I received this very interesting article written by Mike Greenwald without first realizing that he was one of my faithful readers usually commenting under the name of GoldIron. This post is a little bit long for a Blog, but very much worth reading from A to Z. And I expect a lot of comments on this one. .
"The cost of crashes (accidents as some people refer to them) is astronomical. The insurance for a motorcycle in the USA is limited by the industry. They do not allow proper limits of coverage to cover the costs and yet in many states this insufficient coverage is not only mandatory but also insufficient. 1% bikers such as the Hell’s Angels, Outlaws, Bandidos (and the list goes on) mostly operate and celebrate in stealth. However, the emulator of the patch on the back of the vest promoting the bad boy image is Harley Davidson with their owners group called HOG. Many of these HOG members are delusional in American patriotism in purchasing their bikes and even more do not know how to ride them. Attribute this fact to the slipshod training available from the Harley dealerships and the industry funded Motorcycle Safety Foundation. The sole purpose of the MSF is to market motorcycles and the secondary purpose is to give licensing skills test waivers to its attendees. As a note of interest, deaths during training have risen significantly since the MSF has taken over training.
The charities are usually held harmless in the crashes and deaths here. Many of these benefit rides are dangerous and poorly organized for the rider. The headlines have been full of injury and death related to these events. Irresponsible riding is not attributed to the individual rider, rather, it is attributed to all motorcyclists. Similarly the age group that has been the target of Harley marketing is also attributed with increasing deaths as Harley sells more and more bikes. Many of these riders attempt to recapture youth with money spent upon motorcycles, erectile dysfunction drugs, politicians and the desire for complacency.
Inexperience is the cause, albeit older people have slower reflexes it’s the lack of experience that most often gets one into a situation that reflexes are "that much" of an issue. I’m not so sure that kids today are immune to risk taking. I do however feel that they have not learned respect as it was taught back in the day. And are more apt to have an "it’s an all about me attitude", as does most of today’s population.
I think we, as motorcyclists, have finally convinced the general population we are no longer anything to be afraid of. On the contrary, we are to be used/fleeced and then ignored, on the roads and in the legislatures. Our fault.
Harleys are now a fashion accessory. That desire for complacency is shared by motorcycle riders and vehicle drivers of all sorts. Motorcyclists enjoy some of the convenience of the "Lazy-Boy" attitude and lifestyle while driving in a manner that exacerbates vulnerabilities of motorcycling. Many of motorcycling worst practices have evolved from style and imagery promoted by Harley-Davidson. Riding position and posture, ineffective mirrors, poor cornering angles and poor handling. It is no wonder that these motorcyclists die more often than predictable or acceptable regularity. My gut feeling is that it’s a combination of simple things that are responsible for the death rate. The increase in the number of riders, the increase in the number of drivers (especially SUV drivers), more and more driver distractions like phones, GPS, and the like, much more powerful bikes being ridden by newbies, and also deteriorating roads just to name the obvious. I think the general public just doesn’t take driving seriously. How many times have you been at a 4-way stop and realized that at least one or more of the drivers didn’t know who had the right of way. They didn’t know the rules of the road? How many times have you been behind a driver that enters the freeway at 40 mph causing everyone behind him to hit the brakes and slow down before our hero finally gets around to accelerating up to the speed at which traffic is flowing?
Many methods of riding that are inherently safe for a motorcyclist are outlawed by the government based upon what is the least costly solution to accommodate an automobile or worse, a tractor trailer rig. I don’t think it’s the attitude towards motorcyclists that is the problem as much as it’s the attitude towards driving in general. And that includes riders as well. For example, lane "splitting" is legal in California provided it’s done properly. Meaning traffic is stopped or moving very slowly–25 mph and the motorcyclist is passing at just a slightly higher speed. However, in practice you see the vast majority lane splitting at illegal, and usually unsafe speeds. It is common to be moving along at 45-50 mph and have a motorcyclist doing 60-65 squeeze between your vehicle and the one next to you.
I think we have to look at the government/corporate/industrial relationship to see who is really running the country. The current government is a prime example and predictive as per that video. It is all economics. And the government/industrial complex would be more than happy to have us blame it on anybody but the real enemy….them. The government through the military, police and prison systems has always overtly promoted killing. Covertly, killing has been passively promoted by the insurance, pharmaceutical, medical and legal industries and professions. The generalized acceptance of this has been difficult to manipulate and has taken a number of factors and generations to assimilate into American society. The primary influence to our society has been the devaluation of family unity and family government as being a useful part of society through values like personal responsibility, morality, and God’s law. Once the general consensus demonstrated that these basic tenets of society had been eroded, the opinion of the value of a specific life could be easily swayed positively or negatively. This has had a devastating effect upon the motorcyclist. We abandoned these principles in exchange for the almighty dollar. It has a devastating impact on all aspects of society. Those of lower economic status cannot afford to defend themselves. The upper class can. This will only foster resentment and more violence.
Likening a motorcyclist to a criminal has made this easy. Likening a motorcyclist to the mentally ill because of risk assumption has furthered the perception. Likening the attire of a motorcyclist to an adversarial army has made the motorcyclist an identifiable enemy. These perceptions create a psychological condition of aversion. People will avert their attention, gaze, and concern about motorcyclists as a viable and valuable component of society. This aversion to motorcyclists makes it relatively easy to kill them without much fear of penalty or recourse. I think it’s possible to see it from this perspective as a motorcyclist. I also think other segments of society can see it from the same perspective based on where it they come from or what shoes they have walked in. Again, I would contend it is a class struggle disguised in any number of forms. And the higher echelons of society would be pleased as punch allowing us to fight each other as opposed to fighting them. I believe the accident rate could be cut in half if American drivers had a better attitude about driving. But that would mean that people would have to be educated and willing to assume more personal responsibility and that isn’t very popular these days. Easier to just let the government pass more laws to protect us from ourselves" Mike Greenwald. Goldiron Blog.