Boy, that would be sweet if we could pay less money than 4 wheeled vehicles on toll roads. It always bugs me that I have to shell out the same amount for my 700 pound (with me on it and full of gas) bike that an Expedition full of pie eating fat asses watching DVD's from the back seat does.
Let's make splitting lanes in stopped traffic legal too!
Got back from Sturgis Saturday, after heading to the left coast and meandering back to Georgia via Yellowstone, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado....you get the picture. The guys I rode to Sturgis with actually ride our bikes (A Harley, 2 Beemers and a Honda in case one is wondering) We got to Sturgis the Sunday before the rally. We immediatly saw someone on a Sportster, not paying attention, rear end a Goldwing 3 wheeler and die. A friend of mine who is a VERY experienced paramedic said he had an all star team working with him on this guy, but internal injuries took him out. Same thing happened again on the Needles Highway just a few days later (fortunatly, we did not see this one). Another guy drifted across a lane and took out 3 other bikes, 3 more people died, several were injured. Again, someone was not paying attention.
What I did see in Sturgis was some of the poorest operating of motorcycles that I have ever seen! The majority appeared to know what they were doing, but there were a bunch who had not a clue and were much to concerned with looking cool than riding properly. Most of the poorest riding came from the custom bike (regardless of make) and trailer crowd (you know, fully dressed bikes that are inexplicably hauled everywhere they go, you can tell because the bikes were immaculate). Some of these folks simply are way over their head when it comes to riding in large groups, traffic or, heaven forbid, in the rain. You would think by August that natural selection would have culled these out of the population, but they obviously don't ride enough at home to get in trouble there!
Then there was the rude-cool bunch. Heading into Keystone on the way to Mt Rushmore is always a parking lot, but a down hill parking lot. Most folks just shut off their engines, gliding down the hill waiting in line, like good little citizens. But not the rude-cool bunch, nope, they just had to go down the shoulder, motors running, open pipes blapping (again, regardless of brand believe it or not. Any v-twin can be made obnoxious with open pipes) passing everybody. Ticking the real riders off. Guess their time was way too important, or at least more important than everybody elses. Wonder how many of them went home in a bag or box?
Loud pipes were an entirely different issue. One of the guys in our group is responsible for my Harley habit (I was on my K1200LT this time, he was on his Harley). At one point I looked over at him and said, "I never thought I would say this, but I am tired of drag pipes on Harleys". Much to my amazement, he agreed! Folks, on a shovel, pan, knuckle or flatty, they don't sound too bad, but on an evo or twin cam, the pitch of the exhaust is simply not a pleasurable tone and does nothing for the performance of the engine. The evo and twin cam were designed to be muffled, even slightly makes them run better. Geez, don't any of these guys know anyone with a dyno? Check it out, that stocker with quiet pipes in most cases will out perform you drag piped beast non stock cammed beasty. Oh, but I forget, quiet is just not cool to the rude-cool bunch!
Saying all this, the AMA may be right when talking against the IIHS report, but they need to admit that a lot of folks that go to Sturgis (Laughlin, Daytona, Laconia...) are a blemish on those of us who a contiencious about riding and actually ride to events as well as to work, the grocery store, where ever, when ever.
So my point in this diatribe is this:
The AMA has every right to slam the IIHS, heaven knows they don't give a d**m about motorcylcists since actuarily we are just about impossible to rate because we don't fit into their rating schedules because age and experience don't match like car drivers. However, the AMA, ABATE, MMA, NCOM and the rest of the folks that look out for motorcylists need to make everybody aware and do more to make motorcylist better riders and take responsibility for our own actions! Lip service is easy, action is a bit harder to swallow.
If you plan on going to a rally, and have a bike that is capable of hauling you the distance, ride it often before you go, then ride it to the Rally. If the bike is not capable to haul you the distance, still ride it often (or ride something often) around your home town. Take an MSF course, especially if you have just gotten back into the sport or are starting at a not so young age. It just might sharpen your skills, save your life and keep you from screwing up someone else's vacation by having to scrape you off the road.
President, Georgia Sidecar Club
Editor Rallymap and Buy-Sell-Swap, BMWRA OTL
Abate of Georgia
BMW Riders Associaton
Georgia Sidecar Club
51 Harley Servicar
88 Harley/Watsonian Sidecar Rig (175,000 miles)
00 BMW K1200LT (62,000 miles)
03 Harley FLHTC (coming to my garage soon)
and a bunch of other bikes in the past and over 500,000 under my butt....