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Old 01-26-2003, 05:52 PM   #51
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Default Re: Crash! Splat!

No need for a midlife crisis when one never stopped riding

Roger That! I started when I was 7, and never stopped. Now I'm 37. If I had to stop riding....I'd have a serious crisis.
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Old 01-26-2003, 05:56 PM   #52
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Default Re: Crash! Splat!

Agreed. I have three bikes, and the Suzuki SV650 is the smallest but perhaps the most fun. I have friends that deride me (pun intended) for buying the SV. I really don't care, but I know that perception and peer pressure are reasons why more small cc bikes aren't sold. Everyone has to have an open class bike so their friends don't laugh at them... Lastly, if I feel like just taking a leisurely sport bike ride, the SV is perfect - however if I'm on the Ducati just dawdling, people laugh and think I'm a poseur. I'll beat 'em at the next track day...
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Old 01-27-2003, 04:02 AM   #53
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Default Re: Crash! Splat!

As I said, it's just my opinion. I simply find the sportbike position limits my visibility and is more fatiguing for me than either cruisers or standards. Someone else's experience may be quite different. I find fatigue to be the most severe factor and I simply can't find a modern sportbike that doesn't result in severe fatigue for me in a relatively short period.

I completely agree about the stupid forward controls insanity that has over taken the cruisers. My cruiser experience is mainly on Harley's Super Glides, which sport normally positioned controls and older Japanese cruisers with likewise footpegs. This insistence on forward controls is stupid. And, with the inexperienced, dangerous.
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Old 01-27-2003, 04:05 AM   #54
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Default Re: Point taken

This is America. A .38 Special may be sufficient unto the task but everyone's got to show off their machoism and buy the .454 Casull, right?

Buy a 600 or 750? Heck no! What would their friends think?
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Old 01-27-2003, 04:50 AM   #55
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Default Re: Crash! Splat!

One comment in the article tries to cite an increase in average engine displacement as a possible reason for the increase in fatalities. I may be wrong but all these Harleys sold in the last 5 years are probably responsible for the increase in average displacement size, but does anyone think a 60 hp harley motor is going to tempt anyone to do dangerous "hooligan" antics, or to lose control because of the motor? I didn't think so. The people that write these articles seem to be awfully ignorant of real-world motorcycling.
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Old 01-27-2003, 06:53 AM   #56
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Jesus! I hate these articles. How much money needs to be spent for everyone to realize that motorcycles are dangerous?!? Isn't that obvious? While going down the road at 55 to 85mph I am at risk of critical or mortal injury. Helmeted, suited and defensive IÂ’m still at risk. If youÂ’re not comfortable riding and bearing the risk then buy a fukkinÂ’ Volvo.

The only thing that can come from this is greater restrictions to enjoying my chosen form of transportation from people who donÂ’t understand that joy. Look out for required orange helmets and bright yellow riding gear complete with air vest and seatbelts. These all followed by restricted engine size and max power.

So people are dieing from riding motorcycles. Johnny rocket racer is just as dead as Billy badass biker. The only people who arenÂ’t dieing are on small cc dirt bikes and they have to deal with the broken bones and ruptured spleens.

Why would we as riders even what this studied? The only thing the article mentioned that even remotely sounds like a good idea is the education of drivers about sharing the road with us. However, that will be the last thing attempted. Would it be nice to know why deaths have gone up? Maybe, but then some would feel the need to fix it and then weÂ’re screwed.

Hopefully I wonÂ’t have to give up riding because the joy of riding has been extracted from the experience of it.


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Old 01-27-2003, 07:27 AM   #57
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The rate of fatal U.S. crashes per 100 million miles ridden increased by 59 percent from 1997 to 2001, from 21.43 to 34.4

I don't believe it because I think the estimate of miles ridden in 2001 is screwed up. According to NHTSA, average miles ridden per registered motorcycle plummeted 19% between 2000 and 2001, from 2409 to 1944. Over the previous 10 years, average miles meandered around 2500/year, varying a few percent a year (the biggest variation was +9.4% in 1994). The large drop seen in 2001 simply doesn't make sense and has the effect of exaggerating fatality rate. Wondering whether September 11, 2001 may have affected riding, I checked fatalities by month and found that 19% of the year's fatals occurred in October–December compared to 15% in the fourth quarter 2000.

While deaths/mile should be a better metric, I think that deaths per registered bike is preferable given the flaky miles/bike estimate. From 1997 to 2001, deaths per 100,000 motorcycles increased 17.3%, from 55.3 to 64.88, still problematic but more reasonable. The deaths/motorcycle rate actually dropped a little in 2001 from a high of 66.66 in 2000.

