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View Full Version : The 12th way to die, a forum paradox



mika
01-15-2010, 04:57 PM
Motorcyclisonline.com ( http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/howto/street_savvy/122_1001_a_dozen_ways_to_die/index.html) kicked off the new year with an article titled A Dozen Ways to Die. A bit morbid but I read the list and number 12 made me think.

12. Bring on the E-'stractions: Talk to and text everybody in your cell phone's address book while you ride. If that's too difficult, clutter your cockpit with a GPS receiver, satellite radio, MP3 player, radar detector, etc. and let them lull you into an electronic trance. You'll never see what hit you.

I have wondered about what has always struck me as a paradox on this forum. The BWM riders and the MOA forum are normally very safety minded yet a quick informal count of the gear section resulted in very roughly 25% of the threads I counted dealing with adding or mounting gear that is listed in number 12.

I will admit I become a Luddite when I get on my bike. My Roadster may be an oilhead but has analog gauges and none of the listed add ons. Even so my tank bag has a map window that gets used when I am on trips and thus serves as the equivalent Luddite distraction to GPS.

Does anyone else see the inconsistency in what we preach and what we do?

How do you rationalize it?

How do you mitigate the dangers the distractions present?

akbeemer
01-15-2010, 05:13 PM
Simple... it could never happen to me. I do limit myself to only the GPS from the list.

wayneswan
01-15-2010, 05:16 PM
For me, the GPS helps keep me aware of upcoming intersections and potential dangers as well as eliminating missed turns that would require a U-turn or "accelerated" braking.
As for the i pod...I don't wear earplugs. I have the speakers mounted in my helmet so I can still hear engine/road noise. I think it actually HELPS keep me alert on longer rides by entertaining the brain vs. putting it to sleep with the dull hum of
the wind/road/engine drone.
Mental drift seems to be kept at bay with a lil' tune playing....

I've seen some of those over-decorated dashboards though, they do look distracting....

35634
01-15-2010, 05:16 PM
%&*#, half of the instruments that came with my bike don't work. No distractions like watching it overheat or run out of gas.

haughty
01-15-2010, 05:39 PM
Valid question
I bite
I use a Radar Detector- mounted above the handlebar inboard of the rear view mirror. It does not block the mirror.. I use my periferal vision for that.

GPS. LOL I have been too lazy to mount it.. I use my pillion to hold it when on the ride and she will give me directions every once in a while. If on a bike that I have the handlebar mount, usually I will pull over to check near intersections or pull over. I do admit I will take a look if on a straight section that I can ascertain that I think it is safe. Have I looked in the past in traffic? Yes.. I will admit that..
DO I look long? NO, but I also understand at 70 MPH= 100+ feet per second, your glances MUST be short.. 1 second...
A football field is less than 3 seconds at 70 MPH people. MIka's point is valid and prudent.
How many cagers out there do the look down and get the coffee cup, burger, dial or text on the phone, and everyone of them going to where their individual destination is. Add in the spontaneous - I forgot something- oh i need to pull in here- I fully understand Mika's point even better now.

I think they are out to get me....

88bmwjeff
01-15-2010, 05:39 PM
Like Wayneswan, music acutally helps me concentrate. My mind wanders more without it, but I don't listen to music all the time. And, here in CA, it's illegal to have earphones in both ears.

Number Two on the list is a bit of a gripe with me. Finding attire that's not black can be a task and a half. I also find it a bit ironic that much of the vented, warm weather attire is also black.

As far as distractions go, it depends how many a rider chooses to include on his/her ride. One E-distraction is one thing, but three or four could be over doing it. It also depends how a rider uses the item. GPS on the bike would not be a distraction if only used while stopped.

wezul
01-15-2010, 05:50 PM
Like Wayneswan, music acutally helps me concentrate.

Strongly agree. Straight road noise tends to numb my head.

The GPS is my only distraction and I make an effort look at it when I am relatively certain it is safe to do so and then in quick glances. Several may be required but it's a quickly look down, look up move.

Thanks John.

108625
01-15-2010, 06:04 PM
No added electronic distractions for me, nor self deception about being more safety minded than anyone else.
I just don't want all that crap along for the ride.

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature...Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."
Helen Keller

20715
01-15-2010, 06:10 PM
I just don't want all that crap along for the ride.



