13 Things More Dangerous Than Riding A Motorcycle

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Things That Are More Dangerous Than Riding A Motorcycle

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,957 motorcyclists were killed on American roads in 2012. Pretty dangerous, huh? Not when you compare our mode of transportation to other everyday risks like, being overweight, which is 100 times as likely to kill you. Here are 13 everyday things that are more dangerous than riding a motorcycle.

Alcohol: 25,692 people were killed in the U.S. by alcohol poisoning in 2010. (Source: CDC)

Things That Are More Dangerous Than Riding A Motorcycle
25,692 people were killed by alcohol poisoning

Photo by Dave Brownlee

 

Smoking: 440,000 people in the U.S. are killed each year due to tobacco-related illnesses. (Source: CDC)

Things That Are More Dangerous Than Riding A Motorcycle
440,000 people were killed by tobacco

Photo by Jim Petrosino

 

The Flu: 48,614 Americans were killed by the flu during the 2003-04 season. (Source: CDC)

Things That Are More Dangerous Than Riding A Motorcycle
48,614 Americans were killed by the flu

Photo by Zorro1968

 

Texting: NHTSA estimates that 24 percent of crashes involved drivers talking or texting on cell phones. That’s 7,247 deaths caused by phone use in 2010 alone. (Source: NSC)

Things That Are More Dangerous Than Riding A Motorcycle
7,247 deaths caused by phone use while driving

Photo by Brandon LaJoie

 

Falling Down: 25,000 people die each year due to simple falls. (Source: NSC)

Things That Are More Dangerous Than Riding A Motorcycle
25,000 people die from falling

Photo by McNeney

 

Poison: 39,000 people are killed each year due to household poisons and prescription medication. (Source: NSC)

Things That Are More Dangerous Than Riding A Motorcycle
39,000 people are killed due to poisons & prescription meds

Photo by Taylor McB

 

Second-Hand Smoke: 49,000 people in the U.S. die each year due to inhaling second-hand smoke. (Source: CDC)

Things That Are More Dangerous Than Riding A Motorcycle
49,000 people die from second-hand smoke

Photo by Marc Garrido Clotet

 

Continue: 13 Things More Dangerous Than Riding A Motorcycle – Page 2 >>

  • Kemal Kautsar

    DEATH BY SNU-SNU!!!!

  • Zanpa

    This is stupid. All americans use their bathrooms, while a very minor part of them ride a motorcycle. You cannot compare those numbers and say “hey bathrooms are more dangerous than riding!” This is a complete fallacy.
    Don’t try to justify that riding is not dangerous. It is. Moreso than most things in this “article”. Every rider is (or should be) aware of this.

    • Wesley Lewis

      I agree. What’s wrong with saying that motorcycling is inherently dangerous?

      • haggis95

        Cos they aren’t – they are inherently safe. Gyroscopes will always stay upright unless interfered with. And motorbikes have 2 gyroscopes.

        • Richard Roberts

          you are a friggin moron!!!!

          • haggis95

            Are you saying that motorbike wheels are not gyroscopes – ‘cos you’re wrong. You try pushing over a 17″ gyroscope spinning at speed.
            See the vids on youtubes where HD riders come off, but their bike rights itself and carries on. Bikes are safe, It’s the riders who are dangerous or who make mistakes.

            You may be old Richard, but you’re a rude asshole..

            • Sid_of_Id

              “gyroscope” You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.

              • haggis95
              • Hardy Boii

                A “Princess Bride” reference? Nice!

                • Guest

                  Actually, it’s 3 Amigos (*nerd out*)

              • dugg117

                Are you saying that the wheels of a motorcycle don’t use angular momentum to stay upright? Because that would make them effectivly gigantic gyroscopes.

        • Wesley Lewis

          I agree with your statement about motorcycles. However, motorcycling encompasses far more than the bike and it’s components.

          • haggis95

            But inherently “means in and of itself.” I’m Canadian, but I understand that Americans say that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. So Americans should understand it when I say that motorbikes are not dangerous, and motorcycling is not inherently dangerous. Idiots on bikes and idiots in cages are dangerous. The conditions can be dangerous, and so can the weather.

            I’m beating this drum because there’s a movement out there to shut motorcycling down, and WE bikers should NOT buy into it.

            • Wesley Lewis

              Excellent discussion. I have nothing.

            • Sid_of_Id

              Yeah, you’re an idiot. Regardless of how safety conscious the individual is, or how safe his/her bike is; even in perfect weather and road conditions, the second they put her in first gear, their risk of injury and death just rose exponentially, and significantly more than almost any other commonly used form of transportation.

              Secondly, the tin-foil you’ve got wrapped around your head obviously isn’t SNELL certified…because the imaginary movement to “shut down motorcycling” only exists in your mind. Or, you may want to tell the 3 dozen motorcycle shops in town, so they can divest.

              • haggis95

                Wake up and smell the coffee sidiot.

