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Is Riding Becoming Increasingly More Dangerous?


onmyrt

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I just read Killers thread about the incident that took the life of his friend, Craig Hightower

Read Killers Thread Here

and I began to wonder if it is more dangerous riding today than it was yesterday?

 

I’ve come to the conclusion that it is, and here are some reasons why:

 

* Roads have never been more crowded, and denser traffic equates to a higher ratio of accidents.

 

* Cell phones.... agree or disagree, they distract drivers needlessly.

 

* Car audio systems that shake the earth, another terribly worthless distraction.

 

* Dark tinted glass keeps me from being able to see the eyes another driver.

 

These things are all fairly recent developments on American roads,

so YES, I think that yesterday WAS a safer time as far as riding goes.

 

So how are we to survive in this ever increasing risky behavior of motorcycle riding?

 

I do it by following this rule of thumb: 'Don't endanger yourself needlessly'.

 

What that means is:

ATGATT!

Remember the axiom 'SPEED KILLS'.

ATGATT!

Always assume that you're invisible to other traffic.

ATGATT!

Stay focused on the road.

ATGATT!

Try to always maintain an escape route.

ATGATT!

 

I have been riding for nearly 30 years and have so far been extremely lucky in terms of my safety, knock on wood.

 

Ride Safe. thumbsup.gif

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From Web bike world:

 

"The key figure here is the "Fatality Rate per 100 Million" (miles traveled), which has nearly doubled from 22.73 to 39.89 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled during the period of 1997 to 2004 (See Note 1 below). This is the chart that should be the focus of concern, because the numbers are sobering.

 

Compiling the rates as a "per 100 million miles traveled" normalizes the data (somewhat) by removing the age effect and the increase in numbers of registered motorcycles to make the comparisons relatively equal across the years. When you consider that motorcycle technology, tires (radial tires were rare in 1995, for example), brakes, helmets, clothing and even rider knowledge improve each year, it's obvious that motorcyclists have a serious problem."

 

"NHTSA reported it correctly, if only the scribes would interpret the results. The report states that "Motorcycle rider fatalities decreased each year from 1995 to 1997, reaching a historic low of 2,116 in 1997. Beginning in 1998 this trend was reversed and motorcycle rider fatalities have increased each year."

 

"Since 1997 motorcycle rider fatalities have increased by 89 percent from 2,116 to 4,008 in 2004. NHTSA previously released a comprehensive report in 2001 based on increases in motorcycle rider fatalities for two consecutive years (1998 and 1999). The latest 2004 data show that motorcycle rider fatalities increased for the seventh year in a row since 1997. This report is an update to the previously released report in 2001 along with more recent data from 1995 to 2004. "

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I think 2 simiple factors are increasing accidents and a couple other factors.

 

1) Overcrowding on roadways. With more cars and SUV's and roughly the same total miles of roadway, there are more opportunities for accidents.

 

2) People have more flexible income than ever before and are purchasing motrcycles at an increasing rate with less training.

 

New riders are going for bikes that are larger and more powerful than in the past, but cruisers in particular have not significantly improved their handling or braking performance to match the increase in power.

 

Drivers are increasingly more selfish, demonstrate poor vehicle control and do not pay attention to their driving or surroundings. They are also driving larger vehicles faster, with poor handling and braking performance.

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I just read Killers thread about the incident that took the life of his friend, Craig Hightower

Read Killers Thread Here

and I began to wonder if it is more dangerous riding today than it was yesterday?

 

I’ve come to the conclusion that it is, and here are some reasons why:

 

* Roads have never been more crowded, and denser traffic equates to a higher ratio of accidents.

 

* Cell phones.... agree or disagree, they distract drivers needlessly.

 

* Car audio systems that shake the earth, another terribly worthless distraction.

 

* Dark tinted glass keeps me from being able to see the eyes another driver.

 

These things are all fairly recent developments on American roads,

so YES, I think that yesterday WAS a safer time as far as riding goes.

 

So how are we to survive in this ever increasing risky behavior of motorcycle riding?

 

I do it by following this rule of thumb: 'Don't endanger yourself needlessly'.

