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DosEquis 07-03-2001 12:50 PM

Re: Motorcycle Related Deaths Rise Again
Well, this teaser from MO certainly got us Whirred Up! As an "Older Motorcyclist" (ouch!), I can certainly say that experience is what has kept me from any unplanned get-offs. However, I would guess that the vast majority of MO readers are serious motorcyclists and have a far lower accident rate than the averages to which NHTSA refers. I practice one skill everytime out -- and I doubt that I'm the only one in this crowd. I wonder how the stats break down by experience as well as age.

Several posters noted that cager training is a big issue and I couldn't agree more. I can count the number of times that a car has yielded the right of way to me. When I wave a car, pickup, or 18-wheeler ahead of me, you can see the shock in their expressions, so maybe the motorcycling community isn't lily white on this issue. Any of us can pick out a cell phone user from a mile away.

I would LOVE to see mandatory license retesting, including a road test (or an on-road driver/rider safety course), every three years. And ban cell phone usage without a hands-free setup.

I must disagree with the posters who said, in one form or another, that July 4th isn't Independence Day any longer. You can post your opinion to the contrary and no one will knock on your door. Get a grip.

Dos Equis

1997 Honda CBR1100XX

Gixxerboy 07-03-2001 12:53 PM

Re: Motorcycle Related Deaths Rise Again
Hmmmm, my initial reaction was to 'flame' but on further thought I think TOddnick has a point. No matter what we do, bikers are 'statistically' at higher risk of getting seriously hurt and we need to acknowledge this. I do a number of other "really dangerous" activities that, with proper care and training can be reasonably safe... I still have to acknowledge their inherent risks though.

2linby 07-03-2001 12:56 PM

Re: Motorcycle Related Deaths Rise Again
I've been riding (legally) since 1975. Helmet is always on, Gloves and leather boots. Took the MSF beginner course with my wife and five years later we both took the advances course. It is obvious to anyone who rides regularly, there are more riders out there, subsequently more potential for accidents. I ride in a very defense/agressive manner. It is legal but I cover my ass ALL THE TIME. I would'nt disagree to a mandatory five year national license renewal class for both bikers and cagers. I think everone can and will benefit from the grounding of a one day every five years in a class room/field exercise. on the cc/hp rules. Aa 250 rebel is as good as a harley when ms beauty queen on the cell phone in the ford Antartica runs your ass over. I ride over 10k a year. I've seen make-up, eating, cellphone, clothes changing etc... and so have you. This is reckless driving, there already is a law against these behaviors, lets force our police agencies to enforce these laws and we'll all live to ride another day. Happy 4th. & keep the shiny side up!

CBR1000F 07-03-2001 01:06 PM

Re: Motorcycle Related Deaths Rise Again
Good point. An SV-650, GS 500E or EX-500 would all make ok starter bikes.

Gecko 07-03-2001 01:09 PM

Re: Motorcycle Related Deaths Rise Again
And what did you learn on????? did you start on the track or street. Sounds to me like you are more of an exception than the rule. If you are racing at age 15 then by the time you are old enough to drink legally you will be well on your way to being a responsible rider. Which is not the case with many folks on the street today. If you are learning how to ride fast in a controled environment a 600 is just fine on the street no way.

Gecko 07-03-2001 01:42 PM

wrong tool
600 sportbikes are like street legal racebikes. You don't learn to drive a car with a Ferrari (sp?) why? mostly because you can't afford it but beyond that because it isn't a car that lends itself to slow reflex's. The same should be true for bikes but with a bike cost of under 10G's people let their bank book do their thinking instead of their brains. Tier licenses would be tough because it runs into states rights. It's could be linked to transportation funding like seatbelts and drinking age are and helmets are likely to be in the near future. But it still comes down to 50 differant interpretations of the law which is like to be worse than the present system. The ACLU is destined to get involved on oneside or another once someone thinks that this idea could be used for cars as well. Now I say this as I prepare to move to Japan next year and deal with their tiered system...but it's set of rules. The easiest way to deal with it is to say that only motorcyclists who wear proper safety equipment will be covered if they crash. Leave the ones who don't on the roadside to die. That way Darwinism takes over. Of course this would never fly here in the US we protect our stupid and encourage them to continue to be stupid.

