Monday, March 28, 2011

I love you too much...

{I'm interrupting our normal blogging to talk from my heart today.  It's's serious...and it's heavy on my heart.  I warned you can decide whether you want to read on or not.}

To my "little" sister, with love, from your "big" sister:

I am well aware that this could turn your thoughts of me from your friend and confidante to your stick-in-the-mud, overprotective sister, but I love you too much to let that stop me.

I love you too much...

not to tell you how I feel about your current motorcycling endeavors. 

to let you think I'm totally cool with the thoughts of you riding down the road with all of the other drivers out there.

not to let you know how much I disagree with 14 years old being the legal age of motorcycle riding.

to let you think, as most teenagers (and some adults) do, that you are safe enough...good enough not to end up a statistic for motorcycle riding.

not to tell you how heavy it makes my heart to think that over 80% of motorcycle accidents end in injury and/or death, compared to 20% in cars...and that with the average motorcycle driver being around the age of 35!

to encourage or even accept this desire of thrill-seeking adventure.
not to beg you to forget the motorcycle least for a while (though, I wouldn't mind if it were forever!)

to let you think it infuriates me that you are being encouraged to pursue this by someone who has seen first-hand the effects of motorcycle riding because he's been an EMT, fireman, and now law enforcement.

not to tell you that you are loved so much that you had to be told the truths of the matter...

I know this is an exciting new adventure for you.  I know it is fun.  I know Dad is encouraging it...even being an EMT, firefighter, and now, law enforcement...and he's seen first-hand the dangers involved, so why wouldn't you trust his judgment over mine?  I know you've found your motorcycle already.  I know that all that stands between you, the motorcycle, and the road is a little test.  I know you are planning to retake the motorcycle examination soon...probably until you do finally pass.  I know what I say will probably be pushed to the back of your mind, while you run toward the new past-time that awaits you.  But I also know the terrible dangers that are present, especially for motorcyclists.  I have read the statistics (trying to make sure I was being fair to you about this, and not just giving opinions)...only to find myself almost sick thinking of you putting yourself in the chance of becoming a statistic like others.  But, before you retake license exams or buy a new motorcycle, would you consider these statements (that were not made by me):

  •  "Most people literally don't see motorcycles, because they're so used to looking for larger moving are virtually invisible to everyone else." 
  •  "It isn't just your driving skills that affect your safety on a motorcycle...things even as simple as a chasing dog is enough to change your stability enough to crash."
  • "Motorcyclists were 34 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a crash in 2004, per vehicle mile traveled." {yes this one is old...but the statistics have not improved!}
  • "There are two types of motorcyclists: Those that have crashed, and those that are going to crash." {This is just an old saying, but those sayings came from somewhere...}
  • "You can't account for everything.  How much is your life worth? Mine's worth more (to me) than gambling it that the other drivers on the road know what they're doing and their vehicles aren't going to fall apart in front of me." {From a motorcycle rider...who learned the dangers of motorcycling the hard way.} 
  • "The trouble with motorcycles is, as mentioned above, the high cost of crashes. Had I been in a car, it would have taken the bulk of the damage, not me. I stopped riding because, despite having worn proper clothing, going under the speed limit and the weather being perfect, there was too much out of my control. In such an environment, I'd rather have the steel around me, thanks." 
  •  "No matter how good a rider you are, you are going to be taken out eventually by something outside of your control. You have to decide if it will be worth it in the long run."
  •  "Motorcycle riders between the ages of 16 and 24 are significantly over-represented in accidents; motorcycle riders between the ages of 30 and 50 are significantly under represented. Although the majority of the accident-involved motorcycle riders are male (96%), the female motorcycle riders are significantly over represented in the accident data."
  •  "Crash bars are not an effective injury countermeasure."
  •  "According to the federal government, per mile traveled in 2007, the number of deaths on motorcycles was about 37 times the number in cars."
  •  "Although rider education courses can teach novice motorcyclists basic operating skills and help experienced motorcyclists refresh their skills, they don't appear to reduce the risk of crashes."
I love you too much not to pray you change your mind...and so do so many others.  And, if it will change your mind in the least, I'll start counting votes to see just how loved you are...but I'm quite confident I'd win that one!  :-)