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Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 1:02 PM

Hi Everyone,

I was just driving down the 3 lane street nearby, and several firetrucks, ambulances, and police cars were channeling the traffic to a single lane while they cleaned up an accident. As I rolled by, the paramedics had a man on a stretcher... still wiggling, but the remains of his small (crotchrocket) motorcycle were scattered, and there was a large dent in the rear of a minivan next to it. The woman driver of the van was clearly unharmed, but the motorcycle pilot probably had several broken bones and easily could have ended him. Both my GF and I just cringed to see all this.

Let it be said that I am no fan of motorcycles, as far too many people have died or 'gone airborne' that I knew. I appreciate the fact that they offer tremendous excitement and freedom, but they are very dangerous vehicles. That being said, rather than try to police the situation, or rant about it. (my daughter/boyfriend own a pair of them) I thought I would approach this from an Engineering standpoint.

Do any of you have ideas, mechanisms, or suggestions, other than 'training', that can make these machines safer to the rider? (and public) Perhaps the motorcycle industry isn't aware of all the fatalities and injuries, and continue to engineer for the enthusiast? Is there 'aftermarket' technology that could be bolted on that can improve the safety situation?

They are highly susceptible to road conditions, visibility to other drivers, braking responses, turn behavior, performance characteristics relative to other vehicles, etc. I'm hoping that we can 're-engineer' these two-wheeled demons to make them safe.

Please feel free to comment regardless of your background and training, as we are all affected by these vehicles, even if we are not drivers... All ideas and technologies are welcome... even rocket assisted braking or parachutes or ejection seats.

Thank you,

Chris

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#1

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 1:22 PM

Hmmm, Good protective clothing which protects the spine is a must.
The bottom line is, it's generally the other motorists who are the problem...
'I didn't see him officer'.
I've been driving in London a couple of times last week, I was impressed at the high standard, generally good awareness and a fair amount of courtesy, speeds were lower than when I used to regularly drive there.

Seems an odd accident for a bike to rear end a van, unless maybe it's brake lights didn't work.
As someone who used to ride on 2 wheels I try to be aware of 'em.
The real nutters are the clyclists who come up the inside and jusm red lights...but hey, they are the one's who will get hurt.
Del

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 1:42 PM

I live beside the main road through Red Deer... and most of the bikes are Harleys.. (super loud) but you almost never see one in an accident. The riders are mostly older, and the bikes are very expensive. (50,000$ not uncommon) Other than the ungodly noise, the only thing that bothers me about them is seeing kids riding on the back with only a small helmet to protect them. (although a couple of friends were killed back in the eighties on one... gravel on the road...)

Anyway, the riders of the 'crotch-rockets'... different story.. fast, quieter, lane threading, and much more susceptible to a crash if you ask me. I do think drivers here are respectful of bikes... but I've seen a few dangerous bike riders...

and the solutions to them are... more training and more legal constraints. I'm hoping to engineer some solutions without going four-wheel on them.

How can we increase visibility/awareness to other drivers? The large noise of harley's is one method, but its horrible to live beside the main street where the cruise... rising to a crescendo on friday nights.

here is some incentive...

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#69
In reply to #3

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/04/2010 12:42 PM

Is an effort to make them more visible, how about a zenon strobe light for daytime use that will help make them more visible?

I consider myself a very good driver, but I have almost pulled in front of cyclists because they were not seen tilll the last minute.And I was looking for them.

As for the crotch-rocket crowd, the high testesterone levels of youth, and the sense of immortality are hard to overcome with legislation or trechnology.

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#71
In reply to #69

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/04/2010 12:50 PM

agreed.. visibility testing and implementation of the 'unavoidably visible' methods.

"hard to overcome with legislation or trechnology."

true... but certainly a difference can be made with both. and there is also insurance, which can help differentiate to the type of bike, and possibly be connected to a 'early warning' system or 'near miss' system as I mentioned earlier. dangerous driving habits increase the risk. If the risk can be identified early, it can be decreased.

Chris

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#119
In reply to #3

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/06/2010 8:53 AM

Hi there,

Here's a challenge how to help these guys stay alive...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cPDz7uXeHU&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Hd9jzzZiso&NR=1&feature=fvwp

Now you have to realize they're having fun and how to make it safer without diminishing the fun or allowing them to abuse safety

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JpoS5OUGdI&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCUx2dYRCSQ&feature=related

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#120
In reply to #119

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/06/2010 9:53 AM

Never got to the bikes, on the other vid

Too much carnage in too small a place

Felt like I was in traffic school

I'm sure at least some of you have followed the evolution of "freestyle" motocross, where the best trick went from taking hands off of the handlebars to double backflips.

The tricks developed by starting out on an 80 jumping into a foam pit. The foam pit being basically what is used for pole vaulting or high jumping.

After mastering the method, bigger bike & finally removing the safety net of the pit

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#122
In reply to #119

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/06/2010 11:14 AM

there is no cure...

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#2

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 1:22 PM

Most of the accidents I had on my bike were because I was not seen, not heard.

I like the headlights on all the time, for daytime even brighter.

My brother mounted small air horns on his bike, should be standard equipment.

All riders should be forced to wear helmets and the new jackets and pants with the cool skid pads on them. Otherwise, no insurance or damage claims.

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 1:44 PM

Please see me comments to Del

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#245
In reply to #2

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

08/10/2010 8:33 AM

air horn ?......to let the other driver he's going to hit you....... Better use of your reactions is avoidance

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#5

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 1:58 PM

Aside from improved breaking (ABS), Illumination, suspension and protective gear I can't conceive any way around the fact that you must travel with vehicles that outweigh you by a substantial amount.

The major difference I see now, compared to when I rode, is the narrower torque bands together with much higher horsepowers that influence tractability.

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#6

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 2:52 PM

... but for now the best safety is in good training and equipment. Look far down the road. Look where you want to go, NOT at what you want to miss. Don't look at that rock, or you'll be drawn to it, but rather at the path you need to take to avoid it. Always look for an escape route, always. Don't place yourself in locked-in, venerable positions. Ride so the bike follows you and your desires. Don't let the bike take you for a ride. It's an attitude.

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#7

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 3:12 PM

Make them wear the same gear we had to wear riding bulls in rodeo.

If I can take the sudden stop on the ground then get up after 1800 pounds of bull tap danced on me, surely it could help a motorcycle rider.

The other alternative might be to add to the bike is a governor to keep their speed within legal limits.

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#11
In reply to #7

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 4:16 PM

what gear is that? sounds interesting...

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 4:24 PM

This web page can get you a start for rodeo protective gear.

Will have to look at the tags on mine to see what brand I wore.

http://tkrodeo.com/

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#15
In reply to #13

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 4:38 PM

that looks great!

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#8

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 3:16 PM

Hi Chris,

I saw this awhile back.

http://technewsbuzz.com/events/knox-handroid-motorcycle-gloves-are-like-robotic-hand-armor-armor/

It's not preventive, but it could lessen the rider's injuries.

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#12
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Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 4:17 PM

cool.

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#9

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 3:30 PM

Hey Chris, but my stock answer and has been since I was 8 years old (my first motorcycle, ok, mini bike) was the cohesiveness between rider, bike and the application of skill level and awareness.

