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About damn time! Tell you what--start giving drivers who kill and maim serious jail time and I bet we start getting "noticed" a lot more. Didn't see the biker? Aw, that's too bad... its also assault with a deadly weapon, vehiclular manslaguhter, etc.---you're going to jail, grandma! All it would take is a couple of high-profile trials to get the ball rolling. ...and continuous and vigorous enforcement from there on out. Along the lines of the zero-tolerance drunk-driving prosecution going on now. Hey any judges out there subscribing to MO?
 

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Give us an email address at the NHTSA. We need to let them know how big and vocal a group we are, otherwise they won't put budget or time to investigating and addressing motorcyclists needs.
 

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Good for the AMA! Such a study would be quite valuable if it's done right.



It will be interesting to see if a study requested (commissioned) by a lobbying group ultimately yields unbiased results. Would, for instance, the AMA accept the results of a valid study if it concluded that many motorcyclists simply fail to operate their vehicles in a safe manner? That motorcycles are marketed in such a manner as to promote unsafe riding? I doubt it. I suspect, however, that a study that placed the blame elsewhere would be accepted no matter how ludicrous the methodology. Then we'd learn nothing.



If this thing's going to get done I hope that it's done with an eye towards trying to learn something instead of confirming existing notions.
 

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Despite what lawyers, zealots, insurance companies, etc will tell you, deaths occur mostly due to lack of riding skills. I won't say that all of them do (obviously), but most do.



Due to this influx of trendy cruisers, more people that have never ridden before are buying cruisers and getting out there and riding. This is a good thing. The bad thing is that you get an increase in proportion of people who aren't mentally capable of operating a mechanical pencil that are buying $20,000 Harleys and the like. I'm sure it happens on sport bikes too, but to my eye, it's not as common as the cruiser people.



Motorcycles have become a "fad" for some people. When this happens, more deaths are the unfortunate result.



(Learn how to use the front brake people!)



Andy
 

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This kind of thing is why I belong to the AMA. The more members the AMA can claim when it goes before a bureaucracy, the more likely it will get taken seriously. The AMA sometimes pursues things that I don't agree with, but it is by far the most effective representation that we have.



The Hurt Report probably gives valuable insights, but technology has changed to the point that parts of that study might be a little misleading. I would like to see any study include non-fatal accidents, so that it could look at injury severity and equipment use, for example.



The AMA's Motorcyclists Matter campaign is a start, but they could be more ambitious with penalties for injuring or killing with a car. If you can get locked up for 20 years for selling pot, you shoud be locked up even longer for killing somebody by accident.
 

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I have crashed five times and out of those five times another vehicle operator was at fault. One of those accidents could have been avoided if I had more experience but the other one was completly out of my hands. There is not much you can do when a ford explorer with a kid stoned out of his mind behind the wheel pulls out in front of you. Then you stop and the kid still hits you. I will say that if I had not taken the MSF coarse before that accident I would have been killed. I think that most accidents could be avoided if we as riders pay more attention and don't expect people to notice us. But most accidents I have seen are from riders riding beyond there skill level at least most of my wrecks were and probably will befrom going faster than I should.
 

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What we need is, for the AMA to let us have a voice in this matter, they should use their website to make it known to the NHTSA that all motorcycle riders are aware of the problem, and need some answers as to the cause of it, only then will we be able to find solutions.

The AMA could use their excellent Rapid Response to spread the word, it really works!

Let us not forget that the NHTSA is not releasing this figures to help us out, oh no, they want us gone!
 

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>>There is not much you can do when a ford explorer with a kid stoned out of his mind behind the wheel pulls out in front of you. Then you stop and the kid still hits you.<<



How did this happen? He pulled out in front of you, you stopped, then he hit you? If he was in front of you and you were stopped, how did he hit you? Did he drive sideways down the oncoming lane and hit you?
 

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Though I've yet to read any study that completely confirms this, my suspicion, at least here in Los Angeles is that the roads ARE more dangerous that 5 years ago. Aside from just an general increase in traffic, the last 5 years has seen a proliferation of two things: SUVs and cell phones. Not intending to start the usual biker rant about "Stupid SUV driving soccer-moms", the truth is that SUVs have larger, greater blind-spots than your average four-door sedan. Cell phones which only used to be affordable for working professionals are now in use (constantly) by everyone from new, teenage drivers to daydreaming housewives (and husbands).



Mandating hands-free cell phones for drivers and better education for SUV (or any large vehicle) drivers will go a long way in making the roads safer for motorcyclists.
 

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We can get offended every time someone does not see motorcycle but as a matter of fact it has been,is and will be that way.

People don`t see bikes and it`s up to us to get noticed.There will be people who cuts us off,always.Get use to it, you will live longer.

In my opinion vast majority of bike/car accidents could be avoided if riders had more skills.

We are the minority among road users and demanding that they all of the sudden start seeing us is silly.



