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i love motorcycling and i wish everyone would ride, but like many have already pointed out, too many new riders are buying bikes that are well beyond their skill levels. when these new riders get their shiny, new, heavy, high-powered machines on the road they often find themselves at the helm of a machine they cannot control. i blame the Discovery Channel for this.

the biker build-off shows have triggered the "mainstreaming" of custom and high-powered cruisers. these bikes were once the domain of experienced riders, but now anyone with a checkbook who has a hankering to be "cool" can buy one.

when i started riding 14 years ago, i bought a 250 because i didn't want to learn on a heavy bike...i figured it would hurt to fall. but alas, since i've watched a few episodes of biker build-off, i've discovered that i was not "cool" while straddling my 250 nighthawk. :roll:
 
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mountain bike mike said:
i love motorcycling and i wish everyone would ride, but like many have already pointed out, too many new riders are buying bikes that are well beyond their skill levels. when these new riders get their shiny, new, heavy, high-powered machines on the road they often find themselves at the helm of a machine they cannot control. i blame the Discovery Channel for this.

the biker build-off shows have triggered the "mainstreaming" of custom and high-powered cruisers. these bikes were once the domain of experienced riders, but now anyone with a checkbook who has a hankering to be "cool" can buy one.

when i started riding 14 years ago, i bought a 250 because i didn't want to learn on a heavy bike...i figured it would hurt to fall. but alas, since i've watched a few episodes of biker build-off, i've discovered that i was not "cool" while straddling my 250 nighthawk. :roll:
I still love that pic Miguel, you really did a nice job with it.
 

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I think people dying and that "alcohol was involved" is way to ambiguous to conclude that alcohol alone made the crash happen.

Personally, I think that fatigue plays a far larger role in crashes and is rarely ever addressed. In fact, I think the MSF doesn’t focus on the effects of rider fatigue enough.

This coupled with the ages in riders in addition to alcohol is probably a more accurate cause for a crash.
 
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hunnus2000 said:
I think people dying and that "alcohol was involved" is way to ambiguous to conclude that alcohol alone made the crash happen.

Personally, I think that fatigue plays a far larger role in crashes and is rarely ever addressed. In fact, I think the MSF doesn’t focus on the effects of rider fatigue enough.

This coupled with the ages in riders in addition to alcohol is probably a more accurate cause for a crash.
so basically us geezers should drink less and take naps between rides :wink:
 

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Stats can be very useful but articles frequently fail to report the "Limfac's" of their data.....For example motorcycle deaths are on the increase among riders 50 and older......could it be the ratio of riders to accidents are the same or nearly the same and we simply have more riders? Or could it be there are more cars and motorcycles on the road? I believe the increase has less to do with age and more to do with alcohol and more riders....can't back it up but....

I also don't agree that one should automatically assume an inexperienced rider should immediately go small. A good example is buying a 650 V-Star versus a 1100 V-Star. There is only about a 50 lb difference in the weight. Both bikes will handle about the same at slow speeds due the small difference in weight. At highway speeds the 1100 will not have to work as hard and the rider will be less fatigued....could actually be safer. Just because you have more power doesn't mean you will drive beyond your limitations. I have a VTX 1300 and typically cruise 60 -70 miles per hour on the highway.
 

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Statistics

I am in the 55+ group, started riding again a year ago after 20 idle years.
One of my best friend is a MC policeman, he had a lot to to with my decision
to buy an 1100 Shadow, and he urged me to practice to get confidence.
So I bought the DVD Ride Like a Pro, which has really made all the difference
for me in "learning again" to master the skill.
This fall when it was getting too cold for long rides, I spent hours in the parking lot
just turning and braking. Now I reallize how little I knew about the basics of
controlling a big bike.

(Bear in mind that I am in Europe, not the USofA.)
On statistics: I took computer data for all MC accidents here for the last 10 years
and compared it with similar data from the whole of Europe.
My findings might be of interest to some of you that are in this discussion.
Again the groth has been in the older riders group, but the accidents are still
by far highest in the <25 years group. 70% are one vehicle accidents, half of those
are just categorized "falling out of control in a turn".
When a car was involved, most accidents are caused by the driver of the car,
but both drivers are at fault in the 22% category "recless lane changing".
Another interesting finding was that only 3% of accidents are related to speeding (of the MC).

