That's right boys and girls. Step right on up and for a mere, oh some where round 75 bucks, that organization we have all come to know and love, the one that has successfully sold state legislatures on requiring thousands, wait now, millions to pony up and pay for an easier course by which to get your motorcycle endorsement than going down to your local drivers license office and actually having to take a semi-real test, thats right boys and girls, that non-profit organization supported by the U.S. manufacturers and distributors of BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio/Vespa, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha motorcycles, the MOTORCYCLE $AFETY FOUNDATION, now has a course designed to make you a certified "SCOOTERIST".
Never mind that the the person who overseas the Rider Training Programs in the State of Florida (one of them there states that swallowed the snake oil and now requires all motorcyclists to take an M$F approved curriculum prior to getting a motorcycle endorsement) actually told me that there are NO nationally done, peer reviewed studies demonstrating the efficacy of such a curriculum. Never mind that in our never ending quest to find something to compel us to jump on the M$F bandwagon we have found more of what we have found in the past. Such as:
"If preliminary data indicate that riders do over-ride sight distance and/or look in inappropriate places (i.e., do not look ahead far enough), this study will look at differences in trained and untrained novice riders to determine whether training improves performance." ????
or how bit these little tidbits from the independence institute i 1999
The theory of risk homeostasis predicts that people become accustomed to some acceptable level of risk, and that when they are required to reduce a risk they are exposed to, they will increase other risks until they have re-established the level of risk they have become accustomed to. If they are required to wear seat belts, the evidence suggests they drive faster, pass other cars more dangerously, put on make up, and so on, so as to maintain the level of risk they are comfortable with. In effect, they "consume" the additional safety they are required to have by changing their driving behavior so as to attain other desirable ends.
"As traditionally defined, motorcycle rider training and advanced driver training suffer from the fact that increased skill does not automatically lead to safer driving. Indeed, increasing skill may lead to more crashes."This odd result seems to be due to overconfidence in trained drivers, as opposed to the caution exercised by a driver trained by parents in a Sunday morning parking lot. Again people seem to adjust their behavior so as to regulate the risk they expose themselves to.
As stated earlier, most researchers agree that people adjust their behavior to compensate for the risk they perceive. The question under debate is how much do they compensate? The theory of risk homeostasis predicts that people will "consume" roughly all the enhanced safety imposed upon them in other desirable yet risky activities, such as more exciting driving to fight boredom, getting to an appointment on time, eating fast food while driving, leaving the cap off the medicine jar because it is annoyingly difficult to deal with and so on.
Not surprisingly, it has been found that increasing the cost of accidents to those involved reduces their rate. Legislation requiring no fault insurance, on the other hand, has had the perverse effect of reducing the cost of an accident by tending to make both drivers insurance rates go up. Without no fault insurance, if one driver was judged to be at fault, only that drivers insurance rate would go up, and it would go up by more than it would have under no fault. Such a change in legislation would again not cost the taxpayer anything. Workers compensation programs, if overly generous with payments after minor injuries, may actually reward people who have accidents in the work place. Again, reducing such benefits would save money, both in the worker's compensation program and in the costs of the accidents themselves.
The evidence supports the theory of risk homeostasis--that is, people "consume" the additional safety forced upon them in other, more risky behavior. Therefore efforts coercively to drive down the accident rate are usually doomed to failure.
However, rewarding safe behavior does drive down accident rates, and because the government takes peoples money in so many ways, it nearly always can reward safety by simply not taking as much.
Finally, risk homeostasis suggests that efforts to coercively drive down accident rates often merely shifts the accidents around, often injuring innocent bystanders.
What??? Well if the above is true, and note the word "IF", what happens if you add these little factors?
From the "Traffic Safety Center"
White presented her findings, which were published in the October 2004 Journal of Law and Economics as "The 'Arms Race' on American Roads: The Effect of SUVs and Pickup Trucks on Traffic Safety," to the UC Berkeley Traffic Safety Seminar on March 14, 2005.
White found that for each fatal crash that occupants of an SUV or light truck avoid being killed in because of their vehicle's size and weight, occupants of other passenger vehicles suffer at least 4.3 additional fatal crashes. That makes the SUV/light truck class extremely deadly, she said.
But White, and traffic safety researchers in the audience, offered caveats as well. Driver behavior such as risk-taking, aggressiveness and inattention is notoriously hard to quantify and difficult to even find as a consistently measured entity in most databases, yet it is critical to an accurate understanding of vehicle safety. On average, drivers of cars drive in a safer manner than drivers of SUVs and light trucks.
Which alludes to the shift, "Finally, risk homeostasis suggests that efforts to coercively drive down accident rates often merely shifts the accidents around, often injuring innocent bystanders." mentioned above resulting in the following:
Motorcyclists have a 56 percent higher probability of death if hit by a light truck (SUV's were included as ilght trucks) instead of car and a 26 percent higher probability of injury. In Frontal Crashes, SUV's kill 4.3 car drivers for every one SUV driver killed. In Near side Crashes, SUV's kill 16.3 car drivers. A kill rate twice that of cars.
And despite the the cooling SUV market due to gas prices their are still a heap of them out there.
Since 2004, when the number of light truck sales, which include pickup trucks and S.U.V.'s, peaked at 55.7 percent of vehicle sales in the United States, the American love affair with large vehicles has cooled. Last year, light truck sales fell to 54.9 percent of the market, according to Autodata. For the first three months of this year, light truck sales were down even more, to 53.8 percent.
55 percent of vehicle "all" vehicle sales qualifies as a heap.
Now I'm gonna get even more convoluted here:
Between 1997 and 2005, motorcycle registrations jumped 63 percent, from 3,826,373 in 1997 to 6,227,146 in 2005. But fatalities increased disproportionately to the rise in registrations and sales.
Wait a second. During that time frame were not more motorcyclists taking required to take motorcycle safety courses? Why is the percentage of fatalities rising disproportionately?
Now we will be looking at this further but we do have a PGR run this afternoon. But just for the sake of argument and for the hell of it I'm gonna throw out a possible conclusion (note the word possible).
M$F courses don't work and won't work because they provide a false sense of security to what is already probably a more risk tolerant population. Graduates of these programs (doesn't anybody with the bucks to take the course graduate the course?) then immediately go out to do battle with less risk sensitive SUV'ers who can also tow a boat through the center of town with a 3/4 ton pick em up with out taking no course.
So whats the answer? Well by God start a school for "SCOOTERS". Note however, and I swear if you do not believe this check the link and prove it to yourself, Skateboards are not allowed in the "scooter" class.
"Gopeds, skateboards and electric-powered types of scooters available for private property use do not meet DOT criteria and cannot be used in ScooterSchool."
More on the M$F:
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