Motorcycles in the Saaaaaafety Crosshairs

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Motorcycles are the last vehicles still largely free from Uncle’s asphyxiating grasp. That is about to change.

The unelected regulatory apparat known as the National Highway Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is a gaggle of federal bureaucrats who – somehow – became Car Czars, empowering themselves to dictate saaaaaaaaafey standards which all cars must comply with – is turning its unwanted attention to bikes.

It is “calling for” (government-speak for demanding that) a federal requirement be imposed mandating that all new motorcycles be built with anti-lock brakes (ABS) and stability control.

Because – as with cars – it’s not enough that the technology is available and that motorcycle buyers who wish to buy either or both are free to do so.

Everyone must be forced to buy them.

One wonders where these federal busybodies, whom no one elected, imagine they got the moral right (as distinct from the bully power) to dictate such things to people who – in the main – clearly do not want such things. The evidence for this being that when people are not forced to buy such things, many do not buy them.

This was the case with cars before ABS (and all the rest) was mandated and it is the case – for the moment – with motorcycles.

It is called the free market. People freely choosing, the market responding – or not.

Federal busybodies and control freaks despise this. And so they countermand the market’s verdicts, imposing their own. Saaaaaaaaafety is not the issue. It is control. And bikes are still largely under the rider’s control. They lack almost all the control-freak systems and technology foisted by fatwa onto the car buying public.

Which is among the reasons why people ride.

A big part of the appeal of bikes is precisely the freedom to not have to buy things like ABS and stability control. It keeps bikes simple, which keeps them affordable – unlike cars, which no longer are. Hence the endless financing of them; you pay for so many years – six now being the average – such that by the time you finally pay the car off it’s almost time to sign up for a new loan because the car you just paid off is getting on in years and miles and beginning to cost money to maintain.

Most new bikes cost less than $15,000 and many less than $10,000. It does not take a six year loan to finance them. As was once the case with cars, the typical finance deal on a new bike is 2-3 years, about half the duration of the typical current new car loan.

Someone pays for the things “called for” by the federal busybodies and control freaks. Just not them.

Motorcycle riders are also not like car drivers.

Riding isn’t primarily about transportation – about getting from A to B. It is about the ride – the getting there being everything, the destination almost incidental.

And riding is about skill.

Which is developed and then expressed.

Bikers take pride in the art of modulating the front and rear brakes separately, to use them as (to borrow a term from aviation) control surfaces, which they are. Motorcycle brakes – for the most part – are not linked, as they are in cars. The front and rear brakes are distinct systems, controlled separately – the front brake via the lever on the right hand grip and the rear via a foot-operated pedal.

Unlike in a car – especially a car with ABS – you do not just push down on a pedal (or a lever) like a dumb animal who has learned a simple trick.

A skilled rider can selectively modulate braking pressure at each wheel individually, to increase the control he’s got over his machine. He can use the brakes to shift the bike’s center of mass during cornering and in an emergency, he can lock up just the rear brake to lay the bike down safely, in a controlled manner – in order to avoid catastrophic damage to himself in favor of sacrificing the machine.

This cannot be done with linked brakes and ABS.

It is doubtful the arrogant busybodies at NTSB have ever heard the expression – lay the bike down – let alone what it means. And they manifestly do not care that their “calls” for mandatory ABS would take away that necessary option from the rider.

Yes, yes. ABS can decrease stopping distances and improve control of the machine… assuming an inexperienced rider.

ABS is at bottom a form of idiot-proofing, as it is in cars  – where it has encouraged idiot drivers to not maintain a safe following distance because they know the car won’t skid – even though that fact won’t prevent the car from driving right up the car ahead’s tailpipe, if it slows down suddenly.

Physics is physics. ABS just means no tire skid marks before the impact.

Stability control is also more idiot proofing that takes control away from the rider. It encourages envelope-pushing and lack of respect for physics and the consequences thereof – because “technology” will save the idiot.

Not that the pros and cons of ABS and stability control are not the point – assuming you don’t consider yourself the parent or master of other adults. Because it is the principle which matters. The principle that free adults ought to be free to decide for themselves whether they “need” such things as ABS and stability control.

Which is a principle the NTSB rejects.

So, we’re about to be told what kind of bike we’ll be allowed to buy – just as we’re already told what kinds of cars we’ll be allowed to buy. By strangers we’ve never met and certainly never authorized to dictate such things to us, possessed of an almost indescribable effrontery, backed up with guns.

Saaaaaaaaaaaaafety isn’t the point.

It has never been the point. Understand this.

Until enough of us re-assert our right to not be parented and controlled by these insufferable busybodies, the controlling and busybody-ing is certain to become even more insufferable.

At some point, these bastards – and pardon my language, it is not my habit to swear, but there are times when no other word will do – are going to simply outlaw bikes altogether. A bike can never be as saaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe as a car – and they will therefore have to be banned.

The logic – from the standpoint of the busybodies – is inescapable.

It is only a matter of time.

. . .

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  1. Americans used to have pride about living in a moral, peaceful, free country, but now that the US is an immoral bankrupt warmongering police state, Americans have given up.

    Why do your best when your country now stands for everything it once opposed?

    The US used to do well in the Olympics because Americans had pride in their country and wanted to do their best.

    Instead of doing well in the Olympics because Americans could be rewarded with carrots, Americans will soon compete because they’re forced to with sticks like North Koreans are.

  2. @ Nunzio: “Get rid of that law, so that a person who gets critically injured IS allowed to die in the street if he has no insurance; no wealth/assets; or no charity willing to help him”.

