My new boyfriend wants me to ride on his motorcycle. Is it safe?

Our Blog | July 2, 2018

You met a nice guy through friends and started dating. All has gone well so far and you really think this guy could be “the one.”

He wants to take you for a weekend ride on his Harley-Davidson — and you’re scared silly. You didn’t grow up around motorcycles and have heard injury statistics involving motorcyclists. Should you make the effort to overcome your fear or skip the ride?

Perceptions of danger and risks vary

You likely already engage in pursuits that many might find dangerous. You may spend weekends hiking in the Sierra Mountains or go scuba-diving in the Pacific. Even jogging in and around Roseville puts you in harm’s way. Yes, there are serious — even fatal motorcycle accidents each year in California. However, there are lots of automobile accidents as well, yet you drive a car every day.

There is no right or wrong answer to whether you should agree to take a ride on a motorcycle. Learning more about what causes motorcycle accidents can help you make the decision that’s right for you.

The cold, hard facts of motorcycle accidents

Statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that there were 4,976 motorcycle deaths in the U.S. in 2015. That figure was 8.3 percent higher than the previous year’s fatality rate of 4,594 deaths.

Given that there were approximately 8.6 million motorcycles ridden that year, the chance of a fatal injury as a passenger on the back of a bike is about one out of 1,728. This rate was six to seven times that of the mortality rate for those riding in passenger vehicles (cars, pickups, SUVs) during the same year.

If you did the math, you realize that climbing on the back of a motorcycle can be dangerous. Still, millions of riders all over the world take that chance every day.

Reducing the dangers by knowing the causes

There are many safe motorcyclists out there who have never been in an accident. A few precautions can help your new boyfriend avoid being a statistic. During the course of one year, the NHTSA reported:

  • Excessive speed was directly link to 33 percent of the motorcycle fatalities.
  • Forty percent died because they chose not to wear helmets.
  • Many others were impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Riders can minimize their risk of injury by wearing helmets and other protective gear. Obeying traffic laws and staying home when the weather is particularly bad can also help reduce the risk of riding.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. If you do decide to take that ride, talk about these issues with your boyfriend before hoping on the bike. If he’s a daredevil and wants to scare you by speeding, maybe say no. If he is in agreement with you about keeping it safe, you may find that riding is a lot of fun. You may like it so much that end up getting your own bike and riding off into the sunset with or without him.