Abe_Froman 07-03-2001 01:44 PM

You are the problem.
I had already drafted this response in my head, knowing that somebody would knock my post.

Perhaps the meaning wasn't entirely clear from my wording, but what I meant was: The colonists were fighting to gain their independence from tyranny. Since our current state of government is, by any objective standard, far more tyrannical than the government the colonists revolted against, we have lost the "independence" we once had from tyranny.

While I have fantasies of rigorous drivers education (such as mandatory 3-year recertification, part of which would be 5 timed laps around a racetrack in a performance car under a certain time) and graduated licensing systems that allow experienced motorcyclists more freedom from traffic laws, such ideas are inherently tyrannical. I would never actually support such policies. That would deny other taxpaying citizens the right (yes, right) to travel about as they please. Such is near the very essence of freedom. I refuse to beg government to restrict the behavior of others, provided that it's within the bounds of common law. Those that wish to do so should mind their own d__n business.

Nish 07-03-2001 01:57 PM

Re: Motorcycle Related Deaths Rise Again
I read about this and posted somewhere else. Basically this is what I had to say.

First off, as cars get safer with their air bags, side impact protection, restraint systems, abs etc... Biked still remain a platform that you sit on with little protection except in the form of leather and a helmet. It's the risk you take riding a bike. Sometime in the future cars are going to be extremely safe and bikes will still be where they are today.

Second off, I dont believe for an instant that speeding is the cause of most accidents. When a policeman arrives at the scene of an accident he is REQUIRED to report a reason for the accident. If there is no obvious reason or witnesses to back it up then 'excessive speeding' is what's put down. This is a great statistic for insurance agencies but it's more or less a load of BS. Inattentiveness and inexperience cause accidents. And sometimes they're just plain 'accidents'.

Also that cruiser segment of the population is on the rise and it seems like a fad to me. I 'have' seen many people on crisers ,as someone in another forum had put it, 'unable to keep their bike upright in a parkinglot'. What do you expect? None of this stuff is a surprise to me but the end result will be higher insurance premiums and that does bother me a bit.

DataDan 07-03-2001 02:22 PM

Re: Motorcycle Related Deaths Rise Again
This is old data, now recycled by a new Transportation Secretary. I've posted some of what follows in a previous MO discussion of the same issue, so pardon my repetition.

US motorcycle registrations increased by 7% in 1999 [1], the largest increase since 1979, and many of those new bikes were sold to older riders. The typical new bike buyer in 2000 was 42 years old according to J.D. Power and Associates [2]. So, in part it's simply a matter of increasing numbers of older riders.

However, not only has the 40+ riding population grown, many of them are newbies, and newbies of any age are at higher risk than more experienced riders. Harry Hurt [3] found that motorcyclists with fewer than 6 months in the saddle crashed 40% more often than those who had been at it longer. So, 40+ riders, as a group, get a double-whammy: both greater numbers and greater average risk due to the newbie proportion.

But even increased exposure and added average risk among older riders aren't enough to tilt the statistics in favor of youth. In a survey conducted in 1998, the Motorcycle Industry Council found that the median motorcyclist age was 38 years [2]. Yet NHTSA reports that the median age of riders killed in 1999 was 36 and only 45% of those killed were 38 and older [4]. In other words, 50% the riding population was 38+ but only 45% of the fatalities were 38+.

Interestingly, Hurt reached a similar conclusion--that older riders are less likely to crash--although the riding population was much younger back then. He found that the median age of riders involved in the crashes he studied was 26 years while the median age of riders in those locales was 28 years.

The increase in death and injury among older motorcyclists shouldn't stump anyone, least of all the DOT. It's a simple consequence of changing rider demographics.

[1] "Traffic Safety Facts 1999",

[2] Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar "A Deadly Side to the Baby Boomers' Thrill Ride." Los Angeles Times, 25 March 2001: A1.

[3] Harry Hurt, "Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures", 1981. Available from National Technical Information Service (

[4] Compiled using NHTSA's on-line query facility,

whofarted 07-03-2001 02:31 PM

Re: Motorcycle Related Deaths Rise Again
If the number of riders has increased, and the number of deaths has increased, then has the death rate really changed? It seems like it is the same to me.

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