Re: Justin Harris killed in motorcycle accident.
Many of us who follow reports on motorcycle fatalities are fairly well hardened to media bias in reporting. We have recognized that our numerous pleas to the media to focus on the cause of crashes and the cause of death and not mislead the public by including whether or not a Helmet was worn are going to ignored. Just as very few of us have seen a comprehensive article in a newspaper that addresses the primary causes of crashes and how they might be prevented leading to a significant decrease in fatalities as opposed to parroting band-aid approaches promulgated by government bureaucracies.
However your report of the Justin Harris motorcycle crash has moved into the realm of absurd.
Is the fact that Mr. Harris was not wearing a helmet in anyway germane to this particular crash???
If it is, could you please explain to us how? Because if it is you have done the motorcycling public a disservice by not including how wearing a helmet may have altered the outcome of this crash in any way.
Is garbage such as this how you justify the title “reporter” in front of your name?
Enjoy your tenure at Tampa Bay Online as it is fairly obvious you will never rise to the ranks of Journalist or work in any media demanding a modicum of integrity.
We would ask you for a response however we would not want to make you have to look for somebody to write one for you!
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Published: May 29, 2008
Updated: 03:12 pm
PALM HARBOR - The motorcyclist killed Wednesday night in a crash on U.S. 19 has been identified as Justin Harris, 29, of 5545 Riddle Road, Clearwater.
Harris was riding a 2005 Suzuki GSX 1000 on U.S. 19 at a high rate of speed when a Volkswagen coming out of County Road 95 turned in front of him, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Harris, who was not wearing a helmet, was thrown from the motorcycle, the patrol said. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and family members confirmed he was decapitated.
The driver of the two-door Volkswagen, Nada Duheric, 43, of 2108 Cypress Point Drive, Clearwater, suffered minor injuries and was transported to Mease Countryside Hospital, the patrol said.
None of Duheric's three passengers was injured.
Duheric was not charged. An investigation is continuing.
Mishel Ruggiero, Harris' first cousin, said Harris typically wore his helmet, but he had gone to a location earlier in the evening, and when he came back outside, he found his helmet had been stolen.
"He got upset and drove home," she said.
Harris was on his way home when the wreck occurred at about 11:40 p.m., she said. She said he was decapitated in the wreck.
Harris was especially close to his father, had a daughter and recently bought a home in Holiday, she said.
Reporter Stephen Thompson can be reached at (727) 451-2336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Add to Technorati Favorites
Maybe the Grayslake Village Board Should have checked with Montana before cancelling Ironhorse roundup
Biker visit budget includes OT, pepper spray
By KEILA SZPALLER of the Missoulian
The Missoula Police Department's list of must-haves for the Hells Angels visit does include some pepper spray, according to the department's budget for the rally.
But Police Chief Mark Muir said Thursday that's not because law enforcement officers are stocking up on it, or planning to blast anyone during the summer motorcycle rally.
“If we were forced into using chemical munitions, I would be very disappointed,” Muir said. Also, officers regularly carry pepper spray, he said. At the same time, Muir said the department learned a few things in 2000.
That summer, the motorcycle gang came to town, but law enforcement officers ended up tangling with citizens instead, and they used pepper spray. Muir said if they have to spray again, officers likely will stay away from painful pepper spray and use tear gas instead.
“It's not getting on your skin, and if you just turn around and walk out of it, your symptoms are completely gone,” Muir said.
The police requested $139,371 to manage the club's USA Run in Missoula from July 30 to Aug. 3, according to a department budget request form. Projected expenses include personnel time, operating equipment, travel and other expenses.
Muir said keeping the community safe comes at a cost when a group with a reputation for violence is visiting. But he said it's also important to note that eight years after the first visit, police are actually budgeting to spend less money. They spent $142,220 in 2000, according to the budget.
Note that although the paper reports "group with a reputation for violence" the only violence it mentions is from local citizens and an incident in another state that occurred 12 years ago:
"A 1996 Hells Angels gathering in Colorado turned violent, but last time the outlaws rolled into Missoula, they did so peacefully, according to Missoulian archives. Some received citations for traffic violations."
Is there violence in the "Biker World"? Of course their is. Unfortunately we live in a violent world where you never know when the next Columbine is going to happen or a wacko like Timothy McVeigh is going to strike. Thats live, do we cancel it because of our fears. No
we face them and overcome them . I know many who would probably feel safer in a rally full of one percenters than than riding a motorcycle past the Florida Capital during rush hour.Add to Technorati Favorites
by nic corbett • democrat staff writer • May 30, 2008
Both defendants in the Rachel Hoffman case have entered conditional pleas of not guilty in her kidnapping and armed robbery.
