nspired historian Jeremy Packer sees the approach to motorcycle safety found in mainstream sport and touring motorcycling media, supported by the MSF, and generally consistent with the advice of transport agencies, such as the US National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety, as an ideology or and places it as only one among multiple ideologies one may hold about motorcycling risk.
Packer has suggested four categories to describe the different approaches to the risks of motorcycling. The first and fourth categories take opposite views of motorcycling, but share a fatalistic notion that to motorcycle is to tempt fate. The second and third categories differ in the degree of emphasis they place on measures to limit the risk of riding, but share the view that riders have some degree of control and are not victims of fate.
Or ban motorcycling; this is the belief that motorcycling is too dangerous. Some
former motorcyclists had an due to an accident involving themselves or a person
they know, which permanently upends their view of motorcycling. Some are adamant in their
opposition to motorcycling, unwilling to consider the merits or pleasures of riding due to their
horror at the danger and physical carnage of motorcycle accidents., in her review of s motorcycling book The Perfect Vehicle
admits her prejudice that nothing Pierson writes could change her attitude about
motorcycling because, "I used to be hospital nurse and spent so much time dealing
with bikers who were scraped off the road like so much raspberry jam after accidents that I
became an implacable hater of the machine. The danger to which bikers constantly put
themselves, however well-wrapped in their urban armour of studded leather, and however
horrendously helmeted, seems to me a reason for banning the infernal machines. .a smell
of blood and smashed muscle and bone mixed with engine oil. That is what motor cycle
means to me. And, I'm afraid, always will." Some safety experts have advocated banning
motorcycling altogether as being untenably dangerous.
This attitude to risk consists of self-criticism, constant
vigilance, perpetual training and practice, and continual upgrading of safety equipment. It is
sometimes a reaction to an epiphany. David Edwards of wrote, "Here's the
thing: motorcycles are not dangerous," saying that if a rider has a license, attends riding
schools, wears all the gear all the time, and develops an accident avoidance sixth sense,
motorcycling can become safe. do all of these things, become really serious about your
roadcraft, and you'll be so under-represented in accident statistics as to become almost
bulletproof." An advertisement appeared on the opposite page of Edwards' editorial, for
FirstGear brand riding gear for leather and textile riding suits and jackets. There are
many examples of riding advice which enumerate strategies for avoiding danger while
riding, but they de-emphasize the rider accepting inherent risk as part of riding, instead
emphasizing the rider's agency, based on his education and practice, in determining
whether he will crash or not, and the utility of the correct safety gear in whether or not he will
be injured in a crash.
 This is the acceptance that risk is unavoidable but can be embraced
by making certain choices, whereby motorcyclists, "reappropriate risk and motorcycling as
something which can't be measured only according to utility and efficiency. This discourse
doesn't eschew safety in absolute terms, but neither does it maintain the validity of safety as
the be-all and end-all for riding." Motorcycling advocate and writer Wendy Moon said that
one of the reasons she relaxed her insistence on always wearing a helmet while riding was
that she no longer considered it worth "the mental effort required to maintain that protective
attitude. I am not free to live in the now because I’m enslaved to the future 'what if.' .So we gradually distance ourselves from experiencing a full and free life and we don’t even know it. As a society, we’re like kids so bundled up against the snow we cannot move at all. Embracing that risk rejuvenates the soul and empowers one to live the rest of her life as she wants."
s passages in his book have been
quoted by Packer and others as perhaps the best illustrations of the approach of a sizable group motorcyclists: "They shun even the minimum safety measures
that most cyclists take for granted. You will never see awearing a crash helmet.
Nor do they wea--style 'silver-studded phantom' leather jackets," and
"anything safe, they want no part of", and "The Angels don't want anybody to think they're
their bets." In his essay Song of the Sausage Creature
, Thompson wrote, "It is
mentality, a peculiar mix of low style, high speed, pure dumbness, and
overweening commitment to the and all its dangerous pleasures." Packer calls
it, "a fate driven sensibility."
While giving respect to the first two discourses, Packer himself is sympathetic to the third approach and disdainful of the fourth. Packer's analysis of the second category, what he calls the hyperreflective self-disciplinary
camp, acknowledges that seriousness, sobriety, ongoing training, and wearing complete safety gear is not misguided, but worries about its close alignment with the profit motives of the insurance industry, the motorcycle advertisers, and the public relations desires of motorcycle manufacturers, as well as governmental bureaucratic inertia and  He sees motorcyclists who make non choices balancing risk and reward as being as respectable as other categories.
psychologist and researcher has found that non-motorcyclists and novice motorcyclists usually share the fatalistic attitude described by Thompson, insofar as they think that high speed motorcycling is like a or , where the rider tests his courage to see how close he can come to "the edge", or specifically the limit of traction while braking or cornering, without having any idea how close he is to exceeding that limit and crashing.
 In Thompson's words in Hell's Angels
it is, "The Edge. There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others — the living — are those who pushed their luck as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later."
Spiegel takes issue with the claim that only those who have "gone over", that is, crashed or died, know the location of the boundary line. He says that if motorcycle racers, or even non-professional advanced riders who make good use of the capabilities of a modern , were approaching the limits of traction blindly, they would be like a group of blind men wandering around the top of a building, and most of them would wander off the edge and fall. In fact, Spiegel says, crashes among skilled high speed riders are so infrequent that it must be the case that they can feel where the limit of traction is. Spiegel's physiological and psychological experiments helped explore how it is possible for a good rider to extend his perception beyond the controls of his motorcycle out to the interface between the of his motorcycle and the road surface. Whether or not one believes that the limits of traction are knowable can determine whether one falls into the second and third categories, those who try to minimize or accommodate the risks of motorcycling, as opposed to those who think the risks are beyond the rider's knowledge and control, categories one and four, either rejecting riding altogether or riding recklessly. Proficient Motorcycling columnist Ken Condon put it that, "The best riders are able to measure traction with a good amount of accuracy" even though that amount changes depending on the
motorcycle, the tires and the tires' condition, and the varying qualities of the road surface. But Condon says the rider feels the limit of traction through his hand and foot interface with the handelbars and footpegs, and the seat, rather than extending his perception out to the contact patch itself.
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