              • Michael Howard

                Do any of those shops sell new ATCs (3-wheeled All-Terrain Cycles)?

              • Liz Burden

                “their risk of injury and death just rose exponentially, and
                significantly more than almost any other commonly used form of
                transportation.” – actually, motorcycling is safer than bicycling and walking according to some statistical surveys. Should I not walk down the street because it’s unsafe? Can you imagine typing what you just typed and inserting “pedestrian” and “walking” instead of “motorcycle” and “riding”? It would sound ridiculous.

              • Mark

                You are just so way off. The risk you speak of is only if the motorcyclist crash. It is up to the driver of the car or motorcycle to drive in a safe manner not only for him/herself but for others on the road.

      • Adam Kelly

        because its not inherently dangerous

    • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

      The better method of determining how dangerous an event is, isn’t by how many people participate, but how many hours are spent in total by everyone. If you spent 8 hours a day trying to repeatedly stab folks with churros, eventually, EVENTUALLY bodies would pile up. If you had a lot of people doing the same thing, churros would look like lethal weapons.

      We look at motorcycle deaths in California the number has gone up, but everyone state-wide is stuck behind the wheel longer. Traffic on the whole is still safer if you go by how many hours you ride.

      • Zanpa

        This isn’t true either. Some activities inherently take a bigger amount of time than others. This doesn’t mean they’re less dangerous if they kill the same amount of people.

        • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

          You mean like natural causes?

      • the antagonist

        Better, but still not good. Hours in the saddle is useful for comparing on set of motorcycle deaths to another set of motorcycle deaths, but it doesn’t always translate to other activities. For instance, how would we compare hours susceptible to simple falls? Total hours standing? If so, I think the probability of a trip/fall death is going WAY down in relation to motorcycle deaths. And other things such as the flu drastically over-impact the very young and very old, not the majority of riders. So comparing the two does little good.

        • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

          I dont want to geek out any more than I aready have. Its interesting to think about but it’s hard to wrap your head around. How could staying inside away from pointy objects lead to more deaths than going outside and touching stuff? How could flying in a plane be safer than walking? How could walking a mile burn as many calories as sprinting a mile? It’s all about time. What you’re not doing at any given moment is just as important as what you are.

    • Lourens Smak

      That’s all a matter of definition; if something is 10x less dangerous, but you do it 20x as much, is it then still 10x less dangerous, or is it 2x as dangerous? I’d say both are right, it all depends how you (want to) look at it.

      • Zanpa

        No, that’s not how it works.

        • runnermatt

          Correct, this is where the percentage matters.

    • Rameses the 2nd

      Clearly Mathematics and Statistics are not RideApart’s core strengths.

      • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

        Statistics by definition are fuzzy.

        • James Walker

          As a statistician I assert that statistics are not fuzzy. Statistics are used by scientists to analyze if reality is or is not occurring in the way we think that it is. What is fuzzy here is your understanding of statistics, most likely compounded by the common improper quotation of statistics in the news by members of press that do not understand them.

          • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

            Of course you do. You’re a statistician. You suggesting statistics are fuzzy would be like a judge in a courtroom admitting it’s all arbitrary.

            • James Walker

              That’s… actually a fair point. I got nothin

      • Stuki

        A core fad in progressive dystopias, is that sciency sounding babble makes one sound more sophistimecated that if one simply refers to actions resulting from God’s will.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      And motorcyclists are also saddled with statistics influenced by the minority of idiots. I’d love to see numbers for fatalities among experienced riders wearing full gear compared to inexperienced in inadequate gear. Sadly, those numbers aren’t collected.

      And the fact remains, soft drinks are killing more Americans than motorcycles every single day.

      • http://www.rideapart.com/ Nolan Zandi

        One thing I would be interested in (and they collect data on) is how many people die from motorcycle accidents per unit of population in states that require helmets vs. those that don’t

        • Jack Scruggs

          This data can be found in a study published by the NHTSA in Oct, 2009. The study examines the relationship between motorcycle helmet use and motorcycle crash outcomes in terms of injury types, hospital charges, and other variables employing data from the Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES), a program facilitated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As one would expect, the study concludes that helmeted motorcyclists were less likely to experience facial and head injuries compared to unhelmeted motorcyclists. Specifically, 4.7% of helmeted motorcyclists transported to emergency facilities had moderate-to-critical facial and/or head injuries compared to 6.1% of unhelmeted motorcyclists. BUT, that is not the whole story.

          This data in itself might appear to be a valid reason for choosing to wear a helmet. It is very interesting to note however that, according to the same source data cited in the report, helmeted riders involved in accidents and transported to emergency facilities are actually MORE LIKELY to have moderate-to-critical injuries OVERALL than unhelmeted riders and the other injuries far outnumber head/face and traumatic brain injuries. Other injuries analyzed include neck, thorax, abdomen, spine, upper extremities, lower extremities, and “external” (epidermis?). Of all motorcyclists transported to emergency rooms, 39% of helmeted riders ended up having moderate-to-critical injuries. In contrast: 36% of unhelmeted riders ended up having moderate-to-critical injuries. I am of the school that wearing a helmet should be one’s choice, but it might actually be easy for one to conclude that wearing a helmet is actually more likely to be detrimental to your health.

