Tierd licensing still won't reduce the accident statistics among those who ride unlicensed, which seems to be a significant percentage. Sort of like the saying "when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns". If tierd licensing comes into effect, you'll still have those who will just ignore licensing requirements. 1st post!
Tiered licensing makes a lot of sense. Can't force everyone, but sometimes you have to make laws for people who are too stupid to get it. In fact most laws are common sense but their is always that segment that don't seem to get anything. If you can save a few lives it's worth it.
I find myself in agreement with Mr. Rau favoring a tiered licensing situation similar to Great Britains system. Being a graduate of the MSF I found the course helpful but truly insufficient in teaching me the basics. Coming to motorcycling later in life, Ive had the good fortune to have responsible friends share their insights and riding suggestions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for me. I want this for all new riders, regardless of age.
Here are a couple of the immediate issues I have with the MSF course as it stands today.
· Never got the bike over 15mph
· Never took the bike out of second gear
· Never rode on the local street in traffic with an instructor
· Never rode on the highway
· Never rode in a group and learned proper group riding techniques
· Never practiced emergency stopping (stopping from 15mph doesnt count)
Even with a car, you are required to have a learners permit for one year and must have a license driver accompanying you behind the wheel hopefully teaching & coaching the new driver for that year. We need something more than the existing MSF for motorcycling.
The one thing that no course or tiered licensing system can impart is good judgment that is left to individual. Let me ask this question if you handed the keys to a Ferrari to a 16-year-old recently licensed male, do you think he would go the posted speed limit? How about the keys to an R1 or CBR1000rr? Unfortunately I dont have a neat answer but I recognize that we need to be proactive. Suggestions welcomed.
Georgia has a tiered licence---has for years. If you take your test on a smaller bike (500cc or less) then you receive a restriction on your licence. If you take your test on a bike over 500cc, you are licenced for everything except trikes. Don't know that it has had an effect on any safety statistics.
Many times I see newbies buy a bike (usually a 600cc+) crash (adding to the statistic) and never return to biking again...
At least with tiered licensing and being condemned to a 50cc for a year, they either make it as a "biker" or they don't - if they don't, then at least they haven't been a 100+bhp liability for their limited saddle time.
For those who succeed a year's worth of moped duty come out of it a very smart and aware biker.
I'm still trying to get around the "most laws are common sense". I usually hear that from people who have almost no familiarity with the law, the courts or the law making process. Is it common sense to threaten a home owner with 5 years in prison if he mixes weed killer incorrectly? Well, read the labelling on a can of Weed-Be-Gone some time.
We are surrounded with an ever increasing web of vicious threats in the form of laws from the States and the Fed and, perhaps because of the plethora of laws, we get less safe each year, not more. Maybe some people think it's reasonable to charge a gun owner with the crime committed by a criminal who steals the gun, but I think the people who promote such insane laws are evil.
In fact, most laws are pointless and stupid. Pointless because laws have very limited utility since criminal types ignore laws and non-criminal types don't need a lot of laws to regulate their behavior. If laws were effective then how does one explain the wide prevelance of guns in NYC and the widespread use of illegal drugs everywhere?
The govt can't even take drivers licenses away from the half-blind elderly. Heck, most drunk driving fatalities are committed by several times repeat DWI offenders. Such obviously dangerous people are currently not dealt with. Tiered licensing would be a complete joke.
In Finland we have a tiered system and it works well. 11 kW - 25 kW unlimited. The results are very good. In fact now the motorcyclist death statistics have seriously tilted towards older 40+ riders, as previously the coffins were filled more by young blokes (interestingly, of those few under 20 motorcycle fatalities two thirds were alcohol related).
What to do with the older riders? Nothing. By and large they have already sired their offspring, divorced, most of the time too intoxicated to screw, and generally constitute a nuisance. So what if they get a gixxer as their first bike and slide it under a semi trailer.
Just to be clear- Georgia's 500 cc rule has been nullified for a few years now. You can take the test on any bike and ride any bike now. I know- I sell motorcycle insurance in this state for my livelyhood.
If Tiering is not the answer, however, there should be "Mandatory Training" before you are allowed to gain your M class on you license.
