I'm always asked that question by my family and friends that don't ride. In 1985 my triplet brother was killed riding my GL1000. He borrowed it for the summer and a month later he missed a curve and plunged 300' off the side of the road. So, my family asked, why do you ride a motorcycle are you not afraid of being killed, my answer is this. I could die in my sleep, but that doesn't prevent me from going to bed at night, I could die in a car accident there are a number of ways to die.
I like riding a motorcycle, there is just something about it that doesn't compare to anything else, the smells, the sights you see that you completely miss in a car, the wind and the company of fellow motorcycle enthusiast.
This is one of those questions where, if you have to ask, you wouldn't understand anyway. You either get it, or you don't. But motorcycles are not for everybody. Putting everybody on a motorcycle would be a good way to reduce the population in a hurry. Riding a motorcycle requires a different mindset, a different outlook on life than most people have. Some people are afraid to take any risk at all, because they might get hurt. There are a zillion ways to get killed. You can't avoid them all, though many try. If you are the Ralph Nader/Consumer Reports/IIHS type, motorcycles are probably not for you. The way I look at it, everybody dies, but not everybody lives. To me, riding a motorcycle is living.
Riding a motorcycle is like a drug. It can be relaxing or a rush. Like it was said before, if you have to ask, you won't understand. I'll take my 'Goldie' over almost anything anytime. I love the freedom of riding the open road and experiencing things you can't in a car. Ride on......
It's good to see Terryj630 that you have been able to enjoy many years of riding since you lost you brother in an accident. It is hard to explain to people that if you die while doing something that you really enjoy it can't really be such a bad thing.
Why do I ride a motorcycle?
I ride a motorcycle because I don't jump out of planes!
It's fun riding, gets me where I want to go, and also places I never thought to go before, 1 ride can last all day, or on a trip for weeks or so, and I can ride in most weather. Riding is basically rather cheap compared to jumping from a plane.
I would like to jump out of perfectly good airplanes but that costs too much. Tons of costs for the plane, fuel, pilot, etc. etc... and then only lasts about 20-30 minutes if lucky? Probably not good to be jumping with severe winds or heavy thunderstorms and lots of lighting, 19F-40F might be too cold for jumping, but all that is fine for riding and just adds more interest.