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Re: Death in the Pursuit of Revenue

Sorry, flawed logic! 60,000+ deaths a year indicate that traffic flow volume combined with the general incompetence of the driving population, is geometrically increased when speed is increased from 55 to 70MPH. The increased accident rate is simply a function of reduced reaction time. The result: We lose the equivalent of the entire Viet Nam war allied losses every year. Yet, you somehow manage to rationalize this as "people driving at the speed they feel comfortable with". The speed they feel comfortable with is actually determined by the cops setting their radar guns considerably above the posted limit so they are not constantly disturbed and distracted from doing whatever it is they're doing unrelated to their job description. A higher median default speed is therefore unconsciously arrived at. And, of course, they continue to tail gate while babbling on their cells phones and attending to other unmentionable personal preoccupations.
 

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Re: Death in the Pursuit of Revenue

60,000? Don't call a logic foul and follow it with an arbitrary number.

Try 44k (ish)

I do agree with the incompetence, cell phone and tail gating. However, I've yet to see conclusive reporting on the increased speed limit on highways has contributed to the increase of fatalities on surface streets and school zones.
 

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I rarely agree with a lawyer, but the Electra Glide may not be a stable enough platform for high speed pursuit. I have heard rumor about the wobble problem on some Harleys, but I was unaware that MCN had documented them.



Unfortunately this situation is a case of what may well be an inferior design apparently being the cause of an officer's death. I know the loyalty that some police departments have for Harleys, but I just don't get it. Both my Buell and my VFR are/were rock stable at 85 and higher speeds. I even accidentally had the VFR speedometer calibrated by an understanding officer. (The bike just got more stable the faster you went.) As for my BMW or Ducatis, we don't even need to ask about high speed stability.



Maybe Harley needs to fix the problem by promoting pursuit model Buells. Or perhaps police departments should find out how good a police version ST3 would be. I sincerely doubt they will have a wobble problem. Some European countries even have police version 999s. (Try outrunning that.)



Reading sad stories like this one remind me of why some US police departments are opting for BMW police bikes. Police departments need to get the right tool for the job. Harleys are great cruisers. IMHO, they are not high speed pursuit vehicles.



Francis



Francis
 

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"but the Electra Glide may not be a stable enough platform for high speed pursuit"



Cops should not give chase on motorcycles. When a car and a motorcycle clash, the car will win. Always. Rather, the Harley is a perfect platform for an officer to observe the environment with ample space for accessories required for police work.



"Some European countries even have police version 999s. (Try outrunning that.)"



Easy. I’ll outrun a 999 in a 1970 Toyota Corolla. How? Well I hit reverse and ride the cop off his bike.



"Reading sad stories like this one remind me of why some US police departments are opting for BMW police bikes."



BMW motorbikes immune to impact from a car? Don’t think so. A rider of a BMW will be taken off the bikes as easy as any other bike.



"Police departments need to get the right tool for the job."



Harleys are perfect for the job. Low maintenance, low maintenance cost, good low speed handling, loads of room for accessories, part availability etc. etc.



"Harleys are great cruisers"



Yes they are.



"IMHO, they are not high speed pursuit vehicles."



No, and no motorcycle on the planet is. Helicopters and motorcars are pursuit vehicles. Motorcycles are patrol vehicles. Don’t ever try catching a car whilst on a motorcycle. You may just succeed and end up dead or badly injured.

 

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Re: Damning Evidence

Which motorcycle is more advanced than an HD? There is nothing on a jap bike hasn't been around since before 1930. I4 motors were first built in 1890. Overhead cams first used in 1912.

You'll stop wondering why police forces use Harleys once you understand what their requirements are. A slow steering, easy handling motorcycle is much useful for observation and patrolling. And no, motorcycles are not pursuit vehicles. Helicopters and cars are used for pursuit. Trying to stop somebody fleeing in a car whilst on a motorcycle is just plain dumb.
 

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(reviews of the model by Motorcycle Consumer News, which in 1999 said that the "chassis gets unstable above 85 miles per hour" and in 2001 called its high-speed stability "the worst we've encountered.")



Compared to what?? Every motorcycle review ever published contains a certain negative aspect to it. There is no perfect motorcycle. If you hit a bag of concrete, in a turn, at 85 mph - no matter what you're riding - you only have luck to blame if you don't receive serious injury or worse.



Motorcycle officers are professional police officers; they are not professional motorcycle riders. How many of us truly believe we could've avoided the same fate if we were in the same situation? People die in motorcyle accidents every day - in much less strenuous circumstances.



Does my Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad have what it takes to overcome a concrete bag at 85 mph? Does your CBR 600 have what it takes? No? Yes? Maybe? It's not about the motorcycle, after all. It's about experience, proper judgement, and, above all, good fortune. In this case, rider error almost certainly played a significant role.



Yes, it's unfortunate that the officer perished in this mishap. But, riding a motorcycle is dangerous, and police officers are subject to the same laws of physics as the rest of us. Let us hope that in the future their judgement will also be commensurate.
 