Same here. Never had any of it, probably never will.

dadodirt
01-15-2010, 06:28 PM
I'm not much for the add-ons.

I know from trying to look at the map in the tankbag while riding that it would be worse trying to look at a GPS.

As for music, not too often. On long rides where there is little to no traffic. I like to be able to hear what is happening around me. Also I have noticed if a song I can get into the groove with is on, I tend to get into the groove of the song and pay less attention to what is going on around me.

I think another look at this thread with the ages of the rider and what they use would be interesting.

I am 40 and have been riding for close to 20 years.

Are the gadgets targeted at a certain age rider or a rider with more or less experience?

dbrick
01-15-2010, 06:31 PM
I had a thermometer on the bike for awhile, and I found myself fascinated with temp changes: "Look! It went down a half degree and I felt it!" So fascinated, in fact, that I noticed myself looking down way too much. I removed it.

OTOH, my good riding buddy listens to tunes...and he's one of the best riders I know, a CMSP rider/coach, etc. etc.

I wouldn't prescribe, but this sort of stuff is not for me.

Ken F
01-15-2010, 06:40 PM
I feel that a GPS is much less of a distraction than a map, and trying to find roadsigns, ect. One quick glance, and you see where you are supposed to turn, or hear it announced without looking.

Admittadly this only works if you have a destination when you begin your ride.

Also, to me it's nice to just take off riding, and not worrry about where you have been, where you are going. When you are ready to head home punch in home and follow the arrows....

460

henzilla
01-15-2010, 06:52 PM
I bet this will seperate into two lines of thought...those that dislike technology and those that embrace it...sounds like when the K-bike and the oilheads came to be:stick Most will find if they at least try it before condemning it they will maybe see some of the benefits.


I have bikes with and without bells and whistles. I see it no different than my former 1959 carburated Microbus with nothing to my 2003 Dodge FI Diesel with a radio and a CD player. Times and technlogy have changed.


I have a GPS/XM. Do not use it all the time... listening to the prompts in congested areas sure is safer than map gazing for me. I still use the map on my tank as well when out in the clear. Listening to the music makes me happy...an idle mind is a dangerous place to be for me...too many deep thoughts:brow

I do not make phone calls when rolling in/on any vehicle...big peeve of mine

Radar detector...own one but rarely use it unless I know I am intentionally going to exceed the posted limits...and I still got a ticket the last time I did that and am on double super secret probation:deal I had the heads up HARD display so really not a distraction unless the red LED started flashing and I started looking when I knew better.

Riding is a high risk already, getting lulled into an electronic trance is ...it's how one perceives his/her comfort zone...so I say ride your own ride...just be careful and stay out of my lane and off my tail. Staring at the white lines can also put one in a trance...

I bet the pilots here are chuckling...how about heads up displays for the future of motorcycling:laugh I can see the new gen K1200LT with it now

oh yeah...53 years old and 40 years of two wheelin'

mika
01-15-2010, 07:04 PM
GPS has been the focus of many of the responses. Radio is helpful to me when I am in a cage and is the one thing I have thought of adding to my riding kit. The one piece of electronic gear that I have questions about with safety is bike to bike communications devices.

99% of the time I ride alone. When I ride two up it does not take long to know when my passenger will make some kind of communication. Bike to bike seems to be another sort of animal. It is not like a cell phone yet is. It is not like communicating with the pillion yet is. Of all, to me anyway, it would seem to offer the most uncontrolled electronic distraction that could be dangerous. That said it is a common thing discussed in the gear or various tech forums.

Bud
01-15-2010, 08:37 PM
Does anyone else see the inconsistency in what we preach and what we do? YES

How do you rationalize it? I don't.

How do you mitigate the dangers the distractions present? I don't.

It is like the random thoughts that roll thru your head when in western Kansas on I 70 and still have 4 more hours to get to Denver.

I'm guilty of riding on autopilot, much like many car drivers.

I love to look at the Iron Butt riders motorcycles. Talk about technology! Rob Nye's bike had like what, 3 pc's and maybe 3 GPS?

Regardless of how little or how much we have on our bikes, we can always improve our riding.

