Superbike Crashes and Their Implications in India

Of late, I have been reading a lot about superbike crashes in India. From a Ducati Diavel Carbon in Mumbai being renamed to only Carbon and a Harley Davidson Heritage Softail crashing in Gurgaon, these untoward incidents have caught the attention of many. Generally, these are the parties involved whenever a high end motorcycle crashes in India :

The Rider of the Motorcycle.
The Journalists and their “motorcycle expert” friends.
The Police.
The Family of the Rider.
Every other motorcycling enthusiast who’s aware of the incident.
Let’s look at their perceptions one by one.

1. The Rider of the motorcycle :
90% of the time, the rider is never at fault. At least that’s what he thinks. It’s either the bike’s dynamics, the tyre pressure, a flying crane, a dog sunbathing in the middle of the road or the PWD engineers who determined the bank angle of the corner who are responsible for his crash. Ask him why he was doing 140kmph on a state highway and boom comes the answer – This a Ducati, okay? Ducati! Not a Pulsar!

However, if the rider is geared he’ll probably live and survive to admit his mistakes such as – mistaking the corner angle, not checking the tyre pressure before the ride, being too mesmerized by the landscape to watch out for the dog chilling out or riding too fast on a SH of all places. They’ll probably thank their Shoei helmet and their Rev’It! Jacket for saving their life and move on, probably wiser and ego leveled.

But, given the rider is not geared and is complementing his 1 liter engine with 100 rupee Aviators, he’ll probably be dead or in a coma. Money doesn’t but you a brain, you see.

2. The Journalists and Their “Motorcycle Expert” friends :
“So, there was a crash involving superbikes? Wow! You’re telling me this is minor news?! Hell, no! Forget all the other thousands of people who die every day riding their sorry Splendors and Discovers. This guy rides a Hayabusa! John’s bike! He must go on the title page of our website. Do the story in an hour and upload it fast! Before the Moto****s guys do it!” is what I think happens in every auto-journalism house a few hours after the crash, courtesy the very ethical habit of our citizens to click photos, videos and selfies of every crime spot.

So, within a few hours, you’ll have a glowing article about how a biker while “racing” with his superbiker friends died and how dominant the “superbiker scene” of the city is becoming. Then you’ll have a few snippets from the “motorcycling experts” who will go on to say how they consider “only superbikers as proper riders” (this is true, read it in a recent article) and then instead of suggesting solutions, the “motorcycle expert” will say how he rents out Ducatis and Triumphs after judging the capability of the customer on the basis of his AGV helmet and Alpinestar jacket.

Not much masala, no? So the journalist will now add how these “superbike gangs” meet “secretly” at night and do “high speed runs”. Now, I am no Nostradamus but these statements are only possible if the journalist watches Vin Diesel and Jason Statham movies to fulfill his 3AM cravings. Or maybe he has saved the Dhoom series of movies as “My Favourites” in his hard disk. Whatever. Most of these articles don’t have a head or tail and are best ignored. They are often motivated, vindictive and work on only one principle – Hate them, if you can’t have them.

3. The Police :
Ah, yes! How can we forget the law enforcers? So, one snoopy villager will call up his constable friend at the local outpost and tell him that some city boys were racing and one of them crashed. Said constable informs so to his ASI and together in their 1951 Jeep, they arrive at the scene. They are very quick to seize the license and papers of the wounded rider and will retort with the choicest of abuses if you question them, because hey, you’re “city boys illegally racing”.

The real repercussions happen a day after the crash. All of a sudden, there will be abnormal barricading and checkpoints. Every geared biker will be stopped on the suspicion of “racing” and be un-necessarily harassed while the real ones tripling on Pulsar 220s will be let go. It goes on and on.

4. The Family Of the Rider :
Whether the rider lives or dies, the consequences will more or less be the same. His prized superbike will be immediately sold off and the proceeds used to buy a second hand Honda City because he and his next 2 generations dare not touch a superbike again. Let the rider stare at a superbike for too long at the traffic signal and his wife will probably divorce him for doing so. It doesn’t matter whose mistake it was – he shall never ride a motorcycle again because it’s too “dangerous”.

5. Every other motorcycling enthusiast who’s aware of the incident :
Pictures and videos will make their way into various motorcycling groups via Whatsapp. Some will have pity, while some will curse the rider for buying a LS2 Helmet and not an AGV. Armchair riders will be quick to form an opinion as to why he didn’t buy TMX boots because they are made of military grade uranium, apparently. The wiser ones will treat it as a lesson and be more careful in their future rides and ensure such incidents don’t happen with them.

Own a liter bike? Congratulations. Just remember that your probable haunt would be the local expressway and not Autobahn. Beating that squid on his RC200 will not win you a trophy or Adriana Lima. Know your limits because “with great power, comes great responsibility”. Guess you’re too bored of listening to this from everyone, right?

Superbike crashes in our country are an accident. They are like the thousands of other accidents that happen every hour in India. People die in them too. Why sensationalize things? To educate others? How about you start educating our next generation by making the level system of driving licensing mandatory? How about you curb the sale of high powered bikes and ensure they’re not gifted to kids on their 18th birthday? Sensationalizing superbike accidents will serve only one purpose – it will give people the sadistic pleasure they’d derive by stereotyping motorcyclists even more.

The author of this article can be reached at He has also given an interview on All India Radio on “Safe Motorcycling on Indian Roads” which can be heard here.

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