          Note: This “national” study did not include motorcycle accident statistics from CA, FL, or TX–the three states with the highest number of riders and whose motorcyclists can ride year-round.

          Here is a link to the study: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pubs/811208.pdf

          • Jonathan01

            There is a big gaping hole in your conclusion “I am of the school that wearing a helmet should be one’s choice, but it might actually be easy for one to conclude that wearing a helmet is actually more likely to be detrimental to your health.” – The statistics you gave are only of the riders taken to the hospital after an accident. This does not include the “dead on site” deaths. NTHSA research from 2004 shows that in potentially fatal crashes, “helmets have an overall effectiveness of 37% in preventing fatalities.” You can wear or not wear a helmet all you like, but telling others that wearing a helmet will increase your chances of getting hurt/killed is very very wrong. Look at the facts.

          • Wagner Battistel

            Jack,

            I’m having some trouble understanding your point of view. Somehow, the higher rate of body injuries among helmet users could be attributed to a false sense of security provided by the use of the helmet itself, causing the rider to assume risks he would not do if not using helmet. I see no other reasonable explanation for this statistic. Anyway, so with Wes, I believe that the death rate of those who walk fully protected (helmet, jacket, gloves, pants and boots) should be much smaller …

            • the antagonist

              Helmeted riders suffer more documented injuries because more helmeted riders LIVE to be treated for those injuries. Furthermore, the un-helmeted riders in the study above suffered nearly TWICE the head and facial injuries compared to helmeted riders, including more tramatic brain injuries which are the injuries most likely to lead to death or disability, and are the injuries that take the most time and money to treat, often requiring long term care and rehab.

          • aquatone

            “might actually be easy for one to conclude that wearing a helmet is actually more likely to be detrimental to your health.”

            There’s no conclusion there. It was a raw count of the injuries and not tested for statistical significance. If statistically significant, it’d be interesting to see why. Are helmet wearers less likely to wear any other sort of protective gear, thereby increasing the risks of injury to other body parts? Are helmet riders riding faster than non-helmet riders? Are they riding in more high-threat environments? There could be any host of reasons.

            You can’t look at a raw count and simply conclude that wearing a helmet somehow causes the rest of your body to be exposed to greater risks.

            Even if this were true (Which I have seen no evidence for) I would rather lose a limb or break a rib than be brain-damaged.

          • the antagonist

            Helmeted riders suffer more documented injuries because more helmeted riders LIVE to be treated for those injuries. Furthermore, the un-helmeted riders in this study suffered nearly TWICE the head and facial injuries compared to helmeted riders, including more tramatic brain injuries which are the injuries most likely to lead to death or disability, and are the injuries that take the most time and money to treat, often requiring long term care and rehab.

            For the record, I believe wearing a helmet should be one’s choice too, because I believe in minimal government encroachment on civil liberties. But there’s no need to blow smoke up anyone’s rear with creative interpretations of statistics. Motorcycling is dangerous and helmets save lives. If you want to ride without one, fine. But don’t kid yourself.

            • Wayne Clapper

              Great point!

      • Stuki

        Neither soft drinks nor motorcycles kill people. All they do is possibly alter the probability that someone dies at any given instant.

        Most people that die shortly following a bike accident has most likely had a soft drink in their lives. Many have had a cigarette. Some may even have taken prescription drugs. Only ambulance chasers and logic deprived busybodies bent on tying every human alive into a hairball of forced interdependence could care less.

      • GSrider

        In 2003 with approximately 6.5 million bikes registered and 3714 motorbike deaths the probability of death in the year was .00057 (.06%). Census Bureau. So you’re more likely to die on a bike than eveything but being fat or smoking related deaths. The above stat obviously doesn’t take into account riders with multiple motorbikes, so let’s look at yearround daily commuters. The Motorcycle Industry reports 4.3% of registered motorbikes are used for daily commutes yearround. In 2009 there was 7.9 million bikes registered (Census Bureau), so approximately 339700 daily commuters. In 2009 there were 4462 moto deaths reported by the CB, making a probability of death of .0131 (or 1.3%). Under the circumstance that every motorbike death each year was by a yearround daily commuter then motorcycling would be more risky than the 13 listed “things”. This is assuming that every single one of the 317,229,154 Americans alive is a participant of alcohol, sex, smoking, fat, healthcare, flu, texting, falling off stuff, poison, guns, getting high, taking baths, and getting smoke blown on them. There would have to be a lot more instances of bath related or texting deaths to be more dangerous than motorbiking. In fact the magic number of deaths is approximately 200,000.