Thanks to all of you for a fantastic forum, I read most of it !
- and I only regret having spent too many years on 4 wheels.
 

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I'm in that 50+ age group. I'm also in the newbie group. I enjoy having a beer, am over weight by about 20~25lbs., could use more exersize...

I read post's (or articles) like this and use them as a reality check!

I"M NOT SUPERMAN ANYMORE!

I try to be VERY self conscious about my riding. My suroundings. What's ahead and behind me. I WILL NOT LET others I ride with dictate how I ride MY BIKE!

Statistics can be tilted to one side or the other. I'm not saying I dispute the numbers...only...?

I will continue to enjoy riding my bike, at my leasure, to my satifaction!

BUT, I will also continue to read these types of threads, if for no other reason then a REALITY CHECK!

And, I'm still not Superman anymore!
 

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If you look carefully at the fatality statistics, you see quite a correlation to alcohol and "fixed object" collisions (trees). Also, you'll see a high percentage of the fatalities occur on rural roads ... and at night. Read between the lines -- alcohol + night + dark road with a tighter turn than expected = slam into tree = bad news.

Bad things can happen ... but some basic prudent actions can be taken to mitigate some of the risks:

o No alcohol ... period.
o Try not to ride at night ... others can't see us; it's harder to judge distances and conditions; animals; road debris
o Check your ego before getting on the bike. Curves don't have to be taken at speeds higher than the limit. It's not necessary to get an adrenalin rush every few seconds. Take it easy.

That's all ... my plane is getting ready to board.
 

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I'm thinking that there's been an increase in deaths for several reasons.

-baby boomers have more disposable income possibly from the spike in home prices. Many refinance
and use the windfall for FUN stuff, like vacations or toys like motorcycles.
-baby boomers have a "mid life crises" and buy a hog to live their dream that a bike can change thier life, plus......
-the "OCC/Biker Buildoff/Jesse James effect". Who doesn't want to be COOL?
-high gas prices. Some people use bikes just for commuting. A new rider on a busy freeway can be
a recipe for disaster.(like here in So Cal. Can you say, SIG ALERT?)
-sportbikes. Extreme performance on a budget. Its a thrill ride that young men love. Testosterone on 2 wheels. (I remember when i was invincible....)
-sportbikes. Ya hardly ever see one down near the speed limit. (when I had my ST1100, I almost always drove
10-15 mph over the speed limit. I have to say that it was an EXTREMELY RARE DAY that I passed a sport bike.)

All of these things have put less skilled riders on the road, both young and "old". And i'm sure that there are a lot more reasons.

So, now we can do the math.

Newbie + Motorcycle x CC's x (booze + cellphones) = busy morticians

What'cha think?
 

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I'm going to join the 50+ group in a couple months and can relate to a lot of what has been said. A few years ago I met an older gentlemen who has since passed on, but he was telling how he was going to a smaller bike because at his age the bigger ones were just too much for him. It does amaze me how bikes have become so big and heavy and I believe that is some contribution to problems new riders have. I remember just getting into bikes in the early 1970's. Back then I was so impressed with Honda biggest bike the 750-4, and Yamaha's biggest bike the 650 twin, and then Kawasaki came out with the 900-4 which was "king" for while. Those bikes seemed totally adequate for whatever you wanted to do. How times have changed!!!
 

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TucsonDon said:
Read between the lines -- alcohol + night + dark road with a tighter turn than expected = slam into tree = bad news.

Bad things can happen ... but some basic prudent actions can be taken to mitigate some of the risks:

o No alcohol ... period.
o Try not to ride at night ... others can't see us; it's harder to judge distances and conditions; animals; road debris
o Check your ego before getting on the bike. Curves don't have to be taken at speeds higher than the limit. It's not necessary to get an adrenalin rush every few seconds. Take it easy.