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Re: Death in the Pursuit of Revenue

There's nothing wrong with my logic, but there's something wrong with your analysis. The major cause of vehicle crashes is not speed, it's inattention. If you're not paying attention, going slower won't prevent a crash.
 

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Re: Death in the Pursuit of Revenue

The deathrate on our highways has been going down. Case in point - the deathrate has been something like 35-45,000/year since I was a child (I'm now 35). Only a fool would think that there are LESS cars and trucks on the road, or that Americans are driving LESS miles per year than when I was 10 or 11.

The number has remained nearly the same, but the RATE has decreased substantially, on the whole.
 

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I believe your reading it wrong, the concrete bag was on the shoulder of the road, he hit it after loosing control (possibly due to a wobble)
 

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Re: Death in the Pursuit of Revenue

If you believe that speed limits are picked solely for revenue purposes, then why not make the speed limit on the interstate 25mph. Then the cops could write tickets to people for going 50mph over the speed limit. If engineering isn't used, then why not make a residential street with a 75mph speed limit. Maybe you should take a second to think logically about that. And if you think that we should have an autobahn in the states, then maybe we should have a similar licensure program to other countries. I would much rather ride next to a German driver on the highway than an American. All it takes in the states is a 2 hour wait at the DMV to get a license. Hell, they’ve practically made it impossible to fail a drivers test so that we don’t "discriminate" against people who can’t parallel park. When it takes more than a year of training for an adult to get a license in the states, then you can talk about not having speed limits on the highway.
 

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I just gotta say it.

This cop stuck his head out stupidly by pursuing a SPEEDER.

This isn't some heroic death chasing a real criminal.

If he just let the guy go and worried about things that matter, he'd be alive.



Let that be a lesson to other cops.
 

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It says the bag was leaning against the guardrail.



If he was forced wide enough to hit a bag leaning against a guardrail, chances are he was probably going to hit that guardrail in another couple yards anyway. It is safe to assume that he was already out of control when he was forced onto the shoulder (or he wouldn't have been there) and he didn't hit the bag until after he had departed lanes and was within a foot or two of the guardrail. I'm guessing hitting the bag wasn't a "good"thing, but I'm also guessing a crash was in his immediate future either way.



Just a hunch.
 

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It is if you're riding an Electra Glide.

 

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Harsh. (but probably true)
 

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As a MCN subscriber, I've following MCN's instability claims since they originally reported it in 1999. Month after month, reader/Electra Glide riders wrote in to MCN with personal reports of Electra Glide instability. The fact that more than one aftermarket solution has resulted (see above posts) tells me that this is a real problem. Sure, steering dampers are sold for a lot of bikes, but they're intended for race track use. If you have a steering damper on your sportbike and never see the track, it's just bling. Unless of course you routinely ride at triple-digit speeds over rough public roads. In that case, well, that's just stoopid.

You're right that every motorcycle has negative aspects, but I would call this one inexcusable. Especially when the bike is to be used by police. The road that was being traveled has a speed limit of 60mph (I know, I live there). Cops generally ignore anyone doing less than 10 miles over the limit. So, let's say that our super-dangerous criminal was doing 72mph. It's quite easy to see that Officer Paul is going to have to get up to speeds of 85mph or more to catch said speeder, especially if he's giving chase from a standing start. Other local freeways have speed limits of 70mph...you get the picture.

I agree that motorcycles should not be used as pursuit vehicles, but in this case it appears the Electra Glide shouldn't be used on interstates at all. So police motorcycle use will be limited to city streets? Sounds like a serious waste of taxpayer dollars to me...just buy a big gas-guzzling car that can do it all.
 

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Re: Death in the Pursuit of Revenue

Being inattentive at high speed is certainly more dangerous than at low speed. You'll have that much less reaction time when you finally notice what's happening around you.

Of course, if you don't take your eyes off your Blackberry until you hear metal grinding, then nothing will help.
 

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I don't understand the lawsuit at all. We have been authoritatively informed by the greatest motorcycle genius in history that MCN is run by GPTBs and that their information is false. So there is no wobble.
 

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I've ridden at least 3 Glides for many thousands of highway miles and cruised at 80 to 85+ many times, 1 up and 2 up, and never had a serious wobble. The bike WILL tell you when you are pushing it too hard in the corners by starting to wiggle some, and I'm sure if you want to push it you will be tasting some turf. My 96 Gold Wing did the same thing at high speeds. I think there is more instability caused by the handlebar mounted fairing than by the frame construction. I don't think anyone that rides a Road King or Road Glide complains about wobbles as much as Electra-Glide owners, from the internet forums I check out. I know the frame can get out of alignment, which was the case with the MCN bike from what I remember, but that should be able to be fixed by anyone that can turn a wrench. I can't see how they could sell hundreds of thousands of bikes for 8 years and suddenly they are death traps. If the officer knew the bike didn't handle well, why the hell was he pushing it in the first place? Doesn't make sense to me.
 
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