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mattg 07-27-2002 02:54 PM

No simple solution.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate any effort by the AMA to stand up for our rights, but I also firmly believe that the only way to make it safer out there is for the cagers to open their eyes, put down the cell phone, and pay more attention to the buisness at hand, namely driving. Unfortunately all the lobbying and legislation in the world will not make for a simple solution. Any ideas???

KPaulCook 07-27-2002 03:24 PM

Some ideas and the cruiser guys won't be happy
1. Outlaw the use of cell phones while driving. Have the Feds withhold money until States adopt this laws. Double fines for violations if a cell phone was in use.

2. Increase criminal penalities for drivers involved in accidents injuring others.

3. Educate drivers on the consequences of their actions. i.e. most folks only have a vague idea about civil liability until they get sued.

4. Mandatory FULL FACE Helment laws (I can't believe the AMA is against this). Why Full Face? Because according to a study by Ditmar Otte and Gunter Felton * accident study FULL FACE Helments significantly reduce the chance of injury. Most head injuries involve some part of the front of the head.

I know this doesn't make cruiser guys happy. But by doing this injuries go down, insurance costs go down and then rates go down

* Proficencient Motorcycling, David L. Hough, page 28.

5. Encourage motorcyclist to wear long sleeve abrasion protection jacket with body armor.

dwindhorst 07-27-2002 04:58 PM

Re: take responsibility for ourselves
As motorcyclists, we are a minority. Our first impulse, when beset by the forces that outnumber us, is often

to enlist outside help -- namely, the government. But greater legislative involvement in motorcycling (and the motorsport and transportation industries in general), actual or threatened, here and abroad, inevitably leads to a lessening of the freedoms that draw us to the sport in the first place, e.g., diminished off-road access; restrictions on horsepower and top-speed; reduced speed limits; and in at least one instance so far, the virtual disappeareance of an entire class of vehicle -- the three-wheeled ATV. Whenever we encourage the government to look at motorcycling more closely, we are almost inevitably the ones who lose, since riding is, generally, more dangerous than driving.

There are certainly plenty of people who can't manage to safely operate a cellphone and a car at the same time. There are also plenty of riders who are just as dangerous all by themselves on a new license and an R-1. Or a Big Twin. Or a beer and anything. It's my personal belief that ensuring a healthy future for motorcycling involves our -- ourselves, the manufacturers, and such advocates as the AMA and the motorsport press -- improved efforts at education (i.e., public relations) and responsibility. And, failing that, the willingness to sue the hell out of anybody who wrongs us. Sure, litigation is a nasty process, but, for the sake of maintaining what freedoms -- even potentially dangerous freedoms -- we have left, better to take an issue to court that to Congress.

MrDeadeye 07-27-2002 05:58 PM

Re: AMA Testifies on Capitol Hill for Steps to Improve Motorcycling Safety
I think that one of the best ways to improve motorcycle safety is to increase motorcycle use. Here in Tokyo, motorcycles are EVERYWHERE, and car drivers expect motorcycles to be EVERYWHERE. "I just didn't see him" is not an acceptable defense over here.

Therefore, the AMA's efforts to increase MC parking and lower tolls and fees are important because these initiatives could increase MC use. More bikes on the road = More driver awareness.

Along these lines I would also suggest tax exemptions for rider safety apparal and even tax rebates for motorcycle purchases.

However, this all hinges on viewing bikes as a solution to traffic and parking problems. Most lawmakers are more likely to think that bikes ARE the problem and the solution is to discourage riding

KPaulCook 07-27-2002 05:58 PM

Personal Responsibility vs. Reality (the case for laws)
I agree that personal responsibility is better than more laws but pratically speaking I don't think that it has a chance.[*] Today I went riding on my favorite twisty road. I saw so many folks riding cruisers and sportbikes wearing no jackets and an inadequate helments.[*] On the freeway this week I witnessed a women driver in an SUV almost wipe out a Kia while she was talking on cell phone. After the Kia swerved to get out of the way another motorist honked at the lady. The lady then took her hand off the wheel and flipped everyone off (while still talking on the phone).
[*]Again most folks are ignorant of the litigation that can result when they cause an accident. If more folks were aware, there would be a lot less road bullys (especially agressive SUV drivers)

[b]The Seatbelt laws have saved lives and reduced the rate of increase of insurance costs. I contend a Full Face Helment Law would do the same.[b]

KPaulCook 07-27-2002 06:04 PM

Re: AMA Testifies on Capitol Hill for Steps to Improve Motorcycling Safety
Excellent post. Good points. The AMA should spend some time lobbying lawmakers that motorcycles are a good solution to traffic problems rather than fighting mandatory helment laws. Talk about wasting valuable AMA political capital. The European model of allowing teenagers to ride a small motorcyle or scooter before they drive is an excellent concept as well.

mattg 07-27-2002 06:48 PM

Re: take responsibility for ourselves
In the way of new legislation how about a requirement that anyone applying for a motorcycle license be required to take an AMA backed course. This would be a very easy way to ensure that new riders are properly educated. Back in high school we all had to take drivers ed in one form or another including instructed behind the wheel time. In my state at least all you have to do to get the m class is pass the 15 minute street test. That's just not good enough. I also agree with the post that suggests tax breaks for bikes. Why not? Virtualy every bike out there is putting a lot less polution into the air, not to mention the fact that we are burning far less gas. Hell, just me riding to work saves me $20 in gas every week as opposed to driving my truck. I think the AMA needs to support a more balanced approach to solving the accident problem, and not rely entirely on the government, as most of us would agree, that road tends to lead nowhere. And by the way I do support helmet laws but do not by any means think that that is the great answer, just another small piece of the puzzle.

longride 07-28-2002 02:20 AM

Re: Some ideas and the cruiser guys won't be happy
I don't understand point 3 (mandatory helmets) in that I bet it makes just as many "sportbike" guys unhappy as well. Nobody wants to be stuck wearing a helmet all the time. Personal responsibility and basic freedom come into play. Manadatory condoms next? I hope not! Know what the #1 cause of death in car accidents is? Head injuries. Why not make the cagers wear full face helmets too? Without flip up shields so they can't talk on the phone. Good solution there I think.

Point 5 (protective gear) makes no sense after point 3. Why only encourage such flimsy body protection? You went balls out on the head, so lets do the same for the rest of the body. Full armored body suits should be mandatory, with air bags attached. Mandatory purchase with the helmet when you buy the bike. Wouldn't that reduce the chance of injury as much as the study you quoted in point 3? I'm 100% sure it would.

You didn't mention motorcycle modifications that should be manditory. How about roll cages for bikes with seatbelts so the rider doesn't hit the ground and stays put? They have been proposed as live savers, I have seen drawings of what they will be, and should easily reduce injuries even further. Combined with the mandatory helmet and mandatory armored suit, we'll be in fine shape then. You would have to agree that more mandatory laws are what we need to protect us from ourselves, right? Laws against fatty foods and playing with sharp objects should be next on the list.

longride 07-28-2002 02:33 AM

How we can REALLY improve.
"The American Motorcyclist Association is a nonprofit organization with more than 250,000-members. "

This in itself is pathetic. 250,000 members out of many millions that ride. Membership = money = political clout. The feds will do what they want with us because they have no fear. Unless our political muscle increases, there will be no fending off increasingly stupid laws. If you want to see clout in action watch what the NRA does.

erik_squires 07-28-2002 05:07 AM

Re: No simple solution.
Great ideas, but won't help with single vehicle crashes.

Understanding the nature of injuries sustained to motorcycle riders, and the ways to minimize them is something I feel is also very worthwhile.

I'll post more elsewhere.


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