Join Date: 06-04-2003
Location: Redding, Northern California
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Re: Slightly worrying article in The Times
Yes, today's bikes are fast, super fast. I have been riding street bikes since 1967 when a 125mph top speed was considered 'fast', and a zero-60mph time of 5 secs, and a standing 1/4 time of 13secs was impressive. Bikes have gotten faster as the years have gone by, with today's bikes being much, much faster than anything that went before, and they continue to get faster. But they have also become safer too. The tires of 'yester-year' didn't grip anything like as well as their modern counterparts, brakes back then were abysmal and most bikes didn't handle very well when pushed to the limit, (the Norton featherbed frame being about the only exception!). Today's sport bikes are lighter and handle superbly, and have brakes that out-perform anything on the road. While I will agree that a modern sport bike is not for the rider with limited experience I still think that the main cause of motorcyclist deaths is due to uneducated, incompetant, incapable, untrained, careless, 4 wheel vehicle drivers. Most motorcyclists take their riding very seriously. They keep their vehicles in top condition, dress in the best protective clothing and pay the utmost attention to what other road users are doing, as well as having to pay minute attention to every road condition. Today's motorcyclist is forced by law to drive with his/her headlights on, and voluntarily dresses in bright. eye catching colors in order to be seen more easily by other drivers. But car drivers continue to be 'distracted' by more and more modern conveniences which are thrown into their vehicles. Cell phones, video display screens for the kids strapped out of reach in the back seats, satellite direction screens and complex 300watt stereos/CD players/radios/tape decks are just some of the items that allow a car to become another 'room' away from home where drivers can eat their breakfast on the way to work, fix their makeup in the vanity mirror, or just read the morning paper while steering with their knees. And, as roads become more and more congested with more and more of these drivers, the danger to motorcyclists continues to rise.
As is the norm, whenever motorcyclist deaths increase the hue and cry is focused on speed, and the blame placed on the motorcycles and their riders. It is easier to remove the 'problem' than to trace the blame to its true source. What ensues is a 'witchhunt' with huge fines and revenues raised for the annual police ball by confiscating motorcycles. But this will not cure the problem. There used to be an advertisement on British TV that encouraged car drivers to "Think once, Think twice, THINK BIKE' before making any manouver in a car. It was a great advertisement and I praise it for focusing on the main cause of motorcycle accidents...........the inattention of car drivers!!!!!
So, I don't have the answer, and there probably isn't one that will work. We will just have to continue to be more and more cautious out there as we try to anticipate every move of every other vehicle on the road..........while also keeping a sharp eye out for the police as they increase their 'witch hunt' against all those dangerous motorcycles!!!!!