takes his time, makes sure tire pressure is checked twice a week, makes sure everything is working as it should, even has extra bulbs in fork bag so if one goes out, he is riding with all lamps working as they should. He is NOT into the speedy dare devil thing, and if at times he
wants to open her up, it's on a long stretch o' super-slab on a DRY sunny day with very little traffic.

Every two years or so Do-Rite-Doug takes an experienced riders course, then bones up on what could be improved on, he has
a few books by Dave Hough,

'Proficient motorcycling' and 'Mastering the ride' along with Motorman's "Ride like a pro ' book. Doug Do-Rite has about 500,000 miles with NO accident, and that is NO accident.

Hope you all pardon my writing but what it comes down to is "What is my attitude about biking' and how much do I want to risk? Remember the MSF book and the two ladders? how far up do ya wanna climb an jump off? and I felt that making these
comparisons might show that it IS the RIDER, not LUCK that determines how long he/she will be riding.

Sorry about the line breaks, I try to avoid them.
 

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Well, as 'Eye' said in one post, for the most part anyways, "More bikers have died from excess consumption of deep fried foods, than from accidents." But I seriously think that if a person wants to ride and takes the MSF course, gets the most out of it, starts out with a medium size bike, wears at least good riding boots jeans , goggles and a helmet, ( even if the state does not demand the use of one ) gloves,, does a Pre-Ride he/she will do pretty good, remembering, The best safety equipment he/she has is between the ears, if it does not look safe, don't do it, after having ridden a couple of years to take an experienced riders course, and to always want to stay educated in motorcycle safety, Don't let the MSF basic riding course be your LAST course in education.

My wife was worried about me riding a motorcycle, but I was riding 6 yrs before I met her, so I did not have to go into,'I want to ride a motorcycle thing', however she was worried, I took her out to the yard and showed her what I do before I ride, explaining the pre-ride I could see she felt better about it, that as much as she knows I love riding, She knows ,"I take it seriously."

I have heard of those who don't take motorcycling seriously though, sort of just enough to be legal, "I passed the MSF course and got my Motorcycle endorsement." and that was it. . .It is a pretty good start, BUT I learned things from reading other books and I know that what I read kept me from having an accident, one particular time, edge traps, I knew I had to come at it by at least a 45 degree angle, the cost of that book is small compared to messing up the bike, getting burned and probably a broken leg if the bike fell over on me. There is this guy, Motorman and his 'ride like a pro' course, it is good, I have taken the time to practice from time to time , doing tight offset cone weaves, brake an swerve, tight u-turns, so to SUM UP for those getting into riding, "You can really enjoy motorcycling IF you take it serious.
I spent a lot of time practicing the Ride Like A Pro stuff. Made a huge difference in my riding. Also, reading through Twist of the Wrist II was great...gave me a lot to work on regarding body position and lane position going into corners and braking. Even though I'm almost exclusively a large bike touring Rider I'm tempted by take the California Super Bike school. Everyone I've ever talked to that has taken that course or similar courses come out feeling much better about their abilities as a rider. They all say they feel much safer and much more competent on a motorcycle after that. You don't need to be a racer to get something out of these courses or books.

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I don't remember who, but a couple days ago someone told me not to wear a helmet when I'm riding because "all the force will be inside the helmet and will turn you into a vegetable". And there's "no point in having other gear if you're not wearing a helmet".
Well Hello Miss Mercedes,

Damn, I have to wonder what kind of life that person has, apparently he/she knows squat about motorcycle helmets, with that kind of thinking, one could use the blow-drier in the tub and come out with hair washed and dried!

I have wondered about those weird looking things people wear when riding a regular bicycle, I don't know if they have any part that absorbs the shock of hitting the ground, so the person wearing it does not have serious head issues.
 

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Welcome!
Philosophical question time! If you low side in an empty parking lot, due to going too slow while practicing turning, and no one else sees, did it really happen?

"YUP it really happened, and a good thing too. That person was doing the right thing practicing tight turns, it could have been much worse out on a public street. Getting Hi-way bars could be a good thing, stretch legs out on a long ride and it keeps engine from getting damaged as well as not having bike flat on its side trapping an ankle.

I too am looking forward to practicing again when the weather gets a bit cooler, found a school parking lot a couple hundred feet long, 9 foot wide spaces 19 feet long on both sides ( bumper to bumper ) or two car lengths with a center line between'em. I use motorman's idea, of markers, cut in half tennis balls, they are much more visible than the MSF cones and a lot cheaper too. Don't forget brake n; swerve, knowing you can't use front brake while swerving, gotta brake first.
 
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