POLL: Real People on Motorcycle Safety

In a recent poll conducted by a friend on his Facebook page, the question was asked:

“What would you say is the reason for all the bike accidents and bad statistics? What can we do to bring the numbers down?”

These are the un-edited responses from real men and women, folks who ride or have been riding for most of their lives. Names have been excluded for privacy reasons. A brief summary, at the end, shows a word-count on a few key words used in opinions.


The youngsters seem to have something to prove to us older bikers for some reason or other. Personally I have nothing more to prove so won’t take the bait if challenged by the snot-noses. There’s a lack of respect for the machine, if one doesn’t respect the machine and look after it properly it’s going to let one down at the most inopportune moments like leaning into bends! So I’m saying Maintenance and training. Getting a license should be a multitude of steps not learners and then riders but in order to ride a BIG bike one should take about 5 courses to get there and pass them too. Like they do in the UK. Bikes bought for cash in SA should have a licensed rider not dad picking up the tab and giving a big bike to a snot-nose with no experience just because he’s passed Matric!

Bike shops should start looking at that the buyer, Is he/she licensed. Learners Drivers licences car/bike should be held as a life subject in Grades 10 to 12, and a Medical First Aid course to go with it…perhaps give them a guided tour of the Morgue and Accident wards at hospitals. Even older bikers are not immune to the syndrome ‘What can you teach me that I don’t know already’….They forget that every year the machine gets faster, technology improves and if they don’t keep up with the times, they’ll get left behind and one day when they buy that new technology they can’t handle it…accident waiting to happen. It takes approximately 12 months to really get to know your bike…there’s still people out there that don’t use all the bells and whistles after several years, car and bike! True! Balls to the Wall and you can ride? Yeah right if you’re riding at 250 and plenty can you do an emergency stop? I doubt it! AND wear the right gear all the time ATGATT.

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Speed, the bikes today have far more power than years ago, many riders cannot handle the size or the speed and come short, too many souls out there have a major overload of self-importance – braggatheid – need to ride in terms of the conditions surrounding you, how the devil can anyone in their right mind hit 120 km on a busy, busy highway without expecting/pre-empting a possible accident waiting to happen, a cage changing lanes etc. many of the guys don’t have proper training, buy a bike, nou is ek groot meneer, kyk hoe vinnig ry ek, en daar sien hy sy gaai. Booze, this has always been around, but somehow booze abuse has increased over the years, have seen many a fight, not just argument because the ‘drunken sailor’ refuses to relinquish his keys, and is just not in any fit state to ride home, or even just around the block for that matter. Many just don’t seem to have had ‘defensive riding’ instruction, and damn, this is so necessary especially today, you need to know how to get out of a ‘tight spot’. Robots and stop streets – well in many, many cases these are just blatantly ignored and next thing man down. I’ve seen this more than once, and I mean I have watched a biker take a chance and come short. Talking and explaining just seems to go over everyone’s head. IMO – the President and the Chapter Leader need to largely take responsibility for the actions of their Riders.

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Ek self ry nie lank nie maar is deur my broers en ooms geleer “jy moet oplettend wees…. veral in vandag se besige paaie, ek het self op n 250 begin leer en di grootste wat ek nou al ry is manlief se 600, ek maak altyd seker my hande bly bydi voorbriek en clutch en my voet naby genoeg aan agter briek ingeval ek moet vinnig reageer, maar ja ek stem saam baie jong mense wil jaag en dink hulle is net big shot.

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  1. Ride responsibly
  2. Just because the machine can do 300kph, doesn’t mean it has to.
  3. If you are going to lane-split, OPEN YOUR EYES. Rather get home safely 5 min later, than not at all.
  4. ALWAYS observe and think on behalf of others on the road, because they might not think at any given moment.
  5. Owning a bike and riding it, does not ENTITLE you to anything, and that includes lane-splitting. Yes, I know it is not illegal, but doing it irresponsibly and entitled, will not help YOU and it won’t make our cause any easier to defend. We ALL know the dangers of: (a) Taxis, especially in the Metropolitan areas; (b) People on their cell phones, drifting between lanes; (c) Women in big Bakkies; (d) Asshole men in big Bakkies; (e) Lorry, truck and bus drivers who hardly even regards car drivers, let alone motorcycle riders, so when you are on your iron-horse, take it all in consideration wherever you are heading to, keep it in the back of your mind, always, and be prepared to act / react at any given time.
  6. If the road is open and visibility is good, enjoy the performance out of your machine, but for the most part, it is supposed to be for the experience of the ride, not the speed of it.