Being a part time writer and motorcycle enthusiast, I've interviewed literally hundreds of seasoned (emphasis on seasoned, good habits from the start) riders and most all of who have had accidents were pilot error on one level of reason or another. Many had only been down once or twice and more than 30% have NEVER been down. However, most all, like myself have dropped the damn thing in a parking lot or such. With heightened awareness you can most often avoid the scenario where you are not seen. Then there are just the times, no matter what, you're doomed. That would be the "that's life" part. Car or bike sometimes there is no avoidance. It's our choice what to drive.

Most typical riders (meaning those who have limited use or are infrequent riders) have limited knowledge about mechanics or the operational geometry involved in riding and as it relates to how their bike is made, much less the ICE motivational aspects of it. Hence, the weekend rider is the most susceptible to piloting failure. Once one has developed bad ridding habits it is not so easy to correct. Newbies should be taking MSF http://www.msf-usa.org classes long before getting on a bike and one should plan on it being a consistent mode of transportation, period. (consistent meaning not once a month or even once a week and or only in the summer)

If your not riding it consistently you cannot fine tune the observational power and skill level needed to keep you safe. The fact that they ran into the back of the van insinuates negatively to their positioning in the lane, speed, closeness, and overall awareness.

So I've been riding for 40 years. In the past 5 years almost every day. I've had years throughout when it was everyday, and with kids that got to once a week or less. Definitely can feel the difference.

So to further answer your question or making some suggestions: Gear, gear, gear. Sorry, I'm not a t-shirt and shorts kinda rider. I know that when I'm loaded with gear my confidence is up where it should. If I should go down, my ass, literally, has some good protection. Best protection however, don't go down and learn the multitude of ways how not to.

Know what the hell your riding! If your a speedster like me, you better know what to look for in tire wear, bearing wear, chain conditions, shocks everything. If you like to cruise, you still need to really know your bike and get tuned to any unusual nuance that may arise.

I can't begin to tell you the many fundamental habits that need to be formed to be a safe city driver. I feel it took me 6 months minimum of every day driving and at least a year to feel somewhat automatic in most of those. I never get to comfortable with myself and skill level. Have a small amount of fear is good while to much is much more dangerous than confidence.

I could go on and on with this. Unless you want to put safety bumpers around your bike...well why bother. One more note however, is they now have come out with a air bag safety suit you wear that makes you look like the Michelin man when you are thrown from the bike! (Well on the top part of you anyway) Supposedly works well in testing environments. Don't think available to the public yet till later this year. But it is something new anyway! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo9Vlt5tGwY

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#14
In reply to #9

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 4:31 PM

Hi Tim,

I agree with everything you said, however,
the skill levels and attention required for 2 wheels, to acheive the comfort you describe, are much higher than for 4, and survivability is still lower. Everything you cited is also true for every driver on the road, whether for 2 or 18 or 96 wheels.

I think that accidents should be studied, and engineered prevention implemented.

How many accidents involve speed wobble, and how can it be dampened?
How many accidents have the rider thrown, and what are the consequences?
What is wrong with a few simple roll bars and more restraint systems?
Why not have a larger visual presence? (flags, sails, lights, horns, etc)
Why not have a computerized radar with differential velocity detection and warning systems?

Why not have motorcycle specific laws that prevent dangerous moves specific to bikes? (ie; threading through traffic, parallel riding with other bikes, wheelies, etc)

Chris

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#16
In reply to #14

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 5:47 PM

I find that there are way many more distractions in a car/truck including comfort. I don't get sleepy on my bike and I'm not on the phone, texting, jacking with the stereo or trying to wack my kids in the back sear, or lighting up a cigi. So although the parameters for implementing safety via awareness should be the same, they are not.

Yes, and thus if in an accident the results are not the same for the operator. Thus those in huge 4x4's and old ladies in their big BMW or other, have a little less "worry" about getting hurt or basically they're not exposed thus not a conscious concern. They will be typically more concerned about a scratch to their car!

Accidents involving motorcycles is studied heavily by private companies like BMW, Honda and Suzuki as well as the traffic safety administration and GHSA and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Motorcycles are at their highest in sales, use and licensing in Americas history. Accordingly in the past 12 years or so there are and have been many improvements to motorcycles in drivable, reliability, and including crash protection as is viable. 2010 Goldwings now have air bags available.

How many accidents involve speed wobble? Most high powered bikes from Aprilias, Ducatti's, GSXR's all come with top of the line suspension and steering adjustable dampening not to mention amazing braking capabilities. I've been well into three digits on these types of bikes, there is no wobble on these bikes. If there is, it's tire related or something wrong in a component with the suspension. Back to consistent maintenance and knowing the components of the bike and being in tune with the bikes operational characteristics. If someone is pushing a cruiser Harley or Triumph into three digits, back to pilot error and them not knowing their bike, ignorance in general, or they're drunk. ok, a bit harsh but something along those lines.

How many accidents have the rider thrown (most all) and what are the consequences? Back to riding gear and body protection then enter individual scenario involving surroundings, speed, etc. Here's one about helmets http://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,1607,7-123-1593_3504_22760-13677--,00.html

Whats wrong with a few simple roll bars and more restraint systems. Restraints, no way. Having the bike be connected to you is bad all day long. Ask any professional who part of the job description includes falling down a lot, like GP racers, no no no. Roll bars, some bikes have some configuration of a roll bar-ish already made part of the bike. Esthetic's are or is the number one reason for appeal on a bike. Most roll bars or crash bars are just not what the consumer wants. They have a car for that. Some of my street cars have had roll bars, yes I feel safer on the road in general with them.

Why not have a larger visual presence? Always! Bright colors work wonderful. Some of my strategies in heavy traffic at lights or slow traffic is standing on the pegs, or simply standing up moving around at a light. Amazing what just movement will provide to the people around you. Your an unusual, non-typical object in an otherwise usual driving circumstance, so they tend to take notice even if you are aware of them texting away right behind you! I will NOT drive a dark colored bike with out a bright neon jacket.

Why not have motorcycle specific laws that prevent dangerous moves specific to bikes? There are, although they can very state to state, like lane splitting. Then your down to ENFORCEMENT. I have lots of Sheriff officer friends here and it's a major problem to catch the "squids" (not a navy term here) or any other offender.

Good thinking though Chris, as always!

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#17
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Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 7:41 PM

excellent responses! ga again.

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#19
In reply to #17

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 9:40 PM

I rode everywhere up and down the East Coast from Rochester, New York to Manhattan to NC on two different Hondas for three years out of my life.

I was short on money and bought a 450 Honda based on the 650 Bonneville Triumph. Top speed was about 85 mph. Blew an engine on that. Got a 500 Interstate with a shaft drive. The engine would probably go forever, but the bike was a real killer as it would wobble over 80, and had a high center of gravity.

Since I had flown airplanes I did have some insights into some of these feelings. I have told my daughter not to ever get on the back of a motorcycle with someone who has not flown planes. There are stock bikes out there that will do 160.

The bike must fit your body. You must know its limits, as well as your own.

Flying drunk, and drinking and riding motorcycles do not work out well.

P.S. After one blown engine the mechanic asked me if I rode the bike hard. I said, "It's a motorcycle." -you can't talk on the phone, drink coffee, listen to the radio, all you are doing is riding and going slow is not what motorcycles are for. I read once that the average lifetime of a motorcyclist in LA who had no other transportation vehicle was about 3 years. Made sense to me, for I could feel the luck draining out of my body and the best thing about my last bike was that somebody else wanted it.