That's all ... my plane is getting ready to board.
Reminds me of one of my teenage riding accidents (no alcohol) but everything else - night, sharp turn, country road :oops: . My helmet was on my sissy bar and not my head when I went down and crashed. I did find my helmet but could not find my glasses. Broke my windshield but bike was still rideable. Went back there the next morning in the daylight and found my glasses and then saw the barb wire fence I just missed when I crashed. I learned from that experience and was thankful to walk away. Some very good advise, TusconDon!!
 

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Check out "The Hurt Report" at http://www.clarity.net/~adam/hurt-report.html for more interesting and helpful data on this subject.

I'm 65 and have only been riding a couple of years. I am very safety conscious, maybe to the extreme at times. My neighbor and friend died in a motorcycle/auto accident last year on Good Friday. He was also in his sixties and was very experienced. He had been riding since his teen years. He often said of cagers, "they're all out to kill you" and rode with that attitude. An SUV turned left in front of him in an intersection, driver said he didn't see the motorcycle. His bike laid down and slid into the SUV throwing him into the vehicle. The main impact to his body was in his chest area killing him almost instantly - he was wearing a helmet.

I've thought about the accident scenario a lot and often wondered if a lightbar would have made him visible to the SUV driver. I add a lightbar to every bike I buy (now riding #4) as soon as possible. I also have an air horn and a thumb ready to give it a blast anytime I think a driver hasn't seen me. Yeah, by lip reading I can tell some of them don't appreciate it, but at least I know they saw me.

Since I ride for the joy of it, I don't ride at night or in the rain. I avoid heavy traffic whenever possible and I choose back roads when available. I try to be prepared to stop or take evasive action at each intersection and I try to position myself on the road in such a way to make myself most visible according to my surroundings.

Motorman's "Ride Like A Pro III" and "Surviving The Mean Streets" videos should be in every motorcyclists library and viewed/reviewed frequently. I find practicing slow speed maneuvers and panic stops are good for me. Every day also starts and ends with prayer and thanksgiving.

Ride Safe ....



Be Blessed...
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Re: Statistics

sama said:
Again the groth has been in the older riders group, but the accidents are still
by far highest in the <25 years group. 70% are one vehicle accidents, half of those
are just categorized "falling out of control in a turn".
When a car was involved, most accidents are caused by the driver of the car,
but both drivers are at fault in the 22% category "recless lane changing".
Another interesting finding was that only 3% of accidents are related to speeding (of the MC).

.
In the articles I read, they only gave an indication that the biggest "INCREASE" in deaths is in the 50+ category, which is also where the largest number of deaths occur now. In the US anyway. But when you think of it, that is also where the increase in bike sales is too, I would think. So it would make sense that an increase number of bikes increases the number of deaths. I guess the real statistic would be to tell me what percentage of riders who are in the 25-30 year old class have fatalities, compared to the percentage of riders in the 50+ class. That would tell me something that makes sense. Of course people who come up with statistics seldom make sense. It was just disheartening to hear of so many deaths in my age group. Several thousand people killed during 911 and we go to war... hundreds of thousands killed on the road and we accept it with no outrage? Why does that not make sense... maybe a good next topic.


Bocco
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
destinrider said:
I'm 65 and have only been riding a couple of years. I am very safety conscious, maybe to the extreme at times. My neighbor and friend died in a motorcycle/auto accident last year on Good Friday. He was also in his sixties and was very experienced. He had been riding since his teen years. He often said of cagers, "they're all out to kill you" and rode with that attitude. An SUV turned left in front of him in an intersection, driver said he didn't see the motorcycle. His bike laid down and slid into the SUV throwing him into the vehicle. The main impact to his body was in his chest area killing him almost instantly - he was wearing a helmet.

I've thought about the accident scenario a lot and often wondered if a lightbar would have made him visible to the SUV driver. I add a lightbar to every bike I buy (now riding #4) as soon as possible. I also have an air horn and a thumb ready to give it a blast anytime I think a driver hasn't seen me. Yeah, by lip reading I can tell some of them don't appreciate it, but at least I know they saw me.

Since I ride for the joy of it, I don't ride at night or in the rain. I avoid heavy traffic whenever possible and I choose back roads when available. I try to be prepared to stop or take evasive action at each intersection and I try to position myself on the road in such a way to make myself most visible according to my surroundings.

