When I was in my third year of rehab residency, I ran into a friend of mine named Steve at the hospital where I was rotating. I knew Steve from med school and I hadn't seen him in about two years. We had about five minutes to catch up before we had to go our separate ways. I still remember the conversation:
Steve: "So how's PM&R residency?"
Me: "We see some pretty crazy things. Are you still riding that motorcycle?"
Steve: "Yeah... sometimes..."
Me: "I've just seen some horrible motorcycle accidents. I mean, people get really badly hurt in those accidents. I think about half our patients right now were injured on motorcycles."
Steve: "Oh, yeah?"
Me: "You really have to be out of your mind to ride a motorcycle. We have one guy who is paralyzed from the neck down, and then another lady who--"
Steve: "Actually, I have to go now."
Later I was looking back on that conversation and I couldn't believe I spent my entire time with a friend I hadn't seen in years warning him about how likely he was to get badly hurt on his motorcycle. But I feel that passionately about it.
Think about your car. Say you have a new car with all the safety features. You've got a seatbelt. You've got airbags everywhere. You've got a shell of metal protecting you. And some new cars have head injury protection. And even with all that, people still get badly injured or killed in car accidents.
So what have you got on a motorcycle? A helmet? (If you're lucky.)
I think the statistic is that you're more than thirty times more likely to be badly injured in a motorcycle crash than a car crash. Maybe this is my problem for being scared of taking risks. I'd never jump out of a plane, but this is something that people do. It's not a matter of debate that jumping out of a plane is much riskier than what I do, which is not jump out of a plane.
I have just seen a LOT of really horrible motorcycle accidents. Bad head injuries, bad spinal cord injuries, amputations. Yes, I've seen more people badly injured from car accidents, but it's not like you can avoid driving in this day and age. You can, however, avoid weaving in and out of highway traffic on a bike going 80 miles per hour.
Also, do you know why motorcyclists wear leather jackets and leather pants? Not to be badass. It's because if you fall off the bike, it helps keep your skin from being shredded.
So that's why I think people who ride motorcyles are out of their minds.
(And dirtbikes too.)