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 10:19 PM

...makes sense to me too.

thanks, Chris

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#33
In reply to #16

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 2:51 AM

Some good points...cars should be made with the driver sitting right at the front in a bubble of polycarbonate between him and the var ahead and a clear view to the road surface...
I bet there wiuld be less tailgating then
Del

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#125
In reply to #16

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/06/2010 3:47 PM

Good answer and thank you for saving me a LOT of typing from this 40+ year rider.

I especially have to echo the no restraints comment. The several times I've been down on roads and literally hundreds of times on dirt, could have resulted in really nasty injuries if I hadn't been able to get away from the bike.

I remember back in the '70's when the Virginia state legislature threatened to mandate seat belts on bikes. We rounded up about 10,000 bikers, surrounded the capital and convinced them that they really didn't want to do that.

There is no engineering that can take the place of training, awareness, and gear on "recreational" vehicles (and I don't care if they have 2, 3 or 4 wheels). I really dislike it when people presume that the bike designers haven't tried to take every safety measure possible in their bikes. Sometimes it's just up to the rider to make the decision. The smarter ones will usually live a long and happy driving life.

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#135
In reply to #125

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/06/2010 11:27 PM

Wow, seat belts on bikes?! Seriously? That really was assinine, I've never heard that one! As Ed stated in this thread some where, No one should be mandating who doesn't ride professionally. You provide a great example of how insanely stupid, ok, or ignorant, politicians can be!!!

Kudos and agreement to your last paragraph!

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#31
In reply to #14

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 1:52 AM

All that stuff you mention is illegal, it called wreckless driving

there are some places where lane splitting is legal

your impressions of harley's being safer is just that an impression,

loud pipes are a distraction to both the rider & the drivers in the area

boys do love their loud toys

following this logic dragsters would be safer than volvos

the kicked back riding position, does not put the rider in the best position to control the bike. some of these deficits are offset by the more mature demographic...

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#274
In reply to #14

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

04/20/2011 1:01 AM

I have to bring it up and it's so prevalent; well it's a snd box issue - so many things are learned or developed in the sandbox. And the concept migrates to motorcycle riding skill too. Every rider I've ever known with exceptional skill both on or off-road has developed the basics in the dirt.

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#10

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 3:52 PM

I just realized after watching the video again that he was rolling intentionally. He's and experianced racer and going down on his side your taught to slide when you can. You have more visual capability to reposition your body and have some control. Rolling is disorienting and the external body parts get damaged depending on speed and terrain.

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#18

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 8:08 PM

Had to through this up, good example of how good gear makes a huge increase in your survival or in this case, walked away no prob:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfKsPqvwG-U&feature=related

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#21
In reply to #18

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 10:20 PM

thanks...obviously cameras are not going to be part of the safety equipment.

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#22

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 11:03 PM

Several somewhat disconnected points...

1. The NHTSA funded a "safety motorcycle" design back in 1979 with front wheel drive, and rear wheel steering. The so-called "backward bike" was impossible to ride.
  I've read about other proposals, including air bags, seat belts(!), and roll-bar/safety cage type designs. They all seem to cause more problems than they aim to improve. 

2. The best source of motorcycle safety training in the U.S. is the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. They are also heavily involved in promoting motorcycle awareness among the general driving public. 

3. The last significant study of motorcycle accidents was published in 1981 by USC professor Harry Hurt ("The Hurt Report"): 

"The Hurt Report findings significantly advanced the state of knowledge of the causes of motorcycle accidents, in particular pointing out the widespread problem of car drivers failing to see an approaching motorcycle and precipitating a crash by violating the motorcyclist's right-of-way. The study also provided data clearly showing that helmets significantly reduce deaths and brain injuries without any increased risk of accident involvement or neck injury. The full title of the report was Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures, Volume 1: Technical Report."

A new study is planned, but it looks like funding is being gutted:
Motorcycle Safety Foundation Statement Regarding Crash Causation Study

"The MSF, industry, and safety experts agree that the abbreviated Motorcycle Crash Causation Study by OSU is unlikely to either validate the findings of prior studies or establish, to any statistical significant level, any new causative factors. The abbreviated study is unlikely to accomplish either of these goals because the sample size is expected to be only 300 crashes, compared to the 900 crashes collected and analyzed in the Hurt Study, 921 in the MAID's Study (Europe 2000) and the 1,200 recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board.

If you want to get involved with motorcycle safety, the MSF and the  American Motorcyclist Association are the best places to get started.

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#23
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Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/02/2010 11:16 PM

Excellent! ga.

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#42
In reply to #22

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 11:15 AM

Here is another aspect:

I read years ago, of a man who had been the victim of motorcycle accidents, painting his bike to look like a CHP mount.

He reported the incidents dropped to zero.

Unscientific, but interesting.

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#24

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 12:03 AM

If you live in fear, fear is what rules your thoughts and actions. Do you drive, fly, swim, theater, walk on the beach, etc, all things have some element of danger in them. So go cower in your corner, and leave the rest of us who have over come fear to live as we see fit, without your fear ruling us through your desire to hide behind it.

Nothing is safe! Fore knowledge of the dangers negates said dangers. Have you seen the safety equipment OSHA would have given the cowboy.

In your case education has been narrowing of mind rather than expanding of it.

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#26
In reply to #24

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 12:24 AM

I have a sensible amount of fear, appropriate to the situations I put myself into, as I intend to live longer than you. My commentary would probably be directed at those of you who also want to live a little longer, and not make so much of a mess on the road. Thank you for your vital input. Without you, there would be no show.

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#43
In reply to #24

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 11:46 AM

Good answer.

I was going to elaborate on much the same theme but you pretty much said it. What I might add is that generally speaking, motorcycle riders tend to risk only themselves. Additional fancy safety equipment won't reduce casualties, but it may reduce the severity of injuries. Make you feel less vulnerable. Not a safe attitude at all!

I am now 53, and have been riding since I was 16. I usually tell people that if you don't die in the first two years on a bike, then you will die in bed. There are many reasons for this, most involve becoming a boring old phart instead of a show off young punk. (Hard to imagine the big bad biker dude as a boring old phart, but if he is a survivor, then he is a very conservative, nay, even paranoid rider.)

The Snell motorcycle course (available anywhere in Canada and recognized by the DoT) will lower your insurance rates. If the insurance company believes this, then it is true. The course teaches things like emergency counter steering, situational awareness, dealing with road rubble, and a thousand other things.

Weekend riders who tool around in tank tops and flip flops pretty much risk only themselves. You don't want to wear leathers dude, who am I to make you? I keep a shredded jacket on the wall of the garage to remind ME...I guess the tee shirt wearing guys have never laid their bike down like I have. Lots of fair weather bikers will do fine for their whole lives. But...really its not my problem. Almost all my school friends have huge scars on their forearms from sliding down Manitoba's gravel back roads. I regard the road rash as a serious life lesson in action versus consequences. We can't wrap our kids in cotton wool (or bubble motorcycle suits), when they really need to learn skill, control, and awareness. And if they don't learn, then Darwinian selection kicks in.

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#25

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 12:04 AM

The first thing some riders do is make the exhaust as noizy as the law will allow -- to give the other driver a better chance of realizing they are near. Very effective, but often way to late because the bike is in front of the noise generater. Perhaps a special sound emitter of some sort mounted on the front of the bike and directed straight ahead.

