The MCN artical that haird is referring to shows the cause as being hood and impact heights, ie; if you're hit by a car the bike and your leg takes the impact. Not good, but better than a larger SUV or pick-up where the higher hood and fender heights put the impact at your shoulder/upper torso level, which results in less injurys but more deaths.
Dumb-ass stunters aside the highest deaths are right there with your HD rider. Inexperianced or re-entry rider over 45 with less than a years time, on a large cruiser type bike, running off the road and hitting a tree, rocks, parked car, what have you. With alcohol involved in more than half the fatalities.
People our (my) age that started out riding on dirt bikes when they were kids and have ridden different types of bikes all their lives are statistically as safe as car drivers according to Clement Salvadori in Rider magazine, the fatality rates are skewed by re-entry riders buying the "Rightious Partyin' Bro' " B.S, getting looped, and running into trees.
My friend has been recently shopping for a newer R1150RT to replace his R1100RT. He found one on Ebay that happened to be for sale in the LA area. Yesterday he completed the transaction and made the drive up to Norwalk to pick up the bike. This is where the fun starts,
The seller is an auto wholesaler and doesn't know much about motorcycles. Prior to meeting my friend at the front gate of the complex where all the vehicles are stored, the seller decides to start the BMW Boxer while on its sidestand (the ignition cutout had been disabled) and let it run to charge the battery. Well apparently he let it idle an awful long time because when they got back to the bike it was on fire!!!!
It burned a fuel line, melted the plastic, and got so hot it blew out the oil sight glass and poured hot oil all over the garage floor.
Needless to say the transaction wasn't completed. I'm curious about the ebay feedback on this one.
That happens more than you'd think, and it doesn't need to idle long to do it. During my admitedly short ownership of an '02 R1150RT I was emphaticly warned by the dealer not to let the bike idle for any length of time. Subsequent research on the BMW Sport Touring net showed a few cases of melted plastic filler plugs, wiring harness shorts, driveline failures as well as complaints of surging and just general ridability issues.
I admit the ridability improved quite a bit after I removed the cat. con. plug and let the bike run on the Euro. fuel map, but overall I was pretty dissapointed with the whole deal. Clearly the Legendary Motorcycles of Germany are just that,.... Legends
Thank God Triumphs back in buisness or I'd have to ride a crumby Ducati or Harley