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A lot of what I’m about to say had probably already been said, but here goes. Firstly training: The training schools we currently have teach people how to operate the vehicle. What they don’t teach is awareness training. Training people to be aware of their abilities and the situations in which they find themselves in. There are very few people out there that do awareness training. Secondly. No one is responsible for your safety, other than yourself. It is up to the individual to be aware of his surroundings and ensure that he/she is capable of riding in those conditions. A lot if what has been said here can be dismissed once proper situational awareness training is given.

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Ek commute elke dag…het menigte close calls gereeld. Die manne doen nie defensive riding nie. Dis die grootste oorsaak.

Toe ek my dogter op n bike gesit het 12 jaar terug toe se ek ha…as jy nie n ongeluk kan voorkom nie hoort jy nie op n bike nie..want da gan elke dag assholes wees.

Die bikers van vandag eien die pad toe..jaag soos hoologans en dan vereag hulle die karre moet hulle spoed judge of hulle raaksien.

Die dag wanne ons eerste na onsself en ons eie gewoontes begin kyk en ophou op die karre die skuld te gee as ons 120km/h in peak traffic wil ry…is die dag wat ons iewers gan kom om ongelukke te voorkom.

Kom ons begin eerlik voor ons eie deur vee….hoe vinnig ry ek…kan ek my bike behoorlik hanteer teen daai spoed….het die karre ‘n kans om my te sien…kan ek n ongleuk verhoed as iemand skierlik voor my indraai….?

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A lot less bikes were on the road, the bikes were a lot slower and most guys started with 50cc bikes and worked their way up which meant by the time they got to the bigger bikes they had a lot more experience. Also there were a lot less cars, truck and no minivan taxis on the road. Today guys are getting Super Bikes and big cruisers and tourers as first time bikes and have little to no experience on bikes but think they are the best thing since chappies chewing gum and then want to take on the cars, taxis and trucks on the roads that are full of potholes and diesel and oil from the trucks. When you have been riding for a number of years you start to develop a six sense and you are ultra-aware of what is going on around you and yes the main one you are not on a race track and you are not a bike racer don’t try and ride like one…….. My two cents…

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Ek ry nogi 30 jaar nie, maar ry al 20+ jare. En die eerste en belangrikste les wat ek geleer is deur my oom was die. Die oomblik as jy jou respek vir daai masjien verloor, is die dag wat hy jou gaan gooi.

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Bikes were slower when we were younger…and this is my personal opinion…alcohol was always part of biking…if we had the bikes of today back then we wouldn’t be commenting here. Cars have become a major problem as well…because most drivers were educated how to drive by the taxi drivers most of us grew up riding with your dad and mom teaching you the rule of the road and what different signs meant…others only had the taxi drivers that taught them….riding to work and back every day of my life I’ve had to change my way of riding to accommodate their way of driving….the best advice I could give my children riding bike is…take nothing for granted. Even if you have the right of way…teach yourself to have a 180 degree vision at all times and treats the road as if you are invisible to every car around you.

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Bikers moet eers bietjie na hulself kyk. Bedoelend defensive driving, look/observe, react. Dink ervaring ontbreek erg saam met riding beyound ur capabilities/outside ur comfort zone ….dan kom drank/spoed wat ons mos rats maak & die limits word gepush. Die cagers/taxis gaan altyd a probleem wees ONS moet meer uitkyk mense as ons dit doen kan ons onsself baie lewens spaar & ongelukke sorry my 5c worth……….hier is baie faktore soos ander ook noem.

By analiese moet mens na die grooste probleem probeer kyk, dit moet jy analiseer uit al die antw om by dit te kom & dit staaf met realiteit & feite.

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Dakliggieryers voel niks vir die Biker nie, maar dan moet ek ook se youngsters wat ou manne try aanvat, maw windgatte dan verloor hulle dit, maar my menings, baie jonges jump van 250 en kleiner na 1000, dis nie toys nie.