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#27
In reply to #25

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 12:26 AM

Harley's are definitely noticeable. I maintain constant vigilance while driving my SUV, and especially when bikes are near me, as I do not typically trust their riders to maintain a constant and diligent safe driving practice. I love speed as much as the next guy, but I want to avoid the sudden stop at the end.

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#28

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 1:31 AM

Don't be so quick to discount training...

experience is shown to reduce the likely hood of being in a motorcycle accident.

Tiered licensing, should be implimented.

by this I mean, riders should start on smaller less powerful machines & be required to have a certain number of time [miles too], before being able to graduate to a larger more powerful machines, probably no less than 3 tiers. would you hand the keys to a high horsepower sportscar to a new driver?

the van in the accident you described, probably didn't see the bike/rider & pulled out in front of him. The rider probably was going too fast. A fairly common scenario.

riders should wear high visibility protective clothing, Including:

a real full face helmet [skull caps don't count]

jacket

riding pants [no not jeans]

riding boots [not construction type]

gloves

these items won't prevent an accident, but will reduce the severity of the injuries

visibility is very important, one of the comments most often give by the drive of a car after an accident is

"I didn't see him"

your basic Harley rider doesn't want to hear most of this stuff, cause it's not as cool to start out on something small, helmets aren't cool, florescent clothing isn't cool.

as you drive around notice what riders are wearing, count the tank tops & tennis shoes...

when you ride a bike, you have to assume no one sees you [they probably don't], you have to always be scanning the scene & looking for potential escape routes...

there are a couple of technological things that can help

headlight modulator, which causes the headlight to "flicker" in the day time. I generally feel safer at night on a bike, bikes appear nearly the same as a car when they're all lit up

anti lock brakes

things that won't work:

loud pipes, most of the noise is behind, the danger in front, being obnoxious won't save your life

leg protectors were studied & found to have little value causing as many injuries, as they prevented

air bags same as above

the motorcycle industry is well aware of the statistics, continuously improving the handling & performance

re-engineer a system that lets a 16 year old buy a 1000cc bike that will out perform a $100000 sports car...

make track days affordable & available, so that need for speed is able to be satisfied in a safe controlled environment...

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#30
In reply to #28

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 1:40 AM

Lots of additional good points amigo! btw, I still like to wear my jeans but there is but an inch or two that isn't covered by under armor of some sort and Kevlar goodies. Not that i don't feel like a robot sometimes. Gear, is cool. More and more, even Harley riders, around here anyway, are wearing more gear as awareness is become so public. In fact your more apt to feel like a dork if your not at least wearing some basic protection.

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#34
In reply to #28

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 3:13 AM

Thanks Garth. I'm not trying to discount training. I strongly believe in it. I believe that it is well covered, and I don't have much to contribute. I wanted to start a thread that might leverage the engineering skills of this community to make a mechanical difference.

GA

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#38
In reply to #34

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 6:07 AM

How about a gyrostabilizer work on a bike? The speed of the gyro wheel can be linked to the speed of the bike. Perhaps on an unbanked steep curve this may lead to precession and unwanted movements at high speeds. The only vehicle I ever 'drove' in my 71 years life was an old Humber bicycle with a top speed of 12 to 15 kilometer/hour in the early 50s with negligible traffic in Bangalore. Today there are more than 4 million registered motor vehicles of which more than 70% are two wheelers. Horrendous accidents on the road, pillion riders falling off and getting their heads crushed under the rear wheels of over loaded trucks passing a whisker away is a daily occurrence. With a hopelessly understaffed traffic police force, control is minimal. Local language fanatics make the number plates in local alphabet and numerals abetted by politicians. No one can even take down an offender's number. Bioramani

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#126
In reply to #38

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/06/2010 4:11 PM

Motorcycles already have two big gyros, the wheels. It also has a secondary gyro known as the engine, and another modulating gyro influence on some bikes that is called a driveshaft.

Understanding the intricacies of how all these parts contribute to (or distract from) the stability of the bike is one of the most important aspects of bike riding. This is taught nowhere. It can only be learned by experience.

Counter steering to safely put a bike on the ground rather than high siding is one of those intricacies. I learned the technique when I used to dirt and trail ride. That knowledge saved my bacon twice on the highways by making it possible for me to avoid making contact with 4 wheel vehicles. I do NOT want any other stabilizing influence acting on a bike that would try to prevent me from executing maneuvers necessary to my safety.

Perhaps we should get the training sessions into the dirt for more realism. Nah, people might get dirty.

Hooker

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#127
In reply to #126

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/06/2010 4:39 PM

GA, Hooker. Like I said in an earlier reply I'm not a biker. But viewing your answer about gyro effects and training the human control system to take advantage of them from the standpoint of an engineer I have to compliment you.

Far as building restraints into the bike are concerned the experience of landspeed racers going on 60plus years is illustrative. This sport in the USA has a large community of highly experienced bikers and bike racers. They set their own rules; not a bunch of lawyers like you see operating in the larger pro racing organizations.

In the SCTA-BNI rule book you won't see any suggestion of driver restraints, only some pretty tight restrictions on driver protection gear and safety/design features of the bike. (the exception is fully enclosed motorcycle streamliners, essentially 4 streamliners with just two wheels.).

Out on the Salt we've seen riders get off the bike at pretty high speeds and come away in good shape. One recent Speedweek a fellow got off a bike at around 200 mph and was walking around the pits the same afternoon, albeit a little stiff, after the doctor at the clinic in town did a little patching up. If he'd have been strapped on that bike they would have had to cleanup what was left of him with a sponge.

Bottom line as I've suggested before is that nobody should be imposing rider protection safety rules and procedures upon bikers without the full concurrence of responsible bikers themselves. No other type of driver can fully appreciate the human control system of the rider than one who has learned to use it firsthand.

And I'd like to suggest that this line of thinking is probably the best thing we can come up with aside some genuine improvement in the materials of design of the driver's clothing. And even there one must deeply respect the possible negative effects of the rider's critical mental state that can be produced by rider gear that causes discomfort or otherwise negatively effects the riders control system. (thinking here of the entire control system in the engineering sense)

Ed Weldon

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#130
In reply to #127

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/06/2010 6:47 PM

Great post Ed,

I think you've hit upon a concept we should exercise being discussion of those particular benefits towards safe operation. Let's grasp the use of helmets for instance.

I was crazy about the availability of the full coverage helmet with visor/windscreen, wow what change for the better from the open chin type. Prior to using "FC" there wasn't a way for everyone to use eye protection without either being blinded by tears or fogged lenses.

At one time the gloves of choice were those made for welding and for small hands dexterity is severely limited. Oh when I got the handle bar gloves oh yeah that was sweet; they are attached to the handle bar and you slip your hands inside a nice warm and dry mitt but have free movement of your hands on the controls .

The work of Craig Vetter has been well received by bikers of all stripes, I've enjoyed several of his fairing designs. The freedom machine project is essentially similar to what Chris288 has brought to our attention but with a frame too. IMHO "feet forward" designs make sense except in the dirt.

Tires have come a long way baby, one of my preferences; Metzeler Sportec M-1 can not compare to tires when I first got into street bikes those tires were suited for trailers.

and and the list goes on...

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#131
In reply to #130

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/06/2010 7:39 PM

like that. yup! ga.

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#132
In reply to #131

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/06/2010 10:21 PM

Not a good answer in a crosswind, I'm not sure how you are supposed to hold it up at a light

the project is about efficiency

the freedom part is good

counter to mandates

downsized power plants, would be good as long as there is downsized weight

Hookers comments about "cruisers" are spot on, 700 pounds of questionable ergonomics...

