In a world that can be shut down over a health concern, more so than any generation past, we are worried about one thing: safety. The human brain is wired to do two simple things, and it is part of the reason we don’t embrace challenges: we are wired to avoid pain and to embrace comfort. The greatest thrills in life come from stepping out of our comfort zone to face challenges, to not take the easy way out, and to overcome adversity… but is there any nobility in facing danger by doing something as simple as riding a motorcycle?

There are far greater risks we can take in life, and most people don’t, but still, when we see someone flying by us on a motorcycle, we say to ourselves, “That person is crazy!”. Of all the crazy and dangerous things people do, which I will discuss here, motorcycle riding will always be considered dangerous, because danger is a relative term, and it is certainly more dangerous than a lot of things.

How Dangerous is Motorcycle Riding?

Things More Dangerous Than Riding a Motorcycle

We can look at things from a factual standpoint, when it comes to things more dangerous than riding a motorcycle, and we can look at things from a statistical standpoint. If we look at statistics, we find that much more people die from smoking in a year and from drinking in a year.

Drinking itself can lead to deaths from many reasons: choking on your own vomit, stumbling home after the bar and getting hit by a car, getting in a bar fight, getting knocked out and hitting your head off the pavement, cirrhosis of the liver, etc. There are so many things a person can do while drunk that are extremely dangerous – much more dangerous than driving a motorcycle – in the short term.

Danger itself is a relative term, because there are different levels of danger. Getting drunk and getting into a fight or stealing something impulsively could lead to an arrest and have grave consequences on a person’s immediate and long-term future. For these reasons, I would say drinking is a much more dangerous activity that riding a motorcycle.

The amount you drink is also relevant as well compared to how you would drive a motorcycle. If you run around town getting completely hammered, causing problems everywhere you go, I would say that’s much more dangerous than someone going for a nice motorcycle ride on the back roads on a bright, sunny day.

However, if you were to drive down the highway going a hundred miles an hour on a motorcycle, I would consider that more dangerous than a person staying at home and watching sports and enjoying a beer or two. Danger is all relative to how we view it. In general, think any type of drug use is more dangerous than driving a motor cycle safely at the legal speed limit with a helmet on.

If you shot up heroine or went and bought some crack cocaine and smoked it, I would have to say that is much more dangerous because of the people you would be associating with, the neighborhood you have to hang around to get these drugs and so on. Plus, you don’t know what’s in those drugs: the neighborhood drug dealer is rarely an honest and trust worthy person.

Owning a gun is statistically more dangerous than driving a motorcycle. If you own a gun and store it safely, then no, you are probably not in that much danger. But if you get reckless and bring it out all the time to show off to friends and family and start shooting it wildly, then it becomes dramatically more dangerous.

At the barebones of it, there are a ton of things that are more dangerous than riding a motorcycle: running out in the middle of a busy highway, picking a fist fight with someone just for the fun of it, putting an apple on your head and having a friend attempt to shot it off. Danger is relative to how a person conducts himself in situations.

How dangerous are motorcycles compared to cars?

Statistically, you are more likely to die in a car crash, in your life, but as it has already been established, statistics are flawed. In terms of statistics, it makes sense that you are much more likely to be killed in a car crash than in a motorcycle collision because almost everyone drives a car and very few people ride a motorcycle.

If you look at the people that ride motorcycles and then compare it to the number of motorcycle related deaths than the number is much higher, which proves that driving a motorcycle is a lot more dangerous than driving a car. But that should be a given when looking at how much protection being in an enclosed car provides compared to the little protection one would gain from being on a motorcycle.

Let’s face facts, if you were to choose between having another car hit you while you’re in a car compared to having another car hit you while you’re on a motorcycle, which one would you pick? The obvious choice is the car; you’d have to be ignorant or just plain lying if you chose the latter. It should also be taken into consideration that most people that drive motorcycles don’t just drive them exclusively.

Most of them also own cars they use for their every day commute, so statistically they fall into both categories of risk factors: the lifetime statistic of dying via a car crash and the lifetime statistic of dying via riding a motorcycle.

What are the chances of dying on a motorcycle?

The chances of dying riding a motorcycle in your lifetime are 1 in 899. Remember, motorcycles are heavy. This is coming from statistics that analyze the many ways people die… and some people go their entire life without ever riding a motorcycle. Not just some, a fair amount. Once you decide to become a motorcycle rider, you are entering a pool of people that is in a different inner circle than just regular, everyday people.

This isn’t to discourage taking up the hobby of riding, the person who makes that conscious choice should just be aware of the fact that they’re increased their chances of dying on a motorcycle because simply put: you can’t die doing something you’ve never taken the opportunity to do. To get a better understanding of how that number isn’t a real representation of the dangers motorcycle riders face, let’s look at some more statistics.

Car crashes occur 13 in every 100,00 registered vehicles, but for motorcycles it’s 72 for every 100,000, making them at least 5 and a half times more dangerous! There are reason outlaws and wild men are drawn to motorcycles: they are dangerous!

But, that is the whole thrill of the game. You have to take into consideration the type of people that would ride motorcycles – thrill seekers – so it isn’t shocking that almost half of motor cycle fatalities involved some levels of alcohol being a factor.

Motorcycle Danger Statistics

Besides death, there are a lot of other dangers that come with driving a motorcycle: arm injuries, facial lacerations, leg injuries/ paralysis. Statics show that about 80 percent of motorcycle crash result in death or injury. The severity of injuries sustained also increased due to speed (Again, the thrill seeker mentality). No matter what laws are passed and how many public service announcements the public is given to, “Watch out for motor cycles”, it remains quite consist over the years that the number of injured while riding a motorcycle per 100,000 hovers around 1000, give or take.

That is one in one hundred, which is quite scary when you think about it. There also seems to be a consist pattern of motor cycle injuries regardless of weather conditions and time of day as well. The bottom line is, no matter how you drive, what time of day, and where you drive, there is always an inherent risk when riding a motorcycle.

At the end of the day, it becomes fairly obvious that motorcycles are dangerous to drive, much more so when compared to driving a four-wheeled vehicle. Many people enjoy riding them, and they can be enjoyed, as long as they are driven safely. It’s always recommended to wear a helmet.

Always. And if your body isn’t feeling up the challenge of the ride, then it is strongly advised to sit it out. Nobody needs to see you playing super hero, to prove something, at the cost of your own health. Motorcycles are no joke, and should only be driven after proper instruction and by those who possess the required license.

But, not surprisingly, the gift to the world that is the feeling of riding down the road and feeling the wind on your face – the freedom of being one with the world where man and motor cycle become one machine in an intense adrenaline rush – comes at a cost. And its name is danger.