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Ek het 13 jaar gelede my amper afgeskryf..bike was afgeskryf..was 3 maande in hospitaal…dai tyd was ek bike se baas en nie bike was my baas nie …nou is die bike my baas…GROOT VERSKIL..die meeste ongelukke gebeur as jy n verskerker tjie gedrink het dan …was ek reg vir spoed…en wou groot gaan…toe het ek my ass solid gesien…ek glo nie aan alcohol en n bike nie..al die ongelukke wat ek van weet was daar n biertjie betrokke.

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Dit is net disepliene wat kort pas net die gewone padreels toe en belangrik ky dink en dan doen jy ek self moes ook aanpas om in die verkeer van vandag te ry daar is duisende onbevoegde padverbruikers met gekoopte lisensies so kyk maar wyd vir jou self en vir dink vir die ander ook soos ek altyd se lees jou oad en jou verkeer maw wees wakker ten alle tye moenie drink en bestuur nie en ry eerder bietjie vroer dan hoef jy nie te jaag nie.

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Biggest thing I have realised is that people upgrade from a 125 or 250 straight to the latest superbikes. Those new superbikes is something that requires skill and experience that are not found behind every 2nd door. A similar system to the British system of upgrading step by step might be an option.

2nd thing is the speed some guys travel, even in traffic. And then, bottle and throttle don’t go! Way too many accidents where the doctors cannot even operate due to the high alcohol content in the patient.

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We can look at the eastern countries and follow their example new riders cannot buy a bigger bike than 125 then 250 and so on. I remember as a policeman the biggest reason by car drivers were that they never saw the bike. We as bikers must make sure that we are visible and take care and ride safely!

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Most important… RESPECT YOUR BIKE and realize that at any given minute, anything can go wrong. Double check for cars because people in cars don’t look out for bikes

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No 1 _ Spoed. No 2 Drank No 3 Taxi’s No 4 Paaie ( grond . klippies en slag gatte ) dan die grootste ondervinding.

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never drink and ride
never overtake in urban areas on roads and bends..
hi speed collisions caused by bikers not keeping to speed limits…
no defensive driving skills
no respect for others and their own bikes.. and pillions..
misjudge of oncoming vehicles speed…
weaving between cars.. and much more…..
** my first bike was 750 Honda.. my in between bikes was 1300 my last bike was 1100.. been a biker for 40 years.. did not like to pillion.
But have pillioned many times..
I Had to put my bike down twice in that time to avoid accidents with vehicles skipping robots and other people overtaking other vehicles from the front on wrong side. I was never injured because I knew how to handle myself and my bike..”
What I can say is…..
Never loose respect for your bike.
always think fast and anticipate what other cars.. pedestrians.. trucks etc. going to do ahead of time in order to avoid accidents.
that.. is what youngsters nowadays don’t do and know how to do.

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Ek ry nog glad ni naastenby 30 jaar lank fiets ni. As ek dibtyd wat ek begin leer het om fiets te ry tot noubis dit darm al 20 jaar. Ek is ni i valentino rossi ni. En dit aanvaar ek. Ek is ni evil kanivel ni. Danki tog daarvoor. En ek is ook ni ghost rider ni. En dink di probleem met vandag se bikers en as ek praat van bikers praat ek van oud tot jonk van national Tot prospect. Ons almal vat partykeer groot kanse op i fiets en di probleem is dit word net elke keer lekkerder en makliker. Fietse word viniger gemaak deur di vervaardigers om in kompetiesie te wees met ander. En ditbis di probleem. Jy kan ninop 18 jarige ouderdom netbi busa klim en wil oopmaak ni. Self op i 125 kan j jou gat sien as jy ni geleer word om daai ysterperd reg te hanteer ni. In ons club werk dit so as jy begin ry dan ry jy jou prospect tyd agter di pres aan en di res van di club agter ni pros. Sodat hul hom kan reghelp as hy i fout maak en as hy wil 80km/h ry so be it. Almal moet gehelp word. Dit is tog deel van biking. Om i brother te help om ni net saam te ry ni maar om reg en veilig te ry. Sodat hy of sy ook saam di club te kan groei en ni in i graf te baland ni. As ek dalk verkeerd is is ek jammer maar dis my seining.