 

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I don't think you need be concerned about raising the SUV issue often; it is a very legitimate question. I think there is a natural feeling of invincibility and superiority for anyone (male or female) driving a large vehicle--think about yourself in this position. A normal vehicle is unable to see through or around pig vehicles, and when there are multiple lanes, SUV's and large pick-ups everywhere, we as motorcyclists have little chance there. I read an interesting statistic the other day published by the Federal Government following some extensive research into SUV's. The conclusion was very straight forward--SUV's kill many, many more people than vehicles of any other type. But the interesting part for me was that SUV drivers are themselves killed at the same rate as the drivers of any type vehicle. Obviously the myth of safety for the driver is a misnomer, yet they kill others at an alarming rate. The political and environmental arguements against these pig vehicles is so overwhelming that they should be banned on that basis alone.

Bryan
 

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That's the exact same thing I was thinking. I almost can't count how many times a person on their cell phone as pulled out in front of me or just changed lanes without looking. Just recently I stopped at the scene of an accident where a mini-van pulled out in front of a F4i and all the police said was, "oh, i guess she just didn't see him" .............. so instead of jail time she gets a citation for an improper turn.
 

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No it's not silly. They already see motorcycles. It can be physically proven that if their eyes point in your direction and are open the light bouncing off you will register on their retinas. Their subconscious dismisses you because they're not really paying attention. The problem is not visibility. There's nothing that attention grabbing about black and white and yet the police bikes always get noticed. No it is not silly to demand that other drivers pay attention--it's already the law! Why do you think the DMV does vision tests? And for some of us, we are not just starting to demand this--many people have demanded it for a long time regardless of how successful they've been. The cars were not there first, we were! No more excuses, people need to start going to jail if they won't take responsibility for their driving.
 

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Yeah, I read something about that on the web, It's because body on frame vehicles don't absorb impact energy like cars with uni-body construction and crumple zones that dissipate and channel impact energy away from the driver and passengers. Of course they paste the hell out of whatever they hit because thay weigh so much more than your average car and sit higher and generaly handle like bricks. I think a possible clue to higher accidents and fatalitys may be found in the lines of shiney cruiser's parked outside taverns on every nice weekend I see as I ride past, I also talked to a guy awhile back on an RC 51, turns out it was his first bike. I know its a free country and you only go as fast as your right hand tells you but I feel that whoever sold him the bike might have at least tried to point him towards something more appropriate for his skill level. So we have riders who maybe a little impaired, riders who maybe a little over their heads as far as skill level and bike choice, and errant motorist with their heads up their asses and a lot more new riders and drivers on the roads. Throw in little nazi-boy beanie helmets and chaps with tennis shoes [my favorite] and there's your answer .
 

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The issues are more complex than "SUV driving cell phone murderers", although I think they are a horrific new addition to the overall problem. Training and responsibility are fundamental.



Think of this, the motorcycle test in CA consists of a few questions and the ability to ride the bike in a circle. The car test is more complex, but only just. Many people simply don't know how to drive or ride safely. Ok so the bike test (sort of) assumes that the rider can drive, but look at the driving standards. Just as I see loony SUV manouvers, I see riding that is just plain stoopid. (Yes you, Mr. Guzzi rider on the 10 east. I was behind you.)



Now think of this - the last time you went to traffic school, how many people there amazed you by their incredible ignorance of the rules of the road? (Not you of course.... you were only there 'cos you didn't spot the fuzz in time to slow down.. you KNOW the way it should be done, unlike them. Still need to be more attentive though, eh?)



So what about making the test cover more of what driving is really about then? What about an element on freeway driving? Reversing? Emergency stops and maneuvers? I've done driving and riding tests in various countries over the years and these are definitely the easiest by a mile.... I won't even talk about periodic retesting...



If you want people to know how to drive well, you need at least to have a testing system that requires them to know how to drive at the time they do the test. A gentle coast around a few city blocks or riding in a circle doesn't do it.
 

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Good point. In Va., all you have to do is ride the bike to one end of the DMV parking lot, turn around and come back...without falling over. How about requiring the MSF course to get a m/c endorsement on your pemit? And shouldn't drivers--cage and m/c alike--have to be retested every so often? But can you imagine the howls about overbearing, intrusive government?
 

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Regarding the "I am invincible!" factor that comes from driving an SUV, my girlfriend recently swapped cars with her dad for a couple months. Don't tell her I said so, but she's actually a pretty good driver, when she's in her Grand Prix. The first day she had her dad's Blazer I thought I was going to die riding with her. She was braking later, turning faster etc. etc. I pointed this out to her and she said "I feel more in control."



I about died. I then explained how the opposite was true and that feeling of control was more of an illusion than anything else. Once I pointed out to her what she was doing she paid attention to her driving style and confirmed what I'd told her. Now she drives the Blazer normally and tells me about all the other people she sees on the road who probably feel the way she felt originally.



So, there's my one example how all that needs to be done is a bit of explaining (not just a warning on the driver-side vanity mirror) about the handling woes of SUVs, and people might catch on.
 
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