Graying ridersÂ…

It's clear that the riding population is aging—it's not twentysomethings buying up Harleys at $20K a pop—so the number of older riders killed will increase merely because they're a growing demographic. But the implication here is that older riders are more likely to crash than younger riders, and that's not true. The median age of riders killed in 2001 was 35 while the median age of the riding population was at least 38 (that's what it was in 1998, and it continues to rise). So older riders are less likely to die than younger riders. BTW, that's exactly what Harry Hurt found in 1980, but for an overall younger riding population.

...weakened helmet laws...

This probably is a factor, but it can't account for much of the increase because only 5 states (AR, FL, KY, LA, TX) have repealed helmet laws since 1997 and many of the increased fatalities in those states are due to a growing number of riders.

...drunken motorcyclists...

This is probably not a factor. The percentage of riders in fatal crashes with blood alcohol .08 or higher dropped from 32% in 1997 to 29% in 2001.

...souped-up engines...

Hard to say. Big motors have grown as a percentage of bikes involved in fatal crashes, but that's primarily due to booming Harley sales. And Harleys are, in general, not particularly fast motorcycles.

...oblivious car drivers...

Sure they're a problem, but they've always been a problem. To the extent they're responsible for the increase, one would expect multiple-vehicle motorcycle crashes to rise and single-vehicle crashes to fall. But that's not the case. Single-vehicle fatal crashes actually increased slightly between 1997 and 2001, from 44% to 46% of the total.

...but safety experts aren't quite sure why the rate of fatal crashes
is soaring as fatal car and truck crash rates fall.

Here's my hypothesis: A growing riding population (registrations increased nationally by 28% from 1997 to 2001) has the effect of increasing average risk in the riding population. Harry Hurt found that newbies are about 50% more likely to crash than experienced riders. So when the sport booms, the greater percentage of newbies will increase average risk, and fatality rates (not just numbers) will rise.

Conversely, when the sport declines as it did from 1980 to 1997 (registrations dropped by 34%), a smaller percentage of newbies will decrease average risk in the population, and both fatality numbers and rates will fall. And that's exactly what happened from 1980 to 1997; deaths per 100,000 registrations dropped 39%.

So the increase in rates we now see is the mirror image of the decrease seen through 1997. However, rates are still reasonably low by historical comparison. The 2001 fatality rate per 100,000 registrations is now back to the early '90s level but still well below the 1980 rate.

If my hypothesis is correct, we'll continue to see high fatality rates in 2002 and maybe beyond because the sport has continued to grow. Over the period 1997–2001, the biggest increase in registrations (13%) occurred in 2001. And sales boomed again in 2002: Harley recently announced an 18.3% increase in motorcycle sales over 2001, BMW a 9% increase. As sales increase, so does the percentage of newbies in the riding population and, with it, average risk.

[Most of my data comes from the NHTSA website, specifically the annual "Traffic Safety Facts" publication and Motorcycle Fact Sheets. Some came from ad hoc queries run on the FARS database, a link to which can be found at the NHTSA site.]
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Old 01-27-2003, 09:23 AM   #58
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Default Re: More than surprising

How about cell phone usage by car drivers! Had a motorcycle get run down by a lady not too long ago while she was dialing her phone! Probably checking to see what to pick up for supper....
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Old 01-27-2003, 10:12 AM   #59
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A minor point perhaps, but "Carter's 55 MPH fiasco" was signed into law by Richard Nixon in January of 1974 . . .
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Old 01-27-2003, 12:32 PM   #60
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Default Re: Crash! Splat! Statistics do vary wildly

If you are interested check out New Zealand's motorcycle crash stats here http://www.ltsa.govt.nz/research/ann...e-table-32.pdf

What you will see is that over a 50 year period they vary quite wildly if you calculated percentages and for the life of me I can see no easily identifed reasons for the swings. The worst year for fatalities in this list was 1955 and the best is 2000, but there are clusters of highs and lows all over the place. The figure for 2001 at 6.1 per 10,000 bikes compares close to the US per 100,000 bikes figure.

So can you draw any conclusions? Probably not and I suspect the same applies in the US, though people try to analyse figures to death.

Should we worry? Try this table http://www.ltsa.govt.nz/research/ann...e-table-34.pdf

What that shows in NZ is that the greatest number of fatalities of bikers are due to loss of control while cornering - nothing to do with SUVs or other cagers - just bikers overcooking it - either incompetent riders or riding beyond their ability at that time I presume.

So take care out there and watch the corners - that will get the fatality rate down - at least in this country.


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