Risk and Responsibility

Without a doubt, there is an increased level of risk attendant to riding a motorcycle. Those of us who ride accept that risk as a trade-off for doing something that we enjoy. In accepting that risk, we also undertake the obligation to manage it responsibly.

Rider Education

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation sponsors rider training courses. For even more fun, some riders take advantage of track days or specialized schools. Excellent motorcycle skill books are easy to find.

Proper Gear

The days of riding while wearing flip-flops and shorts went out with the Honda 50. Today's motorcycles are faster, heavier, and exposed to significantly more traffic. Basic body armor and an approved helmet can make a big difference between the risk of an emergency room visit (or worse) versus a few scratches and bruises.

Common Sense

It goes without saying (but we'll say it anyway) that the use of some basic common sense is one of the most responsible ways to reduce risk. "Hey everybody, watch this!" is probably not on a responsible rider's list of pre-throttle comments.

Adequate Insurance

Other than the above three topics, the most significant risk management tool before the fact of an accident is the purchase of adequate insurance. If you do not have health insurance, you are irresponsibly placing yourself and your family in the crosshairs of catastrophic and unnecessary heartache and debt. Regardless of fault, accidents happen. Medical bills and rehab centers can wipe out a family budget in no time, and when that happens it is your family who gets stuck caring for you. For that reason (among many others), health insurance is absolutely essential. Uninsured and underinsured driver coverage provides another level of increased financial protection against the driver who causes the crash. If you can afford it, buy it. It also covers your passenger, even when you are at fault.


As a motorcycle attorney and motorcycle rider, it always strikes me as a bit disingenuous for when others take not-so-subtle jabs at us, as though nothing that they do also involves some level of risk. I suppose that there are individuals who bespeak to have taken no risk in their lives.

Certainly they have never rode a horse, skiid down a mountain, whitewater rafted, bicycled, operated a chain saw, stepped across a stream on a moss covered rock, driven through a yellow light, or petted a strange dog.

But as for the rest of us, risk is intertwined to one degree or another with much of what makes life worth living in the first place. Ride safe!