Hoffman, 23, a 2007 Florida State University graduate, went missing May 7 while working as a police informant during a drug sting.
Deneilo Bradshaw, 23, and Andrea Green, 25, were arrested May 8 in Orlando in connection with her death. They led investigators to her body in Taylor County May 9.
Green has been assigned assistant public defenders Ines Suber and Steven Been. Suber is chief of the capital-murder division.
Bradshaw has a conflict attorney, Gregory Cummings. Bradshaw and Green entered the pleas earlier this month.
State Attorney Willie Meggs said there will be a grand jury hearing in the case, but that it cannot be scheduled yet. The current grand jury will go out June 2, and a new grand jury has to be picked.
Check back with Tallahassee.com for more on this story.
Rising price of oil impact on Bikers rights.
T. Boone Pickens on Glenn Beck
World daily Demand 87 million barrels a day
World Production 85 million barrels a day
Boone believes we hit peak oil in 2006
oil not online now that is brought online will not create the surplus needed to lower price
Filling the gap is playing catch up.
Even those who do not agree with Pickens agree that:
Much of the known untapped resources is more expensive to produce oil. More expensive to get to, to ship , to refine, to distribute.
So the long term effect is going to be higher prices for everything not just fuel. Which means that low income families will become further disenfranchised which will be a factor later addressed.
Some of us would like to believe that the rising cost of fuel will lead to larger population of motorcyclists on the road translating to a broader public awareness of motorcycles and and a larger pool from which to draw “Bikers Rights” advocates.
That would seem to be a logical assumption. But take Florida as an example, where unlike many other states, a motorcycle can be used as transportation in most parts of the state year round. Motorcycle sales in Florida, like the rest of the country have been increasing. As a result the state has been attempting various initiatives to regulate motorcycles and those who ride them. Examples would be HB137, SB1992, and The law that takes effect in July that all who seek a motorcycle endorsement must pass a class approved by the state demonstrating ability to ride.
We know this is discriminatory as the , auto, light truck, and SUV drivers are not required to do the same. To date how have we fought this? With what success?
Motorcycle Rights advocacy effectiveness in the state has declined as evidenced by the SMRO focus shift from rights to safety and the increasing impotency of the organization evidenced by increasing attempts to legislate. This despite increasing sales.
This isn't restricted to Florida. Nationwide sales of motorcycles have increased . Despite the increase, combined efforts of more than one organization concerned with motorcycle rights attempting to insure fair treatment of motorcyclists by insurance companies have yet to meet with success. Once strong advocacy groups have fragmented and become Balkanized prioritizing different agendas.
Auto dealerships are reporting that with rising fuel prices many are downsizing not from SUV's to sub compacts, but from SUV's to family sedans. For most low wage earners with a family a motorcycle is not even an option. Their concern is survival, not rights. They by whatever they can afford.
However any U.S. decline in SUV sales is being more than made up for by increasing SUV demand in other countries.
Countries coming online with a vengeance such as China and India.
"If you look at the fastest-growing market segments in China, there are two — SUVs and luxury cars," said Joseph Y.H. Liu, GM China's vice president for sales and marketing.
Auto sales in China are booming, with analysts and automakers forecasting growth at 15-20 percent this year. But demand for the biggest vehicles is even stronger, with sales of luxury cars and SUVs expected to surge by 40-45 percent.
The Associated Press
Published: April 22, 2008
Yet in the same country where SUV's sales are rising despite high fuel prices, motorcycles continue to face more government sanctions, see below:
GUANGZHOU, China, Jan. 11 2007
But in a measure of just how problematic prosperity can be here, the city will institute a ban on motorcycles and motorized bicycles on Monday, hoping to quell a crime wave that has been building to more than 100,000 offenses a year.