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#133
In reply to #132

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/06/2010 10:38 PM

I'm not sure how you are supposed to hold it up at a light

I expect you put a foot down and we may need a little more than eighteen HP to counter a quarter off head wind too but maybe not.

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#136
In reply to #133

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/07/2010 12:06 AM

Imagine passing or being passed by an 18 wheeler

there is several ways to make a bike change direction, without removing or adding power

tilt your shoulder

push & pull the bars [always both]

shift your hip

shift your weight on the foot pegs

the most control can be achieved by combining all of them

which is why it very difficult to explain the "best methods"

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#137
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Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/07/2010 12:22 AM

Fortunately those trucks having a long gap between the cab and trailer are far and few in between pun intended. Though I don't think high profile vehicles pushing air will cause any scary effects and may well reduce those events.

It's obvious you're chomping the bit waiting your turn to try it

C Vetter said 2-3 or 4 wheels but I think 3 would be cool! and for me better than two

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#138
In reply to #137

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/07/2010 12:30 AM

Maybe a can am spyder with a streamliner fairing...

throw in the Tucker headlight.

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#184
In reply to #34

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/14/2010 8:17 PM

I disagree, Training is not well covered. I took the initial and advanced MSF courses even combined, they paled in comparison to the British Police Safe Rider program. We need something like that here. Add that to the tiered program like in England where you start at 32 bhp before you can ride a full power bike. The kids who want to learn get to practice on their small machines and gain experience before opening up to the full power machines.

The European Union was attempting to implement several control measures including GPS guided speed controls but were thankfully put down because when the computer cut throttle control in a corner it destabilized the bike.

Drew

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#187
In reply to #184

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/14/2010 8:59 PM

Note of interest: In the SCTA/BNI amateur landspeed racing world (Bonneville, etc.) the motorcycle inspection guys make the safety rules and the car guys in the leadership positions, who tend to outnumber them, seldom if ever argue the points. Result is that we have an outstanding motorcycle safety record in US landspeed racing for open (not enclosed streamliner types) bikes.

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#183
In reply to #28

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/14/2010 8:12 PM

A good rider can outbrake a bike with a novice rider and anti-lock brakes. I would only want an anti-lock bike if I could disable it, same with the linked brake systems. I prefer to control where my braking occurs, I have been known to slide the back when emergency stopping but at least I can choose to release it before it gets out of hand.

Drew

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#185
In reply to #183

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/14/2010 8:47 PM

That's usually referred to as "skill". Something that is hard to codify directly into law.This is an important issue to bikers.

BTW, not being one myself, but still quite conscious of the importance of cultural norms, is "biker" still a cool word to use? Or is this old man showing his age and pushing the tolerance of you guys a bit?

Ed Weldon

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#186
In reply to #185

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/14/2010 8:54 PM

I consider myself a Biker, my bike is my avatar (2000 honda cbr 600) and is a sport bike (not a crotch-rocket). I ride rain or sun, I started riding regularly while stationed in England and took the British Police Safe Rider course plus was an avid reader of the popular Bike Magazine which always had a better riding section.

Now, stuck in West Texas hell I don't ride as much because all the roads are straight, flat and oh so hot. It is so hot I worry about heat exhaustion even wearing an armored mesh jacket.

Drew

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#29

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 1:36 AM

Lotsa good answers in this topic. I'm not a biker of any sort. (something about a 50 year old deal) But I am an observer and have lots of respect for bikers and their machines.

I think there may be a place for graduated driver's licenses in the motorcycle world that would prevent an inexperienced rider from using a bike that was to big, too fast, inherently less safe because of some known design flaw, etc. This program would have to be managed by real bikers all the way to the top administrative levels in state government. Otherwise it would fail. Car people simply cannot practically project their knowledge and experience with 4 wheel vehicles onto the motorcycle situation.

The advanced license (s) would require some level of age, experience and formal training to obtain and an acceptable driving record to retain. The advanced license would physically contain electronic coding that would have to be presented to the bike's control system before the bike could be started or maybe operated over a certain speed or under other practically detectable conditions. License plates would have a special visible marking related to the level of license required to ride. (big ego thing here).

I think a similar program for cars would be great; but a hard sell to the American driving public. But the bikers might buy into it.

I have another thought along the line of airbags in the driving suit, previously mentioned. We're learning in the car racing world about how to prevent spinal injuries in crashes. The Hans device and similar safety equipment have come on the scene in the last couple of years to keep the driver's head from dangerous movement in a crash. Are spinal injuries a major factor in bike crashes on the highway? If so there may be a place for the motorcycle helmet to contain a self inflating or self actuating device to function similarly to the Hans except that it would immobilize the head from all directions, not just front to back. This could protect the rider's upper spine from shocks and high accelerations in whatever the direction of movement the rider's body goes through when he leaves the seat of the bike or collides with something.

Ed Weldon

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#32
In reply to #29

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 2:14 AM

Hey Ed, I find your idea not so far off the mark. Below is my first license at the age of 11. You can see it was restricted to 50cc (mopd) (even though I was driving a little 80cc at the time and the cop tested me on it, small town politics) The next license was up to 250cc and then unlimited. So this graduation was in effect. Not restricted to age and experience was a main consideration.

I don't know when that all changed but it seems that it was sometime after 1976 that our state, for what ever the reasons, and your guess as possibly mine would be administration hassles or the such, had moved it to a single license for any cc.

There are excellent professional riding suits that incorporate, somewhat, of the Hans device for motorcycles. It's just not as restrictive and mostly part of the suit, but it keeps your helmet from going so far back. Back injuries are not as common as you would think, and surprise me, yet it does happen. It is amazing, as in the video I posted in an earlier post, how good gear can save your life and even prevent minor injury. Details to the variables in each scenario being critical factors regardless.

But as you've witnessed out on the Salt, sometimes there is just a bad twist or break or just luck. Granted, rate of speed will obviously increase the risk factor for injury or death. All part of the game as you are very aware but considering, there have been great improvements towards high speed safety and survival.

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#35
In reply to #29

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 3:23 AM

In construction safety, the risk is reduced by implementing a 'near miss' recording system, which makes workers more aware of the types of risks that are actually occuring in the work place.

How about a 'black box' recording system that tracks vehicle acceleration and severe braking, and somehow identifies the 'near miss'?

Also, what about a breathalyzer connected ignition, where the rider must be sitting on the bike, and be sober, in order for the bike to start?

Why does a motorcycle need to be able to go 200 km/h, and accelerate at 20g's?? If you want to race, take it to the track.

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#40
In reply to #35

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 10:48 AM

Myself

I favor bikes that top out around 130% of the highest speed limit [ 90-100 mph]

I generally want to go slightly faster than the flow of traffic

I ride in the part of the lane closest to the other cars, to stay out of the blind spot

I like to add a few extra lights to increase my visibility

I don't think that black box or speed limiter are going to fly politically, 2 wheeler have a well developed & vocal set of lobbyists, many states have rescinded helmet laws, there some who insist on their "right" to get a concussion...

ABS or linked brakes should be an option, but seems to have limited appeal in the market place

New rant

In this area you could probably get a fair amount of support to ban bicycles from some of the major roads, which can be twisty & narrow.

I can only imagine the pucker factor they must experience...

