Why I Think Motorcyclists Die (And How We Can Honor a Dead Man By Keeping Others Alive)

Statistics tell part of the story, but I’m relying on common sense, lots of observation and personal experience.

Ever since Patch reported about the death of a good man, Matthew Dunkel, comments have been flying in about who is more responsible for cars hitting motorcycles: Cars or motorcycles?

To me, that’s an easy one: Cars and motorcycles.

My feelings are backed up by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but I’m not relying on the government for this one. I’m relying mostly on what I’ve seen motorcyclists and motorists do and on what I’ve done myself.

Here’s full disclosure: I’m a risk-versus-reward kind of guy these days, and the risk of riding a motorcycle – make that the risk of crashing on a – isn’t worth the reward of jetting down the highway like water through a fire hose.

But I understand that for some people, that risk is worth it.

The who have commented on Patch have usually acknowledged the risks. And several of the comments from motorists have been about the danger.

But what I haven’t seen much of are comments from motorcyclists about those who ride like two-wheeled idiots out of hell. Nor have I seen much from motorists confessing to their own stupidity and/or carelessness lighting their smokes or texting on their phones while “steering” the wheel with their knees.

This is why motorcyclists die: Some of them take foolish risks and some of them are hit by foolish drivers. And then there's the wildcard, pure bad luck.

Let’s face it: The world is full of good motorcyclists and bad, good drivers and bad. Maybe there are ways to move more people into the “good,” but there will always be a percentage of bad. That’s why we’ll always have deaths on our roads, but maybe it’s also why we could have fewer of them.

That’s is why I think Matthew Dunkel, that good man who was killed in Marion, may be saving some lives in his death. When we lose a good person, however it happens, every so often we stop to think. Really think.

And judging from the attention his death has gotten and the comments on motorcycle safety his loss has generated, maybe, just maybe, we could all agree to be just a little more careful out there. That would be a fitting honor.


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