By Diane Ortiz – President and founder of the Big Apple Motorcycle School.


As an avid motorcyclist I’m always anxious to find out if others share my passion, even strangers. The simple question of “do you ride?” is often met with either an enthusiastic yes; a statement inferring that I must have a death wish because riding a motorcycle is VERY dangerous; or a comment that their spouse/parent/sibling etc. won’t let them ride.  Happily the first response is becoming more and more common, but maybe it’s just the people I happen to meet.

If you truly feel that motorcycle riding is too dangerous for you then you probably shouldn’t ride a bike. Intense fear can be paralyzing and dangerous especially if it keeps you from reacting properly to situations. Fear of heights, spiders etc. can keep you from certain activities that could potentially be very rewarding, but everyone has their own threshold that they will not cross. Forcing yourself to face your fears can make overcoming that fear very rewarding, but not everyone can or wants to go that route.  Some people have no personal experience with motorcycling, but have heard about crashes involving bikes with subsequent horrible injuries or death. YouTube is full of videos of this sort and it attracts viewers who seem to have a morbid fascination with watching them. Logic tells us that there are many horrible crashes involving cars, boats and airplanes, but somehow that doesn’t keep most people from driving a car, boat or flying or piloting a plane. Life is full of risk and my mind, it’s riskier to visit a friend in a nursing home with a wing closed due to an “undisclosed contagious illness” than riding a motorcycle.

The last response, however, I find the most troubling. I try to imagine why an adult would be in a relationship that forbids a person to do something that they may find enjoyable, just because it has risk. Do you recall anyone saying, “my spouse/family/friends won’t let me ski”? Not very likely, and most ski resorts are filled with families enjoying the outdoors and learning new skills. Do people get hurt while skiing? I can’t quote exact statistics but enough serious and long-term injuries occur on a regular basis at most ski areas most reasonable people would agree that it’s a risky sport. So what is it about motorcycling where grown adults let someone else make a unilateral decision on whether or not they are allowed to participate in that activity? That’s a good question that only an individual involved in such a relationship can answer.

Forcing someone to do something isn’t good either. There are many folks who enjoy a ski resort from in front of a cozy fireplace just as there are many folks happily enjoying the riding experience from the passenger seat on the motorcycle.

My hope is that the decision on whether or not you ride will be yours. Life is short and we should all be free to enjoy every day to the fullest with no regrets.

Ride Safe!