Contact some of your manufacturer reps and see if they'll support it in some way. Obviously, It'll be good for them. And MO will get all sorts of publicity and good will throughout the motorcycling community.
I agree competely. But what can be done? Of the 50-60 people I work with maybe 1 other person would consider using a PTW. What would you offer, a 1% tax reduction, a $200 per year savings in gas? It will get worse before it gets better. Heck, most people I work with wouldn't use one because their hair would be messed up. Like I said, I agree, but it's like trying to dig to the center of the earth with a spoon.
Right on, brother! I couldn't agree with Gabe more, but I really don't see the current situation changing.
Here in South Florida you can ride to work all year round. The sad thing is that I work in a building full of healthy, smart people, yet out of about 500 people, exactly 3 of us regularly commute to work on our bikes. It used to be 4, but one guy had a kid and so he sold his bike - go figure!.
I really think the biggest problem is one of perception. Let's face it, the vast majority of Americans think you have to be nuts or borderline criminal to ride. The media, as usual, plays this drum constantly and thus we only see negative portrayals of people who ride (i.e., recent crap like Torque or Biker Boys). With all due respect, I also believe the media's recent fixation with Choppers also plays to this negative stereotype.
Honestly, I don't see this changing anytime soon, which means that politicians, corporations, and others that decide transportation policy issues are going to continue ignoring all of the valid points made in Gabe's Manifesto.
Of course, I really hope I'm wrong about this. Perhaps the combination of big gas price increases and the steadily increasing frustration among commuters will cause people to consider motorcycles as a viable transportation alternative. But again, I don't think so.
Instead, I've come to accept my minority within a minority status. I'm just a utilitarian motorcyclist. 99% of Americans will never understand my reasons for riding to work, which in the end is fine with me.
Get up *later*??? What planet is this guy from? Oh yeah, Kalifornia - where it is legal to lane-split.
For the rest of us, it takes LONGER to commute on a motorcycle - getting suited up, earplugs, helmet, gloves, boots on, motorccyle out of the garage, get off, close up garage, sit in traffic like a chump just like the cagers.... repeate in reverse order once at work... If I drive I just walk out the door, jump in the car, twist the key and GO.
And because I drive a modern diesel car I get nearly just as good mileage as the bikes I own, and BETTER than many liter-plus hogs (ha!) on the road.
Commute distance 19 miles
Commute time for me in a car: 20 minutes & 50mpg
on one of my motorcycles: 35 minutes & 42-70mpg depending on bike
on one of the scooters: 1 hour & 50-70mpg depending on which. (plus expensive 2T oil)
Plus motorcycles are far FAR dirtier in emissions per mile travelled than modern passenger cars, even new FI & CAT equipped bikes.
Of course I still do it because I LOVE to ride.. but certainly not for any sort of time savings or mileage.
True, but if we even had a relatively small increase in the number of bikes on the road as opposed to cars, you might see the congestion lessen enough to make it well worthwhile. How many people own bikes yet never take them to work? I'd guess a vast majority. I would also guess that there are praticality issues involved like "I've got to wear a suit to work, so riding isn't really feasible." But how many people could commute by bike, but don't?
Also, many people probably don't feel comfortable riding in rush hour traffic, so safety is a concern. But legitimizing bikes as viable transportation could raise awareness among non-riders and give them an incentive to be more attentive when driving. Changing the perception of motorcyclists--helping us to be seen as an important part of the solution instead of a crazy-lunatic nuissance--could go a long way.
Maybe it's all too idealistic, but they are having some success with this in the UK, so it's not inconcievable.
AMEN!! And BTW it's perfectly possible to ride year round in Chicago. Thank you very much. Ok, maybe scratch about 2 dozen days. Americans are so wealthy (our "poor" are anything but) that it's going to take some serious pain for the value equation to change. Heck, companies large and small refuse to tolerate working from home (even part time) despite the clear benefits at least with respect to certain classes of workers.
I'd be interested to see what the iPass adoption rate change was after iDOT doubled the tolls for those who refused to get a transponder. Was it enough to kick people in the shorts? dunno.
Bring on the $4/gal gasoline I say. That's what it cost in Japan where I grew up and that was 20 years ago! Sure, the economy would have to recalibrate a little bit. But I'd hazard a guess most heavy commerce is diesel anyway.
