Motorcycle Accidents. Mike Greenwald Says It The Way He Sees It.

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.


31 Responses to “Motorcycle Accidents. Mike Greenwald Says It The Way He Sees It.”

  1. 1 Rogue Dec 18th, 2007 at 9:16 am

    I have been recieving e-mails from Mike and had the opportunity to read this one prior to it being posted here.
    I am very impressed with this and some of his other writings.
    Sometimes we need to just put things in perspective and say what has to be said even if it does hurt others feelings or they are not in agreement with our opinions.
    Bringing things out in the open and for discussion helps clear the air.
    I am sur that many will like what he has said here.
    Mike Please Keep Them Coming

  2. 2 Gregory Dec 18th, 2007 at 9:25 am

    Great article, Mike. Thanks Cyril for opening your digital space to readers. Great stuff.

  3. 3 Banshee Dec 18th, 2007 at 10:13 am

    Bravo… For years I have refused to ride in charity events and every year I get some idiot calling me one name or another for not wanting to join in the mass confusion…

    I have been on my own ride since 1972 and I refuse to endanger myself by going out to play with unskilled riders… Call me antisocial, Call me an asshole, but I like to ride for the sake of riding not ride so everyone can say I ride….

  4. 4 chesshirecat Dec 18th, 2007 at 10:30 am

    I’ve had these same thoughts for years…just am not as good stringing the words together as he is…nor the thoughts in one complete chain. They come to me piece-meal.
    I haven’t ridden in a formal gathering of bikers in ages. The last time was in Charleston for their Civil War Memorial ride of the Hunley. I rode close to the front of the precession…once there, the ride turned to crap…as no one stayed in formation on the return ride. It reminded me once again why I don’t do these things on a regular basis.

    I also, have to agree with the formula Mike gives regarding perceptions of the non-biking public around me.
    Thanks Mike for putting everything in a succinct manner…

  5. 5 Donnie Dec 18th, 2007 at 10:49 am

    If you state to your insurance company that you ride in parades, they increase your premiums!

  6. 6 Scott Dec 18th, 2007 at 10:51 am

    Great job Mike. I agree with you on most of your points. Personal responsibility is key, in solving these problems. Something that died many years ago in this country.

    As far as charitable events… Why should I ride with people I don’t know,or trust. I prefer to send them a check.

  7. 7 Brandon Dec 18th, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    “Easier to just let the government pass more laws to protect us from ourselves”. It’s the best sentence of this great article.

  8. 8 Rusty Knuckles Dec 18th, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    As a veteran of the lane splitting bikers from San Francisco, I can tell you it has changed me as a rider. To get to work was a 5 lane for 12 miles lane split. Some days truly scary, but always improving my skill set. This made me much more aware and cautious and never riding in a pack of more than 3-4 people, ever.

    The roads are far too dangerous and add to that problem people who recently just starting riding, the rubs on the new heavy bikes and your everyday folks on cell phones and latte highs. Makes me dream that once a year everyone should have to take driving classes to renew their license, to prove they can actually drive. That would be a dream come true!

  9. 9 Nicker Dec 18th, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    At the risk of being a contrarian, le-me say this about that:

    Mike, had you started and stopped at:
    “… 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…” You would have my full agreement.

    “… I would contend it is a class struggle disguised …”
    “…government.., police and prison systems… promoted killing…”

    Dude, that’s about as lame as Hillary Clinto’s Welsley commencement speech.


  10. 10 goldiron Dec 18th, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    Oh? How’s that, Nicker?

  11. 11 goldiron Dec 19th, 2007 at 3:47 am

    “The government through the military, police and prison systems has always overtly promoted killing.” If you are disagreeing with this statement, please explain their fatal weapons of aggression and their fatal, offensive based training.

    Motorcyclists are a class of roadway user. Therefore, as a class of user, motorcyclists are presented unique problems within the current regulations and laws that disregard suitability of roadway for operation of motorcycles upon them while being afforded equal protection under the law. Through passive or active disregard by the various government agencies, legislators and courts, the motorcyclist, as a class of roadway user, is patently discriminated against.

    Further complication, discrimination and prejudice confronts the motorcyclist with laws of protectionism. Many states that have mandatory helmet laws reference FMVSS 218 as a standard. Unfortunately, the Government cannot make any objective standards for helmets without taking on liability, and since they [the government] are expressly forbidden from taking on any liability, they can never make an objective standard for helmet. Without an objective standard it all becomes ad hoc and arbitrary; ad hoc and arbitrary is the foundation of vague law; vague law is unconstitutional.