Good question. :clap

tommcgee
01-15-2010, 09:13 PM
The biggest distraction on my bike is the speedometer. I never look at it.

texanrt
01-15-2010, 10:20 PM
I had a thermometer on the bike for awhile, and I found myself fascinated with temp changes: "Look! It went down a half degree and I felt it!" .

I've done that. :)

I rented a radio-equipped HD recently and gave it a try -- ended up turning off the radio after just a few miles.

So far the only equipment I've mounted from the list is the GPS. I have tended to avoid anything that might prove distracting, but believe the GPS provides other benefits that outweigh those concerns.

83014
01-15-2010, 10:41 PM
I don't think you all are giving yourselves enough credit. This is a safety-minded group and I think most of the riders here make that extra effort to stay safe. That may mean removing a distraction, like the thermometer or radio, or taking the time to learn to use it as an asset. Those farkles that can't be learned well or prove to be more of a distraction than an aid get removed or turned off. I currently use only a gps but I'm not averse to using another farkle if I think it will enhance the ride and not distract me from it. I'm not worried so much about #12 but I do need to add some color to my mostly black attire. At least the bike is yellow.

Bob_M
01-15-2010, 11:41 PM
At least the bike is yellow.

Good thing there is so much yellow. A green motorcycle is bad luck and clearly it would tempt the safety fates to ride a green motorcycle. Then again it might be unsafe to pull up to a group of BMW purists with that flame job. You could be rebuked harshly!!:stick or worse!

henzilla
01-16-2010, 12:16 AM
We also use two way radios when travelling on multi day trips... but not for idle chit chat...which on multiple bikes can be distracting with "look at that" comments from multiple riders. On day rides we don't hook all that up.
It is usually just Helen and myself and we know when or when not to chat. Being able to warn each other of road hazards when out of sight of each other has more than once given peace of mind. The set of rear truck axles rolling w/out their trailer near West Bend a few years back was one of those. On those 500+ mile late afternoon middle of nowhere times,it's nice to hear a "how you doin'?" from your companion.

I have to say after watching F-1 and NASCAR drivers going into a corner at 200MPH and calmly talking about the weather or something bright in the grandstands...I gave it a try at a lot slower pace...never have found it to be an issue...more of a convenience...once again until you have really tried it don't be hasty in viewing in a negative light. And a good system will sway your opinion in a positive way IMHO. Some systems are just hard to understand the other users due to static.

The Goldwingers have a CB Etiquette/usage section in their manual for group riding as the road captains use the system to navigate the flotilla on larger rides. The lead and the sweep both are in constant communication it seems.

Oh yeah, we have a "can you see me" bike as well :clap

rad
01-16-2010, 12:25 AM
I bet this will seperate into two lines of thought...those that dislike technology and those that embrace it...sounds like when the K-bike and the oilheads came to be:stick Most will find if they at least try it before condemning it they will maybe see some of the benefits.


I have bikes with and without bells and whistles. I see it no different than my former 1959 carburated Microbus with nothing to my 2003 Dodge FI Diesel with a radio and a CD player. Times and technlogy have changed.


I have a GPS/XM. Do not use it all the time... listening to the prompts in congested areas sure is safer than map gazing for me. I still use the map on my tank as well when out in the clear. Listening to the music makes me happy...an idle mind is a dangerous place to be for me...too many deep thoughts:brow

I do not make phone calls when rolling in/on any vehicle...big peeve of mine

Radar detector...own one but rarely use it unless I know I am intentionally going to exceed the posted limits...and I still got a ticket the last time I did that and am on double super secret probation:deal I had the heads up HARD display so really not a distraction unless the red LED started flashing and I started looking when I knew better.

Riding is a high risk already, getting lulled into an electronic trance is ...it's how one perceives his/her comfort zone...so I say ride your own ride...just be careful and stay out of my lane and off my tail. Staring at the white lines can also put one in a trance...

I bet the pilots here are chuckling...how about heads up displays for the future of motorcycling:laugh I can see the new gen K1200LT with it now

oh yeah...53 years old and 40 years of two wheelin'

Very well said:clap

108625
01-16-2010, 12:31 AM
A green motorcycle is bad luck

Don't tell Scott Russell, Eddie Lawson, Gary Nixon, Tommy and Roger Lee Hayden, Ricky Carmichael, Bubba Stewart, Jeff Emig, Destry Abbott, Jeff Fredette, Ricky Gadson...

