Gary Van Kirk posted this article from the Toledeoblade (winner of Pulitzer Prize for "Tiger Force" on Bruce and Rays. I've read it a couple times and am still not sure what they are trying to say. Rather than reprint the whole article (it can be read at either link above) I'll post a few highlights and ask myself some questions???
The article entitled Motorcycle Accidents on the Rise Across the Nation starts: For South Toledo resident Dean Weygandt, motorcycle drag-racers have been an annoyance for as long as he can remember. "[They're] like a pack of bees," said Mr. Weygandt, a motorcyclist himself, whose home sits along the wide, open stretch of the Anthony Wayne Trail. "You could just see them flying 100 miles per hour." On Sunday, drag racing for Kenneth Jones turned deadly. Police estimated the 34-year-old newlywed was going between 118 and 131 mph when he crashed about 8:45 p.m. along the Trail near South Avenue. Pronounced dead at the scene, Mr. Jones became Toledo's fifth motorcyclist to die on city streets this year. It's a grim and growing statistic, and one reflected both in statewide and national numbers. Deaths among motorcycle riders nationwide last year continued a nine-year upswing, increasing by 5.1 percent over 2005 — even as overall motor vehicle fatalities decreased nearly 2 percent to the nation's lowest level in five years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
O.K. This article is about Motorcycle accidents and right off it addresses Motorcycle fatalities.
Not only that but the lead in has nothing to do with what may be "causing" the nation wide epidemic of motorcycle fatalities. In fact it may lead one to believe that A. this is either an article about "drag racing" fatalities, or B. The nation wide rise in fatalities can be attributed to "drag racing. Neither of which is true.
Speeding is often to blame, but experts say they are unable to pinpoint a reason for the steady increase in motorcycle fatalities. "Sometimes, [motorcyclists] are intoxicated, sometimes they're not. Sometimes someone pulls out in front of them. Sometimes they run into things. Sometimes it's the road conditions," said Dr. Cindy Beisser, a deputy Lucas County coroner. OK they start out with speeding and then move on to they are "unable to pin point a reason"? This was excellently summed up by Dr. Cindy Beisser, a deputy Lucas County Coroner. I can only shake my head when reading her statement and thank God she works people already dead.
"Most are [other drivers] who turn left in front of [motorcyclists] or pull out of private drives," said Toledo police Officer Jason Brown, an accident investigator. Michigan State Police Lt. Thad Peterson agreed. Motorists easily overlook oncoming motorcycles because of their size and the often dark-colored bike and helmet that blend into the background, he said. "Our brain isn't trained to perceive a motorcycle coming. We are used to looking for cars, pickups, and semi-trucks," he said. Aha! See how it works? First it goes from drag racer killed, then it goes to well something kills em, till we get (you gots it what we all already know) "Other Vehicle Drivers are responsible for the majority of motorcycle Fatalities! Did you read that Dr. Beisser???
OK then they go into a long drawn on descriptive tale of the "drag racers" death. Which really has absolutely nothing to do with the headline now does it? After which the Toledo Blade reports:
There's another set of numbers that is likely driving up the motorcycle accident statistics: sales. The number of registered motorcycles nationwide increased in 2004 to more than 5.78 million, which was a jump of more than 410,000 bikes compared to the previous year, according to the NHTSA report. OK, first we have to keep in mind that this is from NHTSA (Which I am so tired of linking to inaccuracies in their statistics, for the sake of brevity I will not do it here. Instead I will challenge "anybody" from NHTSA to repudiate my statement. To demonstrate how they arrive at their conclusions and how their method of arriving at conclusions makes them accurate. Balls in their court now.). But they finally may have copped to what many of us have been saying for awhile now ....."Dips, there are more motorcycles on the road. Factor that into your erroneous figures NHTSA!" OF course then they, as they always do address "Helmets", but even Dr. whats her name has the wherewithal to recognize that "
Then of course they discuss helmets, but to the dudes (Mr. Weygandt, the dude that don't like drag racers) credit he believes they are, or should be, a matter of choice.
So then they launch into how "Owens Community College began offering a three-day motorcycle safety course to riders. Financed by a $270,500 grant from Motorcycle Ohio"
OK, call me stupid, but they didn't mention if they charge for the course or how long that grant money is for. If it's for a year, Hey OHIO can I have some, hell I'll give 4 days.
"Bill Cox, a rider coach with the newly formed program, said the students enrolled in the safety class don’t want to become part of the increasing numbers of motorcycle fatalities."
That is very astute of Mr. Cox. Without ding any type of psychological testing (hey but who knows maybe they did) he was able to determine that his students do not want to get killed on their motorcycles. Train me Mr. Cox, please such wisdom is invaluable.
"The problem is, he said, people don’t take the time to learn."
That's right Mr. Cox, some don't avail themselves of the opportunity to spend three days to "learn" how to ride a motorcycle. Some may even see it for what it really is. A rip. In most instances a person has between 2 and 3 seconds from onset of recognition that a crash situation is imminent to take evasive action. In most (if not all ) instances this is not enough time as the brain does not function that fast (well maybe yours does, mine gets slower by the day). But is really scary is people might believe the "fluff" this Pulitzer Prize winning publication just printed!
My suggestion as absurd as it may be, take some of that money and teach the 2/3 of "other vehicle drivers" What a motorcycle looks like. When they go to test for their drivers license, hold up a picture of a motorcycle and ask them what it is? If they don't know fail em. Then ask them and if you see one of these things what should you do? IF they answer that one I don't know, shove the sign down their throat...........oh darn, I didn't type that in my out loud voice did I? Ride Free through the insanity.....rc