 

What that means is:

ATGATT!

Remember the axiom 'SPEED KILLS'.

ATGATT!

Always assume that you're invisible to other traffic.

ATGATT!

Stay focused on the road.

ATGATT!

Try to always maintain an escape route.

ATGATT!

 

I have been riding for nearly 30 years and have so far been extremely lucky in terms of my safety, knock on wood.

 

Ride Safe. thumbsup.gif

 

Michael, sure poor car/truck drivers are a big & growing factor in motorcycle fatalities but that doesn’t account for the fact that the majority of motorcycle deaths are single bike going off the road & a good number of those are alcohol related..

 

Lots of new riders coming on board the last few years… Very fast bikes at a low entry level prices,, lots of unlicensed riders with little or no formal rider education.. Lots of older ( & un recently trained) riders out there now.. Not to leave myself out, lots of older riders that still ride like they are 25 years old..

 

I just wish the motorcycle statistics were broken down more to their basic causes & rider groups..

 

Obviously the statistics are all inclusive for all motorcycle riders but I bet if you broke out the experienced touring or sport touring riding group then removed the alcohol factor you would have a pretty decent safety record per mile traveled..

Then if you broke out the younger high performance sport bike rider & included the alcohol factor I would bet the safety record would be pretty bad..

 

Twisty

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Francois_Dumas

I worked for a statistics company for 20 years and learned that they are basically worthless (not in sales value however !! lmao.gif).

 

You can prove anything you like with statistics.

 

I would say that motorcycling is safer than a lot f other things.....

 

Take for instance the research coming from the UK where it is shown that a horse rider has 21 times more chnce of killing himself than a motorcyclist, and where pedestrians are statistically more accident prone than riders!

 

Also interesting is a Dutch study that shows you have 12% LESS chance of being involved in an accident when you have a GPS in your car !!!

 

What IS interesting to read from the US stats is that 34% of all fatal accidents were caused by the rider running into a vehicle turning left !

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I agree with the cell phone observation - I've witnessed rear-end collisions caused by the driver blithely yaking on the phone until the point of collision.

 

I think that drivers are generally much more aggressive today, probably caused by the increase in vehicles on the road, and the increasing pace of modern life.

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I think the attitude of the general motorist on the road is that driving is an easy activity and doesn't require a lot of concentration or expertise. That's why they think they can talk on the phone, eat their lunch, read the newspaper, or any other activity while behind the wheel. I'm not sure what the answer is, but somehow people have to realize that operating a high velocity machine is difficult and requires ones utmost attention.

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I think motorcycle riding in America is an inherently dangerous activity and that while rider skill can significantly reduce the level of danger there is no amount of skill that can reduce the level of danger to anything less than very dangerous. You are not in control. I no longer criticize crackheads.. grin.gif

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Hey, don't forget that Allstate has ACCIDENT FORGIVENESS, which means that it's OK for the stupid f**k in the car to run your a** over. 4 wheel vehicles have been made so "safe" that the average driver doesn't fear getting in an accident.

 

My "modest proposal" is to have all drivers in glass enclosures right in front of the vehicle, so that they are the first thing that hits. The "Darwin Effect" would render the problem solved.

 

Sorry for the rant, but this subject hits a nerve.

 

Paul in CA

'05 R1200RT

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Yup. You gotta keep an eye on the other guy, particularly the other guys eye when you can, it tells a lot of his/her intention...and of course watch the a-hole who desides to quick stop in front of you because 'there it is', where he needs to be and they never look behind themselves before they slam the brakes, I had a Vmax at one time (with no Prosgressive front springs to help it's front end) lift the ass end in the air to brake in time to avoid hitting him becuase he realized the Perkins Restaurant was on the left (and there was a sign there that states NO LEFT TURN!) That woulda hurt!

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Two killed in Phx b/c an 18 yr old was texting at the time she crossed over the centerline and the head on took place. Both dead at scene. Her and other driver. Investigation revealed she was texting at the time of the collision. Enough said about that. My thoughts are the technology end of things like cell phones, PDA's, GPS (yes that too) and all of the other crap we ALL use is one of the killers on the roads.

