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What do we do if, after an in-depth study, the government decides to enact limits like the 100hp limit in Germany? or no performance oriented fuel or exhaust mods. like " off-road use only" pipes on touring bikes, or how about flourescent orange vests and arm chaps? In-depth studies tend to give the WRONG people access to information to use against us. Be ready for mandatory full face helmets, mandatory insurance, reflector vests, HP limits, no more shorts-n-flip flops, no more butt-floss panties and chaps, neon fringe arm chaps only.( tuff to look like a rebel without a clause, when you dressed like a highway flagger.) no more movie stars running into curbs or off the side of straight roads into the desert. it's safety first from now on!
 

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"with motorcycle fatalities increasing 50% in the last 5 years" - There has been a huge increase in motorcyle use in the last 5 years. Much greater than 50%. Is this going to be similar to the British situation where the 37% increase is being bereated, ignoring the over 1000% increase in scooter use.
 

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While such a study could be a mixed blessing, one advantage is that many single-bike accidents (caused by rider stupidity or hooliganism) are unlikely to go unreported, and are less likely to show up as statistics. On the other hand, every biker who ever got run off the road by an SUV damn well better be filing a report. The numbers should balance out in our favor.



Still, my sense is that it would be better to leave well enough alone. I prefer my bikes without mandatory airbags and training wheels.
 

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The Toad
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Before we gat all exercised over yet another Federal exercise in futility, remember that we will all be in nursing homes by the time the results come out.
 

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I hated 55 mph speed limits and got a lot of tickets but it does save gas and now that 75 mph is the norm the death toll has gone up in kind. I'll bet that these speed limits will stay up even though many more car accidents result in deaths. Non-bikers will never allow their rights to be infringed. We will never see helmets on car drivers because the law makers would also be directly impacted since all of them drive drive cars. If all of them rode bikes I'm sure their would be no helmet laws. The bottom line is this, we as bikers make up only 1% of the population so we will always be looked at as a nut fringe. Unless we can get some large benefactors to give money to our opponents campaign coffers to agree with our views then we will always be on the brown end of the stick.
 

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So?

In-depth studies tend to give the WRONG people access to information to use against us.

In the absence of information, the WRONG people are free to say anything they want. They are certainly doing so. Are you saying that this information should only be available to the RIGHT people? Sorry. That's impossible.
 

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Your death rate stats are crap. Probably got them from local news media. It's not your fault.



When max speed limits went up on ite interstates, highway deaths went up on those interstates... but total motor vehicle fatality rates went down. Huh? Why is that?



It's because when the speed limits were lower, more people were getting killed on non-interstate roads, which have less safety features. Setting the speed limit on an interstate is a bit like marketing. Raising the limit gets more people off rural roads an onto the freeway. Sure, when more people are using the freeway, more people die there... but less motorists die in total.





 

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The Toad
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I beg to differ. On the western Interstates the accident rates went down after the speed limits were raised to 75. Fatigue was the main factor in these accidents. The higher speed limits allow you to get from Salt Lake to Denver in 7 hours rather than closer to 10 hours for example. The Interstsates are so empty that collisions are less a factor than falling asleep, or getting hypnotized droning along at 55 on I-80. (Another problem is the ******** who entertain themselves by cruising between Green River and Rock Springs in Wyoming with rubber dildos attached to their noses, but I digress.)



Fuel consumption is also not so straightforward as it seems. For example my Subaru gets as good mileage at 75-80 as it does 55-65. Sometimes better. I actually tested this on some long trips through Idaho and got 27MPG running at 65 but closer to 30mpg running at 75.



Weird, huh? Probably has something to do with power curves and efficiency. My 81 KZ750 did a similar thing, getting 45MPG whether I rode at 65 or 75. Putting on a larger countershaft sprocket to lower the revs at speed had not one bit of effect on the mileage.
 

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"one advantage is that many single-bike accidents (caused by rider stupidity or hooliganism) are unlikely to go unreported, and are less likely to show up as statistics. On the other hand, every biker who ever got run off the road by an SUV damn well better be filing a report."