Ken F
01-16-2010, 02:47 AM
What do you think of these flames???

http://www.hotboatpics.com/pics/data/3307/878CIMG2327.JPG

Bob_M
01-16-2010, 07:07 AM
Don't tell Scott Russell, Eddie Lawson, Gary Nixon, Tommy and Roger Lee Hayden, Ricky Carmichael, Bubba Stewart, Jeff Emig, Destry Abbott, Jeff Fredette, Ricky Gadson...

They must have afixed "fairy bells" to counteract the green jinx.:D

r11rs94
01-16-2010, 12:25 PM
I don't think you all are giving yourselves enough credit. This is a safety-minded group and I think most of the riders here make that extra effort to stay safe. That may mean removing a distraction, like the thermometer or radio, or taking the time to learn to use it as an asset. Those farkles that can't be learned well or prove to be more of a distraction than an aid get removed or turned off. I currently use only a gps but I'm not averse to using another farkle if I think it will enhance the ride and not distract me from it. I'm not worried so much about #12 but I do need to add some color to my mostly black attire. At least the bike is yellow.

Riding next to this bike could distract someone more than a GPS...:nyah Only kidding. I like it.

Bud
01-16-2010, 01:56 PM
What do you think of these flames???

http://www.hotboatpics.com/pics/data/3307/878CIMG2327.JPG

That is the first RS I have seen with flames. But you know what they say. "What ever floats your boat" :wave

mika
01-16-2010, 04:08 PM
Love the pictures and the flames!

What I am gleaning from this discussion is rather than rationalizing the use of electronic gizmoes or becoming mindless slaves to them you tech adopters have found ways to intelligently use and manage them safely. While I suspected this would be the response the article spurred me to ask the question. Thanks for the discussion and the pictures.

RTFlyer
01-16-2010, 05:10 PM
I have a GPS and a second mount that either has a radar detector or camera, depending on my mood. Add to those my Scala Q2 intercom which is linked to my GPS and phone...I rarely have used the phone when riding, but I do like to see if I'm missing an important call so I can pull over and get back with whomever. My garmin 550 works as a caller ID when paired to my iPhone.

So here goes...I agree with others that I believe that the voice prompts on the GPS are safer than glancing at a map in unfamiliar territory. As far as music, I go back and forth. I enjoy the sound of the engine and the rush of the wind as much as anyone, but I also like a little rock-&-roll to liven things up once-in-a-while. The intercom gets used occaisionally, but I find that I enjoy riding with a pillion rider who knows when to hush and enjoy the ride more than someone who yammers on. My soon-to-be-ex-wife was one of the latter.

In the end, I can and do enjoy my rides with all farkles humming, and at other times with nothing at all except my own thoughts. Since I can have it either way, I do.

We can look at these things as distractions or see them as things that keep us engaged. In my occupation, it is well understood that errors occur more frequently when things are slow as opposed to when things are hopping. It just could be that I'm safer on the bike when my mind is fully engaged. I can't disagree with those here who prefer solitude either though. I guess it's all just a reflection of our own individual personalities and preferences.

Scootertrash
01-16-2010, 07:44 PM
After reading that article titled "A Dozen Ways to Die". It kinda reminded me about the "Ten Ways To Die".

r11rs94
01-16-2010, 07:57 PM
?

boatfd
01-16-2010, 08:06 PM
Reminds me of some boating discussion I have had, new boater becomes so fixated on GPS, AIS, radar, depth sounder, etc he runs into another boater because he forgets to look where he is going. For me the end line is these are devices that provide input. You still need a brain with a good filter to decide what, were, and how much input you want. Some people become fixated on any shiny thing, they should not drive with shiny things.

bmwchromehead
01-16-2010, 11:41 PM
I'm not too concerned with my distractions...it's the mini van texting next to me that freaks me out.