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Didn't Miriam post a thread a couple of weeks ago about a new study coming out Thread here to look at the causes of the increase in motorcyclist fatalities.

 

It is clearly needed. It will be interesting and helpful to see what they find, and how well that compares to our speculations in this and other threads.

 

In the mean time, remember: No driver can maintain full attention all the time. No driver can restrict their driving only to times when they are at their peak alertness. Driving in the US has gotten incredibly more aggressive in the last 15 years. Speed limits are back up and helmets only protect up to moderate speeds.

 

My advice: Stop frequently. Drink plenty of fluids (no not that kind). Remember when conditions are not optimal, you don't need to get there that badly. Have some fun where appropriate, but for most of your riding, particularly in urban areas, keep speeds moderate. Keep your bike well maintained, and ATGATT.

 

These are the ways that you control the situation.

 

Regarding all the comments on the way people drive now a days. I think it is that the vehicles have so much better handling than they did. The ride feels very secure at high speed, and in making lane changes at speed. People don't realize however what it's like to be in a vehicle that has gotten out of control. Once a vehicle is out of control, modern vehicles are no better than those of the 50's and 60's. So the vehicles, IMHO give a false sense of security that encourages reckless driving.

 

Also I blame the media. I cringe whenever I hear that weather, snow or ice caused an accident: Driver error caused a crash.

 

Too, I cringe on this forum when people complain about tough motor safety laws as unfair. I cringe when motorcyclists say they can only hurt themselves.

 

I'm not saying that I never speed, I'll keep up in Torrey no doubt, I am saying that drivers need to take responsibility for their actions, speed kills, and laws are there to protect us from one another.

 

To suggest that motorcyclists hurt only themselves when something tragic happens is to ignore, for instance, the incredible pain and loss to the families and communities to which they belong, to ignore the burden of medical care and support to society, and to ignore the very real potential of causing others to crash.

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Perhaps we could do something to encourage and enhance the typical cage driver's concentration, like bringing back non-collapsible steering columns and replacing the steering wheel air bag with a sharpened spike aimed at the driver's chest?

 

Naaahhh.

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More dangerous compared to when? For whom?

 

I think my riding is less likely to result in an accident now than it was when I was 19, so no, riding is not becoming more dangerous.

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Dave McReynolds

Today I was commuting home on the motorcycle, along the same route I have ridden hundreds of times before. Lane splitting for a few miles down Hwy 50, then lane splitting along Hazel, a busy 6 lane avenue. That part always keeps me on my toes, but I had arrived at the corner of Hazel and Sunset, just a few blocks from my house, and I was first in line to turn left on Sunset. This is where I start coming down from the high level of concentration I feel when I lane split. The signal stays on for the traffic moving down Hazel for a long time, then it finally changes to let the cross traffic through on Sunset, and then after that I get a green arrow to turn left. The only thing on my mind is a grease slick I know about that I need to avoid right after I turn left, then I'll be home.

 

So the light changes on Hazel. Cross traffic begins to move across Sunset. I'm glancing to my right at the green light for the Sunset traffic, because when it turns yellow, I'm next. Suddenly, BANG!!!!. A green Nissan has run the Hazel light and plowed into the first car crossing from Sunset, full speed, about 45 mph or more, making no effort to stop or avoid a collision. The small Honda, driven by a young girl entering Sunset, is hit on the front and starts spinning around in the intersection just in front of me. The force of the impact moves her car towards me as it spins, and the front of her car misses me by a few feet. Her car keeps spinning across three lanes to my left, and ends up on the sidewalk; I believe it spun around for two complete revolutions. The car that impacted her is diverted to my right, and hits the car waiting in line just to my right hard enough to drive it backwards into the car behind it. Somehow, the car just behind the girls's car entering the intersection from Sunset becomes involved in the action, probably being hit by the young girl's Honda as it was spinning around. So in seconds, five cars are moving around me out of control: two on my right, one (perp) crosswise in front of me, one seriously injured girl up on the sidewalk, and one unlucky driver behind her. One shaken motorcyclist in the middle of it all. This is the closest I've ever been to a collision. The forces are enormous when viewed from that distance. Major pieces flying off cars as the cars themselves crumple. The hood of the girl's car flew up in the air and crashed down in the oncoming lane about three feet from my motorcycle. Any one of four of the cars involved could have wiped me out if the forces and movement of the cars had been slightly different. All I could do was straddle the bike and watch it happen.