    I actually do agree with you and I agree with Eric as well, although he went nuclear on me yesterday. There is just one thing that must be crystal clear. A person who participates in risky activities, such as driving motorcycles and who also chooses not to buy insurance, he can not in any way demand rescue or life saving medical attention, if he should suffer a serious accident. In that case he is on his own, and he can not force anyone to help him, if there should be an accident. As long as this is clear, I consent that people should be free to perform risky and dangerous activities, provided that they only risk their own lives.

    Besides from that, I have never said that it should be mandatory to buy motorcycles with ABS. I have only suggested that the insurance companies should be free to charge more for driving a less safe motorcycle and vice versa.

    By the way, thank you for an encouraging and friendly feedback.

    • Ah! I fully agree with you, Jone.

      I had a feeling that that is what you were getting at- it was just a little unclear in your first post- as your wording was similar to the arguments that a lot of socialists/statists make- only they instead use the “die in the street” question to justify the imposition of their draconian socialistic system, and mandated insurance and “safety” features, etc.

      We get that from other Americans; and would expect it even more so from Norway! 🙂

      It’s always a pleasure to see someone such as yourself, who has overcome the prevailing mentality and can think clearly and for themself.

      Kudos! (Or should I say “Skoal!” Oooopps! Wrong country! 😉 )

  3. Hi Eric. Yes I know their true goal. You and I both know that what we do here on this forum actually amount to preemptive exposition. We both also already know that those who are willing to listen are not the threat to liberty. The others have already decided our viewpoints and arguments are not legitimate and they are going to run their bulldozer through our lives until we are forever silenced. I consider my posts not as sensible arguments for sensible people, but rather an overt and blaring warning for those who refuse to respect our rights.
    The warnings will go unheeded, but we will have made them all the same, so that when we are forced to action, we will have ample evidence that we gave copious and repeated warnings against their encroachments. Look at this as if your house was being broken into by a sloth. You could stand there for days or weeks waiting for it to gain entry, but you must warn it all the same. The tiny-brained sloth is just like the tiny-brained bureaucrat, they will not listen, and use of defensive force is inevitable. But after the armed repulsion and successful defense, we will be able to say “repeated warning was given and went unacknowledged and unheeded, therefore our actions of meeting force with force were justifiable”.

    • As an addendum to this: I have been asked by people here, and in my shop (where I do also express my viewpoints) why I have not already taken action, either by force or by voting (haha…right). It is again, just as I have described above. We can see the threat to our liberty is clear and intentional. We can also see that is is agonizingly slow, methodical, and relentless, hence my analogy of the sloth. Here is why my, and our response must be equally slow, methodical, and relentless:
      We are not Leftists who murder all enemies.
      We will meet force with force, but this does not permit us to continue use of force to silence all vocal opposition to our defense of liberty.
      The way of the LEFT is to murder all who oppose the LEFT.
      OUR way must be to use force only to meet force, and elsewise use persuasion to enlighten our opposition.
      Tyrants and Murderers use force to exterminate all opposition.
      Justice is the use of Force to meet Force, and reason and persuasion all other times.
      Live and Let Live, even, nay, ESPECIALLY with disagreement and disparity.

      Justice must LEAD the unjust to Justice, not to extermination.

      • Oh, gee, listen to this!

        GTC, if you want to kid yourself, fine; but sheesh! You’re not fooling anyone else.

        So at just what point is enough “enough” to make you form a single-digit army against the 300-million statist zealots around you?

        Yeah….all of those armed citizens in Iraq, untied by a common culture, religion, AND a common enemy, couldn’t withstand our army of faggots and women for long….but, meh…they probably weren’t doing it right!

        You’ve already accepted the unpaid and unwanted position of state sales tax collector, just for the “privilege” of being in business; I can presume that you have a license (or multiple licenses) also, to do so; I’m pretty sure that you rat on yourself every April 15th, telling uncle the details of all of your financial affairs; you pay rent to local uncle just so that they won’t confiscate your home; You carry your papers when you drive- papers which prove that you’ve paid various fees and taxes, just to travel on the roads you paid for; You’re likely very careful to not transgress any of the traffic laws, for fear of unwanted interaction with some badged goon who is above the law…..

        Yada, yada, yada….

        At what point will you stop moving that line in the sand further back and stand your ground???

        The answer is: You won’t, because you will then lose your life and everything you own.

        You and Eric, and most others, will tolerate this, and every other thing that comes down the pike.

        If you really want to do something positive, to actually secure more freedom now, you would be making plans to leave this mess. It is the ONLY viable alternative. But pulleeeeze! Don’t insult our intelligence by trying to convince us that you’re going to take on the millions of well-armed gov’t thugs, and the hundreds of millions of other also gun-owning cult-members who support them.

        You’ve let it get this far, because you know that there is no winning and no hiding within The Beast….so there is no reason to believe that all of a sudden, you are going to pursue a different course and expect a different outcome.

        • Nunz,
          What do you care what the rest of us believe, or do, when you’ve already made clear you intend to abandon ship? I don’t expect you, or anyone who has given up, to believe, understand, or respect anything I have to say. Just because I don’t share your defeatist point of view does not make me weak, stupid, uninformed, compliant, etc. I know exactly what I risk by staying, and the inevitability of death does not frighten me, nor will it. If you feel insulted when you hear me, or Eric, or anyone saying things you don’t like, that is your own choice. We acknowledge your choice to flee in the face of danger, it’s a shame you cannot reciprocate when someone else chooses to do otherwise. Rights bear responsibilities, neither of which am I willing to abandon. You may do as you see fit for your own welfare.

          • GTC,


            You’re the one who is choosing a course that will end in death (if you pursue it) or slavery (if you just continue to tolerate the BS and perpetually move back the line in the sand) but you think that I’m the one who has “given up”?


            No, I haven’t given up. I am rather pursuing the ONLY course that will result in being able to live out my life, AND to not only retain what freedom I have, but to actually attain more of it.

