Friday, October 08, 2010

Editorial Needed To Go Deeper and Further

A Winston-Salem Journal editorial published a few weeks back and reprinted in the editorial section of the Durham Herald-Sun came up short in my opinion.

It supported making a new law applicable not just to motorcycles but scooters and mopeds. I agree but…

The editorial needed to go further and at the same time the data used in support was so general as to be alarmist. Here are some clarifications from my viewpoint:Capture

  • There are 14.53 deaths per 100,000 vehicles in the nation according to the NHTSA. To get any perspective though, it is important to disaggregate the rates of 50-60 for motorcycles.

  • Sport and supersport motorcycles run 11-23 deaths per 100,000 even though they amount to only 9% of registrations a few years ago according to the Insurance Insurance Information Institute .

  • Cruisers like my Harley Cross Bones and Standards run far lower than sport bikes and vehicles as a whole with 5.9 deaths per 100,000 although they make up half of all registrations. That is far lower than cars and vehicles in general.

  • 59% percent of motorcycle fatalities were not wearing helmets, 35% were speeding, 25% had an expired license and 29% of fatalities driving motorcycles involve alcohol compared to 23% in other vehicles.

  • I may have misunderstood the editorial but endorsements are already required to ride a motorcycle. The problem is learners permits which require little effort and people just renew rather than get an endorsement.

People shouldn’t be apprehensive about riding but it is a good idea to look at the safety record of various types of bikes. Driver safety is a major point of emphasis for manufacturers and they should make measures like anti-lock brakes and air bags either on the bikes and/or in jackets universal.

More importantly, in my opinion, completion of a rider safety course should be mandatory to even get a learners permit for any of these vehicles.

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