 

As I was looking to my right at the signal for the cross traffic, I didn't actually see the Nissan enter the intersection, or what he was doing at the time. Maybe he was talking on his cell phone; maybe he was tuning the radio. Who knows? All I could testify to was that I am sure the cross traffic had a green light before anyone started to move, because it was green when I turned to look at it and nobody had started to move yet. And that the first thing I knew about it was a loud bang; there was certainly no screeching of brakes. I wish I did know what he was doing as he was approaching the intersection, but whatever it was, it was obviously not looking at the red light.

 

Of all the five people involved in the wreck, none were hurt seriously except for the girl, and she was at least moving around in her car some before the ambulance came, so hopefully she'll be alright.

 

But if any of the five people had been on a motorcycle, it would have been quite a different story. And I do believe the risk is increasing. Everything about modern cars tends to insulate us from our environment, starting with insulation itself. A well-insulated, air-conditioned car is quiet. It's easy to hear the radio or the cell phone over the murmer of traffic. We don't feel connected with what's going on outside; we feel calm and relaxed. Nothing bad is ever going to happen....

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How much of the perception of increased risk is us getting older and becoming more aware of how many ways there are to get hurt?

 

AMEN

 

Ignorance is bliss. And all risk is relative. How many collisions are avoided on motorcycles that could not be avoided in cars. I would say that a good portion of the "gee I didn't see him" excuse would still apply if the invisible vehicle had been a freight train.

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I agree with the high tech distractions as a source of some accidents but my real concern is the stimuli free automobiles now being made. If you have a high end cager (read newer vehicle, any make), it vitually isolates you from the outside. Smooth, quiet, evironmentally controlled rolling orbs of silence. Most cagers commute in this sterile and inert vacuum, completely severed from the outside world we love to ride in. And we wonder why they say, "I didn't see him, officer". It is impossible to even here a siren from an LEO or an emergency vehicle nowadays. I just ride and keep telling myself, "they're all trying to kill me".

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I agree with the high tech distractions as a source of some accidents but my real concern is the stimuli free automobiles now being made. If you have a high end cager (read newer vehicle, any make), it vitually isolates you from the outside. Smooth, quiet, evironmentally controlled rolling orbs of silence. Most cagers commute in this sterile and inert vacuum, completely severed from the outside world we love to ride in. And we wonder why they say, "I didn't see him, officer". It is impossible to even here a siren from an LEO or an emergency vehicle nowadays. I just ride and keep telling myself, "they're all trying to kill me".

 

blkvelvt, there is lot of truth in what you say here.. An old engineer friend of mine has always said that if you want to make people safer drivers, more aware of surroundings, & slow them down,, simply remove the windshields from cars..

 

Twisty

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I agree with a lot of the things said here, Crowded roads, Agressive drivers, People in a hurry, Inattention.....

 

But in all that, it just f***ing amazes me the amount of people who ride in T-shirts & shorts !! It pretty much says they have no perception of what they are doing.

 

 

 

 

Did you see (Hear) my cameo in "Bourne Ultimatum?"

 

wave.gif

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harleyjohn45

its not always the car's fault. motorcycles have become too powerful, and we all ride too fast. back when i started riding in 1950, it was rare to see another motorcycle. not many people died on them. now we talk about lane splitting as a riding technique. we need to ask ourselves to become safer riders.

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But in all that, it just f***ing amazes me the amount of people who ride in T-shirts & shorts !! It pretty much says they have no perception of what they are doing.

 

Nice judgement! How about just accepting the fact that they have a different level of risk acceptance than you instead of foisting your opinions about their behaviors? Unless they are your kids, you really have no say in what they do no matter how dumb it appears to you. Your choice is in how you react to it.