            I do fully acknowledge your and others right to do what you choose to- I just think that it is stupid, for otherwise intelligent people to choose a course which they know has zero chance of a positive outcome. It is STUPID to die in vain, when your death wikll accomplish nothing for anyone, other than getting you out of the way of the tyrants who want such people dead.

            By illustrating the realities and certain outcome of such a course, I probably won’t bring you to your senses- but at least my words may help others who are reading to grasp those realities.

            I would think that people such as yourself would be among the founding members of a sort of Galt’s Gulch- but sadly, it appears that you will just keep going along, complaining, but ultimately complying until you are either totally castrated (a point ALL of us are already very close to) or until you decide to sling a token spitball at the Beast, and end up in the bone yard or hut-hut Hilton.

            It saddens me to see good people accepting defeat. In this context, Libertarianism becomes nothing more than virtue-signaling. If we advocate what is right, but make no provisions in our own lives to pursue a realistic course that will allow us to actually practice it, how are we any different than a greenie who wants to “save the earth” but who still wants all of the benefits of high-speed transportation and multiple mansions?

            • Funny thing too, GTC,

              I went through this same scenario when I left NY. 17 years ago.

              I’d here things like “Oh, you just can’t afford to live here!” [Damn right I couldn’t!]; “You’re running away!”, etc.

              But I’ve now had 17 years of the best years of my life, and my finances have been the best ever- despite my income being miniscule. I have the quality of life I’ve always desired, and live in a beautiful place, and am not hamstrung by an out-of-control local gov’t.

              Meanwhile, my critics back on Long Island did not fare so well. Those who stayed, saw their quality of life evaporate before their eyes, as one of the most expensive places in the country turned into nothing but a sanctuary for illegals and for ghetto-dwellers who were forced out of Brooklyn and the Bronx as those places gentrified.

              Many of my critics have now themselves abandoned NY.- after wasting countless years of misery, ulcers and complaining (Big surprise: Things never got better as they had hoped- only worse!)- and all of them are the poorer for it- and some who could have left when I did, now want to, but can’t, because their finances have been destroyed by the RE crash, and or it’s replay (which is starting to happen again in such places); and by the increased cost of living and taxes, and decrease in wages/business, etc.

              Some of those who ridiculed me, now envy me.

              And now I am getting the same concerning leaving the country- which would be expected from the average schmoe/statist- but I would think that more Libertarians would have more sense and be more realistic.

              • But Nunz, I would neither criticize nor ridicule your choice of destiny. Who is anyone to do so to anyone else? I may have a few choice words for someone driving head-on at me on the wrong side of the road, but that is another matter,lol! As for my destiny, should I sit and do nothing (which I never do), I may well face death or slavery, but I always act in the belief that I will win, and stack the deck in my favor whenever possible. That is the stock I am descended from, those who fought, lived, and won! Immortality is not an illusion I subscribe to, so death will come as it will, but mine will not be in vain. I stay because I survive not just for my own benefit, but for my children, my customers, and others I may not even have met yet. My role in things may only amount to a speck in the history of humanity, much less the cosmos, but I stand nonetheless. I have lived through better times, and through worse, and I have complaints, and can count my blessings as well. There is not to be any Utopia on Earth, but there are still good things to struggle for. I would not bitch as I do if it were not for knowing that the effort is worth it. I bitch at bad car designs, primarily for the sake of my customers. I could walk away and avoid a lot of frustration, but I choose to conquer it instead. Some idiot built this piece of junk, and I’ll be damned if I can’t do a better job when I service it. Same applies to what little control I have over my life and my freedom of choices. If it is slavery you fear, then may I suggest you stand as an obstacle against it, rather than retreating in hope of avoiding capture?
                If we live only to serve our own self interests, what is the value of our lives? I agree that I can help no one if I am dead, but I ain’t dead yet!

                • GTC,

                  You and eric and all of the regulars here are some of the finest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing; and that is why it pains me when I see you advocating plans which are guaranteed to have a negative outcome.

                  I didn’t mean to ridicule you; I was just expressing my heartfelt reaction, in my initial response to you.

                  I fully understand that not all can leave; and that even those who plan to, can not necessarily do so immediately- myself included (Those whom I knew who left a decade ago, criticized me for not leaving then!)

                  But the thing is: At least call a spade a spade. Admit, if only to yourself, that extricating oneself from a police state in which the citizenry views the tyrants as their benefactors and protectors rather than their enemies, is the only viable option which will preserve life, property, and liberty in the here-and-now.

                  If you choose to die; comply; or lose everything, that is your right and privilege. Why any sane person would choose such when their are much better options available, is beyond me.

                  You say “Why not stand as an obstacle against it[slavery]”.

                  I say, for the same reasons the Jews could not stand as an obstacle against genocide in Germany. You just end up like that poor Chink at Tienanmen Square.

                  If you choose to give your life so that others could have freedom, that would be a noble choice- but giving your life in a situation that would do nothing for anybody- and in a place where even if it could impart liberty to others, they would just throw that liberty away, because they are the very ones who have chosen slavery, and who would cheer for those who murder you- is ultimately just committing suicide for nothing- least of all your kids.

                  We can only help those who want to be helped. We are the enemies of those who don’t want to be helped- and we can not help anyone until we first help ourselves.

                  The plantation slave who bitches and moans about massa, but who instead of hopping on the underground railroad, just vows to stand up to massa, just ends up dead, or complying- and helps neither himself, nor anyone else.

            • The difference is that I will make do with the tools I have, or I will procure better tools do do so with. The tree-huggers live in a fantasy world, but their only “tool” is to use someone else to force their way upon others, which I detest and refuse to resort to.

