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Old 06-26-2013, 05:26 AM   #1
chasssmash OP
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Riding a bike is as dangerous as fighting a war

A new book on risk (cannot remember the name of the top of my head)by well respected risk analysts pointed out that statistically spending a day riding a motorcycle (400 miles)is a little more dangerous then spending a day fighting in Afghanistan.

Obviously we all have different risk profiles but that was quote sobering to me at least having 2 small kids.

I ride daily but would still describe my skills as only average. I have had my share of close calls but I thought it was just my personal experience.

I won't stop riding but it is a scary idea for sure.

chasssmash screwed with this post 06-26-2013 at 05:33 AM
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:31 AM   #2
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Btw the book is called the Norm Chronicles and it estimated the risk of a days riding at around 60 micronorts compared to a day fighting in Afganistan at 45 micronorts. This basically means you have 60 chances in a million of dying on a bike a day and 45 chances in a million of dying in a day in Afghanistan.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:33 AM   #3
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Alcohol plays a BIG role in the statistic of motorcycle injuries/fatalities. You can significantly reduce your risk by avoiding alcohol before riding. You can also wear good gear, not ride above your skill level, etc.

Soldiers in A-stan don't have any easy way to dramatically reduce their risks.
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:29 AM   #4
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I broke my foot on my MC last summer and the VA doctor who did surgery said they have more amputees from MC accidents than from combat.
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:08 AM   #5
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Seems like I remember a stat from the First Gulf War...

The 82nd troopers were safer in the combat zone than in garrison.

More troopers died in alcohol related motor vehicle accidents than in combat related activities.

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Old 06-26-2013, 07:14 AM   #6
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Way to mow down the masses. I do not believe that all riders can be lumped together.

Riding while impaired, excessive speed, tired, angry and not knowing how to control the bike accounts for fully 90% of "accidents" while riding.

Don't be "That guy" and your 60 micronorts are now only 6.
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasssmash View Post
A new book on risk (cannot remember the name of the top of my head)by well respected risk analysts pointed out that statistically spending a day riding a motorcycle (400 miles)is a little more dangerous then spending a day fighting in Afghanistan.

Obviously we all have different risk profiles but that was quote sobering to me at least having 2 small kids.

I ride daily but would still describe my skills as only average. I have had my share of close calls but I thought it was just my personal experience.

I won't stop riding but it is a scary idea for sure.
Like others have said there are ways to reduce your risk, and moreso on the bike than in the Army. And there must (for example) certainly be a big difference in danger and death rates for someone who stays on base vs someone who has to do foot patrols.

Can you tell us more about the book? I assume it's using aggregate statistics along the lines of (registered MC's)/(MC fatalities) vs (deployed in Afghanistan)/(KIA in Afghanistan).
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:07 AM   #8
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Link to the book... looks like a neat read:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Norm-Chron...orm+chronicles

Speaking of risk assessment, I always love needling the helicopter moms in my office: "You're afraid of a random predator abducting your kid, but you're not terrified of that child murderer in your backyard you call your swimming pool?"
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasssmash View Post
A new book on risk (cannot remember the name of the top of my head)by well respected risk analysts pointed out that statistically spending a day riding a motorcycle (400 miles)is a little more dangerous then spending a day fighting in Afghanistan.

Obviously we all have different risk profiles but that was quote sobering to me at least having 2 small kids.

I ride daily but would still describe my skills as only average. I have had my share of close calls but I thought it was just my personal experience.

I won't stop riding but it is a scary idea for sure.
If that scares you, maybe you should stay at home. No.....wait......
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:32 AM   #10
Ceri JC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Handy View Post
I broke my foot on my MC last summer and the VA doctor who did surgery said they have more amputees from MC accidents than from combat.
For that to be meaningful, you need to know how many total hours of motorcycling were carried out, compared to total hours of active combat. You also need to consider Paebr's point that some squaddie in combat is already almost certainly wearing the armour/boots they can. A lot of motorcyclists who have serious foot/lower leg injuries (which incidentally, are the most common injury in most forms of motorcycling) would have been better off had they been wearing proper/better boots.

Daveinva: If you really want to mess with them, you can point out that not letting the kids out of their neighbourhood, for fear of them being abducted by some child molester is statistically-speaking, practically handing them over to a paedophile. The overwhelming majority of cases involve a family member or someone who lives within the next few houses.

It's one of the weird things about risk, even when presented with concrete evidence to the contrary, otherwise rationale people have an extremely hard time debasing their "gut instinct" enough to do what is statistically safest.
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:40 AM   #11
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Hmmmmm. I just took a flip through the book. A couple of things....

First, IMHO, this is a) questionable anthropology and b) mediocre science. There's a way to approach these types of questions with respect to populations (actuarialists attempt this all the time), but this doesn't seem to be the way. That, or the presentation is just poor. Any actuarial scientists feel like commenting? I'd love to hear the input. This book just seems to be a sensational look at numbers with little consideration of the actual variables that make the populations and their environments unique.

Also, I'm a deputy medical examiner. Just out of curiosity I did a little casual case review of motorcycle deaths in the county and a neighboring county in the last few years. The bottom line is, don't drink and ride. Just don't. There is an interesting series of studies by University of Notre Dame that is paraphrased here:
HTML Code:
http://oade.nd.edu/educate-yourself-alcohol/your-body-and-alcohol/
that has some good information about absorption rates and muscular response to ethanol. Fast-forwarding to the nudity, your eyes, hands and ears begin to go first, quite early, which affects your hearing and equilibrium just a little bit early on. Sketchy.
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:46 AM   #12
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Another expert?

Has the author of said book engaged in either or both actvities, Or has he simply re-hashed data read from other sources? I am very skeptical of authors and self professed 'experts'. There are simply too many variables in war to make this comparison vaible.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:03 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by fastdadio View Post
Has the author of said book engaged in either or both actvities, Or has he simply re-hashed data read from other sources? I am very skeptical of authors and self professed 'experts'. There are simply too many variables in war to make this comparison vaible.
I guess he looks at death rates for both activities and does a pretty simple comparison.

To be honest I think that the stats make sense. I used to be a volunteer fireman and I came across several motorcyclists who had fatal crashes. I really didn't see that many dead by other means. It was the predominant mode of death around my area. No idea how many were drunk
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:12 AM   #14
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Way too many factors to say how truly dangerous riding a motorcycle is.

You have to take into account:

- use of alcohol/drugs. Riding requires hand/eye coordination and quick reflexes. Both things alcohol diminishes

- use of riding gear/safety equipment. A guy on a Harley wearing a plastic helmet that looks cool, vs a rider in full riding gear.

- level of riding ability.

-type of riding. Very aggressive fast riding seems a whole lot more dangerous than cruising and riding defensively
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:20 AM   #15
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Hi all ! Your chances of having an accident is 5 or 6 times greater after just 1 drink . It is also amazing that the frequency of single vehicle accidents are so great . Those two facts spell it out....don't drink and ride and don't ride over your head .
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