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Paul Mihalka
My thoughts are the technology end of things like cell phones, PDA's, GPS (yes that too) and all of the other crap we ALL use
I don't...
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Joe Frickin' Friday
My thoughts are the technology end of things like cell phones, PDA's, GPS (yes that too) and all of the other crap we ALL use is one of the killers on the roads.

 

Put the responsibility where it belongs: with the drivers who make a conscious decision to devote precious attention to these devices when they should be watching the road.

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It's all about choice...

We choose to buy a car...

We choose to but a bike..

We choose to talk on the cell phone...

We choose to live in our own little worlds not paying attention to others...

We choose to speed...

 

Starting to get the picture?

 

Every distraction you have been posting here is a matter of our choosing for it to be a distraction.

 

We are dealing with people here... some choosing the right decision and some choosing the wrong decision...

 

Do not blame the mindless machines we CHOOSE to use, blame the people who CHOOSE to use the machines mindlessly.

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We had a recent motorcycle death in my town. An SUV or truck made an unsafe lane deviation and ran a cycle into the curb on a six lane (both directions) highway. The rider and passenger were taken to the hospital. The rider later died; the passenger was treated and released. Neither was wearing a helmet. The driver of the four-wheeler has yet to be located and probably doesn't even know he/she caused the death of another person. I've always thought of myself as a careful rider, but, as Dave McReynolds tells us, even being super-cautious and careful is no guarantee of avoiding a crash. It is scary out there and I'm still shook-up about the death here.

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Joe Frickin' Friday
It's not just motorcycling. eek.gif....LIFE itself is increasingly more dangerous frown.gif !!!

 

Maybe if you live in Africa, but everywhere else, things are looking up:

 

909216-LE.gif

909216-LE.gif.f04d2f49b4c4a3a148de17ec7e2432c1.gif

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When I started riding bikes, a while ago, I took a road trip on Kaw 400 and my buddy was on his Triumph 650. Needless to say, even short trips were butt burners. I learned a lot on that smaller bike and as time and money changed, I eventually bought a K1200. It is one heck of a bike, but it is heavy and required a whole new set of skills, including how to quickly pick it up before anyone noticed I dropped it. Always seemed to happen with a crowd around. lmao.gif

 

The R1200 is lighter and easier to handle at slow speeds, but it's speed and quick acceleration could get a novice rider in trouble.

 

Okay, I'll get to the point. I have friends with NO or little experience buying the big bikes, cause it is what the big boys ride and they are getting hurt or killed. Two years ago a good friend of mine blew a curve on a cruiser and died when it landed on him. He had marginal experience, but didn't think he would have any problem on a big bike.

 

Anyway, part of the problem, maybe even the bulk of the problem is our four wheel brethern. But even on this website we have had people ask about a R or K bike for a new rider. I think that is dangerous and they need to develop experience before they get out on the road with that powerful, fast machine. Just an opinion.

 

Dr J

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But in all that, it just f***ing amazes me the amount of people who ride in T-shirts & shorts !! It pretty much says they have no perception of what they are doing.

 

I agree. Sorry if I offend someone who thinks I should not judge others. Will they now judge me?

 

 

 

.

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Not sure if this is the link Flash referred to fatality damage Check it out.

 

The numbers are pretty shocking, and it's clearly not drivers of cars who are the causes of many of these crashes. (Then again, when isn't it the other guy?) Just take a look at the % of riders who died in fatal motorcycle crashes while DUI. It's a shame. The latest numbers show >46% of drivers 39-49 were over the limit when killed. I'd like to see stats on crash gear and helmets as well.

 

IMO there is more to do among ourselves to improve safety than looking at auto drivers.

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[quote

 

I just wish the motorcycle statistics were broken down more to their basic causes & rider groups..

 

Obviously the statistics are all inclusive for all motorcycle riders but I bet if you broke out the experienced touring or sport touring riding group then removed the alcohol factor you would have a pretty decent safety record per mile traveled..

Then if you broke out the younger high performance sport bike rider & included the alcohol factor I would bet the safety record would be pretty bad..

 

Twisty

 

True. A deaths/mile statistic is just a bunch of numbers until you identify/classify situations and see what the trends are doing.