              • Yes, GTC- that is the difference in the philosophical and political philosophies behind the actual ideas deal with others- but the fact remains, that when it comes to our own lives, if we do not take positive steps to live-out our ideals in our own lives, we are just talking the talk, but not walking the walk- and thus, virtue-signaling.

  4. Motorcycle fatalities due to collisions and incidents amount to around 5000 deaths per year in the US.

    Fatalities from slips, trips, and falls around the home amount to around 90,000 deaths per year.

    I demand action on this.

    Mandatory helmet use 24/7.

    Fall arresting gear must be installed in every home.

    Ban steps.

    If it saves just one life…

    • Anti,

      Don’t be surprised if they are working on just that!

      A local friend who used to have a small used mobile-home sales lot and MH transporting and set-up business, had to get out of the business a few years ago already, because the state now mandates some kind of Rube Goldberg-esque “safety system” for employees when they go up on the roofs!

      The time it would take to set up the system, and use it, then take it down again, every time ya had to go on the roof for some little thing, was just the last straw for his already struggling business.

  5. From your lips to God’s ears…dated yesterday.

    “BMW is teaching this motorcycle to drive itself — so it can help save lives”

    18 Sept. 2018

    Self-driving cars have quickly moved from a far-out idea to a here-and-now reality. Now one German automaker has built a self-driving motorcycle — one that can start, accelerate, steer and brake to stop, all without a rider.

    No one is looking to fill the roads with riderless motorcycles. Rather, BMW sees its autonomous motorcycle as a test bed for technologies that would improve the safety and handling of conventional motorcycles.

    “We want to teach the motorcycle how to ride a bike,” said Stefan Hans, the engineer who leads the self-driving motorcycle project for BMW Motorrad, the company’s motorcycling division.

    BMW’s self-driving motorcycle resembles the $22,000 R 1200 GS model on which it’s based, except for the equipment cases mounted alongside and above the rear wheel that house the self-driving computer and other electronics. A radio antenna mounted at the back receives instructions from test engineers and sends real-time data on the performance of the motorcycle and its self-driving systems.

    The motorcycle is steered via a small electro-mechanical actuator developed by the project team, Hans said, with other actuators controlling the throttle, clutch, gears and brakes. There are no sensors to detect obstacles in its path, as the motorcycle is only being tested on a track near BMW’s headquarters in Munich.

    Some modern motorcycles are already equipped with antilock braking systems (ABS), traction control and other rider-assist technologies that are commonplace in automobiles. But with these systems “the rider has to act first and the system can reduce brake pressure or engine torque if otherwise the motorcycle would become unstable,” Hans said. “In my opinion, future systems should be able to look ahead a few seconds and inform, warn or intervene before the situation becomes dangerous.”

    • Anti,

      All that all of this self-driving and “safety”-device laden vehicles are going to do, is ensure a very-near future where there will piles of non-functioning machines laying all over the place, and no used vehicles to be had.

      This crap just doesn’t work; and the vehicles are already so ridiculously complex in an effort to get .5MPG more and 0.0002% cleaner emissions, that they’re pretty much to the point of only being economically viable while the warranty is still in force.

  6. OK. I’m in. So how do we “re-assert our right to not be parented and controlled by these insufferable busybodies?”
    Personally, I am thinking bring back the guillotine. But is there perhaps a less violent and disgusting method?
    Elections don’t work as they are all the same. Even the ones who are different become the same once they get to D.C. It’s something in the water.
    I like Irish Democracy, which is simply refusing to obey an unjust law. But that would not apply here either, as consumers don’t get much choice as to what they are offered since the automakers – and soon to be bike makers – are in cahoots. It’s this over-regulated piece of crap or that one. It’s actually brilliant on the part of our D.C. desk jockeys how they painted us all in this corner. They know they can’t make me do something (i.e. buy an airbag for my car), but they can make Ford do it.

  7. All you sickle riders can stop your sniveling and join the club.

    Just like with cars….if you want a vehicle that’s free of the latest (with more to come) “improvements” that detract at least as much as they add, you gonna have to buy used, then repair and maintain.

    Man up, and get over it!

  8. The coming techno-tyranny over motorcycles is one reason why I call myself, somewhat tongue-in-cheekly, a Luddite. The fact is that every piece of high tech crap that comes out on the market will quickly be standard (or even mandatory) on every single car whether we like it or not. Car buyers will insist on it and their mass choices will screw over the rest of us. It isn’t economical for a car maker to produce cars with crank windows, no a/c, stick shift, two or no air bags, etc. because no one will buy them. Government merely reinforces what people already prefer or will prefer, once the feds scare the crap out of their witless heads.

    Local park district wants to sell an old Ford Ranger because it has a stick shift and none of the younger employees know how to work the damn thing. You probably couldn’t give away a 1980 tech-level car now, no matter how well it ran or how good its gas mileage. This is why I disfavor high tech: we will have no choice but to use it. I think we’ve already gone far past the point of diminishing returns on technology, but of course my thinking is one in a thousand, if that.

    We can dream about freedom of choice but in cars at least, we won’t have it. Vox populi vox dei.

  9. Since it’s being reruned for the first time in a long time I’ve been watching “Buck Rodgers in the 25th century”. Once Buck is in one of the modern fighter spacecraft (2nd episode) he finds they rely on automatic combat controls. The squad is being slaughtered and Buck turns off the computer.

    It seems that once upon a time this automated future was predicted but also derided. Of course that was 1979-1982 or so.

    • Hi Brent,

      One of my favorite sci fi series (in novel form) is Frank Herbert’s Dune. It is premised on the idea of a rebellion against “thinking machines,” which turned human beings into something no longer fully human.

      I agree.