The vehicles, the primary mode of transport for migrant workers clawing their way up Guangzhou’s economic ladder, are also favored by criminals who have terrorized the city in recent years, including a shocking case in late 2005, when a woman had her hand cut off by a thief on a motorcycle. News accounts concluded that motorcycle thieves were divided into gangs, including one called the Hand Choppers. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/15/world/asia/15china.html
As is evident in Figures 5 and 6, motorized two-wheelers now account for the
vast majority of motor vehicles in both countries(China and India)While two-wheelers provide an increasing proportion of the middle class with affordable, flexible, and relatively quick transport, they pose serious problems for traffic safety. Indeed, due to the high fatality rates and air pollution caused by motorcycles, many Chinese cities have recently banned motorcycles altogether or at least restricted their use to some extent (Jin, 2004). Those restrictions will probably dampen future growth of motorcycle use in China. Due to those restrictions on motorcycles, recent years have seen a surge in sales of electric bicycles and scooters since many cities permit such electric vehicles provided they weigh less than 40 kg and have a design speed
less than 20 km per hour. In 2005, about 10 million electric motorcycles and scoot-ers were sold in China, and sales rose to 16 million in 2006 (Weinert et al., 2006). If policies remain the same, the number of such electric bicycles and scooters will increase dramatically in the coming years, but some cities are already starting to restrict the use of electric bikes due to safety and congestion problems they cause on urban roads. For example, the City of Guangzhou enacted a complete ban on all electric bikes, scooters and motorcycles starting from 1 December 2006
Now there are those who would say that's China and that can't happen in America. But it can and it has and as we saw in the attempts in Delray, Florida, to keep motorcycles out of town, Grayslake township shutting down the Iron Horse rally (like China, out of fear of danger), Atlantic Stations outright ban on motorcycles in Atlanta Georgia, and many others readers of this site will be familiar with. This without any connection to high gas prices but to the ongoing social stigma that motorcycles still suffer from and the actions of a few who would ruin it for the rest that you would find in any social grouping but illicits a more negative reaction than say a riot at a soccer match. SUV's are safe. Motorcycles are not. We live in a risk aversive society.
As those who must, cut back on driving because of high fuel prices, the state loses an important source of tax revenue that is supposed (note that word) to be used to address crumbling infrastructure problems that they could not address with the funds they were collecting.
It's a double edge sword as rising fuel prices increases the cost of fixing roads (asphalt is made from oil folk, as is a whole heap of other stuff). Thus a vicious cycle:
Infrastructure crumbling-increased cost to repair/replace due to high fuel costs-states face decreased tax collections due to less driving due to high fuel costs. So the answer has to be change human behavior and make them pay for the change in the process. Changing human behavior is akin to social engineering which is akin to somebody else determining what your rights are. Good trick huh? It is in the works.
To compensate for the lost or misappropriated revenues States are seeking ways to get around federal laws restricting the collection of tolls on Interstate highways. They are also exploring ways to change how we use public highways via Intelligent Transportation Design systems most notably congestion pricing.
Evidence the following regarding tolls on highways you already PAID FOR to build.
Published: December 15, 2007
The federal government has granted South Carolina permission to charge tolls on Interstate 95, but there is no plan in place to charge tolls, according to a S.C. Department of Transportation spokesman.
In August, SCDOT officials said the state had applied for the right to charge tolls on Interstate 95 as a part of the “Corridors of the Future” pilot program. South Carolina, along with North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Florida, had asked the Federal Highway Administration for permission to post toll booths on the interstate. The funds collected from the tolls on I-95 would be used for the “refurbishment and maintenance” of the interstate. All states included would have to agree to collect the tolls on I-95, and legislation in South Carolina would have to be changed to allow for tolls to be collected on I-95. Poore said tolls are just one option that could be used as a means of generating revenue to fund infrastructure and reduce congestion in the states included.
Texas Pushes to Add Tolls to Interstate Freeways 8/31/2007
Tolls may be added to nearly all interstate highways and state freeways in Texas.
Driving in Texas could get very expensive as the state seeks new ways to collect money from existing roads. The Lone Star state is just one step behind Pennsylvania, which, earlier this month, filed an official request to impose a $25 tax on motorists who use an existing, free interstate highway. Now the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is lobbying Congress for blanket authority to toll Interstates 10, 27 and 35.
"Tolling isn't an easy or popular decision for states, but TxDOT is leading a national
trend toward innovative financing," stated Forward Momentum, a TxDOT report presented to members of Congress earlier this year. "Congress must upend institutional thinking and embrace innovation."
Because federal law prohibits the addition of tolls on freeways that have already been constructed with federal money, TxDOT wants to repay these funds so that it can buy its way out of the obligation to maintain them for free use. To obtain the money to do so, one option for TxDOT would be to sell the road to foreign investors, as happened in Indiana. In return, the investors would collect tolls on the freeway and share a small portion of the tax-free revenue with TxDOT.
For each dollar Texans spend in federal tax at the gas pump, only 70 cents comes back to be spent on highway projects. Of this amount, a billion dollars is wasted, according to the TxDOT report.
US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) reacted strongly against the TxDOT proposal in a statement issued today.
"Texans should never have to pay twice for a highway and I will fight any such efforts," Hutchison said. "I intend to immediately introduce as free-standing legislation my amendment that the Senate passed in 2005 to specifically prohibit states from tolling existing interstate highways."
Apr 19, 2008 10:24 am US/Eastern
N.J. Considers Tolling Free Interstate Highways
TRENTON (AP) ― It's not a popular idea, but cash-strapped states like New Jersey are increasingly looking at putting tolls on free interstates.