 

The end result falls in 2 categories, accidents caused by the rider, and accidents caused by others. There are sub-categories beneath that.

 

Maybe the data is out there

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What makes riding less dangerous:

 

1) Better technology (tires, braking force, ABS, traction control.

 

2) Much more awareness of motorcycles in the driving public.

 

3) ATGATT.

 

What makes riding more dangerous.

 

1) Reliance on that technology instead of training.

 

2) Greater comfort and reliability of motorcycles, which we use to go further and longer on.

 

3) Playing with gadgets while riding.

 

4) Greater traffic congestion.

 

5) More first-time riders.

 

6) Motorcycling continues it's move from a sport to a hobby and transportation.

 

7) Gadgets in cars.

 

8) ATGATT.

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Not sure if this is the link Flash referred to fatality damage Check it out.

 

I thought it was the "7/23/07: 2006 Traffic Fatalities and Injuries Assessments (PDF)" Unfortunately the way they set it up the page , you can't link directly to the article.

 

Quote:

 

But in all that, it just f***ing amazes me the amount of people who ride in T-shirts & shorts !! It pretty much says they have no perception of what they are doing.

 

 

 

 

I agree. Sorry if I offend someone who thinks I should not judge others. Will they now judge me?

 

I think this ethic in biking where riders accept other riders choices on gear, riding style, etc. is bunk. This is an issue with broad social impacts.

 

Matts_VSTROM (in this thread) thinks it's appropriate to upbraid Eschelon1, and expresses that if the rider isn't your child, but out. Matt, I'm not criticizing you, I think you represent the majority of riders in your sentiments, and I'm just choosing your comment as the current relevant example.

 

Tom (azkaisr) started this thread.

 

Opinions obviously differ. Personally, I think it's time for this ethic "code of silence" to end. We have to recognize that risk has doubled in the last decade. We have to recognize that the many new riders may not recognize the risks they face. We have to recognize that not everybody has seen road rash.

 

We have to recognize the burden we as riders place on society, and ask ourselves what do we need to do as a community (and we make much of being a community) to justify society's continued acceptance of those risks.

 

Trying to educate other riders seems a minimum place to start. I'm not advocating getting into a shouting match with a rider that is half drunk and raving about some yahoos stepping on his toes with d... helmet laws. You're never going to change that fellow's mind.

 

But if you are chatting with a squid at a pull out, would it hurt so much to bring it up? So what if they walk away? So what if they tell you off? You're never going to see them again, what do you care? I bet most would listen politely. I bet most would see an experienced rider is wearing ATGATT and start thinking about it. I bet some would have never heard of the MSF or BRC. What if for taking this risk you save one life?

 

Anyway, +1 Eschelon1 and Baba_OReilly.

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Your perspective on gear is what's making motorcycling more and less safe. If the last part of that statement doesn't make sense to you, I'll elaborate. You're dogma on it leads people to people they are safer when in fact they may not be at all, because it does little in the more fatal instances...and because it leads them to take greater risks...and because it puts the focus on passive protection instead of active avoidance.

 

I'm not saying gear is bad--I wear all of it. I'm just saying your perspective could use some balance.

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But in all that, it just f***ing amazes me the amount of people who ride in T-shirts & shorts !! It pretty much says they have no perception of what they are doing.

Not to hijack my own thread here but, when I was a kid, I used to ride wearing only shorts and a T-shirt too.

Looking back on it though, it wasn't a conscience choice I was making, it was just complete ignorance, I WAS YOUNG!

 

Then, while still in high school, a friend of mine named Mike Flanagan died from the road rash he'd suffered in a motorcycle accident.

 

He was wearing a helmet (open face), Levi jeans, and a short sleeved T-shirt at the time. While riding North on May Avenue, a car stopped suddenly just ahead of him. He failed to react quickly enough and smacked into the rear of it at about 40 mph, sailed completely over the car and hit the hot asphalt on his back. He slid almost 100 feet before literally grinding to a halt.

 

I went to visited him at Baptist hospital a couple of days afterwards, and my god, his entire backside had been scrapped down way into the meat. He was so heavily sedated that he didn't even know I was there. He had survived the crash but the road rash was so severe that it wouldn't heal, it became infected, and 2 weeks later he died.