corbtown
01-24-2010, 04:09 PM
One of my reasons for riding and enjoyment of riding is to get away from "intrusive" technology. I only carry a phone for outbound calls. And I avoid GPS because I kinda look forward to being "lost." I like the idea that I'm navigating by general compass points. I will find new roads this way. The map is a back up plan. If there is a true destination and a time issue, I'll write directions in advance and place in tank bag window. This comment is no judgment on others, just what works for me. The safety-distraction issue is another matter. Everyone has their own skills, styles and tolerances--but--in general I think the extra devices would be a distraction for many, if not all riders. It would be easy to justify the opposite conclusion if you're already invested in the gadget.
Recent experiment: Two groups were asked to memorize a number. Group One had to memorize a two digit number. Group Two had to memorize a seven digit number. After fifteen minutes, both groups were asked to choose between a snack of fresh fruit, or very rich chocolate cake. Almost everyone in Group One chose fresh fruit, and almost everyone in Group Two chose the cake. The distraction of the memorizing of the extra digits could have been the reason for the poor decision of Group Two. It also took each member of Group Two much longer to make the decision. When riding, YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO BE INDECISIVE--GOOD, AND TIMELY DECISIONS ARE AS IMPORTANT AS GOOD SKILLS.
Ok, I just hopped off the soap box. I enjoyed the thread.

alanrd
01-26-2010, 12:05 AM
I feel that a GPS is much less of a distraction than a map, and trying to find roadsigns, ect. One quick glance, and you see where you are supposed to turn, or hear it announced without looking.

Admittadly this only works if you have a destination when you begin your ride.

Also, to me it's nice to just take off riding, and not worrry about where you have been, where you are going. When you are ready to head home punch in home and follow the arrows....

460
I feel the GPS is a safety plus because I can be driving/riding defensively and not trying to find road a or street signs. It also gives me some warning so I have time get into the proper lane.

saddleman
01-26-2010, 01:00 AM
I enjoy all of my distractions. I also have a camera with a wrist strap on my arm.

Ken F
01-26-2010, 01:16 AM
LOL....Dave, I'm sure you realize that you have 3 CompassÔÇÖs?

somehow just struck me funny.

460

Ken F
01-26-2010, 01:26 AM
That is the first RS I have seen with flames. But you know what they say. "What ever floats your boat" :wave

Bud, those were on it when I bought it in Colorado. Believe it or not, the guy paid over $800 in material & labor! I considered getting a can of Wallmart rattlecan black before leaving for home, or a satin pink riding suit - was afraid of what might follow me home though. It was looking much better 1 week later.
460

saddleman
01-26-2010, 02:51 AM
LOL....Dave, I'm sure you realize that you have 3 CompassÔÇÖs?

somehow just struck me funny.

460
And I always trust the one on the right.:) A lot of my riding is with the GPS's off. At times they annoy me. I do find the GPS's very handy in large cities in rush hour traffic. They are both programed slightly different.

mika
01-26-2010, 04:33 AM
Does the old saying does a man with to watches know what time it really is come to anyone elses mind?
:stick

Bud
01-26-2010, 01:28 PM
Bud, those were on it when I bought it in Colorado. Believe it or not, the guy paid over $800 in material & labor! I considered getting a can of Wallmart rattlecan black before leaving for home, or a satin pink riding suit - was afraid of what might follow me home though. It was looking much better 1 week later.
460


I couldn't help myself when I saw that and knew you were a boater. Not often I get to use that saying in context.

BTW My favorite boat name is Last Boat III, which I saw on a boat on Lake Michigan.

Clay
01-26-2010, 01:50 PM
Reminds me of some boating discussion I have had, new boater becomes so fixated on GPS, AIS, radar, depth sounder, etc he runs into another boater because he forgets to look where he is going. For me the end line is these are devices that provide input. You still need a brain with a good filter to decide what, were, and how much input you want. Some people become fixated on any shiny thing, they should not drive with shiny things.

Yep..sounds like a typical power boater on the Chesapeake Bay...

Regards,

Clay AA3JY
s/v 'Tango'
Kent Narrows,Md.

testinglogin
01-26-2010, 02:45 PM
I only run with a GPS. Like others have said, I find it safer than trying to locate myself on a tank bag map. It doesn't take my eyes off the road as much due to it's placement, and it pretty much goes untouched while I'm in motion. There have been times on unknown roads where I zoom it in a little to give me an idea of the curves ahead, though I know better than to put all my faith in the GPS (I still go into blind corners rather cautiously). I only keep an eye on the GPS and don't use any voice prompting. Along those lines, I have tried music and found it horribly distracting so I just stick with earplugs, even on those longer 700+ mile days.