Motorman's "Ride Like A Pro III" and "Surviving The Mean Streets" videos should be in every motorcyclists library and viewed/reviewed frequently. I find practicing slow speed maneuvers and panic stops are good for me. Every day also starts and ends with prayer and thanksgiving.

Ride Safe ....

Be Blessed...
My exact feelings buddy. My riding partner had the same thing happen to him last year. He survived but I lost a riding partner as now he's afraid to ride. But whenever he followed me I always thought to myself that his light didn't seem very bright. Perhaps it was aimed wrong. His accident report, "Lady turned left and didn't see Doug. Lady hit Doug on his motorcycle." I'm going to try a headlight modulator and have an air horn waiting to be installed. Ditto on "Ride Like a PRO". I have all his stuff. Everyone, ESPECIALLY inexperienced riders should buy one. It will cost you less than a broken bone, or anything worse.

I thought your link was excellent information, and am posting it here. I hope no one objects to the amount of space used. I condensed it as much as possible.

Thanks Destinrider... Good Stuff

(AKA "Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures")
A brief summary of the findings is listed below. To order the full report, contact:
National Technical Information Service
5285 Port Royal Road
Springfield, Virginia 22161
(703)-487-4600
and order:
Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures, Volume 1: Technical Report, Hurt, H.H., Ouellet, J.V. and Thom, D.R., Traffic Safety Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90007, Contract No. DOT HS-5-01160, January 1981 (Final Report)
Vol.I (The Main Report and Summary) is PB81206443 (~400 pages)
Vol.II (Appendix: Supplementary Data) is PB81206450 (~400 pages)
Either document is $42.95 plus $3.00 shipping. (circa 1990)