I grew up in an area that had a substantial Amish population, I remember the grumbling when it became a requirement to have a flashing beacon on the back of their buggies, which clash with the whole all black, no modern conveniences way of life...

If there is an accident involving 18 wheelers & anything smaller, the smaller is always going to receive more damage...

Anybody want to tangle with a train?

the elimination of at grade crossings, removes the danger of fatal interactions

vehicles towing trailers are generally restricted to the right lanes on controlled access highways

bicycles have dedicated lanes on some roads

are there other road designs or rules that will help reduce the speed differential of all the vehicles?

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#41
In reply to #29

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 10:55 AM

You're over the top a bit Ed when think we should try legislate common sense; eh?

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#45
In reply to #29

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 12:48 PM

Just to reiterate Ed, what you touch on, and from my own experiences driving a variety of vehicles, "Car people simply cannot practically project their knowledge and experience with 4 wheel vehicles onto the motorcycle situation." is part of my experience that causes me to tell my daughter not to ride on the back of a motorcycle with a driver who has not flown airplanes.

It is true that a bicycle racer may as well have applicable skills, but the main point is that there is a significant difference in the capabilities of a two wheeled vehicle, and a 4 wheeled vehicle.

I myself had to buy half a cow leather suit to ride where I rode because otherwise I would have frozen to death. I rode in the cold. The uniform of an East or West German Motorcycle Corp was what I bought at a surplus, vintage clothing store was what I wore. -as said, I rode motorcycles because I was low on money, not because I was in particular a thrillseeker, though I had some.

On one trip where I had to cross the Tappan Zee bridge down into NYC on the 450 Honda as I was most froze and tired my top speed of 85 was not enough for the traffic I was in for anything but luck. Surely it is true that being able to get away from idiots is an advantage in such situations.

When I finally did get to Seventh Ave. South, and Leroy Street, I was so worn out that when I parked on the street there in some spot, I fell over.

That trip which in a car would have taken maybe 4 to 6 hours, took twelve.

There were a few wonderful moments that are not replaceable for either beauty, or kindness and fleeting bits of peace. One is worthy of a painting for much of the early part of the journey was in fog. I stopped outside Binghamton NY in the fog and smoked a cigarette as the bike ticked over and the headlight beam illuminated the cold beads of near freezing water by the underpass.

We are modern people whose experiences include machines we made that take us through a life we could not create, but only deal with.

I have read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintanence.

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#36

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 4:06 AM

A mans got to know his limitations... A few weeks ago a friend of a friend was out for a putt and a kid racing his hot rod ran stop and wiped the biker out, the patrol officer said he likely wouldn't been killed if he were in a 4-wheel vehicle and got t-boned by another car in excess of 130mph too.

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#37

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 4:42 AM

Chris, having it that I'm not allowed to suggest Training, Training, Training, Experience Experience, Experience, etc included with Good Parenting, my only suggestion is to legislate a first tier rider qual. that allows only 100cc motor with w flywheel mass of 25lbs. Transition to next tier at age 50. Had 9 bikes over 55yrs and fortunately only been down once on the road. Heaps of times on the sand dunes and in the bush. Enduro and trials did teach how to drop and/or get off safely tho'. GA to the guy on the bike. Cheers, Stu.

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#39

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 8:28 AM

I ride...always dress like you are going down! Wear BRIGHT reflective clothing,add lights, and go to an advanced driving school. If you know better you wouldn't check a can of gas with a Bic lighter.

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#44

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 11:52 AM

Motorcycle safety has been improved a lot since I bought my first Harley back in '76. They now have better brakes, lights and fewer break downs on the road. Part of the thrill of riding is the inherent danger involved. That, with the wonderful feeling of riding out on a lone country road in the morning with the sun coming up on the side is a wonderful feeling. Of course, most accidents are "pilot error". Like, under estimating the curve, etc. If you gonna ride, you're gonna slide. Motorcycle riding can't be made much safer. People in cages should be more aware than they are, but in heavy traffic, one can watch just so much without becoming a hazard themselves. Hang gliding, parachute jumping, etc, are a greater hazard but people still do it. And, Harley riding in particular, has the fringe benefit of enjoying the BS at the beer joint about the run that day. I'm leading a dangerous run on the Fourth. We're meeting at a beer joint, then riding through town and on to the bypass and ending up at another beer joint. We'll have free All American hotdogs at the end. The run is particularly dangerous because we don't have a parade escort. We'll have to obey the traffic laws. With a lot of bikers riding together, it gets kinda risky at intersections. All one can do is be careful.

To all Americans and anyone else that cares,

Happy Birthday, America

Have some fun today,

PAPADOC

RMFR

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#46
In reply to #44

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 12:56 PM

The social aspects are not unique to Harley's

among competitive riders, this may described as bench racing, many a hare scramble ends up with a group holding up the bed of a pickup with one hand & a beer in the other

I suppose what we do here can be described as

Bench Engineering

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#128
In reply to #44

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/06/2010 4:45 PM

Two weekends ago I took part in a group ride down the Blue Ridge Parkway from Waynesboro VA to Peaks of Otter, VA, where we had lunch. There were about 25 bikes on the twisty road that has a 45 mph limit. It was a horrible drive down with the speed dictated by a couple of rank amateurs (on two brand new Electra Glides). They refused to drive over 40 and they had a horrible habit of hitting the brakes while in the corners, many of which are hairpins. Even the leader had to slow down for them, and most of us behind had to hang way back to avoid running over them.

On the way back one other guy and I split from the group and roared back up the Parkway, averaging between 50 and 55. I became one with the bike on the ess's and the hairpins for about 50 miles. It was super exhilarating and one of those rare times of knowing what it's like to live to the fullest, even without pushing the limits.

The only other time's I've felt like that, besides the mountain road riding here, is when; I took over my very own Chinook, the first time I solo'ed an airplane (and a lot of flights afterward) and the first time I solo'ed my sailboat out of sight of land.

Nowadays it seems there's always someone who thinks that stuff is TOO dangerous for ME to do and wants to restrict my right to do them.

Personally, I dislike group rides. Too dangerous.

Hooker

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#47

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 1:08 PM

So having a completely framed in (lightweight) motorcycle is not valid? or some form of roll cage?

BY OTHERS

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#48
In reply to #47

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 1:59 PM

Having slid, bounced, flipped & otherwise become separated from a dirt bike a number of times.

I can say the worst injuries were caused by the bike

one particularly painful incident, was caused by the bark busters. I grabbed a handful of front brake on a steep down hill. The initial separation, was fine, until the 2nd flip had the barkbusters intersecting with my rib cage.

I use the bark busters as an example, because the addition of handguards allows the rider to use tres for berms, increasing your comfort level & speed

double edged sword

I "T" boned a car on a street bike [didn't see me] I flew over the car & ended up with a bruised butt & a sore ankle. I shudder to think what the outcome would have been with a full cage

The Can Am Spyder is an improvement in safety over a 2 wheeler, while retaining most of the motorcycle experience. Features like abs & traction control minimize some of the dangers of rider error. 2 front wheels make it much more difficult to flip.

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#56
In reply to #48

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 10:21 PM

My thoughts when an uncontrollable high speed wobble resulted from too much fun was to get away from the bike. Usually just stepping off and skiing one footed on pavement then the inevitable butt slide was preferable. Altercations with trees always hurt and sometimes initiated unfortunate and unforeseeable chain of events if you don't bounce well don't go there.