    Therefore, the motorcyclist, as a class of roadway user, has, in fact, many struggles disguised in any number of forms.

    The latest of these struggles is the current move by government to seize motorcycles based upon a subjective report of “stunt” riding. In my humble opinion, staying alive on a motorcycle on a daily basis is a “stunt” and I will be damned if they are going to seize my property for staying alive.

  12. 12 J Dec 19th, 2007 at 4:50 am

    Well, that’s fine, and you make interesting points, but the reality of the statistics is….. (drum roll please)…

    The vast majority of motorcycle-rated accidents are due to a combination of operator imparement, speeding/wreckless driving, and less than one year of operator experience; Try more than 90%, by DOT stats.

    If you can show a way to effectively legislate drunk driving, speeding/immaturity, and real-world experience, then I think you have a pretty welcome case for the insurance companies to come together in happy agreement with us and big brother.

    Is lane splitting really gonna save more people than getting drunks off the road? Trucks and autos DO have priority on our highways for one very simple reason- they pay more in taxes. I want my resources deployed towards policing drunks, not cleaning up the occassional road kill that would be the inevitable fallout of lane-splitting; The first time a biker gets caught between two truckers having a bad day, you’ll see blue-hairs RUSHING towards Capital Hill to outlaw motorcycles- let alone how quickly the Tort lawyers decend upon the trucking companies!

    The insurance company is not an enemy in our world. Remember, the insurance industry runs on a highly-regulated profit margin- they have to justify their numbers to state regulators and shareholders just like any of us have to in our jobs; There isn’t some “dark force” at work here, making ever-increasing profits at our expense; By their very nature, insurance companies truly don’t care- it’s just numbers, they are inert.

    Are motorcyclists “hated” these days, or seen as a “dark element”? Nah- that died out awhile back, dude. Thanks to ever-increasing media coverage (and a more fiscally responsive base of ownership), motorcyclists are viewed by the general public these days as your dentist or CPA or truck driver with a mortgage to pay. Communities love the revenue and tax dollars that events bring in; Here in Florida, for example, there is hardly a weekend where a town somewhere ISN’T having some sort of community-oriented biker bash down Main Street.

    However, I will agree on one point- yes, when some idiot on a Hayabusa wheelies past me at 80mph, or some squid with straight pipes on his Vulcan tries to make his bones by rattling my windows at a stoplight, then yeah, I do “hate that criminal biker”- just like I hate that fly I can’t swat all day; But I thnk Darwinism a fairly effective tool in such cases- we DO need donars.

    In the end, is this a “class struggle”? Not at all- it’s a COMMUNICATION struggle- always has been, and always will be. If each side strives to seek an open exchange, solutions will occur, because ultimately, there is no “us verses them”- your insurance guy rides, your councilman rides, even Arnold still rides……

    Your viewpoint in your excellent post is a PERFECT example of a harbored beliefs, verses an objective exchange of facts, and as history has shown us, fighting for beliefs is a long, hard, frustrating road…….

    Now quit drinking so much, you assholes- I want my rates to start dropping……(!)

  13. 13 Solo Sam Dec 19th, 2007 at 5:30 am

    “Darwinism a fairly Effective tool ” good one J ! I think I’ll go out and buy a black Road King and get myself one of those black Harley t-shirts ! When ever I go on one of those ” charity ” ride I stay well back . When the hot dogs all start out I pretend to be slow and f uck around with my bags and camera . I like it when they all roar away passing each other on the right hand side on a one lane road . I putt along to the next stop looking in my mirror most of the time !

  14. 14 DJ CHOPPER GOD Dec 19th, 2007 at 5:55 am

    90% of people I know can’t ride. Thinning the herd is nature at it’s most effective. C.F.L.

  15. 15 goldiron Dec 19th, 2007 at 10:20 am

    Interestingly, the NHTSA figures brought up do not tell the story at face value. Principally what they do tell us, is about two types of crashes and factors involved.

    Solo crashes and the crashes with Other Vehicles. Solo crashes most commonly happen in a curve. Crashes with Other Vehicles most commonly occur while the other vehicle is turning in front of the motorcycle.

    Most often neither set of crashes are ever attributable to infrastructure nor condition of the roadway. This is an interesting point because of the many nuances and anomalies that we all inevitably encounter each and every time that we ride. Roadway condition is never satisfactorily assessed nor reported within these statistics.