Summary of Findings

Throughout the accident and exposure data there are special observations which relate to accident and injury causation and characteristics of the motorcycle accidents studied. These findings are summarized as follows:
1. Approximately three-fourths of these motorcycle accidents involved collision with another vehicle, which was most often a passenger automobile.
2. Approximately one-fourth of these motorcycle accidents were single vehicle accidents involving the motorcycle colliding with the roadway or some fixed object in the environment.
3. Vehicle failure accounted for less than 3% of these motorcycle accidents, and most of those were single vehicle accidents where control was lost due to a puncture flat.
4. In single vehicle accidents, motorcycle rider error was present as the accident precipitating factor in about two-thirds of the cases, with the typical error being a slideout and fall due to overbraking or running wide on a curve due to excess speed or under-cornering.
5. Roadway defects (pavement ridges, potholes, etc.) were the accident cause in 2% of the accidents; animal involvement was 1% of the accidents.
6. In multiple vehicle accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle right-of-way and caused the accident in two-thirds of those accidents.
7. The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle accidents. The driver of the other vehicle involved in collision with the motorcycle did not see the motorcycle before the collision, or did not see the motorcycle until too late to avoid the collision.
8. Deliberate hostile action by a motorist against a motorcycle rider is a rare accident cause. The most frequent accident configuration is the motorcycle proceeding straight then the automobile makes a left turn in front of the oncoming motorcycle.
10. Intersections are the most likely place for the motorcycle accident, with the other vehicle violating the motorcycle right-of-way, and often violating traffic controls.
11. Weather is not a factor in 98% of motorcycle accidents.
12. Most motorcycle accidents involve a short trip associated with shopping, errands, friends, entertainment or recreation, and the accident is likely to happen in a very short time close to the trip origin.
13. The view of the motorcycle or the other vehicle involved in the accident is limited by glare or obstructed by other vehicles in almost half of the multiple vehicle accidents.
14. Conspicuity of the motorcycle is a critical factor in the multiple vehicle accidents, and accident involvement is significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle headlamps (on in daylight) and the wearing of high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets.
15. Fuel system leaks and spills were present in 62% of the motorcycle accidents in the post-crash phase. This represents an undue hazard for fire.
16. The median pre-crash speed was 29.8 mph, and the median crash speed was 21.5 mph, and the one-in-a-thousand crash speed is approximately 86 mph.
17. The typical motorcycle pre-crash lines-of-sight to the traffic hazard portray no contribution of the limits of peripheral vision; more than three-fourths of all accident hazards are within 45deg of either side of straight ahead.
18. Conspicuity of the motorcycle is most critical for the frontal surfaces of the motorcycle and rider.
19. Vehicle defects related to accident causation are rare and likely to be due to deficient or defective maintenance.
20. Motorcycle riders between the ages of 16 and 24 are significantly overrepresented in accidents; motorcycle riders between the ages of 30 and 50 are significantly underrepresented. Although the majority of the accident-involved motorcycle riders are male (96%), the female motorcycles riders are significantly overrepresented in the accident data.
22. Craftsmen, laborers, and students comprise most of the accident-involved motorcycle riders. Professionals, sales workers, and craftsmen are underrepresented and laborers, students and unemployed are overrepresented in the accidents.
23. Motorcycle riders with previous recent traffic citations and accidents are overrepresented in the accident data.
24. The motorcycle riders involved in accidents are essentially without training; 92% were self-taught or learned from family or friends. Motorcycle rider training experience reduces accident involvement and is related to reduced injuries in the event of accidents.
25. More than half of the accident-involved motorcycle riders had less than 5 months experience on the accident motorcycle, although the total street riding experience was almost 3 years. Motorcycle riders with dirt bike experience are significantly underrepresented in the accident data.
26. Lack of attention to the driving task is a common factor for the motorcyclist in an accident.
27. Almost half of the fatal accidents show alcohol involvement.
28. Motorcycle riders in these accidents showed significant collision avoidance problems. Most riders would overbrake and skid the rear wheel, and underbrake the front wheel greatly reducing collision avoidance deceleration. The ability to countersteer and swerve was essentially absent.
29. The typical motorcycle accident allows the motorcyclist just less than 2 seconds to complete all collision avoidance action.
30. Passenger-carrying motorcycles are not overrepresented in the accident area.
31. The driver of the other vehicles involved in collision with the motorcycle are not distinguished from other accident populations except that the ages of 20 to 29, and beyond 65 are overrepresented. Also, these drivers are generally unfamiliar with motorcycles.
32. Large displacement motorcycles are underrepresented in accidents but they are associated with higher injury severity when involved in accidents.
33. Any effect of motorcycle color on accident involvement is not determinable from these data, but is expected to be insignificant because the frontal surfaces are most often presented to the other vehicle involved in the collision.
34. Motorcycles equipped with fairings and windshields are underrepresented in accidents, most likely because of the contribution to conspicuity and the association with more experienced and trained riders.
35. Motorcycle riders in these accidents were significantly without motorcycle license, without any license, or with license revoked.
36. Motorcycle modifications such as those associated with the semi-chopper or cafe racer are definitely overrepresented in accidents.
37. The likelihood of injury is extremely high in these motorcycle accidents-98% of the multiple vehicle collisions and 96% of the single vehicle accidents resulted in some kind of injury to the motorcycle rider; 45% resulted in more than a minor injury.
38. Half of the injuries to the somatic regions were to the ankle-foot, lower leg, knee, and thigh-upper leg.
39. Crash bars are not an effective injury countermeasure; the reduction of injury to the ankle-foot is balanced by increase of injury to the thigh-upper leg, knee, and lower leg.
40. The use of heavy boots, jacket, gloves, etc., is effective in preventing or reducing abrasions and lacerations, which are frequent but rarely severe injuries.
41. Groin injuries were sustained by the motorcyclist in at least 13% of the accidents, which typified by multiple vehicle collision in frontal impact at higher than average speed.
42. Injury severity increases with speed, alcohol involvement and motorcycle size.
43. Seventy-three percent of the accident-involved motorcycle riders used no eye protection, and it is likely that the wind on the unprotected eyes contributed in impairment of vision which delayed hazard detection.
44. Approximately 50% of the motorcycle riders in traffic were using safety helmets but only 40% of the accident-involved motorcycle riders were wearing helmets at the time of the accident.
45. Voluntary safety helmet use by those accident-involved motorcycle riders was lowest for untrained, uneducated, young motorcycle riders on hot days and short trips.
46. The most deadly injuries to the accident victims were injuries to the chest and head.
47. The use of the safety helmet is the single critical factor in the prevention of reduction of head injury; the safety helmet which complies with FMVSS 218 is a significantly effective injury countermeasure.
48. Safety helmet use caused no attenuation of critical traffic sounds, no limitation of precrash visual field, and no fatigue or loss of attention; no element of accident causation was related to helmet use.
49. FMVSS 218 provides a high level of protection in traffic accidents, and needs modification only to increase coverage at the back of the head and demonstrate impact protection of the front of full facial coverage helmets, and insure all adult sizes for traffic use are covered by the standard.
50. Helmeted riders and passengers showed significantly lower head and neck injury for all types of injury, at all levels of injury severity.
51. The increased coverage of the full facial coverage helmet increases protection, and significantly reduces face injuries.
52. There is no liability for neck injury by wearing a safety helmet; helmeted riders had less neck injuries than unhelmeted riders. Only four minor injuries were attributable to helmet use, and in each case the helmet prevented possible critical or fatal head injury.
53. Sixty percent of the motorcyclists were not wearing safety helmets at the time of the accident. Of this group, 26% said they did not wear helmets because they were uncomfortable and inconvenient, and 53% simply had no expectation of accident involvement.
54. Valid motorcycle exposure data can be obtained only from collection at the traffic site. Motor vehicle or driver license data presents information which is completely unrelated to actual use.
55. Less than 10% of the motorcycle riders involved in these accidents had insurance of any kind to provide medical care or replace property.
 