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#54
In reply to #47

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 9:29 PM

So here is where your design of a roll cage could be applied; the Acabion's 750bhp turbo charged Busa motor rocket bike. With a skeleton roll cage as you have designed, one can bounce for miles before you come to a stop after wrecking at 300mph.

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#57
In reply to #54

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 10:34 PM
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#58
In reply to #47

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 10:39 PM

Don't know how comfortable I'd feel poking a limb through those bars, are you sure I'd get them back again?

I enjoyed driving around socal in my work truck with the windows down but when I added a ladder/equipment rack the wind noise took away the enjoyment.

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#59
In reply to #58

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 10:42 PM

I left it unskinned to be able to see the structure.. but I would put plexi over the holes you want to see through, and painted shroud over the rest. I don't know about the back.. it was just an idea.. you probably only really need the plexi on the front.

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#60
In reply to #59

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/03/2010 11:44 PM

The mass needs to be centralized as much as possible

every pound you add makes it harder to change from side to side

front to back the weight distribution needs to be around 50-50

a skin would ruin the experience, might as well be in a car

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#62
In reply to #59

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/04/2010 12:10 AM

When I was twelve I had a dream of riding this sort of machine down a path in a heavily wooded area with a light rain falling; I remember it as a blissful notion (:

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#63
In reply to #47

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/04/2010 8:10 AM

We may have to check with people that use roll bars on bikes to find out why they are not generally used. My gut reaction is "no fleepin' way", but I have not researched it. Most roll cages are around the engine, since it is usually more valuable than the yob behind the handlebars. I am fairly certain that some work has been done on this very question in the past. A google search comes up with some very unworkable solutions.

I know that the time I tee boned a car, I flew out of the accident scene. Ended up wrapped around a light standard after a roll on the road which seemed to last a lifetime. The resultant road rash taught me not to be so damned stupid. I rebuilt the bike, and was back on it a month later. I was sixteen, made of India Rubber, and immortal! My experiences from that bit of teen age insanity have suggested that an engineering solution would have been to provide some way to slide across the intersection without hitting a post. (highway engineering) A roll cage would have been a disaster. Oh, and then I got a helmet, gloves, and a leather jacket. (Manitoba had no helmet law at that time.) Plus I got some training. I now believe in "All the gear all the time". A-a-a-and I also learned that I was actually NOT immortal...

There is apparently road worthy armour in existence. The armoured jackets you see in the bike shops are mostly made for off road use. I am mildly opposed to road worthy armour on the principle that if you don't get scraped up from being stupid, you will continue to be stupid. The brain bucket should be as good as you can get though because it doesn't take much of a bump to crack the old skull, and should be mandatory for all two wheel vehicles for any age. It is possible that the air bags and air bag suits Suzuki and Honda are bringing in will provide a solution to your perceived problem*, so my opinions on how much gear is enough may be subject to change.

Wikipedia has a good article on motorcycle safety and some fairly reliable statistics. So most of your concerns have already been addressed there.

*the problem as you see it is motorcycle safety. I see it as motorcycle "rider" safety. As soon as you engineer a solution, you are taking on responsibility for another person so that he does not have to take it on himself. One of the things I LIKE about motorcycle riding is that I take on all the responsibility for myself. As a previous poster stated, it is the inherent danger which makes motorcycle riding attractive....um, yes, all that plus the fact that it is a chance to escape from the cotton wool which envelops our lives from cradle to grave. Bikes are already nearly over engineered. I want my bike to be engineered to perform well in the curves, the rubber to be correctly designed to stick to the road, the shock absorbers to be balanced and functional, the paint to not flake off, the lights to be there and work. I'll take it from there thanks.

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#65
In reply to #63

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/04/2010 10:24 AM

I noticed riding [& racing ] dirt bikes, that adding "Safety" equipment to my person increased my speed/risk.

the new equilibrium being determined by limits imposed by

my bodies ability to react

the mechanical capability of the machine

.

buying a new machine would generally have the same effect as better PPE [personal protective equipment]

as an example I went from drum brakes to disc brakes. mostly riding in muddy conditions the huge difference was apparent.

with drum the front brake was mostly a suggestion.

with a disc I could slow down in ways I would never have been able to imagine [with drum brakes], no longer was I restrained by the meager friction the shoes provide.

better brakes is like having brighter headlights, you can go faster, be cause your ability to react to the situation has been improved

I could crash in new & more spectacular ways

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#70
In reply to #63

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/04/2010 12:42 PM

"it is the inherent danger..."

Philosophically I agree that danger heightens the perception... but this is the public roadway we are speaking of... and if a vehicle is inherently dangerous, then it needs to conform to certain statistical safety averages.. meaning, either it gets safer, or it gets off the road. period. Riders of dangerous machines are exactly the same category as dangerous drivers, speaking risk wise, to other road users. (imho)

If you like the danger.. by all means pursue it, but go ride the Nevada salt Flats, jump out of airplanes, bungy jump, drive Nascar, whatever... It doesn't belong on the public roadway, putting others at risk, and raising insurance rates for everyone.

A few years ago I was driving the 401 near Oshawa, and was in the centre of 3 unidirectional lanes, and I was going 130 km/h.. and two bikes passed me in the left lane before I even knew they were there, like I was standing still. I am sure they were going 200 km/h.. scared the crap out of me... this is not behaviour for the public roadway, even in safe vehicles.

I'm sure those two guys were having the thrill of a lifetime.. living on the bleeding edge... but it is extremely inconsiderate of the other innocents using the roadway.

next subject.. roll cages on bikes. If the material used is very light, and the bike is still bottom heavy, with strong centrifugal action (heavy wheels), then there will be no problem riding or using. The one I show still allows the rider to put his legs out to stop at intersections, as the sides are open, but outrigger wheels that are speed controlled are certainly possible. I think if airbags are included inside the front, and the rider is strapped in, they are safer than if they were exposed. If the bike goes down, the bike will slide until an impact, at which point they airbags deploy. This puts it into the same category as something like a smartcar.

Chris

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#78
In reply to #70

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/04/2010 6:39 PM

Chris,

your one example of bikes passing you, could have just as easily been a loud hot rod, sports car or a monster truck, it's called wreckless driving.

Insurance companies have very carefully worked out the cost of the insurance. The rates you pay for your car insurance, are based on the demographics of people much like yourself& the type of vehicle you are trying to insure. Unless you are trying to insure a motorcycle, other riders have very little to do with your insurance rates.

based on just plain quantites there are far more bad car drivers than motorcycle drivers, motorcycle miles traveled are a small percentage of the total miles traveled per year [I like the way Andy pulled a figure of 30 times more likely to die, out of his hat]

even the lightest roll cage will adversely affect the handling, think about the effect of adding a similar percentage of weight to the roof of your car. You end up in a similar situation to a jeep that has been lifted, increasing the tendency to rollover at highway speeds.

Did you ever notice that you never see streamlined motorcycles on the road? cross wind would wreak havoc, too much cross sectional area for the weight & out rigger aren't going to help

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#80
In reply to #78

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/04/2010 9:06 PM

Garth,

well I give you high marks for very well reasoned response... ga.