    Alcohol or drug impaired driving or motorcycle operation does not directly cause the crash. It is overwhelmingly a secondary factor in crash statistics. As we all know, it causes bad judgment and not the crash.

    It is very interesting that speeding, reckless driving and lack of experience are brought up. These generalizations can be applied to any crash. If you run your motorcycle into anything, you did not stop in time and therefore you were speeding which has become synonymous with operating too fast for conditions. No matter the roadway condition, if you did not make the turn or did not make the required stopping distance, you are accused of being reckless. Finally, if you have never experienced each and every possibility of things happening in life, you have a lack of experience. These are all terms batted around courtrooms and most often used by those who speak in generalities by those who would be king. It is a bunch of sanctimonious crap.

    We, as motorcyclists, get killed by fatal choices of our own or of others. We choose to assume that our cage operating skills will serve us on a motorcycle. We choose NOT to practice riding skills and increasing our riding skill sets. We choose to let Other Vehicle operators kill us and not be punished. We choose to have legislators that will propose seizure of motorcycles. We choose to have communities such as Delray Beach attempt to ban motorcycles.

    These are not beliefs as you accuse me of. These are conclusions based upon many miles of riding.

  16. 16 J Dec 19th, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    Umm…. ok….. Well, as long as you’re going to split THAT hair, then it’s not the crash that causes injury- it’s the impact of your skull against the pavement resulting from the crash…

    Actually, the NHTSA figures do what they were designed to do- help account for probability and risk, based upon objective assessments of the facts of a crash- cite an example where NHTSA figures don’t do their job.

    Yes, the figures do focus on two types of crashes…. because….. there are primarily two types of crashes- lol. The NHTSA doesn’t make this stuff up, or ignore facts- their stats are objective, and until you can show tangible evidence otherwise, you just saying so doesn’t mean much.

    “Alcohol or drug impaired driving or motorcycle operation does not directly cause the crash. It is overwhelmingly a secondary factor in crash statistics. As we all know, it causes bad judgment and not the crash.”


    I’m sorry- I must have missed the class in law school where bad judgement is against the law- lol. Maybe it was late, and you didn’t really think this through, but a hint? Alcohol and drugs don’t cause judgement- they impare it. Ergo yes, they can directly contribute towards a crash. and people go to jail for imparement, even if no crash is involved; Do we go to jail for poor judgement, if no crime is committed? Sadly, no- lol.

    Actually, the only person I see speaking in terms of generalities is you. Seizure of property as a result of committing a crime is nothing new, and has a firm basis in the law, whether or not you like it- it works. If you don’t like it, then don’t do the crime. Is this a real threat to our way of life? Hardly. There IS a difference between violation of personal rights and paranoia.

    Delray Beach- I live in a similar community, and as much as I love to ride, I’m tired of the few who are intentionally disrespectful of my desire for peace and quiet. I really don’t mind loud pipes- unless the operator is intentionally being an idiot, and then yeah- disrespect me, I’ll prosecute you. In life, there are consequences for your actions, and no, you don’t have the God-given right to pull 5000 rpm on your straight-piped Shovel thru my neighborhood without retribution;

    The fact is, the vast majority of communities in this country welcome bikers- they are an excellent source of revenue, and generally are no more prone to criminality than the average RV’er; I always chuckle when I see a “Welcome Bikers” sign at a hotel or restaurant- bit different from when I started riding 35 yrs ago- lol.

    Sorry, but all you’ve demonstrated here ARE beliefs- regardless of how many miles you’ve ridden. Conclusions are a result of facts, not beliefs. The 70’s are over, dude- quit trying to create some sort of “Easy Rider” fantasy- hello, they sell Harley biker stuff at Disney now- LOL!

    “Sanctimonious crap”? Who is really trying to be king here, my friend? You’re trying to stir up some sort of controversy, based on nothing more than a few outdated stereotypes running around in your own head.

    Go for a ride. Don’t have too many beers. Lay off the pipes around the kiddies and old women.

  17. 17 goldiron Dec 19th, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    “cite an example where NHTSA figures don’t do their job.”

    Would non-reporting states skew the figures?

    Would non-reported/documented incidents within the reporting states skew the figures?

