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There isn't even a safety benefit for the driver

This is perfect, except for one point.

According to statistics, SUVs, especially the larger truck-based ones, are actually more dangerous to their drivers, too. 8% more deadly for truck-based SUVs and 6% more deadly for the smaller models according to the numbers I've seen.

And, as you mentioned, their "kill ratio" (meaning the number of people they kill in other vehicles) is many times higher than cars like a Honda Accord.
 

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No, that's not what I mean

The kill ratio for (the number of second-party deaths in accidents with SUVs) compared to other passenger vehicles is huge. Many times higher than the average sedan. It has nothing to do with total numbers, although when you look at the total number of SUVs and the kill ratio together, you should be appalled.

And I have seen SUVs traveling at very high rates of speed often. Although speed isn't even the biggest threat. It's pretty well known in the auto and insurance industries that SUVs promote agressive and inattentive driving behavior. (Remember the ESUVEE ad campaign?), whether speed is involved or not.

I don't condone excessive speed for given conditions, either. But speed is not the only problem by a longshot.
 

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I'm surprised no one else pointed this out

The 0-100 time is in the neighborhood of 5.3 seconds, maybe a bit less with a really good run.

I'm pretty sure the 0-60 time is about 2.7 seconds.

And the author was so emphatic about it, too. What an idiot.
 

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Re: Kill Ratio

I don't disagree with the fact that a lot of riders don't have a lot sense. But this guy is calling for a ban of a motorcycle based on some percieved huge danger to the public. While there is certainly a danger, it's relatively small, probably very small, compared to the danger posed by SUVs. (Or probably even drivers using cell phones.)Yet, because of flawed perceptions, no one is calling for a ban on SUVs (nor would I advocate one) and many states don't have cell phone & driving laws.

I have been reading the responses, and in fact, have sent my own to Mr. Easterbrook.
 

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Yes, I need an editor

I usually don't bother responding to this kind of stuff, but it's a little slow at work. Yeah, it's really long. If he actually reads it, I hope his eyes bleed.

Mr. Easterbrook,

No doubt, soon you’ll be flooded with e-mails from angry members of the motorcycling community stemming from your item in TMQ, "Sayonara Hayabusa," that is, if you haven’t been already.

You may have expected some negative response to your piece, but I’m not sure you’re prepared for the magnitude of outrage. Why? Because motorcyclists are forced to read and hear the same kind of sensationalist, inaccurate drivel almost every day.

Your kind of nonsense threatens an activity that brings joy to millions of responsible motorcyclists. To call for a ban on any motorcycle based on your prejudices, flawed conclusions and outright incorrect reporting is the height of arrogance and irresponsibility. I only take comfort in the fact that anyone with any influence probably won’t take you seriously.

As evidence of your tenuous grasp of the subject, let me point out a couple of, eh, problems with your piece. You stated that a Suzuki Hayabusa can accelerate from 0-100 mph in three seconds. Actually, you seemed to be drooling over that "fact." Where did you get this fairy tale? It’s closer to 5.3 seconds, which is still quite fast, but nowhere near your claim. How you could put so much emphasis on that point and get it totally wrong is, frankly, mind-boggling.

You have also made an inference, which you seem to assume is fact, that somehow because the bike is capable of such acceleration and speed that it’s responsible for a high, or at least significant, number of second-party deaths. How did you come to this (wrong) conclusion? Motorcycles of any type rarely hurt anyone except their riders and passengers. We can’t say the same about SUVs, the worst kind of ego-machine. SUVs kill many times more people per accident than any passenger vehicle. There are also many more on the road. Should we expect an item calling for the ban of SUVs in TMQ next week? I wonder how all of those NFL players will get to the games this year?

You also imply that most of the blame for Ben Roethlisberger’s accident should be placed on the motorcycle itself. Huh? While Ben showed exceptionally poor judgment in choosing to wear no protective gear and was likely riding a bike that was beyond his limited riding skills, the driver of the car in the accident was deemed totally at fault, which by the way, the vast majority of car drivers in car-bike accidents are. The motorcycle was not traveling at a speed unattainable by any passenger vehicle. This is either a hare-brained deduction or willful deception.

You should also know that a large number of motorcyclists take riding skills and training very seriously (since it is somewhat more difficult skill in which to become proficient, than say, driving a passenger car). What kind of training or skill-building activity, aside from 11th grade drivers’ education, have you participated in to improve your driving skills?

And, incidentally, there’s at least one very good reason why motorcycles are quicker to accelerate than cars. One of the only things you managed to get right is that motorcycles have no real passive safety features. However, we use acceleration and agility as part of an active safety system to avoid all sorts of moving and stationary hazards, not the least of which is the inattentive, food munching, stereo fiddling, cell phone yapping droid in the 5000 lb. SUV. You may think that a motorcycle such as the Hayabusa is still overkill, and some of us may agree, but frankly, you’re obviously not qualified to make that assessment.

Few serious motorcyclists condone reckless riding, stunting or outrageous speeds on public roads, In fact, many of us are active in reducing this behavior, but the danger that this type of minority behavior poses to the public is relatively small compared to, say, the small and often overlooked act of using a cell phone while driving a car.

I won’t even address your Constitutional insight as it is totally laughable. I’m sure others will, though.

Leave the motorcycles to the experts and brush up on your "journalism." You need some practice.

Regards,
 

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Re: There isn't even a safety benefit for the driver

There's a book that was recently published called High and Mighty: SUVs: The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way by Keith Bradsher.

Bradsher is a Detroit auto industry writer and a severe critic of SUVs. You'll find those stats in the book (I believe they're from the NHTA). We all know stats can lie, but in this case, there's not all that much to fudge.

What most people believe is that because they're in a civilian tank, they're better protected than in a car. That's only true for certain types of accicents. As we all know, SUVs roll over much more, and worse, the larger truck-based models are classified as light trucks, which aren't required to have the same rollover protection as cars and minivans. Not a good combination at all.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There's lots of stuff that we've all suspected that's confirmed: SUVs almost never get driven off-road yet many owners just want to be percieved as adventurous and rugged. Auto industry market reseach shows the target SUV buyer is self-centered and is not confident about his/her driving skills. And much more.

I don't know if Bradsher believes this (I'm reading the book now, but I have read a very detailed synopsis of his main themes; he's been on this for a while), but I can't remember the auto makers ever claiming that SUVs are any safer, or as safe, as any vehicle in their marketing. They just sort of let the public make the inference that they must be because of their size.

Anyway, the book is one man's take, but so much of it rings true that it's hard not to take very seriously.

From powells.com on High and Mighty: "...SUVs and light pickup trucks now make up at least half of all new vehicle sales in the US. This is despite the fact that they posses high-polluting engines, poor gas mileage, and careless and unsafe body-design, not to mention the risks they pose to other drivers who can't see past them or are blinded by their badly placed headlights (or, God forbid, are hit by them)..."
 
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