First, as a 40 year old Buell/Suzuki/Kawasaki/HD/MotoGuzzi owner/rider, I prefer my Buell lightning for most of my local riding. ALL of which is done with my Armored custom fitted Vanson Sport Rider and Arai Signet helmet, TR Gaultlet gloves, and Engineer boots.
A few comments on all of this.
1. I appear to be the exception for riding gear on a sportbike, as most of the "kids" around here (Southwest Missouri area) wear a nice helmet, and shorts/t-shirts/tennis shoes for protection.
2. Most cruiser riders wear good or great leathers, and a stupid "pudding bowl" helmet, or more appropriately, a hair cover, for cosmetic/legal purposes only.
3. The The cruiser bike riders, mostly 40+ are cruising from Hooter's to Bumstead's, to Adobe's, drinking with their buddies between short hops, usually done in city or rural trafic.
4. the "kids" on the sportbikes are out practicing wheelies in church parking lots, or cruising Battlefield road at 25 mph in heavy cruising traffic looking for girls, or sitting in hardee's parking lot talking to their buddies, as they are mostly too young to get into bars around here.
What does this mean?
Everyone needs to wear more protective gear, and I would think that a lot more fatal accidents are the result of drinking and riding/crashing with a hair cover on, (the result of stupidity) than are caused by simple stupidity alone (Wheelies etc.)
Do I know this for a fact? No. But I do know a lot of friends my age crash a lot of Harleys on Wednesday night bike night on the way home from Hooter's after 3 hours of beer with the Bro's, and wind up pretty messed up from hitting whatever without a helmet.
I also know a lot of sportbikes get towed by my friend Rick C. that owns Ricks towing in Ozark, from kids that have pitched them doing wheelies and loosing it.
I don't remember hearing about any fatalities where they had to "Scrape the guy up with a putty knife" because he hit a rock wall at 197 MPH, and was squished like a watermellon.
I DO hear of Jerry R. whom succumbed to head injuries suffered from inadiquate head protection in a 35 MPH accident where a truck pulled out in front of him.
An accident that could have been avoided if he would have had the basic training to earn a motorcycle endorsement, and the brains to wear a decent helmet.
I know about Jerry pretty well, as he worked for me for about a year.
Any answers? None that aren't obvious already, like motorcycle license enforcement, and getting the booze out of biking. Those two elements alone would probably make a huge difference in motorcycle injuries and fatalities. Especially the ones who will die today, and tommorow, and the week after this.
Makes you think about the little stuff, like freedom to ride what we want. Keep it up, and they will legislate it away from us.
Don't think it will happen? Ask every person in California that owns a 50 caliber rifle.
They were just banned in California. Does not matter that a crime has never been commited in the state of California with one, it was a popular political move.
If we do not collectively stay on top of this, we ARE next.
Think about articles like the one that prompted this one.
There is a good article in one of the current motorcycle print publications that details helmet design. Could be that Snell and Dot have not come up with the best helmet tests, so we might be able to save a few more than we are now. Also, with increased acceleration and top speed of the current crop of all types of bikes, the up tick in bike sales, the aging of the bike riding population (decreased reactions, loss of visual acuity, decreased range of motion), it is little wonder that deaths have been mounting. Adding fuel to the fire, the mid life crisis that we older types experience often makes us try to do things to recapture lost glory. It may be time for another Hurt Report so we can really get to the truth behind the stats.
All it will take is a pol who needs an election year issue and we'll be in the crapper pretty quick. If the press ever decides to heavily propagandize the "dangers of motorcycles" you can bet the Jim and Sally Middleclass will solidly support the banning of motorcycles. Those sheeple will believe anything they read in a paper or see on the tube. All you have to do is tell them that motorcycle injuries end up being a tax burden and they'll be screaming to put an end to it.
If you think I'm exaggerating you only need to go to a few meetings of your local city council. You might be amazed at the number of your neighbors who show up wanting the govt to ban the most amazingly mundane things.
well put. There are lots of guys around here on Sportbikes wearing the peanut shell helmet, tank top, and shorts, whose goal when it comes to riding skills is to be able to "bang a def wheelie yo". They just go up and down the expressway, practicing, doing acceleration runs (read: straight line), and taking breaks at the krispy kreme parking lot. When the ambulance has to show up to pick someone up off of the pavement, it's usually serious because the rider wasn't properly geared up, and was doing something stupid. Crap, even at a track day, that type of activity is not condoned.
Perhaps they should ban those hair covers first before they take away my bike.
I had a customer come in a couple weeks back on his 2000 GSX-R750 with chromed rims telling me about how he was going 185mph here in the Bay Area. So you gotta figure, his buddy with the Gixxer 1K with chromed rims and a polished frame MUST be able to do at least 200mph, right?
Point is: it isn't just the media spreading this BS around. Squids don't help the situation.
I could only support structured licensing if it were applied to all vehicles; e.g., no Hummer until you prove yourself in a Honda.
Can't you sheep see there is a conspiracy between the Social Security Administration and the motorcycle manufacturers! Their evil plan is to get old farts to kill themselves on equally overweight bikes before Social Security benefits kick in. Logan's Run was prophecy!!
Coming home from work tonite I took my usual route, a typical Sonoma County narrow twisting hilly two lane country road... and about halfway home I come up behind some kook on one of those high $$$ choppers.
The kook is following behind an SUV, he's so SLOW he's actually losing ground to the SUV in the corners so he can't make a pass, he's running wide on the corners, going wide on BLIND corners, twice he gets in trouble & has to slow the bike down to get it back into his own lane ahead of oncoming traffic... plus the thing's got straight pipes and he's making more damn noise for less forward progress than I can believe.
Finally we get to a light & I pull up alongside the suicide wanna-be, the freaking paint job on his chopper has to cost double what my Buell is worth and of course he's got his poseur t-shirt and little black helmet, whatta phukking freak show.
I don't care what anybody sez about squids, the chopper dorks are the worst. There oughta be a law, something like the Road Warrior where we can hunt these kooks with spears or something
I gotta agree with this. I'm a relative squid (at least compared to some of the 'ol buzzards here) But even with less than 6,000 miles under my belt, I can tell just how dangerous and *BAD* many of the chopper riders I meet on the road are. I also think it's important (and fair) to distinguish the real "Hell's Angels" Harley type from these idiots riding chomed-up ultra $$$$$ custom choppers.
Yuppies watching American Chopper on Discovery-HD think they ought to drop some of that spare disposable income they didn't spend on the million dollar house and Porche Cyanne on a big bike. They ride once a week, if that, and never bother to learn how to handle a bike. Hell I know a few, most of them don't even have an "M"! They think they are exempt from the laws the rest of us follow, they ignore the safety considerations because they "don't ride much", they act like they own the road, they buy a bike based purely on how much chome it has and how loud it is. If they ever did learn how to ride, they'd still be riding crap.
Many newer Harley's also sport these kinds of riders. A 2005 sportster is more dangerous than an old beat-up FatBoy because of the idiot riding it.
And on the noise front, why is it choppers and "custom" Harleys keep passing inspection with these stupid straight pipes that rattle windows at a half mile while I'm told: "that pipe's a little on the loud side...but I'll let it slide" Wanna know what it is? It's the STOCK pipe on my MZ 125-SM. I had another experiece where my car's muffler took a vacation, while the cop had me pulled over and was handing me a warning for defective equipment a chopper of some sort roared by so loud I couldn't hear what the cop was saying. Did he go after that guy? You bet not. What gives?
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