        • IRS4

          I hope to die while texting, in a bathtub, about motorcycles, and becoming a statistic of 1 !

          • GSrider

            Agreed. What a great way to go after a long ride.

        • Wayne Clapper

          You are correct. What the article says is that in comparison to the actual number of deaths motorcycle riding ranked 14th. There are lots more dangerous things to do than motorcycle riding and we choose to do them based on risk vs reward.

        • Frank

          Did you think at all about what you wrote? First you site numbers of deaths per registered bikes, which is completely meaningless. Unless you feel that a registered bike that sits garaged all year is just as likely to be involved in a fatal accident as one that logs 100 million miles. Then you site deaths per daily commuters “under the circumstance that every motorbike death was a daily commuter” which is obviously not even in the neighborhood of reality. Why would you try to derive anything from those numbers?

      • aquatone

        Even if stats are skewed by the drunk and helmetless that hardly excuses the site from saying things like ‘the flu is more dangerous than motorcycling.’

        • Piglet2010

          I doubt the flu has been more dangerous than riding a motorcycle, other than the epidemic of 1919.

      • Andy McWilliams

        Right! The most dangerous are kids on crotch rockets and middle age doctors and lawyers who buy Harley “because its a Harley,” during their middle age crisis. Whatever happened to the red sports car and the 20 year old secretary?

        • Piglet2010

          Also, many of the “Hell’s Accountants” types only ride on weekends with
          good weather, so what minimal skills they do have are “rusty”.

          Someone needs to do a study similar to that for pedal bikes, where it was found
          that regular commuters were far safer (e.g. an order of magnitude lower
          death rate per mile ridden) than average.

      • Piglet2010

        I would substitute “trained” for “experienced”. Many bikers and squids have 6 months riding experience many times over. And it would be truly exceptional for anyone to figure out proper body positioning, vision, etc on their own just by riding.

      • Zanpa

        “And the fact remains, soft drinks are killing more Americans than motorcycles every single day.”
        This is a fact. What’s not a fact (and is actually blatantly wrong) is that soft drinks are more dangerous than motorcycles.

      • CruisingTroll

        “And the fact remains, soft drinks are killing more Americans than motorcycles every single day.”

        Bull. Unless someone is killed by a endcap of Pepsi falling on them, or they drown in Dr Pepper because they inhaled when they should have swallowed, soft drinks are not killing them.

        The problem with many of these statistics are that they attempt to aggregate minute, diffuse harm into a big scary number. To illustrate why this is BAD SCIENCE, consider the toxic compound, arsenic. (You may swaddle yourself in some old lace while we go over this, if you’d like.)

        Arsenic, as any fan of old movies knows, is a potent poison. It can kill you. Many folks have died from it over the years. The total amount of arsenic consumed in the United States every year is enough to kill every man, woman, and child in the country. In fact, the average quantity consumed is enough to kill a HORSE.

        IF consumed in one sitting. This is a simple demonstration of the fact that it’s not the toxic that kills you, it’s the dose.

        Junk science, whether in the service of the Nanny State, or in a feeble attempt to deflect societal pressure away from motorcycling, is bad, and should be avoided. Bathroom slip & falls, gun shot wounds, falls from balconies, etc, those are discrete events where the death can be fairly accurately attributed. Smoking, second hand smoke, being overweight, drinking soda, those are all dependent on wayyyy to many other factors. As a result, the big scary numbers are cooked up, conflating the few “obvious” instances where a “lifestyle choice” may be a factor with bogoid aggregations that are suspect from the git go.

    • Brendan McGrath

      It is a proven fact that motorcyclists rarely, if ever, use the bathroom. We are disgusting, but safe.

    • ccc40821

      Ever heard of ‘tongue-in-cheek’?

    • Adam Kelly

      all driving is dangerous that’s why you need a license. if you want to survive don’t live it is as simple as that. there plenty of people who were sitting in traffic when a lorry came from behind and killed them.

  • Lee Scuppers

    I’ll pass this along to my girlfriend. She’ll point out that I drink, I used to smoke, and I shoot. I’ll promise to quit taking showers and cr*p on the lawn. In a relationship, you have to learn to compromise. At least I’m not fat.

  • Wesley Lewis
    • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

      Well at least no motorcyclist is depressed and suicidal, so there’s that.

      • Eric Marc-Aurele

        Not true, unfortunately. On the lighter days riding is a nice pick me upper.
        Most of the time riding is just how I get around, not an antidepressant.

        • Darrick Anderson

          Eric, if you don’t get any enjoyment from riding a motorcycle versus a car, you should have your head examined or you’re a troller, in which case pound sand.

          • Eric Marc-Aurele

            I have had my head examined. And I do enjoy riding more than driving a car. (Rainy days excluded)

            I guarantee I’m not the only person who rides and struggles with depression, I may be the only one to admit it however.

            • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

              Dare i ask this, but has motorcycling ever contributed to feeling depressed?

              • Chris

                Only if you own it and can’t ride it in the winter like me…

              • Eric Marc-Aurele

                No, never. Most times it’s neutral. (I commute by bike 365) Taking trips, trackdays, and canyons are fun, but they aren’t the bulk of my riding.

                • HoldenL

                  Well, that’s the issue right there, Eric — working 365 days a year! If you can cut it down to 250, things will go better.

              • Bruce Steever

                Crash hard. You’ll know depression.

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  I had pcs for a bit in ’08. I’d blame the jetta that contacted my head, not so much the bike.

                • AppleMan5000

                  upvoted for leg vagina

                • Scheffy

                  Until you’re healed and can set off metal detectors with all your new cyborg hardware and get to feel cool for 30 seconds. It’s the little things.

                • Michael Howard

                  I know you’re joking, but there’s no comparison. I’d rather crash every f’n day than feel the way I do most of the time.

            • Tiberiuswise

              I would support legislation that allows the expenses of motorcycling to be tax deductible as a necessary medical treatment.

          • Michael Howard

            Consider yourself lucky that you (obviously) have absolutely no experience with nor knowledge of depression. Might want to see a doctor about that attitude, though.

      • Piglet2010

        A lot of the incidents of hitting the rock bluff here at high speed are “intentionals” and not “accidents”.

        https://maps.google.com/?ll=43.163512,-90.194228&spn=0.000528,0.001321&t=h&z=20&layer=c&cbll=43.163556,-90.19437&panoid=5a9FRedOCIkcLKErlW0J4w&cbp=12,197.29,,0,0

  • james

    Nice stats there, the 49000 figure is inclusive in the total smoking deaths figure you quoted. To be accurate you should say there are 395,000 deaths a year from smoking and 49000 from ETS

  • Chris Winkler

    The shooting one got me thinking. Uh, yeah, you should probably remove suicides from all statistics.

    • Tiberiuswise

      What if they shot themselves in the bathroom while drunk, high and with a cigarette hanging out of their mouth?

      • Chris

        With any luck, they’ve graciously removed themselves from the gene pool.

      • Joe Bielski

        I broke my foot in the shower once while reaching for a beer….

      • Davidabl2

        It’s been known to happen.

      • grindz145

        Bet it was one of those lowlife motorcyclist types.

  • aquatone

    I’m assuming this article is tongue-in-cheek. The difference between riding and what’s on this list is that these risks are all easily controllable, or don’t apply. If you’re young and health you’re probably not in a hospital. The majority of people killed by the flu are the elderly. And for everything else the risks are easy to avoid or control. It doesn’t require great skill to drink without getting alcohol poisoning, or read labels before taking your medicine.

    With biking, you control many factors but not all of them. After you stick to good weather, daytime riding, defensively, with high vis clothing, ATGATT, you could still end up with a crushed lower leg and amputated foot like a previous writer who was whacked by a u-turning SUV.

    It would be much more fair to compare it against activities like skydiving, or backcountry skiing, flying airplanes, or ATVing.

    • 80-watt Hamster

      Don’t know about the skiing or ATVs, but I’m pretty sure motorcycling will come out worse than skydiving and flying. There’s an astonishingly low fatality rate in both those activities (though perhaps not so surprising once one considers the safety checks involved).

    • Lourens Smak

      An interesting statistic for my country (the Netherlands) I found recently, is that around 50 bikers die in traffic annually, and around 200 people die while doing sports…

      • JimMac

        As mentioned elsewhere, an important underlying question is “How many Nederlanders are motorcyclists compared to those who participate in sports?”

        • Lourens Smak

          That isn’t the only question… I consider many sports risky for injuries maybe, but certainly not life-threatening. The number of people sporting will be (much) higher than 4x the number of motorcyclists, so doing sport can still be considered to be significantly safer than riding a motorcycle I guess. (although in comments above people say it doesn’t work that way?)

      • Davidabl2

        In the USA we need to find out what you’re doing right over there.

      • GSrider

        That’s like saying more peoples’ gums bleed from flossing than from boxing. Yeah, no kidding because there are more people that floss than people that box….okay so maybe there would be if people would floss their teeth!!!

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Apples and oranges. One is a hobby, one is a mode of transportation on public roads thats vastly more popular and studied to death (har).

      • Justin McClintock

        Just above you claimed all of the offroad only riders. Now you’re discounting them. Pick one. Stick with it.

  • sharper86

    I wonder how many of the 7,247 deaths caused by using a phone while driving were motorcyclists. Nothing makes me more mad then seeing the driver of a car next to me on their phone.

  • HoldenL

    Next time someone* gets up to go to the bathroom, I’m gonna yell, “Be careful!” Can’t wait.

    * Someone, that is, who always says, “Be careful” when I get on my bike.