      I am not a Luddite, but competence/mastery are essential to becoming a human adult. If you never become good at something, if you are helpless without technology (which you probably don’t fully understand) then you are in a state of perpetual childhood.

      Which, I think, is just what’s wanted.

    • I have some proof that validates this. I know, very well, a person that was considered one of the Navy’s better FA-18 Hornet pilots. One of the reasons (not all) he chose early retirement was because of the e-controls that were being put on the Hornets (max g-load, bitch’n betty, etc…). He could out fly the limits and is his mind, limited his survivability and combat effectiveness. In life and death scenarios no less.

  10. as usual, excellent article Eric.
    I am an ex motorcycle roadracer, and I can brake and evade better and safer than any electronics. I have proven it to friends. So these e-controlled bikes would be less safe for me.
    I try to do my part by teaching many these skills.
    If I am ever on a bike with these things I turn them off if possible. If they won’t turn off, I test them to see what they are going to do. That’s safety.
    I get it that most don’t have roadracer skills, however it is a fact that these devices will make the bike less safe for me, and many others (as you mentioned).
    I am on the fence about getting a new bike, and this may push me over the edge to get one before this crap is mandatory.

    • Thanks, Chris!

      And, ditto. I used to do track days and hence my anger at being presumed in “need” of what I don’t need. I’d be willing to bet these busybodies – in addition to being busybodies – don’t even ride.

      If they do, then they’re even worse.

  11. As with ABS, vision-blocking roof pillars & headrests, airbags, etc. on cars, here’s where they end up making motorcicles MORE dangerous in the name of “safety”.

    Your life is on the line, but you no longer get to decide how you will deal with the risks and potential emergencies; whether you will retain full control over your machine or delegate the responsibility to some electronic parts which can not think and reason, but which merely react to certain stimuli, no matter what the environment or circumstances, because it can not detect those things.

    And yet another human action falls victim to The Beast.

    You guys who think that you can hide, and that we don’t need to leave this monstrosity of a country; don’t you see? This will never end! There is not an aspect of life that is/will not be regulated and controlled; and in which you will be free to make the smallest decision about your own life, body, relationships, property, etc.

    They get one area of endeavor under control, and before the ink is even dry, they’re going after another. They never rest!

    If you’re comfortable with the current level of tyranny, just wait; there will be more tomorrow.

    Reassert our rights? What rights? A right which you can not enforce or sustain, is not a right; it is a hope and a good idea…but not a right; and we can no more reassert them than could a Jew in Hitler’s Germany assert theirs.

  12. The risk of a very serious or fatal accident is much higher with a motorcycle than with a car. Therefore, ABS or stabilizing measures are more welcome and useful with motorcycles. With a motorcycle when a wheel locks up while cornering, you are almost certain to overturn and eat the dust or be squashed like a mosquito against a meeting car.

    If stabilizing measures should be mandatory in motorcycles can be discussed, but with the high inherent risk with driving motorcycles, I am quite sure that it would save lives and leave less drivers in wheelchairs. I have driven motorcycles, and it was fun while it lasted. It is also near to a “miracle” that am not in a wheelchair. (Young men just are too reckless).

    • Hi Jone,

      You miss the point.

      My “safety” is no one else’s got-damned business. Like air bags, ABS ought to be optional for those who want it, if they are willing to pay extra for it.

      If there is a free market demand for ABS, great.

      But mandating ABS is forcing people to buy it. And that is not “welcome.” If, that is, you respect other people’s right to judge risk for themselves and assuming you don’t believe you have the right to parent other adults at gunpoint.

      I use harsh language, but it’s honest language. I am so got-damned tired of the oily/smarmy soft-pedaling and euphemizing of the use of violence against people who’ve harmed no one, in order to compel their personal choices and restrict their freedoms for the sake of some “greater good” as defined by the thugs wielding the violence.

      Also, let’s follow your logic to its logical conclusion.

      There is a higher risk of a fatality on a motorcycle – assuming a wreck – and there is no way to ever make a bike as “safe” in terms of crashworthiness as even a 1960s-era car.

      Hence, motorcycles should not be allowed at all.

      Because saaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety.

      Then, on the same principle, there “ought to be a law” against “risky” sports and activities. Rock climbing, obviously. And vigorous exercise.

      I think no one should be allowed to use or even buy a chainsaw without a special license and then only under supervision.



      • By his name, I assume he lives in the lands of “socialized medicine” and in their mindset, your safety IS a matter of cost/benefit to them.

    • JB said “I have driven motorcycles, and it was fun while it lasted.”

      But nobody else gets to make that choice? You (or your proxy enforcers) get to decide how much fun vs. safety is allowed, now, after you have had that freedom?

      Of course, it would be much safer to just outlaw bikes (and knives, and bad words, and fatty meat, and sugar, and unprotected sex, and open windows above ground floor, and boxing, and mountain climbing, and ………………….)

      Please, do show me the contract where I agreed to be regulated by someone (your) assessment of acceptable and unacceptable risk.

      Freedom, pffft. Been so long since it was seen in the wild, nobody even recognizes it anymore.

      • I did not say that motorcycles should not be allowed at all. That would be going too far, although driving motorcycles is inherently much more unsafe than driving cars. Nonetheless, when my male motorcycle friends and I were in our early twenties, we drove far too recklessly and there were both serious and fatal accident among my friends. This obviously made an impact on me. I would have been very cynical otherwise.

        Perhaps the optimal solution would be to let the insurance company pay for medical treatment after an accident. In this way, the insurers would charge more for insuring less safe motorcycles, and charge less for safer ones.

        • Jone,

          Listen to your own language and consider what it says about you:

          “I did not say that motorcycles should not be allowed at all.”