 

That was one hell of an eye opener for me, and after that I never rode again without wearing a proper motorcycle jacket and pants.

I learned ATGATT before it was even called ATGATT!

 

I’ll tell you what just baffles me today is when I see full grown, mature adults, riding lidless in T-shirts and jeans, apparently with no value for their personal safety at all.

 

Yeah, it might be a judgment call, but it's POOR judgment.

 

To me, it's roughly equivalent to engaging in unprotected sex with a stranger.

 

Run with Devil long enough and you will get burned.

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I’ll tell you what just baffles me today is when I see full grown, mature adults, riding lidless in T-shirts and jeans, apparently with no value for their personal safety at all.

 

What baffles me is HOW people ride more than what they're wearing while they're riding.

 

To me, it's roughly equivalent to engaging in unprotected sex with a stranger.

 

Right. Exactly right, in fact. So your ATGATT solution is that they wear a condom? How about looking a little deeper into the behavior itself.

 

What's the point of ATGATT? Is it to protect you from what others do to you? Or what your own ineptness does to you? The enemy is them, yes, which is why we wear gear primarily. But it is also us, and the fix for that is practice and mental outlook and training--gear will not fix that deficit.

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Twisties,

I don't mind being called out at all. Anyone that knows how much I like attention will testify to that. grin.gif

 

I think what you're reading in my state to echelon is not what I intended, one of the downfalls of this medium.

 

When he said But in all that, it just f***ing amazes me the amount of people who ride in T-shirts & shorts !! It pretty much says they have no perception of what they are doing.

 

I took him to task for presuming they don't know what they're doing. None of us can intelligently make that decision about those we don't know. I didn't tell him to butt out.

 

While I agree it is certainly difficult to offer advice to fellow riders and friends about the way they ride and the gear they choose, Tom's thread about how/why to approach a returning rider was in many ways an acceptance of the fact that telling people "won't do much good, so why bother or risk a friendship, etc."

 

Ultimately, "those who ride must decide" to paraphrase an ABATE sticker I once read. While we may honestly know more and care enough to take the time to address people we see who aren't taking those kinds of precautions, we' cannot force them to do it, and I would vehemently oppose any attempts to compel people to dress in a way that we deem "appropriate."

 

I'm confident that each of us has been told by some non/former rider about "Dear old Fred" who went down and had some hideous injury blah, blah, blah and that's why they'd never consider riding.... When we do more than make a casual reference and then allow our example to do the talking we're no more than that same type of busybody.

 

Like St. Francis said, "preach the gospel, use words if necessary" we must each live according to how we wish to be perceived.

 

This is a great thread and a subject I've had on my mind lately so keep it coming!

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All of your reasons for thinking that riding is more dangerous today have to do with cars and their drivers: congestion, cell phones/distractions, tinted windows. If these pose an increased risk to riders, I would expect them to also pose an increased risk to other car drivers. In other words, accident rates overall should be rising.

 

It looks like that's not the case in the US. This table shows accident (as opposed to fatality) rates per 100 million vehicle-miles travelled between 1990 and 2004. The upshot is that both the total number of accidents as well as accidents per mile travelled are down significantly. If somebody can find more recent data, I'd like to see it.

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All of your reasons for thinking that riding is more dangerous today have to do with cars and their drivers: congestion, cell phones/distractions, tinted windows. If these pose an increased risk to riders, I would expect them to also pose an increased risk to other car drivers. In other words, accident rates overall should be rising.

 

It looks like that's not the case in the US. This table shows accident (as opposed to fatality) rates per 100 million vehicle-miles travelled between 1990 and 2004. The upshot is that both the total number of accidents as well as accidents per mile travelled are down significantly. If somebody can find more recent data, I'd like to see it.

 

I don't think so, Michael. Cars are much safer than they were--bikes are not. Things like air bags, crumple zones, better materials/construction, etc.

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That's why I looked for accident rates instead of fatality or injury rates. All the things you list are the car equivalent of riding gear: they help mitigate injury in an accident, but don't prevent accidents from happening in the first place.