State OKs tolls on Interstate 80
BY ROBERT SWIFT, HARRISBURG BUREAU CHIEF
HARRISBURG — Lawmakers approved the tolling of Interstate 80 on Tuesday, ending a contentious debate that goes back decades.
December 14, 2001
CONSTRAINTS AND CONSEQUENCES UNDER FEDERAL LAW REGARDING REINSTITUTING TOLLS ON INTERSTATE HIGHWAYS
By: James J. Fazzalaro, Principal Research Analyst
The Interstate Highway System was created by Congress in 1956 and intended as a toll-free system of highways to connect the country's major urban centers for movement of personnel and equipment for military purposes in defense of the country.
Strapped States Try New Route, Lease Toll Roads to Foreign Firms
By Amy Goldstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 14, 2006; A01
The decision also places Indiana at the leading edge of a nascent trend in which states and local governments are exploring the idea of privatizing parts of the United States' prized interstate highway system. The idea goes beyond projects, such as Northern Virginia's Dulles Greenway, in which states have turned to private companies to build or widen toll roads. Now, they are considering selling or leasing some of the best-known and most-traveled routes across America.
The above is particularly disturbing. As you will be driving on “private property” subject not to individual rights, but property rights. Of course there are promises of covenants, etc. to insure your right to use said roads, subject to affordability of course. However will we have a voice in the covenants that will dictate our operation on our property that was sold out from under us without our consent? Or will we, like on poker runs, have to sign a waiver to drive on certain sections of roadway and will all sections be available to all people and all types of vehicles'. Foreign corporations have demonstrated an interest in the purchase and operation of some of the roadways we have paid to build.
Higher fuel costs will make congestion pricing, and Intelligent Transportation Systems concept more attractive. Almost all of which attempt to achieve the following:
Variable pricing, Lane Charging, and Cordon Tolls are three main forms of congestion pricing.
Congestion pricing may lead to:
* a reduction in total trips,
* in the long term may motivate changes in residential or workplace locations,
* raise the number of high-occupancy vehicles on the road,
* raise the number of people using public transit,
* shift trips to off-peak periods and routes away from congested facilities,
* raise number of people using public transit,
and generate funding for projects, including projects that improve public transportation.
Note the focus is on High Occupancy Vehicles and/or public transportation which motorcycles are not. The goal is to route low occupancy vehicles (which motorcycles are) away from congested areas or charge more per mile. I have yet to see a price differentiation for motorcycles.
The added “rights” issue with these systems is the requirement that a vehicle traveling these systems be equipped with a transponder that can identify the vehicle using the system, how often, where, where to send the bill.
Currently, in Florida, Motorcycles are required to pay the same toll as cars. Which we all know is discriminatory and insane considering we don't impact the infrastructure in any comparable way.
From a safety perspective which is actually different than a rights one only needs to look at history to predict the future. The government has rabidly insisted on addressing the consequences and not the cause when it comes to motorcycle accidents. Despite all evidence that such is a failed policy. There is no reason to believe that government will change it's present policy. It is on a campaign that has more to do with “who will win” as opposed to “what will work”. They will be assisted in maintaining a blind eye to reality by the cash cow motorcycle industry that would rather see us regulated than banned. Thus the birth of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, an industry created organization, that provides a course whose efficacy is not proven and may in fact be life threatening.
And The Motorcycle industry Council (MIC) who supported SB1992 despite it's numerous constitutional questions because of certain provisions that were favorable to the dealers.
As low emission vehicles become more efficient to meet regulations already in place, law enforcement will have more cause to pull us over to check for compliance. And as I have noted on this site before, the after-market suppliers who sold us the cool pipes will again profit from us as we will be forced to purchase compliant pipes.
If you consider the rising cost of riding, paying for classes, protective clothing, compliant pipes, higher cost of fuels, tolls, etc. Is it possible we could be priced out of riding before being regulated out of riding?
And again, if we look at history we have no reason to believe things will get better. Because it isn't the government that is our enemy. It is us. To date we have done little to convince legislators they have anything to fear from us. We complain about them. But we are the ones that allow them to continue.
As fuel prices rise this scenario will get worse. Because as oil prices rise so will the price of everything else and the segment of the population that will grow fastest will be families who will be priced into survival mode and thinking more about what they will eat than what they will ride. That is where your freedom fighters will come from. Where historically they have always come from, the downtrodden, disenfranchised, used and abused who say enough is enough. Not from the Pampered middle class that can afford a $30,000.00 motorcycle or the faddish green college student who tools around town or the beach on a scooter.Add to Technorati Favorites