To many people, the idea of riding a motorbike sounds just as insane as scaling a skyscraper without a safety harness, or adopting a fully-grown lion as a pet. In their inexperienced, pop media-influenced minds, it’s just asking for trouble.
Bikers are generally given a bad reputation in pop media, and therefore among the general public, too. Unimaginative writers of TV dramas who need a bad guy reach out for the ready-made, leather clad biker as an instantly recognizable ne’er-do-well. News outlets lap up stories of biker gang feuds, and rather seeing their crimes as gang-related, they are portrayed as bike-related.
Riding a motorbike is not as dangerous as many believe, as long as you are a responsible rider. Statistics show that over a third of biking deaths involved alcohol. If you think you can ride a bike safely after you’ve had a drink, think again – if you can’t go without a drink, then biking is not for you. Another factor in biking deaths is the failure to wear a helmet. Again, biking is not inherently dangerous, but being stupid most certainly is. Riding a motorcycle on high speed roads without a helmet is like repairing electrical cables without disconnecting the supply – everyone should know better, yet some pay for their stupidity with their lives.
As you can see from sites such as http://www.bikersbasics.com/, biking is fun. Perhaps the main reason many do it is for the rush of connecting with the bike, the road, the air, the sights and sounds of a journey that you just don’t get in other vehicles. The closest thing to it is riding a pushbike as fast as you can, or perhaps racing a horse, but neither can capture the thrill of being carried by a powerful engine. Bikers don’t just use their motorbikes to get from A to B and back – they take them out exploring, to feel the wind and get away from the mundaneness of everyday life.
There are, of course, plenty of less emotional and more practical reasons to ride a motorbike. Perhaps of most interest to many, is the amount you can save at the pump. At 70 miles per gallon, you’ll wonder how you ever managed to afford to drive a car. At national average prices, that’s roughly $2.20 for the trip from Queens to the Hamptons – and at that price you’ll have enough money to stay that bit longer.
The fact that it’s better for the environment should be a big draw, too. Whereas gas guzzlers were once seen as status symbols, their owners are now very much looked down on by society at large. You can do you bit for the environment by riding a motorcycle and people will appreciate it. Bikers especially, have a sense of camaraderie which is unknown among car and truck drivers. A stranger who also rides a bike is a good friend just waiting to be discovered. You can’t really say the same thing about someone who drives a car.
Then, of course, we all know how motorbikes can easily pass by traffic jams. If you live in a notoriously clogged city like Atlanta or Los Angeles, the decision to ride a motorbike could help you get up to 10 hours of your life back each week, in which you would otherwise be stuck in traffic. If you live in New York City, where parking is notoriously difficult, you’ve suddenly got a whole lot more options. Motorbikes are even welcome inside certain buildings – this is usually the case for those who work in garages, warehouses, or small stores. In a big city like New York, riding a motorbike can be the number one way to get around.
The cost of the bikes themselves is also appealing to those who don’t appreciate making payments on a $40,000 car only for its value to halve as soon as they drive it for the first time. For a mere $14,000, you can get your hands on a Hayabusa – a bike which can easily outrun a Maserati, and keep pace with all but the fastest Ferraris and Lamborghinis. If you want to show off, what better way is there to do it than riding a motorcycle?