Disaster Strike Again
tidal wave could not do more damage to human beings than the unnatural
force called government. In terms of outright mass murder –
line ‘em up at the edge of the ditch and mow ‘em down
– government has no equal. Jeffrey Dahmer – America’s
most prolific serial killer-cannibal – got maybe 40 victims
over a ten-year period. For Uncle Sam, that’s not even an
afternoon’s work. In “peace” time.
the latest example:
a study published in the Feb. issue of the academic journal, Injury
Prevention (see here)
there has been an Everest-like ascent in motorcycle injuries during
the past decade. Older riders (age 60 and over) are getting hurt
the most – up 247 percent, from 4,300 injuries per year in
2001 to 15,100 in 2008 – but it’s not just them. Accidents
involving riders in the 40-59 bracket are also up 61 percent; for
riders in the 20-39 bracket, it’s 28 percent.
of all ages are riding.
the sudden uptick in motorcycle riding?
follow the lack thereof. The ridership explosion has tracked in
correlation with the economic implosion. You know – the unnatural
disaster caused by government.
have taken to riding because it’s less expensive to ride than
it is to drive. One can buy a 60 MPG-capable commuter bike for about
75 percent less than the cost of a 50 MPG Prius. And the bike only
costs about $10 to fill up – vs. $40-$50 for the Prius. It’s
a great way to cut down one’s costs of getting around.
A rider is
not only more vulnerable than a driver, he’s more at risk
if he’s an average (or less) rider – because it takes
a great deal more in the way of physical and mental skills to competently
ride a motorcycle than it does to drive a car. Excellent vision
– and excellent reflexes (including physical flexibility,
such as being able to quickly turn one’s head, shift one’s
weight in the seat – and so on) are not required.
But without them, your odds of going down are probably much greater
than they would be inside a car. Because in a car, maintaining control
is not as dependent on the driver’s physical capabilities.
There are also more – and different – tasks one must
handle. For example, almost all motorcycles have manual transmissions
as well as separate front and rear brakes that must be operated
individually, yet in a mutually complementary way. And there are
unique tasks – such as learning to steer by learning to lean
– that require physical skills some people don’t have.
Or don’t have enough of.
can still drive perfectly well (some extremely well). Few
70-80-year-olds can still competently ride a bike.
one is to average as a driver – the closer one is
to marginal (or worse) as a rider.
the higher skill threshold involved – and frankly, the fear
– acted as a kind of natural check on motorcycle mayhem.
Much in the
way that skiing has for the most part been a niche hobby. Something
only a relative handful of people – most of whom had the skill/experience
necessary to do it successfully – got into doing. Likewise,
bikers chiefly rode because of the fun of it. And because
of the economics of it.
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automotive columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2013 Eric Peters
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