That right there is the biggest flaw in this type of report. Anyone who has worked in the service department of a dealer, and who has to deal with crashed bikes on a regular basis, will tell you that, contrary to what these studies say, the biggest cause of crashes is not stupid car/truck/SUV drivers, poor road conditions, or poor weather, but simple ole rider error. Education and training will do more to improve safety than anything else.
 

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Wrong! If that were true the autobann would be worse than US highways. In fact, they have exactly half the fatalities per car-mile as we do. I realize that there are othwer factor at work there, but still.



The safest group of drivers (ie. least accidents)are those who drive 10-15 MPH over the speed limit. The worst group is the slowest 5%



Speed kills is crap. It's driver inattention, at any speed, that kills.
 

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Did Hurt's 1981 study result in onerous legislation? Helmet laws, arguably. However, while some states have enacted them, others have repealed them.

Mandatory training, possibly. Hurt found that trained riders were less likely to crash than untrained riders. It may be a stretch to conclude that since riders who chose to get some instruction were safer (back when training wasn't merely optional but hard to come by), those who are required to get it will be safer, too. But I don't sense a backlash against training requirements, at least for minors.

As for motorcycles themselves, performance advancements since 1980 have produced extraordinary machines better than even the GP bikes of 20 years ago.
 

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Death tolls on I80 in Nebraska have gone up since they went to 75 mph. It takes longer to stop at 75 then anything slower and that is physics. Speed kills because if everyone was walking there would be no car wrecks. Not to many people on sidewalks get killed when they bump into each other.
 

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Good point. My unscientific observation is that a large percentage of motorcycle accidents are not reported, and that these are generally caused by rider error.



Single bike accidents without serious injury (requiring emergency medical attention) are often not reported to the police or to one's insurance company. Especially true if the bike can be ridden away.



Of course this may also be true to some extent with auto accident statistics, although I suspect the relative frequency of single car accidents is lower than for bikes.



With or without this data being included, however, the study can still be valid. If safety is the issue, it is not that big a concern if accidents without injury (or only very minor injuries) are underreported.



Bob





 

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The Toad
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Well then by your logic we should ban all privately owned motor vehilces.



By all means. We should go back to pre-industrial society. Back when it was safer. Before novocaine and penicillin. Back when being 50 was considered elderly. Great idea!

 

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But now that the infernal Segway is here, even pedestrians are no longer safe. Expect severe shin bruises to skyrocket 500%, which will spawn a government study that mandates shin bumpers on all Segways, 16 hours of rider training, and shin liability coverage of at least $15,000.
 

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Recall a couple of weeks ago we had the report here of how Italy was raising its highway speed limits to over 90 to improve safety?



Re fuel ecomomy, it is interesting that in my old Datsun 260Z, the best gas mileage I ever got (over 30mpg for 2 consecutive tanks) was during a high speed tour of western Colorado and Eastern Utah -- extended periods well over 100 mph. At speeds closer to the then 55mph limit, I usually got around 25mpg.



I had a similar experience a couple of years ago in my Audi A4 1.8. I was returning from SoCal to Park City on I-15. Just past Cedar City, some guy blew by me in his Lexus, so I figured I'd let him run interferrance with the Utah Highway Patrol. Let him get 1/4 - 1/2 mile ahead and then matched his speed, while keeping my ears open for my radar detector buzzer. For the next approximately 100 miles, our speed was rarely under 100, and several times I hit the electronic speed limiter (130, per Road & Track, about 135 by the speedo). That tank of gas, I actually got better mileage than on the previous one, where the cruise control had been set at 80.



I am not suggesting that faster speeds are necessarily safer or more economical, but the generalization that lower ones are safer and save gas are not always valid either.



Your point about rural western interstates is an important one. In many cases, the only limitation to what is a safe speed is the vehicle itself. Christ, I recall in the early 60's, the car magazine testers routinely would test their exotics (Ferraris etc) in the Nevada desert at 180 mph, perfectly legally, and probably very safe. As long as the vehicle is designed for stability at those speeds and tires are made to handle it, there is very little risk.



Even 75 mph limits on these roads are ridiculously low.
 
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