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This is what I sent to him ...

Re: Goodbye, Hayabusa

Dear Mr. Easterbrook,

If the standards for the discussion are a) impracticality and b) safety, then I really think you picked the wrong vehicle to castigate. It isn't the Hayabusa we need to ban, it is the Hummer and all vehicles like it.

What is more impractical, a 200 mph crotch rocket or a 5500 lb. military grade sport ute? No one on America's roadways needs either one, to be honest, so why do you choose to pick on the 'busa instead of the Hummer?

Safety? Hardly. The 'busa is more dangerous for the rider, but far less dangerous for other drivers on the roadway, for the simple reason that there is only so much damage a 600 lb. motorcycle can do, even at ludicrous speeds. Riders of any motorcycle make the conscious choise to increase their risk, but with a socially responsible silver lining - they make everyone else a bit safer when they choose that bike instead of a car.

The Hummer, on the other hand, is about as socially irresponsible as you can get. The driver greatly increases his or her personal safety, at the expense of everyone else's safety on the road. You are far more likely to survive an accident when you are hit by a Honda Civic than when you are hit by a Hummer. It is simple physics. Mass matters far more than velocity in a world where virtually all accidents happen at less than 70 mph.

I won't even go so far as to point out the drastic difference in resources to build, mileage, emissions, etc. We live in a world of diminishing resources and the Hummer is a gigantic F*** You to the rest of the world, on a lot of levels. If you are going to talk about banning, let's at least work from the worst on down.
 

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

The stats about the driver I did not know. Thanks for the education. This conversation comes up at nearly every family dinner these days and you gave me some new ammo. ;)
 

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I think the best point is that when you come up with a number, say 200 mph, and state that this is "unreasonable" then it is best to just leave your statement at that, i.e. any vehicle capable of over 200 mph should be banned. If Easterbrook had stopped at that point, people might have disagreed with him, but wouldn't have complained about some inherent bias in his article.



He didn't stop, though, and singled out motorcycles, which opened up the door to all the criticisms. Everything he hates about motorcycles and their riders also appears in the car/truck/SUV driving public, so if he really wants to ban the speed or the behaviour, he can't logically single out riders for his mythical ban. That he did so indicates a deeper bias that goes beyond mere logic.



I see your point, though. Reality matters less than perception. If the public sees bikes as dangerous and incorrectly assumes that all riders are idiots, they will get banned whether those perceptions are true or not.
 

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I just read a book about Common Law. It originates from the Norman Conquest of England where William and his successors attempted to codify and standardize the various bodies of law they discovered so that they made sense and were more or less the same across the kingdom. Due to the longstanding Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, the Danish influx and the vestiges of Romanic law, things were pretty much a legal mess when the Normans took over.



That precedent was used later in the Medieval period for partially justifying the Magna Carta, where the King ceded considerable power and control to the nobility, who were ostensibly acting as the intermediaries for all Britons. If the law was to be equal around the kingdom, that implied that equality was a desireable end goal of the body of law and as such, the King's power had to be reigned in to bring equality between himself and the nobility.



 

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"That can only be done by eliminating the riders who ride irresponsibly. No amount of responsible riding can eliminate the perception caused by even a single asshat that rides irresponsibly."



You will never, ever eliminate irresponsible behaviour shy of nuking the whole planet and extincting our species. There are too many of us here, guaranteeing at at least a few of us will be idiots, a few will be psychopaths and a few will be so dim that the greater population can't trust them with scissors. The bell curve and nature guarantee it.



So ... the best response is to mitigate the behaviour as best we can by ensuring that when the dildos act like dildos, their ability to hurt the "rest of us" is minimized while their ability to hurt themselves is maximized. What activity seems to fit the bill perfectly? Motorcycles. Put those same asshats into cars and they will take a whole lot of law-abidin' folks with them to the promised land. Keep them on bikes and they will likely only kill themselves and the girlfriends dumb enough to latch on without protecting themselves first.



As you say, it is all a perception game and perceptions can be changed, so I don't see why you are so doom and gloom about this. We have an advocacy group (AMA) that can lobby for our interests already in place, so it is just a matter of making sure a) they have funds, b) they know how we all feel and c) enough of us follow the laws that when the AMA claims we are responsible they aren't laughed away from the negotiating table.



I think the greater motorcycle community could do wonders for our image as a whole by voluntarily taking care of the noise issue. If we fight it until the legal beagles impose something on us, we look like petulant children. If we take care of it ourselves, we build up community credit that would keep bikes on the road for the next century, IMO.

 

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LOL. I literally found out today that I'm headed back to school (loan decision was finalized) so I have a hard choice to make. If I stay working, I get the Ducati in the spring. If I go to school, then the Thruxton goes into storage for the duration: 8 mos. minimum and perhaps as long as 2 years. A buddy will lend me his 50cc Vespa to drive because he's not using it, but it just won't be the same.



It appears there is no cool for me. So close.



 

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"Both busas and 500hp corvettes should not be allowed on public roads."



There is no statistical rationale for this statement. You could restrict the top speed of all vehicles - period - to 100mph and you wouldn't make a spit's worth of difference to the accident rate because virtually all of them happen below 70mph. You might save the odd Johnny Blaze intent on putting his name in the record books, but you won't save enough people to even show up on a graph.



Ultimately, the accident rate depends almost exclusively on speed relative to the salient conditions (traffic, surface, rider skill, attentiveness, vehicle capabilities, etc.) and has almost nothing to do with the top speed of the vehicle. One could argue that 'busa drivers are more likely to be driving on the edge of the envelope, perhaps, but banning the bike would just move them to 600cc sport bikes and they will still ride on the edge of that envelope. Ban those and they would move to 50hp supermotos and still ride on the edge of the envelope. There is only so much you can do to offset idiocy.



Driving is a priviledge, but we talk and act and legislate as if it is a right. If it really was a priviledge, we would have graduated licencing and 'classes' of vehicles where one would earn the right to move up in class. Having a basic skills test and then opening the door to the whole panopoly of vehicles is why our accident rate is so high. We outdrive our vehicles, our capabilities, our experience and the conditions on a regular basis. Our accident rate proves it.



Do you honestly think that people would drive with cellphones glued to their ear if getting caught would drop them from Class 3 (Beemers, Mercedes, Lexus, et al.) all the way down to Beginner (Econobox sub 60hp - no highway) for a half decade? Not if they spent the first half decade of driving earning the right to get to the BMW, they wouldn't.
 
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