Scooter safety: rising accident rates raise questions over regulation, From the Winston Salem North Carolina Journal.
We won't print the whole gig. If you want to read it all hit the link above. We will just post some excerpts that we find interesting and of course add our totally objective, non biased comments laden with every ounce of sarcasm and cynicism we can muster.
"As the price of gasoline soars, more people have been switching to motorcycles, scooters and mopeds, which get far better mileage. But as the number of mopeds and scooters rises, so will the number of accidents, safety officials said."
As we can see, the first two sentences alert us to the fact that this is going to be a rocket science piece of journalism. Lets all see if we can do this math together. Put more two wheeled vehicles on the road and the result will be more crashes involving two wheeled vehicles. Whoa dudes and dudettes, that was a tough one. Stop the presses. Dar'est we travel further into this Pulitzer prize worthy piece of journalism? Aw what the hell, why not.
The scooter death of a Winston-Salem man Sunday afternoon was the city's seventh vehicle death of 2008, and the second involving a two-wheeled vehicle.
O.k. this is Dam near August. So we know right off the bat, it is safer driving in Winston-Salem than Tallahassee, FL. Lets see now, 7 vehicle deaths 2 of which were two wheeled vehicles. Hmmm, would that mean that 5 of these deaths were four wheel vehicle operators?
"In Winston-Salem the number of wrecks involving two-wheeled vehicles has increased 38 percent —from 73 in the first seven months of 2007 to 101 so far this year." and
"With scooter retailers reporting sharply higher sales of the small, largely unregulated vehicles, some transportation experts say more regulation may be needed to keep drivers safe."
O.K. back to the difficult math part again. Bear with me cause I gots a hard time ciphering, o.k. Higher sales=more two wheeled vehicles on the street=a higher percentage of crashes. Oh Lord my head hursts. But then you all already know where this is going dont'cha? Know how I know that you know? Cause we been down this road before. So here it comes:
"Carol Gifford, a spokeswoman for AAA in Charlotte, said moped riders should be required to take a safety class certified by the Motorcycle Safety Association. Motorcyclists are required to take the class. "That's certainly something we would support," she said. "If they're being used as a primary means of transportation, individuals riding scooters need to have the same type of training."
Eureka! Combine unproven helmet laws with ineffectual but expensive training. Now I ain't been on a moped in ages. But I do remember when I use to ride a bicycle. Yes my friends, back in the dark ages before they had invented bike helmets and safety training. Back when you learned that if you did not look for other vehicles they would "squish" you (Kinda like now days). But I seem to remember being able to peddle faster than a moped. In fact, I bet I still can (after I finish this cigarette and you tell me how far I gots to peddle my ass). Ah, we digress, let us move on.
John Stokes, state traffic-records coordinator for the N.C. Governor's Highway Safety Program, said he would like to see the state do away with the distinction because riders of both types face similar risks on the road.
Stokes, who taught a motorcycle safety class for 13 years, said he also would like to see a requirement that moped drivers take the same class as motorcyclists , which would teach them important skills such as braking, turning and strategies to deal with other traffic.
Yes it does make a difference Mr. Stokes. As we have pointed out in the past, currently, the only nationally independent, peer reviewed reserch available, demostrates that taking a M$F curriculmn based course will probably increase your chance of getting killed. But then that ain't the issue is it?
Bob Penn teaches a motorcycle safety class at Forsyth Technical Community College. He said that all moped drivers should take the $130 class, but the program would need to be expanded to find room for them.
AHA! Now there is the issue by God. How will we expand fast enough to get all them$130.00's. Because you know of course that once they get mopeds, bicycles will then be required to take a motorcycle safety course. Because if there is a truism about government, it is that no matter how ineffective, no matter how wasteful, no matter how incompetent we can always count on them to raise the bar of absurdity to unimaginable levels.
It's too early to tell what kind of accident trend will follow the increased use of scooters, Rodgman (a senior database analyst at UNC Highway Safety Research Center.) said. The most recent statistics cover 2007, and the boom in scooters has only occurred for the last few months as gas prices have spiked, he said.
Get a new job Mr. Rodgman, it's not to early to tell based on, from the same article:
Mike Allen, a co-owner of Forsyth Motosports on University Parkway, said scooter sales started taking off after gas hit $3.50 per gallon. "We used to sell 15 to 20 scooters in a year. We now do that in a month," he said. "They're doing it for one reason: cheap transportation."
Mr. Rodgman, I ain't no analyst, just psychic. Hang on while I check out my crystal ball. Yepper, wrecks be going up.
"There's no good measure of how many mopeds or scooters are on the road, because moped owners aren't required to register them"
Damn how did the state miss that source of revenue. Ah, but can ya see it coming?
Kylie Kavanagh commutes from downtown Winston-Salem to work in Davidson County. But when you get 110 miles per gallon, a 22-mile round-trip commute doesn't hurt your finances much. Kavanagh bought a moped last year as the price of fuel began to rise, subbing the two-wheeler for the Subaru Outback she used to drive to work. "I love it," she said about her Honda Metropolitan. "It makes you feel like a little kid."
She also sees some positive tradeoffs in driving a moped because it forces her to pay more attention to the road."You can't use a cell phone when you're on a scooter, and you can't send a text message," she said.
Would that we could get that through the thick skulls of politicians and four wheelers! That Paul Garber|Journal Reporter, is your story.Add to Technorati Favorites