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No problem. I'm not sure that the stats I could find are as informative as I'd hoped, but they're a start. There's been an assumption in this whole thread that drivers are causing more accidents today than in the past. I'm not sure that's true.

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Does anyone have statistics for Europe? They have to be seeing the same types of volume increases in traffic etc. but they have a very different culture with respect to bikes. Just curious if they're also seeing more accidents / fatalities.

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My thoughts are the technology end of things like cell phones, PDA's, GPS (yes that too) and all of the other crap we ALL use
I don't...

 

Neither do I. My cell is off unless I want to make a call. And I'll make that call when I'm not moving. I do not have a PDA, although having one doesn't mean it will be used while driving. And I don't have a GPS, although I do admit I bought one for my wife. She's left it sitting on the dining room table for 3 months. She thought she wanted one. Now she's not sure.

 

As for driving fast, I try and drive/ride a little faster than traffic (assuming traffic isn't going insanely fast). I don't have to pay as much attention to my 6, I'm always assessing the situation in front of me, looking for the next opening, watching driver head/hand/eye language to see who's planning to do what, and by anticipating their actions planning actions/reactions/avenues of safety/escape of my own.

 

Even when I drive, I try not to use the cruise control. I did use it this past weekend in the middle of BFE on my way to from SoCal to Phoenix. But even then I doubt I had it on more than a couple of miles at a time before something (car, truck, cop, road debris, etc) forced me to take full manual control.

 

It IS dangerous out there. People who drive are more an more insulated, both physically and psychologically, from their environments and from the consequences of their actions. And the proponents of nanny government are looking to add more. It gives me great cause for concern.

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While I am not an expert on motorcycle safety, like many of the contributers are here, I sometimes wonder if Pogo was right when he said, in a different context: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

 

The only two fatal bike accidents I have heard about locally this summer had five things in common: nighttime, single moving vehicle, young guy, sport bike, high speed. No cell phones or SUVs. One guy ran into the back of a pick up stopped at light at a well lighted intersection; the other guy ran straight thru a well lighted, well marked roundabout.

 

As far as driver distractions go, Ford is quantitatively studying it, instead of just speculating about it. They see a lot more potential electronic distractions for car drivers in the developmental pipeline, and they are trying to determine just how much a typical driver can cope with:

 

 

Ford Drive Distraction Lab

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To take Fernando's point further ...

 

We can as municipalities, states, a nation, or whatever create more "nanny" laws that "prohibit" cell phone talkin', PDA & GPS operatin', make-up applyin', finger- and (yes, I swear I've seen it) toe-nail polishin', newspaper readin', fast food-munchin, child-scolding, or even passenger conversin' while operating any motor vehicle.

 

HOWEVER, those laws are in fact another layer to ones that already assign responsibility for accidents. I'm talking about the important laws like vehicular manslaughter due to failure to yield the right of way (I repeat, the RIGHT of way). I ask, what does it matter the cause for distraction?

 

Seems obvious to me these "additional" laws are the ones we pass so we can feel good, believing we've just reduced the likelihood for death. However, the fact laws only serve to assign responsibility. They do not change behavior in the way we hope when we pass those laws. An appropriate example of this is the fatality data from the NHTSA clearly indicates that alcohol is a significant portion of the self-inflicted fatalities and that the percentage of those fatalities has increased significantly since 1997. Consider that it has been illegal to drive ANYTHING besides a golf ball while impaired for decades and no one can claim ignorance given the awareness campaigns out there.

 

My point is, the cause of those fatalities was not the alcohol - it was the operator's choice to ride while impaired (almost certainly preceded by "I'm gadda lot um exper'nce ridin' with a buzz).

 

And it is those who subscribe to the thought process that Laws change behavior that I fear. Those people are the very ones who will ultimately take away the freedoms we here enjoy (m/c riding) in order to save us from ourselves.

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I was thinking about this at lunch, as I rode along. I love getting away from the office for a ride at lunch. You'd have to pretty much declare a war zone outside my door to keep me from riding, and even then I'd probably just ride the DR more! wink.gif

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