          Who asked you to say what others should be “allowed” to do? How did you become the owner/parent of other people? Do you see other people as having a leash around their necks – with you holding the other end?

          “driving motorcycles is inherently much more unsafe than driving cars.”

          Idiocy. I’ve been riding for more than 30 years without incident. Doesn’t get any “safer.” Yes, if I wreck, I am more likely to be injured. But I am arguably less likely to wreck on a bike because bikes have advantages over cars, including superior agility and because they are a smaller target. Also, a rider – one does not “drive” a bike; this comment tells me you didn’t ride much at all because riders do not talk that way – is usually much more skilled than the average car driver.

          But all of that is beside the got-damned point. My saaaaaaaaaaafety is none of your or any other person’s business.

          It’s insufferable.

          The most insufferable part being your unconsciousness about the violence you so glibly blather about. Bear in mind that when you speak of being “allowed” and so on you are talking about men with badges and guns enforcing that edict. About violently assaulting people who’ve done you nor anyone else any wrong or harm. Because you – in your unfathomable arrogance and effrontery – cannot abide them living their own lives in ways that differ from the way you and people like you insist everyone ought to live.

          I’ll tell you something, Jone. It is going to come to blows. Because you and your kind keep on pushing and at some point people like me – who only wish to be left the hell alone – are going to push back.

          And when that day comes, god help you and yours. There is a lot of pent-up anger building.

          Der tag kommt.

          • Du bist wahrscheinlich bei schlechter Laune Heute. Could you possibly read my suggestion about insurance in a more objective light?

            • Hi Jone,

              I’ve been extremely objective; that’s exactly the point. I’m not the one speaking about “allowing” people to have X or Y. You are.

              Am I angry?


              I am tired of control freaks and busybodies – armed ones – trying to force me to do this or not do that, or pay for things I don’t need or want. Including insurance.

              That was the point of the article and you seem to have missed it.

              • If you are saying that you don’t need insurance, then this is a far out notion for me. There is always going to be accidents with motorcycles; many of those serious and needing quick medical attention in order to survive.

                Considering the above, who should in your opinion pay for medical attention after road accidents? How should this optimally be arranged in your opinion? Should those seriously wounded and without insurance be left to die after a traffic accident?

                I am just asking in good faith here.

                • BTW Jone, what about all of the sports injuries that happen? Should amateur footballers, mountain climbers, boxer, cyclists, hang gliders, skiers, hikers, balloonists, runners, and every other activity that could result in injury requiring medical attention be required to have insurance? Accidents happen in these areas too.

                  • Professional athletes in the states are already insured against accidents by their employer, I would presume?

                    In Norway professional athletes, such as skiers and ski jumpers are also mostly insured by their employers.

                    If you are poor and without any insurance, then the rescuers, employed by the state will pick you up anyway “for free” with a helicopter, if you get immobilized in the mountains.

                    Yet, there has been discussion if the taxpayers really should continue to pay for picking up injured mountain climbers, base-jumpers etc. For now it seems that the costs for providing rescues and medical attention is being paid by the socialized health care. (I am not saying that this is the “right” or optimal arrangement).

                    My point as a supporter of capitalism is that people should mostly pay for what they use. Thus a wounded motorcycle driver would need some kind of insurance to pay for rescue and medical attention, following an accident. If not, other people would be forced to pay for their rescue, or we would just leave them to die in the street.

                    • Jone,

                      Let’s be precise:

                      Taxpayers are forced to pay for the things you describe. I oppose this for the same reason I oppose mandatory insurance. People should be responsible for the things they do, including expenses they incur. But forcing them to pay for harms they haven’t caused is a moral outrage

                      I’ll pay my own way, thank you. And if I cause harm to someone else, then I owe them. But if I don’t harm anyone, then they – and you – owe me something much more important:

                      Respect for my right to be left in peace.

                    • So, how about answering my question
                      “…… required to have insurance?” Yes or no?

                      If you are already letting some dangerous sports get by ‘for free’, why are motorcyclists special?

                      “If not, other people would be forced to pay for their rescue, or we would just leave them to die in the street.”

                      Forced by who?

                      Are you not forced to pay for all the others I listed above?

                      Maybe the forced part is the issue.

                    • I do.

                      Thankfully I live in a state that does not mandate you buy insurance for either a car or a motorcycle.

                      Therefore I can afford a policy that covers me for the first $25000 of personal injuries for less than $200 bucks a year.

                    • Jone, the thing is: Mandatory (forced) insurance, is no different than taxation, in that it amounts to nothing but a cost-sharing program for those who never have occasion to make a claim.

                      The real problem, is that we have laws requiring hospitals to provide services regardless of a person’s ability to pay.

                      THAT is the real issue here.

                      Get rid of that law, so that a person who gets critically injured IS allowed to die in the street if he has no insurance; no wealth/assets; or no charity willing to help him, and then we would essentially have an even playing field, where those who choose to engage in various activities where they may suffer serious injury, either refrain from participating in those activities; pursue them more conservatively, purchase insurance of their own volition, or suffer the consequences.

                      It’s not a question of either/or. i.e. it’s not “Should the taxpayers pay or should insurance be required?”. The answer is “Neither”.

                      Freedom is all about owning the consequences and rewards of ones actions.

                      It als entails being willing to accept those consequences, or doing something (like purchasing insurance) to mitigate the effects of certain choices- without having to impose a burden on others by either rquiring them to purchase insurance, nor to pay for your care.

                      So yes, what is wrong with dying in the street if some doesn’t care enough to protect themself against that risk?

                      And don’t forget, insurance, when not mandates, is MUCH cheaper (more could afford it, and carry more of it) because then it becomes a situation where they only charge what the market will bear, since the customer has the opportunity to walk away.