    • Zanpa

      Can’t wait to mock people who care for my safety. :)

      • eddi

        My friends and family are allowed and they don’t abuse the privilege. Random strangers in parking lots are much more irritating.

  • roma258

    I see the transition from the motorcycle publication of record to Buzzfeed of Motorcycling is in full swing. Did I forward yesterdays listicle about top 10 reasons not to date motorcyclists to my wife? Ofcourse I did.

    • Jim Hollinrake

      BuzzFeed is actually more interesting and relevant.

    • Clint Keener

      It’s becoming an article mill now. I miss the old days of Grant and Wes sticking it to the man, while I paid for them to go on man-ventures together.

  • Ransom

    Meanwhile the world death rate is holding steady at 100 percent.

    • runnermatt

      Just because you have not met someone who is immortal does not mean the don’t exist.

    • Lee Scuppers

      Only among dead people, so far.

  • Scott Otte

    I was hoping for some comparable activities like horseback riding, skiing etc.
    We all know being stupid is dangerous to your health which is sadly the stuff that is covered on this list.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Stuff like horseback riding and skiing isn’t statistically comparable. As a mode of transport on public roads, motorcycling is far more studied and reported and, yes, dangerous than any mere, off-road hobby.

      • Joe Bielski

        What? I ride a horse to work every day!!! :P

      • Scott Otte

        … and using the bathroom is statistically comparable?

        We all know riding a motorcycle is the most dangerous way to get to work everyday (yet we still do it) but I was hoping for something that might have more of an impact when my aunt asks me if I’m still riding and makes the usual comment about how dangerous it is I could throw back some statistic about her hobbies.

  • imprezive

    Not sure what the point is. It’s not like someone who thinks riding is dangerous is going to change their mind because more people die from smoking. At this point when someone tells me how dangerous riding a motorcycle is I just say “yeah that’s why it’s fun.” That usually stops them.

  • Jim Hollinrake

    #14. Taking any motorcycling advice from RideApart.

  • Clint Keener

    The second hand smoke thing is complete BS though.

  • http://jeffersonsnewspaper.org/ E. Bell

    Because I’m procrastinating at work, I went ahead and did the math (assuming a slightly inflated number of 9 million motorcyclists). The only thing on that list that is statistically more dangerous than riding a motorcycle is being a smoker. It’s not even close.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      24 million people ride a motorcycle in the US every year.

      • http://jeffersonsnewspaper.org/ E. Bell

        Where does that number come from?

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          The Motorcycle Industry Council. Remember that motorcycles (and motorcycle deaths) span on road and off.

          • Kay

            You just contradicted yourself.

            “Stuff like horseback riding and skiing isn’t statistically comparable. As a mode of transport on public roads, motorcycling is far more studied and reported and, yes, dangerous than any mere, off-road hobby.”

            Using that argument, shouldn’t we just use 9 million on road riders as statistically accounted by the NHTSA? Wouldn’t the additional 15 million riders just be considered a mere off-road hobbists?

          • Kay

            You just contradicted yourself.

            “Stuff like horseback riding and skiing isn’t statistically comparable. As a mode of transport on public roads, motorcycling is far more studied and reported and, yes, dangerous than any mere, off-road hobby.”

            Using that argument, shouldn’t we just use 9 million on road riders as statistically accounted by the NHTSA? Wouldn’t the additional 15 million riders just be considered mere off-road hobbists?

            • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

              No contradiction at all. Motorcycling is both a hobby and a method of transportation. The latter grants it more intense scrutiny than other hobbies.

              There’s 9 million registered motorcycles, not riders. Many of the 24 million who ride annually do so only occasionally and/or on bikes belonging to other people such as family members.

          • Piglet2010

            How valid is their sampling method? Some weeks I ride to work every weekday, yet every registered motorcycle only gets used for 20% of my commuting trips.

      • http://jeffersonsnewspaper.org/ E. Bell

        As of 1999, NHTSA counted 4,152,433 registered motorcycles[1]. The 2013 number I used – 9 million – was just from Googling around to be sure, but using the NHTSA number and assuming some growth as well as unregistered bikes, 9 million still seems overly-generous.

        [1] http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/809-271.pdf

      • DrLove

        Even then, 0.05508*9/24 = 0.020655, which is still larger than all but smoking.

  • STRTRRR

    I was up at the hang glider airport on the top of Ortega Highway and three guys got out of a van. All limping btw. Getting their parasails out to go for a ride. They started ripping me about how dangerous motorcycling is, how they gave it up because it was just too risky, in the air there are no stop signs, no cross traffic, so much safer, yada yada yada. But then one of them said he got stuck up at 15,000′ and he had ice crystals all over his body and he was getting hypothermic and woozy from the lack of oxygen and was only wearing a t-shirt and shorts because it was a hot day, and the voice on the radio had to tell him the things to do to descend because he was so out of it. This is the sport that is allegedly so much safer than mine. All a matter of perspective, I suppose.

