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motorcyclist VS 50 BMG


According to Calculator Soup dot-com, the momentum of 170-pound human at 60 miles-per-hour is 14,955 foot pounds of energy.

Famously the most powerful, devastating rifle round available in this country to regular people is the 50 BMG (aka 50-cal). Introduced in 1921, and still highly respected for its devastating force, it averages 13,241 foot pounds of force.

Tough choice. Suffice to say I don’t want to get hit by either, but notice the similarity – both are A LOT of energy.

I decided to research this while reading a discussion of safety gear for motorcyclists. Novices think of helmets and consider the topic closed. Oh no. Armored jackets, pants, gloves AND boots are considered “All The Gear All The Time” or ATGATT in moderately-cautious biker-dude-speak.

Someone posted some very graphic motorcycle injury photos on a thread like that. Most of us get pretty squeamish at those, me included. However, you cannot un-see them. Fershur there is more than meets the casual observer when it comes to protective gear.

And That, gentle folks, is what brings all this up.


That set of gory pictures made me realize that there is a whole lot of energy to dissipate when a calm, careful, civilized motorcyclist putts down the road. At this juncture I won’t even get into the math of a 170 pound boy who gets his superbike going 150 miles-per-hour. That energy has to go somewhere. Because he is mostly lucky (I know I was in my 20s/30s … at a much lower level), the energy is almost always dissipated with engine compression and brakes in a calm, controlled manner.

A lot older and little bit wiser as I re-enter two-wheeled piloting, I am finally beginning to consider owning greater control of motorcycle physics … with a distinct probability that the unforeseen may challenge my ability to remain in total control.

No. I am not going to stop enjoying life because I am fearful.
I am not that.
“Judicious” might be a more appropriate word here.

Well, assuming I can act as a grown-up.
There is no precedent for that.