(even if I secretly still want to engineer solutions.. that's probably just my personality type)

Chris

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#82
In reply to #80

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/04/2010 10:10 PM

much like the Haiti situation it's hard to apply a technical solution to a political or social problem

Hey keep firing something may just stick yet.

there is probably something to the air bag suit approach

proximity radar could be of some value

xeon or other bright lighting

I'm conflicted about black boxes, even though most if not all new cars come with some form of them.

some countries have horse power limits. In the highest level of pavement racing they went from 2stroke to larger 4stroke power plants, after a couple of years the displacement was reduced in an effort to reduce the speed. the result was the lap times went down

.

There is a certain segment of cruiser riders who want to play the part of obnoxious bad boy. There are certain commonalities

ape hangers

loud pipes

forward controls

black leather

having these items, does not in & of themselves make the rider rude...

just like having a sport bike, doesn't make you a street racer

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#81
In reply to #70

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/04/2010 10:03 PM

So what. They are not hurting you. You are really reaching if you think their actions raised YOUR insurance rates! They WERE however breaking the law, and when people break the law and get away with it, well, that just bites! Well, life just isnt fair sometimes! Take the tolerant view...remember they are well ahead of you now, up front where you can see them.

But really, how you gonna engineer a suit that will save those idiots from their own actions? A crash at 200 mph is mostly annoying because so many of their organs cannot be salvaged from the mess. But, unless you were waiting for that kidney, how is it your problem?

I rather like the radar that Cadillac installed on their cars....sends out an audible signal when you are closing too quickly! That would be a good engineering. Perhaps some heads up displays which will fit into a helmet. forty percent of accidents involving bikes happen when the bike hits something from the front. An audio warning signal delivered to the helmet speaker has the potential to save 40 percent of fatalities. Since half the fatalities involved alcohol, (though according to the insurance companies, it was "only" 29%) a breathalyzer attached to the ignition would have a very significant impact on how many die in the saddle. Then of course anti lock brakes might prove useful, though there seems to be some controversy by insurance companies over their usefulness.

I think a tall sissy bar in back with a flashing light on it (like what the cops around here have) would also increase visibility and reduce accidents. I put up a flagpole to fly the flag of my beloved Ottawa Senators' Hockey Team. If I put up a Toronto flag, I would not only be noticed but people would wave at me, sometimes with all five fingers!

There you go. A bucket of positive nuts and bolts for your engineering firm. Hope to see save bikes coming out of Alberta sooner rather than later!

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#83
In reply to #81

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/04/2010 10:15 PM

good points... but if one of these runs into me, or hurts someone I know... I'll be pissed. (rightly or wrongly)

go senators!

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#88
In reply to #83

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/05/2010 3:35 AM

That may be Germany, its certainly not the UK (R.Hand driving) as the rear license numbers are seemingly white with black letter....though Germany is not alone in that respect.....

The motorway appears to be just like many German Autobahns....but that is only an opinion...

It may or may not have been illegal, if it was Germany and I did not notice any speed limit signs, then it was not illegal.....unbelievable eh?

I have done 200KMH many years ago, pulse really up and pumping, but what that Guy was doing was 50% faster......better than mainline drugs but JUST as dangerous!!

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#93
In reply to #83

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/05/2010 10:48 AM

What that guy is doing is Illegal. Immoral. Irrelevant. Nothing you build for this guy will keep him alive when he wipes out, and besides, your post was not about you or someone you know, but about the rider. The only think you can do for this fellow is to require mandatory speed limiters (governors),or "on-star" like remote anti-theft shut downs which need to be initiated by police. These devices will be unpopular. (but then, so were seat belts.) Now we are bringing the nanny state into the picture again. Since fully 60% involve excessive speed, such a device would likely slow them down, and "maybe" save some lives. Perhaps speed-radar cameras will get him in court...the proper place to address such attitudes.

Whatcha got against Darwin?

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#94
In reply to #93

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/05/2010 11:14 AM

I was in Arizona a few weeks ago

the speed limit for both trucks & cars was 75 in some areas

Not being in any hurry I had set the cruise for about 78

18 wheelers were passing me like I was standing still in some stretches

far more intimidating than any biker.

trucks present a far bigger threat in an accident & are present in much larger numbers

Technological safety improvements applied to big trucks would have a better ROI

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#95
In reply to #94

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/05/2010 11:57 AM

Right on!

Maximize controls on potential killers -- Minimize controls on suicide.
Suicide is much more personal, and should not be overly controlled by any government beyond the city.

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#98
In reply to #94

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/05/2010 2:18 PM

"Technological safety improvements applied to big trucks would have a better ROI"

perhaps true as it is such a big business.. but truckers don't die as often either...

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#99
In reply to #98

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/05/2010 2:57 PM

Do you really want to go find the statistics?

truckers may not die but the people they run over do

now about that ejection seat, think about it for a second

what vector are you going to be ejected in [towards]?

it does makings of a new thrill sport.

get the bike going as fast as possible & eject

there's also that pesky matter of weight, probably in the wrong place again

in some forms of competition

a tethered kill switch is required

I'm not sure about being separated from the bike [rip cord] with extreme prejudice is gonna be very effective, but could be another extreme sport.

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#100
In reply to #99

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/05/2010 3:23 PM

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#101
In reply to #99

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/05/2010 3:45 PM

ooh ooh... this would be even more fun.... from a motorcycle!

or this

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#103
In reply to #101

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/05/2010 6:33 PM

Now, we're talking. Just don't raise your arms and spread your legs at the wrong time. This looks like real fun. Just need to have the kill switch and an automatic bike stand (or built-in gyro to prevent tipping at low speed).

This is finally going in the right direction -- accessories for the rider -- not more government controls.

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#106
In reply to #99

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/05/2010 8:07 PM

Trucks are involved in less than 12% of accidents in the USA annually of those 4700 accidents involving trucks 80% are the fault of other drivers and 50% of the accidents involving trucks include a fatality. The figures show trucks are involved in less than 2% of fatality accidents overall.

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#111
In reply to #106

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/05/2010 9:02 PM

I'm not sure where you got that statement from overall similar numbers of deaths, so of course that would mean per mile trucks are much safer, for the driver

cars & pickups being involved in the majority of fatalities

http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Vehicles/VehiclesAllVehicles.aspx

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#97
In reply to #93

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/05/2010 2:16 PM

Hi Yusef,

I think surviving the accident requires aircraft ejection technology.. those guys eject at higher speeds. see my post #97.

Chris

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#90
In reply to #70

Re: Motorcycle Accident...

07/05/2010 4:06 AM

I was going 130 km/h.. and two bikes passed me in the left lane before I even knew they were there, like I was standing still. I am sure they were going 200 km/h.. scared the crap out of me...

They passed on the left which is proper etiquette I believe? They were traveling probably a little faster than 200 maybe 210-230 is more likely at least that's what I'd do. My big bikes always seemed weird about 196-204 but were smooth as a baby's butt again up to about 260-274, I never did nail down the reason for those wobbles just tried to stay out of those speed ranges. It's bad enough having to project your vision out 2-3 or 4 miles ahead giving almost a tunnel vision aspect but to also deal with the weirdness is just too much for a simple man like me.

About laying the bike down it's sometimes the right thing; I recall dropping a bike at a little over 160 because the front axle failed wow! that hurt even though I bailed as the bike initiated it's first endo while I had three big long bounces before settling into a long slide beside the barricade.

Proper gear; expensive helmet/eye protection—paramount, fitted leathers, boots and gloves = no broken bones but cartilage injuries are no picnic. I got bruised worse waterskiing

Becareful, think about what you're doing and slow down is my advice...

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