I AM a fan of the tiered system and you all know this but IF we cannot install a nation-wide program in which the tiered system works at the very least each state should "require" proof of a state sanctioned training course. Which, of course, you know that I suggested be in force along with the tiered system, anyway.
BTW- Fred, you did a great job on this- Thank you.
Gabe- Your arguement was well stated and clear but there is a way to make the system work correctly. We (Americans) are too [email protected] stubborn and self-centered to realize that it's completely possible that we need training when embarking in/on new adventures. Basically, a scuba diver doesn't dive without training first. So, why aren't we "required" to get training first?
I have to agree that tiered licensing is needed. I don't like gov. red tape any more than the next guy, but in this case I think it's warranted. You cannot tell me that a 500cc or smaller bike is not safer than something larger - it is obviously easier to manouver and control the throttle on a small, light bike. Case closed. No one can tell me that is not true.
It's also true that new riders need that ease of operation while they learn to ride, and that tiered licensing would demand they have it.
I know many people like to think they're rebels and that more legislation is always a bad thing, but come on, put the Steve Mcqueen movies back on the shelf and look at the real world. We're talking about life and limb, everybodys' insurance rates, and the legal state of motorcycling itself. The stakes are too high to wave the rebel flag here.
Let's get rid of all laws and see what happens... I'm sure we all would suddenly see how badly we need them when even the law abiding people would have to rely on survival of the fittest when the "criminals" are allowed to do as they please. Suddenly, law abiding people would be forced to act like the "criminals" in order to survive. You wouldn't have to worry about tiered licensing after your bike is stolen!!! Even though some people continue to break the law, it just seems obvious that the law and its enforcement is the only type of conscience some people have who don't know how to govern their own behavior. It may not work for everyone every time, but I'm so glad we have something to at least try to hold people accountable. On another note, I'm surprised that the extreme cost of motorcycle insurance for the younger and less experienced riders doesn't have more of an impact on the rate of motorcycle accidents. Or, maybe it does have an impact and their would be even more accidents without these "tiered" insurance rates?
"What to do with the older riders? Nothing. By and large they have already sired their offspring, divorced, most of the time too intoxicated to screw, and generally constitute a nuisance. So what if they get a gixxer as their first bike and slide it under a semi trailer."
I would sure like to see the total picture addressed somewhere. A listing of the major causes of vehicle accidents and resulting carnage would give us some basis for determining the extent of the motorcycle-related portion of the problem. No sense swinging a sledge when a crab mallet will do. Then I'd like to see some proposals for addressing those issues and the bill related to each. A simple cost allocation scheme would seem in order so that the burden of responsibility is affixed to those situations that cause the greatest impact (pun intended). Then we may see how little Susie in her Excursion fits into the over all picture that includes Billy Bubba on his new Goldwing.
I happen to think that the greatest knowledge of riding is gained in the dirt. More needs to be done to give riders of all ages and abilities the opportunity to develop their skills on lightweight bikes with softer landing areas. I know urbanites will be handicapped, but such is life. Surely some clapped-out neighborhoods and superfund industrial sites can be converted into rider training areas. You can make the training as tough as you like. The big four manufacturers won't lose sales if those sales begin with dual sport bikes. The bikes can still be ridden, just not on the open road until the rider passes the test. (Of course, you do have to figure out how to get the bike to the riding area. I used to ride my motorcycle to drivers-ed but thats not recommended.) And that test should include sliding in the mud, wheelieing over logs, using the front brake in the dirt, jumping and landing. Those skills won't all be usable or suitable for the street but the confidence gained will translate into a more relaxed rider who is less likely to panic on the street. Dirt training isnt a panacea but it could be an important piece.
I know this cake is less than half-baked, but we do need a forum for flinging ideas on the wall. If there is just a bit of a useable nugget here, thats just great. If not, at least I made an attempt to keep the discussion going. I hope the MSF, MIC, AMA, NHTSA, IIHS and all the other alphabet-soup organizations can come up with some workable solutions before my insurance rates are unaffordable or motorcycles are legislated out of existence. I commend MO on the follow up of such an important issue. Fred, that was quite a response. Gabe, that was a hell of a first shot.
My two cents.
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