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Dis n baie moeilike vraag om te antwoord daar is soveel redes maar ons moet een ding onthou n biker is oop daar is nie n kans nie wat dit veroorsaak nie jy gaan 2de kom so ja ek het met die jare geleer wees op joy hoede was in 1999 amper weg en het 20km n uur gery so jy moet regtig op jou hoede wees en vir jouself en almal om jou wees.

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Lack of experience, faster bikes and much more dangerous roads flooded with new drivers, pot holes etc. etc., alcohol also playing its part!

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No experience and alcohol plays a major part. New bikers, young guys don’t understand the full power of the machine they ride and are windgat.

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Lack of knowledge on the road. Speeding in built up areas. Drinking. Too much power for some.. Speed has its place

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Ek ry al 38 jaar en was al 2 keer inni hospitaal en wat ek ondervind is dat jy as n persoon ken jou limitations hkm dit oorskry en wat ek doen is ek probeer dink wat n motoris gaan of nie doen nie.

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EERSTENS, die teervlak. DAMN!!! daar is baie slag gate en ongelyke oppervlaktes. Alhoewel die twee wiele dit relatief maklik mag oorkom is daar weer cagers…. TWEEDENS: Ek is ongelukkig oor my cage maar wat anders moet ek doen? Dis Skunky se voorkeur. Ek let op. Nie almal doen nie…. DAMN ek antwoord nie eers my selfoon as my kinders my soek nie… DERDENS: Beligting. Ai toggie as ek die ou dae onthou was ons kopligte nie die enigste ligte nie… ek praat nie van lang pad nie, ek praat van in en om die stadsgebiede. Die bike wat jy gebruik moet jou geaardheid en persoonlikheid pas. dit help nie jy wil vlieg op ‘n streetfighter as jy nog nie eers ‘n tourer gehanteer het nie. Jong outjies of eerste malers, jy klim ook nie net op en ry nie… Word eers gewoond aan jou bike en dra ALTYD die regte klere. Velle verloor is baie seer… In a shoebox Master….

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“HELMETS” we ride a 200K bike but using a plastic helmet! we must stop taking these machines nowadays for a joke! & start at the bottom, know some who’s 1st bike is a 1440! & the cagers attitude towards us, we will make a way to prevent knocking into them because we r going to prevent getting hurt! think for the next person on the road.

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Soos alles in die lewe respek!!vir die bike jouself en die mense om jou!!Jy het niks vir iemand te bewys nie!! Neem almal in ag en dink vir almal om jou ry veilig en ek dink tog spoed speel n rol self al n slag of wat short gekom spoed en kyk ma na die biertjies dit het verseker n efek op oordeel dit is my opinie!!as jy op skool fifty gery het kan jy nie skielik n nuwe R1 klim nie jy gaan jou gat sien!! My opinie!!!

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Rule 1: have respect for the power you have between your legs. Secondly always read traffic and make sure to have a way out should something happen.

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Ek gaan dit sommer in plain Afrikaanse se. Oorsake: die ouens is windgat, suip teveel en en ver te arrogant. Hulle respekteer glad nie ‘n motorfiets nie en is nie sulke goeie ryers soos wat hulle wil voorgee nie. Oplossing : houdings moet verander. As ouens wil drink reël vir iemand om jou bike huistoe te vat of vir stoor plek. Respekteer jou bike en ander padgebruikers. En om die res optelos, OPLEIDING, OPLEIDING, OPLEIDING en OPLEIDING. Ons kan nooit genoeg leer nie.


Summary

The word “speed” or “spoed” was found 9 and 7 times respectively
The word “experience or “ondervinding” was found 7 and 2 times respectively
The word “alcohol” or “drank” was found 5 and 2 times respectively
The word “taxi”, “car”, cage/r”, “kar”, “truck” was found 7, 13, 5, 3, 5 times respectively
The word “training” was found 8 times
The word “aware” was found 6 times
The word “respect” or “respek” was found 6 and 5 times respectively

Thanks to open-minded folks like these, talking from firsthand experience, who learned from their own mistakes and still ride today. May we take from this what we can, and live to ride another day.

Hein Jonker

Founder of the Motorcycle Safety Institute of South Africa Editor in Chief of Bike Talk South Africa Chief Instructor of Bike Talk Motorcycle Rider Academy Motorcycle Safety & Skills Expert for Arrive Alive South Africa

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