The defenders of the perpetual class of underachievers will decry the move as racism or worse but the 'poor' tend to live in highly congested cities anyway where public transportation is considerably more available. Affluent people don't live in the city unless they're otherwise enamoured with the metro lifestyle.
Driving in Chicago is pure insanity. It's costs a fortune in parking and the congestion is rediculous (though LA, you can keep your #1 status). Yet millions of cars ply the highways instead of getting on the commendable train system. It's amazing to me how little people value their time and aggravation. Metra ain't cheap but the CTA is considerably more reasonable. For the price of a day's round trip ticket I can ride the 70 miles to work and back on the cycle for a week! That's seriously wrong.
Will riders change their attitudes? I'm not holding my breath. IL is one of the top states in bike registrations but a vanishingly small number actually commute. I'd love to be able to write off my commute miles on the cycle. 12000 miles * 36 cents adds up.
The key is to offer incentives for motorcyclists to ride to work ... here in Denver, downtown is crawling with scooters, because they're allowed to park on the sidewalk, like a bicycle ... Parking is expensive as hell ... I pay $2.25 to park half a mile away in Crackton, or $9 a day to park in the garage across the street from my building. Every block needs to have a few car spots re-lined for motorcycles and designated as free parking. There's a local Budget Rent-a-Car office downtown that lets bikes park on its property ... Looks like an informal free thing, and the space is useless to anything but bikes, anyway. Kudos to them. Of course, it's harder to incent the people who work in the 'burbs, where parking is plentiful already.
This doesn't apply to highways, just cities. I'm sure many will agree that road congestion in the city, however, can be just as bad if not worse.
I live in Brighton, a suburb of Boston, MA, USA. I work in the city, downtown...and getting to work any time during the day in a car is flat out discouraging.
As a caller said in the NPR program, bicycling can be a great way to get around the traffic. Now, Boston is pretty much as non-bike-friendly as you can get so it's definitely not for everyone here. But it's been my solution since 2001, a year after I moved here. I'll never give it up as long as traffic is the way it is (90% of the time I get to work far sooner than I would in a car or on a motorcycle).
Motorcycles aren't moving any faster than cars here, which is why I chose the human-powered alternative. But if there was enough of an incentive for more people to buy and use motorcycles as their main form of transportation, it could make an enormous difference.
One of the biggest areas motorcycles could make a difference? Parking. I don't know how many of you have been to Boston (I'm sure it's the same in most other congested cities) but a LOT of the traffic is caused by double-parkers. I can just picture a city that's even half motorcycles...parking would be a 'plenty! (My fellow employees would also be cheering with joy, since they all have to pay anywhere between $150-$300 month for a parking space near work).
I could go on about this all day...but I'll stop now. Just one more thing:
In the movie "Singles", Mayor Weber (Tom Skerritt) said something to Steve Dunne (Campbell Scott) that we can work with. If you've seen it, you probably already know what I'm talking about. The Mayor says something like (not an exact quote): "People are in love with their cars."
Introduce them to motorcycles and most of them will never look back...they'll be part of a love affair that each and every one of us here already knows all about.
The US and UK are a people divided by a common language. (and no comments about 'mercans not even speaking English)
BTW a bike may be more dirty in sulphur etc / mile driven but ever wonder how much cars spew into the atmosphere sitting there in congestion for an hour or more? maybe compare emissions / mile driven in LA "freeway" traffic between the hours of 7:30 and 10am.
If I can wear my military uniform under my safety gear, let alone wear BDU's to/from work, or can somehow manage to keep a suit jacket or full uniform at the office into which to change when I get to work what excuse does anybody have? None. They're just making up excuses to be lazy. Motorcycles are TOYS and will never get the respect as transportation. And that is the fundamental problem begging for a solution.
I wrote a similar editorial for MO quite a while back. The answer is simple. Raise the federal gasoline tax to $2.00 per gallon instead of the pennies it is now. Will anyone do it? Not this administration, which is a fully owned subsidiary of big oil.
Even the slight rise in prices recently has not broken the SUV habit, though it has slowed their sales. We need to make it painful every time they pull up to the pump. But there is hope. The last few times I've been in a crowded gas station, someone has asked me what mileage I get. I average 49 mpg on my fairly large bike, a BMW R1150RS. I am conducting a personal campaign, I tell everyone what my mileage is.