    • Piglet2010

      Probably suffering from hypoxia at 15K feet (the FAA requires pilots to use supplemental oxygen above 12K feet in non-pressurized aircraft).

  • http://www.bikething.co.uk/ Jonathan Ward

    According to my family nothing is more dangerous than riding a motorcycle!

  • Davidabl2

    About now it’s time to drag out the line about how “there’s lies ,damned lies and then there’s statistics”
    Still true more than century after Mark Twain is supposed to have said it.

  • grindz145

    Even in aggregate, you are only 5x more likely to die in a car. That’s still not a lot considering we’re talking .01% Your odds of dying in a car are still on par with your odds of dying on a bike. And your odds of really living awesome human experiences on a bike are 9.57 million times more (roughly).

    • Piglet2010

      In aggregate, I prefer low pressure knobby tires and a light bike.

  • Daniel

    So if you’re overweight, drink,smoke or live with someone who does,text and drive,take meds and climb chairs you’re more likely to die than someone who’s healthy and rides a motorcycle. Haha!
    Seems like a lot of people fall under most of the above stats!

  • Tiberiuswise

    Riding a motorcycle never hurt anyone. Its the unintended sudden deceleration or dismount from said motorcycle that tends to cause the injury.

  • gaudette

    clicking page 2 killed me a little bit

  • Mike

    Two words…Per Capita.

  • tobykeller

    This is just really shoddy. Remember the phrase “lies, damned lies, and statistics”? It was coined for things like this.

  • Chris

    651 killed in boating accidents last year, 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered vessels. http://www.americanboating.org/boating_fatality.asp

  • Piglet2010

    I have seen some biker dudes actually smoke when riding – guess a “Big-Twin” does not go fast enough to blow the cigarette out, eh?

  • http://www.facebook.com/howndog Mike Howndog

    Stupid discussion. What difference does it make knowing your likelihood of death? Stop doing everything that might kill you and still you’re not guaranteed to live any longer than anybody else. Would you want to?

  • Rowtag

    well off all those 13 things more dangerous than riding a bike, only one is as fun as riding a bike ;)

  • Romer

    It’s been said there are 3 levels of falsehoods – Fibs, lies, and statistics

  • eddi

    The moral of the story is living is dangerous. Always has been, always will be. We’ve mostly eliminated being chopped to bits by barbarian raider. By getting smoked by a heavy smoker is replacing it.
    As to motorcycles and danger. Yes it is, and I’m very aware of that fact. It effects my clothing choice, my riding style and other minor things. I’ve also got non-slip tile in my bathtub and a very sticky mat outside the tub. You become aware of what dangers might effect you and take steps. The Great Wall Of Eddi is on hold though until the barbarians make a comeback.

  • ThinkingInImages

    I’m not surprised by any of the numbers. It’s a fun use of numbers and statistics, too. I think I get what Wes is doing here. Yes, we all know motorcycles are dangerous, and I’m going to leave it at that before this drifts into a whole other discussion.

    I’m sure there are other mortality numbers floating around that show the hidden and fragile nature of life. What happens when you start combining some of these “facts”?

  • appliance5000

    As an overweight smoker who likes to drink; I can hear that chariot coming. I’m just thankful that using excessive cologne and wearing bon jovi memorabilia isn’t on the list.

  • Daniel

    Loud Mohawks save lives

  • Spamchucker Jones

    So i guess drunk driving on a motorcycle in my bathroom while smoking prescription medications and texting someone that I have the Flu would be bad?

    • Jack Scruggs

      Only if you’re drunk

  • Richard Roberts

    I have been riding for 60 years. There is one thing certain, if you ride a motorcycle, you are going to have an accident. So why ride??? Because if you are a genuine motorcyclist, you have no choice. People just don’t understand why.

    • Jeremy

      I definitely agree that a motorcycle is a when not if situation, but I don’t see how motorcyclists lack choice. Everything we do after we wake up in the morning is a choice. I choose to ride, and accept the risk.

  • Richard Roberts

    If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t ride motorcycles. And if you think that motorcycles are not dangerous, you have your head up your ass.

    • bkp100

      If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t leave your single story house… use safety scissors, and make sure are your food is pre-sliced/cut/prepared. Cook only in a microwave, use only battery operated lights/heat/appliances….

      Point being, you can mitigate the danger of almost anything *without* having to stop living. In the case of riding, it’s simple. Don’t drink, ride ATGATT (all the gear, all the time), ASSUME the next corner or intersection is trouble, don’t ride beyond your skills, and be *twice* as attentive as you think you should…

  • haggis95

    More people die in bed than anywhere else. Bed’s should be avoided.

  • DrRideOrDie

    Can we keep in mind that roughly 60% of gun deaths are from suicide? In that situation I don’t think the argument is that the gun is dangerous, in that situation its the person because they would find something else to kill themselves like a razor or hanging.