  18. 18 Nuke 'n Pave Dave Dec 19th, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    Well, Mike, you did a pretty good job of hitting it on the head. As for myself, a Harley rider since the 60’s, I’d just as soon go back to where the public locked their car windows and looked the other way when you stopped beside them at a stoplight. At least they recognized that you were there back then and didn’t try to run you down in their mad rush to figure out whether or not you were some damn celebrity whose autograph they wanted. It seems to me that the death rate among my brethren was much lower in those days than it is now. This is the basis of my yearning for the good old “don’t fuck with me” days now so long past. Our “mainstreaming” has brought about some good in that we don’t get hassled as much any more (the mid life crisis boys make such good camo), but this has come at a very high price in the lives of those we’ve lost. Maybe I’ll break down and get one of those new Beemers with the photon torpedo tubes sticking out the front. A primary chain flying through the air not being politically correct anymore…
    Nuke ‘n Pave Dave
    editorialist for:
    Skunk Dots Biker News-Houston
    Wheels on the Road-Miami

  19. 19 Nicker Dec 19th, 2007 at 9:39 pm


    “… How is that?…”

    Well… Hillary was some runny nose kid that got carried away with her own celebrity. And when given “the stage” started prattling on incoherently, clueless about the real world.

    Seems J may have ya pegged:

    “…quit trying to create some sort of “Easy Rider” fantasy…”
    “…Don’t have too many beers. Lay off the pipes …”

    “… please explain their fatal weapons of aggression and their fatal, offensive based training…”

    Get real!
    Id expect to heard that from those who pissed in their pants at the thought of getting drafted and going to boot camp.

    “…Alcohol or drug impaired driving or motorcycle operation does not directly cause the crash…”

    Sure… Just like it ain’t the crash that kills ya, its the sudden stop.

    “…We choose to let Other Vehicle operators kill us and not be punished…”

    No, the courts chooses it.
    A judge isn’t going to lock up a distracted mother of five screaming kids, who runs her station wagon over a biker on her way home to fix supper.

    It boils down to who is more “valuable” to society…. Her or the Biker…? I’ll give ya a clue, it ain’t the biker.

    And riding with a buzz-on is still a DUI, regardless of how good it makes ya feel.
    That’s reality.


  20. 20 goldiron Dec 20th, 2007 at 10:32 am

    Interesting that you are on the same page that I am. I think that we are both in favor of personal responsibility.

    An exception to choice. We can decide who the prosecutors and judges are. We do choose them when we vote. Therefore, we do choose to let others kill us while we are riding.

    The picture you paint of a mother with five screaming kids is so endearing. The reality of this is true and stacked against the motorcyclist. The reality is also true that the court does not hold her to the same level of responsibility. Should we meet her transgressions or the transgressions of others with equal lethality we are strung up by the media and the “courts”.

    For a long time, I wrestled with the thought of a life for a life approach to riding. I considered that those that kill or maim a motorcyclist in a crash should meet an equally devastating fate. I have also often wondered why the courts don’t assess burial or hospital costs for killing or maiming a motorcyclist.

    Notably, it does not matter what value you have to society. Once you climb on the motorcycle, your value has been discounted.

    Never have been a proponent of “loud pipes”, though I have heard more than a few and try to avoid them when riding. I do enjoy the sound of them, at the various race tracks.

    Never have been a proponent of operating under the influence and avoid those that ride that way. With regards to drunk driving, if you haven’t stopped some one from driving drunk, you are passively in agreement that it is okay for them to drive that way.

    Not a fan of “pit maneuvers” used by police against motorcyclists. (offense weaponry)

    Save your personal attacks for your appearance on the Jerry Springer show.

  21. 21 Jeff Lanza Dec 20th, 2007 at 11:07 am

    Very interesting intellectual debate. Please, more…

  22. 22 Ricky-D Dec 20th, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    “J” writes:

    “The vast majority of motorcycle-rated accidents are due to a combination of operator imparement, speeding/wreckless driving, and less than one year of operator experience; Try more than 90%, by DOT stats.”

    I tried to find the information to give credulity to your 90% figure but failed. I wonder if you would help out a fellow biker and supply the sources of that exceptional statement you made.

    I would love to be able to cite that info in a letter to the editor in the local rag.


  23. 23 Nicker Dec 20th, 2007 at 9:25 pm


    “…we are both in favor of personal responsibility…”

    Spot-on! …

    “… [judges] We do choose them when we vote. Therefore, we do choose to let others kill us while we are riding…”

    Dude, ya flat out lost me there…???

    “…picture you paint of a mother with five screaming kids is so endearing…”

    That picture is simply an observation of reality.
    My world view is purely pragmatic, by necessity.
    She operates with neither virtue or malice, she is simply there and as a rider ya have to deal with her from that reality.
    Lady Madonna she ain’t.
    What she is, is a thing that can kill ya.
    Hence i’ve never had a problem with loud pipes as a way to get her attention (but not as a ego enhancing device. And we all know the difference).