                      That fact can be amply demonstrated just by observing the way it is here in the US state of New Hampshire, where insurance is not required to drive a car or ride a motorcycle.

                      You sound like a very reasonable person, Jone; and I applaud your support of Capitalism- it’s just that you are leaving out the most important option- that of free choice; which, in some circumstances, may indeed entail dying in the street. That is also a choice.

                    • Morning, Nun!

                      Thank you for that superb explanation; it’s back-up like this which makes my life a lot easier!

                      I especially liked your point about the cost of insurance, which would be affordable if it weren’t mandatory. The reason I don’t choose to buy health “coverage” or home “coverage” is precisely because of its disproportionate cost.

                      The cost of just those two things would be around $600/month. Madness. Fold in the property tax on my place and the “coverage” I’m forced to buy for the vehicles and my fixed monthly nut is close to $1,000 before I’ve bought a single effing can of soup to eat or paid the electric bill.

                      Insurance at gunpoint is one of the main reasons why almost everyone is struggling. It amounts to another layer of taxation on the remainder of the money you’re allowed to keep.

                      I would voluntarily buy car insurance the cost of which reflected my claim history (zero). Anything more than about $200/year is robbery and I would say no.

                      I would spend $75-$100/month for a catastrophic/high deductible health care policy. Anything more is robbery and I would say no.

                    • Ah, more great points, Eric!

                      It really amazes me how much of most people’s incomes goes toward “insurance”.

                      Car insurance; health insurance; homeowner’s insurance; many also carry disability insurance; life insurance; business insurance….

                      Many, MANY people- even “the poor” are paying more in insurance premiums than what you and I live on!

                      Imagine if they saved all that money? They could pay for any losses themselves, and have a nice nest-egg- especially if they didn’t actually incur any loses- as most people don’t.

                      And these people get to elect our slave-masters….

                • Hi Jone,

                  I am saying precisely that. I do not need insurance, which is why I choose not to buy it when I am free to make that choice. This is 100 percent my business.

                  My basement just flooded. It’s on me to deal with it. Had I bought home insurance, it might have “covered” it, but probably not. The sons of bitches use every method conceivable to welsh on their obligations.But even if they did pay for the damage, guess what? It would have been a bad deal – for me.

                  The sons-of-bitches wanted $1,600 annually to “cover” my house. That was in 2004. Assume no “adjustments” upward. It is now 2018 and I would have paid them almost $23,000 in premiums. I am looking at maybe $5,000 in damages. You do the math.

                  This is generally true for insurance. It is a bad deal almost all of the time. Which is precisely why the mafia has sought to make it mandatory.

                  Good deals never require force.

          • Eric wrote:

            “I’ll tell you something, Jone. It is going to come to blows. Because you and your kind keep on pushing and at some point people like me – who only wish to be left the hell alone – are going to push back.

            And when that day comes, god help you and yours. There is a lot of pent-up anger building.”

            God damned right.

            We didn’t buy over 350 million guns and ten billion rounds of ammunition for nothing.

        • Jone,

          I agree that riding motorcicles is much more dangerous. Everyone whom I know or have known throughout my life who has ridden motorcycles regularly, has either been killed, disabled, or otherwise seriously injured/required long recovery periods from doing so.

          By contrast, I don’t personally know anyone who has suffered any of those things from driving a car or truck (Of course, there are plenty among the general population- but far fewer than among bike riders).

          That being said, it should be up to every individual to choose the level of risk they are willing to accept in their own life. I don’t care to risk my life and health, so I don’t ride motorcycles, or even drive small cars. (My vehicles each weigh over 7000 lbs.)

          The big thing is: If someone chooses to accept a particular risk, they should not be forced into a certain behavior which may be safer for some people (These things are always based on studies and statistics, and usually go something like “68% of people who used xyz yada yada”.

          What about the other 32%? Some of them may have suffered worse outcomes using xyz than if they had not; or may have seen no difference; or may have actually been hindered by xyz from escaping harm, etc.

          The thing is, when it’s YOUR life and safety on the line, you should not have to condescend to some behavior or use of some product/technology because someone else who doesn’t know your skill level; mindset; circumstances at the moment; tolerance for risk, makes a decision for you.

          Someone you’ve never even met. Where do such strangers get such authority over your mind, life, body and property?

          • I would allow people to take a personal risk when driving vehicles. I am just asking who is paying for rescue and medical treatment after serious accidents? If the person who is not insured by personal choice has an accident, then he or she has no right to demand rescue and medical treatment after a serious accident.

            Nonetheless, I suppose that in the States as in almost every developed country, an ambulance or helicopter would take injured people to a hospital, where they would receive “free” medical treatment, until their life was no longer in danger. Somebody has to pay for this, but people without insurance actually has no right to receive and demand exactly that. Should they be left to die in street?

            • Hi Jone,

              If a doctor/nurse (etc.) chooses to provide medical care, then the debt is owed to them; they have no right to force others (who did not incur it) to make it good.

              Ultimately, the debt for care – like any other debt – is owed by person who incurred it. If he cannot pay cash when services are rendered, then a payment plan. If that is not feasible – and the person is not able to work it off – then it’s a write off. Or a charity case.

              • But here’s the rub, it was intentionally made so most everyone can’t afford to pay cash for medical care.

                Now the leftists say that’s because capitalists extort sick people. Except that didn’t exist before the government got involved.

                Like any market medical care would be driven by competition and people walking away. If we really had free market medical care the prices would reflect what people could afford and were willing to pay.

            • Hello, Jone.

              Yes, ultimately, every individual should bear the responsibility for the costs which they incur, because if we don’t pay for ourselves, and rather advocate a system where other collectively pick up the bill, then we all end up paying all of the time, even if we never incur such obligations.

