WE ARE KILLING OURSELVES
Biker Ignorance Challenges Driver Distraction as Top Crash Cause
Witnesses say the motorcyclist was going faster than 100 miles per hour when he crashed into the back
of a semi truck at about one o'clock in the morning. Investigators say evidence shows the rider was
going about 120 miles per hour at the time of the impact. It took the truck driver more than a quarter
of a mile to come to a stop. When he did, he stepped out of his rig and found the motorcyclist dead
at the back of the truck.
Source: Dean Gunter
In a position paper I submitted to the recent NTSB Motorcycle Safety Forum, I stated that "... the greatest single
problem in the motorcycle safety arena today is the negligence, distraction and inattentional blindness of automobile
drivers." While that continues to be a valid assertion, I regret to report that the same may not be true about one
statistic used to support it. Specifically, recent empirical observations as well as motorcycle crash and fatality
statistics released by Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington state and others
indicate that it may no longer be true that "... 50% of all motorcycle accidents are caused by the inattentional
blindness of automobile drivers."
In short, although careless, clueless and cell phone-impaired cagers may continue
to be the leading cause of motorcycle crashes and fatalities, responsibility for the majority
of those accidents and deaths may now fall squarely on our saddles.
We Are Killing Ourselves ... Literally
Young crotch rocketeers craving adrenaline and attention are adding nitrous boosters to production sport bikes already
capable of 200mph, and racing through busy streets begging for the inevitable:
Meanwhile, over-forty empty nesters--including many naive newbies with little training and more dollars than sense--are
getting liquored up, revving up, and roaring right off the road, taking out themselves and everyone in their path:
Alcohol. Adrenaline. Inexperience. Ignorance.
Far too many of us now ride with these Four Horsemen, racing Hell-bent down roads that can lead only to destruction.
And no rider group shows any immunity to this Apocalyptic affliction: Young and old ... male and female ... black,
brown, yellow and white ... Geezer Gliders and Crotch Rocketeers. "Biker Ignorance" is now pandemic.
And if that isn't bad enough...
We Are Killing Ourselves ... Politically
Political history teaches us that few things bring people together like the threat of a common and formidable foe.
That's what United our States ... how the Allies won World War II ... and why Dubya got re-elected. But for some
perplexing reason, the motorcycling community seems exempt from that axiom.
At a time when we should be banding together as brothers, instead we squabble like Scottish Lords. Rather than
broadening their political base by focusing on issues of interest and benefit to all motorcyclists, some MROs and
their mouthpieces are leading the charge in the opposite direction. Platforms purported to champion bikers' rights
are often subverted soapboxes for agendas that serve no purpose other than to isolate and alienate the very riders
we most desperately need to attract and enlist. MRO leaders bemoan increasing apathy and declines in membership.
But rather than narrow their focus to timely and relevant issues with broad appeal, some seek out only the
decreasing few who share their world view, chastising or ignoring all others.
In signing the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin advised "We must all hang together, or assuredly
we shall all hang separately."
Is that so hard to understand?
Until Next Time ... Ride Long, Ride Free!
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