  • DrRideOrDie

    I really think the point of Wes’ article and maybe the better discussion of whether motorcycling is safer than other ways of living might kills us or even is motorcycling safe vs. unsafe would be to address the actual causes of death. IMO human beings ability to chose is the main cause of death by any means. All of the listed causes of death entail some level of choice. I know some people may want to make the elementary argument that if someone is out in public and gets shot and killed that is not their choice, well I would argue they chose to leave their house and it is no different than if a motorcyclist is riding, crashes and dies, they also chose to leave their house. Ultimately we all want to be able to leave our homes, enjoy what life has to offer and do so with relative assuredness that we will return home healthy and happy. The possibility exist for a true accident however I would like to distance the discussion away from victim mentality people that like to blame everyone/everything but their own choices that put them in a dangerous situation.

    As a doctor we are trained to look for risk factors of mortality (chance of death) and morbidity (chance of disease). We are trained to educate/assist patients in mitigating those risk factors by intervening through lifestyle choices (diet/supplementation), medications and procedures (injections/surgery/etc). As the risk factors increase such as an individual that is overweight, smokes, drinks then we say that the risk for all cause mortality/morbidity increase substantially by means of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc. The individual has made several choices that increase their chance of disease or death by eating poorly, using tobacco, and consuming alcohol.

    Now if we equate the discussion to cause of mortality/morbidity in motorcyclist (choices we make before we ride) then that would include what type of motorcycle is used (sportbike vs cruiser vs super moto vs enduro, etc), type of gear worn (DOT bandana(jk) vs DOT helmet vs ATGATT), safety training (no training, BRC, ARC, track days), style riding (aggressive vs cruising), where we ride (canyons, commuting, touring, adventuring, etc) and lifestyle (fit vs fat, drunk vs sober, stiff vs agile).

    If we adjust for two factors of choice that is fair to say increases mortality in motorcyclist, alcohol consumption and lack of helmet use, we can adjust our numbers of risk of fatality from motorcycling. Of the 4,957 fatalities, 1,380 involved alcohol, and subtracting those out we are down to 3,577 fatalities. Applying that back into the idea that there are 24 million motorcyclist in the US, that would give us a fatality rate of roughly 0.0149% for sober riders, or roughly sober motorcycling is safer than smoking, drinking and the flu. Now to make things even more difficult and interesting we did not get the exact breakdown of fatalities with and without helmet by state. For simplicity lets just use the total number of fatalities without helmets (I know that people survive without helmets, but again we are looking at mitigating risk). OF the 4,957 there were 1,858 unhelmeted fatalities, leaving us with 3,099 helmeted fatalities or roughly a fatality rate of 0.0129% for helmeted riders.

    From what I’ve seen from Rideapart as a community the focus is on becoming safer riders through making good choices in motorcycle used (including motorcycle safety equipment; ABS, traction control, etc), gear worn and training. Just like reducing the risk for dying from the flu by taking vitamins and practicing hygiene, reducing the risk for mortality and morbidity from motorcycling is easily achieved as well by making better choices.

    p.s. Just as food for thought the conventional medical system doesn’t like to publish themselves as causes of death in the US. The truth of the matter is conventional medicine would be the number 3 cause of death in the US if they included themselves in the list of all cause mortality. 16,451 people die from prescription medicines properly prescribed and used. Roughly 210,000 die from hospital error. Roughly 90,000 die from hospital acquired infections. 8,000 die from unnecessary surgical procedures. Ride safe.

  • jron42

    Are these number per individual participating in activity? Is the alcohol poising per number of drinkers higher than the number of racers killed racing? If not, then your numbers are complete junk. We could just say that breathing is more dangerous because 100% of breathers will die eventually. The article says absolutely NOTHING about percentages.

  • OCD Moto

    I’m glad to see this little list of man’s follies that illustrates how fears are formed irrespective of truth or science. In fact, most fears, like religion, which creates a foundation of fear, are based on myth. If it’s dangerous and you want to do it, then do it carefully, skillfully and, most importantly, fearlessly. Because the number one killer is fear.

  • chad001

    Everyone dies from living.

  • James Walker

    As a statistician, I will agree with what many of the others have already commented, these numbers mean next to nothing. You must always attribute risk to the population exposed. Not all of the population is exposed to motorcycles nor are they all smokers or taking prescription medications.

    To assess risk, the incidence of mortality must be divided by the exposed population, while also accounting for the dosage of the exposure (for motorcycles this could be either hours on the bike or number of miles traveled). Then you must take into account any potential confounders (for instance, do people on more prescription medications tend to be older? Because if so, old people have an independently greater risk of death than young). And finally you must look for effect measure modification, in this case, how many of the people that die on motorcycles were drinking? If drinking while riding affects your mortality risk, then you need to stratify your results by alcohol consumption.

    Absolute mortality in this case is meaningless. It doesn’t tell us anything about motorcycle safety.