BALANCING THE RISK
By Paul Strubell of Dirt Orcas – 5/20/15
In the wake of climber Dean Potters recent death during a wing suit flying accident, there has been many articles about his very articulate thoughts on the great risks he took on while pursuing his loves. Many wrongly assuming that to solo free climb (without ropes) or to walk across high lines while un-tethered must have meant that he was a reckless individual and his death was just a matter of time.
All of our deaths are just a matter of time. The risks we take while in this life are different for each person. How can you measure the risks Dean Potter was taking without being Dean Potter?
For example, if there was a 10 foot cavern, that dropped off into oblivion, and you were standing on one side with Carl Lewis, in his absolute prime, by your side, the risk of you trying to jump that cavern is greater than it would be for Gold Medal long jumper Carl Lewis.
The things Dean Potter attempted felt safe enough to him.
We all assess the risks we take in different ways. You find something you love to do and you try your best to minimize the risks associated with it.
Motorcycling is no different. While we all love to ride, there is little denying the added risk to your daily commute or cross country trip while on a bike.
Of course being educated can make all the difference. Motorcycle safety courses, having a motorcycle license, wearing the proper gear, never drinking and driving, and knowing the most common times and places that an accident is likely to occur are great ways to start. Knowing the statistics can really help you avoid becoming one of them.
In October, Potter wrote on his blog, “Though sometimes I have felt like I’m above it all and away from any harm, I want people to realize how powerful climbing, extreme sports or any other death-consequence pursuits are. There is nothing fake about it whether you see it in real life, on YouTube or in a glamorous commercial.”
Potter was a breaker of boundaries that pushed his sport to places no one thought possible. To think he could have gotten there without taking risks is foolish. Lewis and Clark more than likely mapped out an area you have been to in your life because they explored 8000 miles of uncharted territory. An amazing undertaking that was full of risk. The risk often times brings reward. As is the case with riding a motorcycle, the joys of two wheel travel make the experience of life that much more rich. You need to take those risks to get that reward, but I encourage each of you to take a hard look at yourself to know your limits and to try and stay as safe as possible so that you can continue to ride safely.
I do not believe our time is meant to be lived cautiously, but that does not mean it should be live recklessly either. Push yourself to experience all that life has to offer, while managing the risk. You have a lot of adventure in you, but you also have a lot to live for.