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bocco said:
......Bocco "Wild Italian" Maybe a bowl of steaming spaghetti and meatballs for a jacket patch?
What's not to like about a "spaghetti and meatballs" patch? Maybe a
"calamari" patch for new riders as well?
 

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It seems to me that since, according to the Hurt Report, 3/4 of the accidents involve collision with another vehicle:

1. Approximately three-fourths of these motorcycle accidents involved collision with another vehicle, which was most often a passenger automobile.

that making yourself more conspicious to other vehicles greatly reduces your odds of being hit by a cager. Here are some other points from the report regarding conspicuity:

14. Conspicuity of the motorcycle is a critical factor in the multiple vehicle accidents, and accident involvement is significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle headlamps (on in daylight) and the wearing of high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets.
18. Conspicuity of the motorcycle is most critical for the frontal surfaces of the motorcycle and rider.
34. Motorcycles equipped with fairings and windshields are underrepresented in accidents, most likely because of the contribution to conspicuity and the association with more experienced and trained riders.


There are 2 bikes that I remember really catching my attention when I saw them on the road. In one instance I noticed a bright ball of light coming down the street toward me - it was a motorcycle with the brightest headlight and driving lights I had ever seen. The other was a bright yellow Gold Wing. Bright lights and/or a bright colored fairing/clothing certainly do make one more visible to oncoming traffic! BTW, I wear a bright yellow helmet and always run with lightbar on and high beam headlight during daylight hours.

I know that we should all ride as if we're invisible, but we should also do everything we can to make ourselves more visible to other drivers. If we do this and then ride in a sane manner, our chances of being a statistic should be greatly reduced.

Ride safe ...
 

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The hurt report is also 20-some years out of date and woefully innarcurate for modern stats. Nearly *everything* about motorcycling has changed. The power, complexity and mix of the bikes, the age and experience of the "average" rider and the increased age of newer riders, the quality, price and availability of good gear, etc.

Using the Hurt report as a basis for current stat checking is specious, at best.
 

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chornbe said:
The hurt report is also 20-some years out of date and woefully innarcurate for modern stats. Nearly *everything* about motorcycling has changed. The power, complexity and mix of the bikes, the age and experience of the "average" rider and the increased age of newer riders, the quality, price and availability of good gear, etc.

Using the Hurt report as a basis for current stat checking is specious, at best.
which is why MORE THAN EVER BEFORE, there HAS to be a non-biased, comprehensive, up-to-date study to realign the stats, facts and figures with modern bikes, driving/riding habits, vehicle densities, etc....

wasn't the AMA pushing for that? :?:
 
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