    “…wondered why the courts don’t assess burial or hospital costs for killing or maiming a motorcyclist…”

    If ya don’t blow through a green light, just because it

    “…reality of this is true and stacked against the motorcyclist…”

    I think this is where you and i have a diverging world view.
    Reality is what it is.

    As i see it, we are not all “created equal.” if we were, we would all be fucking Einsteins…!!
    Basically, your Born, life is unfair and hard, then ya die.

    Don’t get me wrong, life is a wonderful thing, but it plays itself out in Reality, not in Utopia.

    So, le-me suggest that “…wrestl[ing] with the thought of a life for a life…” changes nothing.

    “…I considered that those that kill or maim a motorcyclist in a crash should meet an equally devastating fate…”

    Dude, i don’t even want to think about any Government program implementing “equally devastating fate(s)” for anyone!
    (including Hillary Health Care).

    IMHO you might be better off focusing on a good defensive riding strategy and improving your skills (get a dirt bike).

    Remembering not blow through an intersection just because you have a green light….etc. etc. etc… will do more to keep ya from getting killed or maimed than any amount of intellectual rationalization.

    “…Save your personal attacks for your appearance on the Jerry Springer show…”

    -A- Don’t treat life like a popularity contest.
    -B- Focus on the facts, not the delivery.

    I’m not sure you and P-Dave are both “…yearning for the good old “don’t fuck with me” days…”
    I do know this:
    The only thing good about-em (the bad old days) we were younger then and had more hair. Suffice it to say that no murdered friends and missing acquaintances share that perspective.

  24. 24 goldiron Dec 20th, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    The point that you got lost at is here.
    We have more than enough laws dealing with negligent driving and other excuses like “I didn’t see ’em”. We don’t need more laws. The judges and prosecutors in these courts allow leniency to the point of making a motorcyclists life/death less than a speeding ticket in terms of punitive deterrent for the death. Yes, there are a few cases where prison time and a stiff fine are meted out but that is extremely rare.
    You are 100% correct about defensive riding.

  25. 25 Nicker Dec 20th, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    OK, well,

    I’m don’t know that “…courts allow leniency to the point of making a motorcyclists life/death less than a speeding ticket…”

    But i do know about code enforcement, i do know the Police are more lenient regarding driving code violations (like who has the right of way at a 4-way stop…etc). When asked, they say they have other priorities.

    Bottom line, no matter how many accountants, bankers, and governors take up motorcycling, riders will always the low man on the totem pole of life…..

    I can’t recall ever seeing a Judge run for office on a “biker advocate” platform. At least not up here in Nor-Cal.

    Lets face it, it appears that, as a species, Humans are not getting any smarter. There’s probably some corollary to the 2nd law of thermal dynamics. And our growing community seems to attract more than our share of “Beer-Morons.”

    If ya don’t expect too much from Humans, you won’t be disappointed.

    So just back off a-couple-a notches and enjoy life.
    Just watch yourself while yer-doing it….:-)

    IMHO anyway.

  26. 26 goldiron Dec 20th, 2007 at 11:33 pm


  27. 27 TROY Dec 24th, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    Who really needs more of a reason than alcohol, inexperience and not paying attention? Some 8 years ago I was alcohol free, experienced and paying attention and had a drunk pull out in front of me and my riding has been severely limited since. If you are going to ride, you have to ride to stay alive. Booze impairs peoples’ judgement, inexperience leaves you no way out and not paying attention kills you. This same thing applies to truck and car drivers except they have a lot more metal around them. If you want to ride and try to stay alive, pay attention to what you are doing and what others are doing. This still might get you killed, but if you are worried about dying then don’t leave the house. Once you leave the house, all bets are off, regardless of government, corporate and insurance conspiracies.

  28. 28 Dave Dec 24th, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    Hey GoldIron,
    I can appreciate your views and you make some valid points, but as far as I am concerned, when you throw your leg across a bike and hit the road, you are on your own. I’ve grown up on two wheels and now at 41, I’ve been on the blacktop over 20 years, from my perspective people on the road have always sucked at whatever vehicle they were driving, cars, trucks, bikes, whatever. More bike deaths are happening because bikes are dangerous and there are more on the road than ever before, add the fact we have higher speed limits and distractions and it’s a no-brainer… in an accident the motorcyclist will likely bear the worst. Riding is a deeply personal thing to me and many other bikers out there, and I will not let something as inate as “the fear of death” keep me off my bike. I do not look for any group to aid me in my pursuit of the road nor do I expect any governmental entity(s) to make it any safer for me, in fact, they would likely screw things up even more! Riders have to ride alert, ride sober, ride VERY defensively, and demand their place in the lane like a miner’s claim if they expect to make it home in one piece. Anyone that isn’t up to it, should just stay home.

