Danger on two wheels: passive and active safety.

By nature one stationary thing can keep it’s balance only and only if it has at least three anchors. Like a tripod. On two wheels, you need another complementary leg which can be a forward vector like speed or luck, good or bad. 

Recently my best friend Mustafa had an accident while he was at a training session on his bicycle. He suddenly lost grip and went down hitting his head to pavement. It was such a sudden hit that he is still in semi-coma status and we all of his friends and family are waiting him to recover. How can a bicycle be so dangerous? This sad experience restarted me to think about how safe really a bicycle or motorcycle is.

A bicycle is a great hobby. It makes you commute to work, do training, and even travel. And by doing those in a proper way, your health improves followed by improvement in attitude towards mad human beings rushing through the chaos of large cities. This wonderful world comes with its drawbacks. The most important concern is safety. Unless you are riding your bicycle in a recreational area without other road users then danger awaits you. At speed around 20-30 km/h your bicycle can turn into an extremely dangerous device. The road furnitures & fittings, pushing car drivers and the countless hazards in a city can all turn biker’s life into hell. Normally you would say that that speed is not too much. Yes it is, but the relative low speed in urban areas comes with very little protective gear. A cyclist going through traffic at 20-30 km/h speed without any protection other than a partially covering takes greater risks than a motorcyclist on full gear.

Bicycle became a top class hobby after the introduction of highly engineered and designed bicycles. And because of the looks and the prices it somehow became a hobby of top class, highly educated people. At this point people stop thinking about hazards or ignore them. People think about the branded helmet will save their lives. The superb bicycle that they have can easily speed up to 50 km/h. They forget that their bike is just 10 kgs and how vulnerable they are. A bicycle can easily change direction with a minor push on the handlebar and the taxi driver talking to his customer can not even realise the presence of the rider. 

Let’s come to motorcycles. Ok motorcycle riders wear more than bicycle riders wears. Good gear looks special and very protective: but, how protective? Here we face the same issue: a modern motorcycle with cornering ABS, three level traction control, lowered centre of gravity; will never save your life unless you change your mentality.

The best protector remain your brain.

All two wheelers have a natural (gravity ridden) tendency to go down flat. Whenever you stop thinking on two wheelers, inertia takes affect and acts. Your moving body wants to move further but it can do so only if the brain is in control, if you consciously continue thinking and evaluating.

Last thing about how all this system can really work is to start up it with good knowledge. Like learning the theory behind riding a bicycle or motorcycle. Know some physics, philosophy, even geography. Be mindful of what you do. Keep educated, learn from different resources and compare, put your brain in action. 

One thought on “Danger on two wheels: passive and active safety.

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  1. it is a very useful article, thank you.
    as an old amateur road cyclist, I have experienced many or even more of the dangers you mentioned in your article. As a road cyclist, we have to driving on the highway among other vehicles and this situatiın brings too much risks.
    However, ı regretfully say that, as a road cyclist, the first priority for us is the lightness of our bicycles and our equipment. As you mention on your article helmets doesnt save our lifes (I saw people fall off their bikes and crash the helmet while they wete descending from mountain road at 70 km/h)

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