  29. 29 goldiron Dec 27th, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    “…as I am concerned, when you throw your leg across a bike and hit the road, you are on your own.”
    Absolutely, without question.

    “More bike deaths are happening because bikes are dangerous and there are more on the road than ever before, add the fact we have higher speed limits and distractions and it’s a no-brainer…”

    Bikes are not dangerous, their operators are dangerous. Poorly trained riders are dangerous.

    Higher speed limits? Hell, they have been lowered and restricted since I started riding in the fifties. Overall, travelling cross country on a bike is much slower and much less enjoyable than years ago.

    Distractions are part of the increases in motorcyclist deaths.

    Don’t forget to attribute a fair share of deaths to changes in the automobile designs that have reduced crush zones and increased heights that bothare very strong contributors to maiming and deaths of motorcyclists.
    Failing infrastructure of roadways and bridges, additional usage of pavement markings and pavement paints, roadway furniture, wire rope barriers (cheese graters) and the like also have contributed their fair share of death and maiming to the motorcyclists.

    For the past twenty years, insurance companies have been promoting the notion that their policy holding cage drivers look out for motorcyclists. Now, the insurance companies are looking for ways to eliminate motorcycles altogether through other types of legislation. Remember, they cannot collect premiums nor get renewals if their clients are being held in jail. They also will lose further if they are assessed any further damages. The insurance companies are against motorcyclists 100 percent.

    Alert, sober and defensively are very import descriptions and attributes of survivor riding.

  30. 30 Dave Dec 28th, 2007 at 8:42 am

    I think insurance companies are against everybody, not just motorcyclists. Obviously, it is easier to suffer severe injuries in a bike accident rather than a car, so higher premiums are to be expected, it is a shame however that we lifetime riders suffer rate hikes as a result of newbies and poorly skilled riders, but bikers have always been picked on, so I just consider this par for the course. It hasn’t changed in 50 years, I don’t expect it change in the future.
    And when I started riding, the speed limit in my state was 55 mph, it is now 70 mph… and this is common across the entire United States, so speed limits have increased. So have alcohol and drug related accidents, and distracted driving accidents, it more dangerous than ever to ride and no one but us riders seem to care.
    That being said, I will continue to ride as often as my job and health will allow. And just as a note to my points here, I was hit by a car in 2002. Broad daylight, perfect weather conditions, no excuses… she just swerved into my lane and came at me head on, afterward she offered no reason, just wasn’t paying attention and didn’t see me. I avoided most of the impact by swerving opposite and taking a glancing blow rather than head-on. It still sucked, but I lived to ride another day. A little luck, and some EXTREMELY DEFENSIVE riding saved my life, hopefully it always will.
    Ride hard GoldIron, I enjoy the views and opinions of seasoned riders (writers).

  31. 31 goldiron Dec 28th, 2007 at 11:41 am

    Glad you are with us, Dave.

    During the seventies, there was the first oil crisis/shortage. It was during this period that muscle cars met their demise and that speed limits were first lowered.

    Most notably gone were the speeds of “reasonable and prudent” where you could run as fast as the road would permit.

    The second most notable speed reduction at the time was during the federal blackmail of highway funds. It was federal mandated/blackmail at this particular time that reduced interstate speeds as well as state and local highway speeds to 55 mph. Many posted speed limits were 60, 65 ,70, 75 mph. It was the bully actions by the federal government that were tolerated back then that have created nefariously strong and dictatorial agencies within our government today.

    Helmets were optional to everyone. Then, as now, some riders wore them and some didn’t. Most did not wear the stupid plastic hats. I do not mention them here to start another damned helmet discussion rather, just a reference point in history for motorcyclists.

    Grooved pavement became more widespread during this point in time.

    I am going to touch on another point you made and that is defensive riding. I believe, although I can’t prove this with statistics or firsthand knowledge, that most riders do not practice riding. Most riders just ride and consider that to be their practice. Practice all the aspects of riding. Practice the stuff that you are good at and the stuff that needs improvement. I need to do it and so does everybody that I have ever met. It is not necessary to practice your mistakes, just practice all the things that make you a good rider on all the different surfaces that you can.

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