              Your question may seem harsh to some, but it is exactly the kind of honest, straight-forward reality which we all must ultimately confront- and I like such questions, because they dispense with all of the trivial things, and get right to the core of the matter.

              Yes, ultimately, if someone can not pay for a service they require, then they should not be entitled to that service- because to entitle them to something by forcing others to pay for it, is nothing more than slavery- and being the victim of an accident, or choosing to engage in a dangerous sport, etc. does not give one the right to enslave others.

              That being said: If we did not have all of this absurd taxation which this collectivist system of slavery requires, we would have real charities, such as used to exist in the US- charities and volunteer associations- for the treatment of the sick and injured who could not pay. That way, people get to decide if they will help, and who they will help, if they choose to.

              Many people might not want to help someone who chooses to engage in a risky activity, but who does not purchase insurance.

              But the real question here is: Should people be rquired to purchase insurance, or be left to die in the street if they don’t have insurance or otherwise the means to pay for treatment?

              I would answer that the latter is the correct answer.

              Witness also another injustice of the collectivist system: A man I used to know, who was in his 70’s and paid taxes all of his life- had a heart attack. His brother takes him to the hospital (He just wanted to be taken home, as he knew he was going to die, and wanted to do so in the house which he built with his own hands and lived in for many years)- He languished in the hospital for a week, and then died. The bill was $140,000 (This was 1990…)- So they put a lien on his house- which was worth about that amount, and got the proceeds when it was sold.

              If that man had had nothing, the state would have footed the bill (or rather, the taxpayers). Yet, this man’s taxes had helped foot the bill for countless people who did have nothing; so, essentially, he was both required to pay for others, as well as himself; and yet, how unjust would it be to make someone else foot his bill?

              This just shows that there are no winners in a collectivist system; no equity. It is a system of enslavement and punishment and unfairness- all because of unnatural interference by people who have no legitimate business deciding the affairs of others.

              Everyone should ultimately only be responsible for themselves- with anything beyond that being solely voluntary.

              That was the way it used to be- when we were free. In the US, years ago, before anyone had “health insurance” and before there was any tax-slave funded government healthcare for the poor and elderly, most hospitals were established and run by charitable or religious groups.

              Such is still reflected in the names of many remaining hospitals even today- such as “Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center; Long Island Jewish Medical Center; St. Jude Children’s Hospital” etc. (Of course, today, all of these are now funded by insurance and taxes)

              • Exactly. The whole system from the federal reserve down is an attack on responsible self reliant people. Pay for yourself and pay for others.

                Ever notice that the media portrays responsible people as “lucky” and “privileged” while everyone else is shown as being victims of happenstance? Their financial issues have nothing to do with their life decisions. It’s all just random luck.

                It’s framed that way on purpose. To create jealousy and justification for people to steal from their neighbors.

        • Jone Bjørheim wrote:

          “I did not say that motorcycles should not be allowed at all. That would be going too far”

          WHY would it be “going too far”?

          What concise argument can you make that, in the future, after all these cumbersome and unwanted safety systems end up NOT increasing safety, the “final solution” would be to outright ban motorcycles on public roads?

          I am old enough to remember the people in favor of state enforced use of seatbelts say THE EXACT SAME THING about roadblocks, primary enforcement and massive fines in the future to enforce seat belt laws.

          They were dismissed as paranoid, fear mongering crazies, the idea of roadblocks and Stasi-esque seat belt SWAT was ridiculous, such a thing would be “going too far”.

          That is just one of thousands of examples of these petty Ayatollahs that rule over us, of “going too far”.

          Now, convince me I’m wrong…

    • Slowest ship in the fleet. We all be confined by what is necessary to keep the extremes safe from themselves. Do I read you correctly here?

      I am so tired of this nonsense. So tired of being treated like someone’s farm animal. Heaven forbid anything happen that reduces my productivity. Aren’t you tired of that too?

      Also I am getting tired of keeping old machinery going because it can’t be properly replaced. Every replacement is full of compromises in use for political mandates.

  13. I ride an 1100cc sport tourer with linked ABS and traction control (I’m not sure what Eric means by “stability control.”)

    I’ve never had the traction control kick in… but frankly I love the ABS. The bike is a big, heavy 700 lb. sumbitch and she WILL stop on a dime. The brakes are utterly fantastic. However, I can’t see the need for a government mandate REQUIRING ABS. Bikes are such unique and purpose-built machines it would be idiotic to do so. What are they gonna do… require ABS on trials bikes? Dirt bikes??? Enduros?? WTF.

    I’ve ridden plenty of bikes without ABS and never felt the need for them. I bought my current bike used, and it already had ABS. ABS is a great option for certain applications like sport-touring and riding heavy bikes 2-up. But it should remain exactly that — an option.

    (And don’t tell the safety Nazis that the bike will break the triple digit barrier with ease, and she’ll merely yawn and ask me when we’re REALLY gonna get moving … or how I know that).

    • Oh man, tell me about it. MY 1981 Goldwing 1100 has the Regan-Era 85 mph speedo, which gets there at on a little over 6 grand on the tach. Were it to have a sixth gear (which it does not) I suspect a steady 120 mph cruising speed would be just fine, but how would one even know above 85? The single piston calipers and triple disc brakes do just fine for me, but I will say that the ’82 dual piston Honda caliper is more efficient. Any impact over 75 mph is likely going to kill me anyhow, so I would just as soon NOT survive to be a living jellyfish, thank you.
      I have ridden 1980’s Hondas with “anti-dive” fork technology, which does improve low-speed turning maneuvers, but stability control? That is generally a modern term applied to both electronic anti-slip and/or automotive steering apparatus that just isn’t part of motorcycles physics in the 1st place. Again, I think the general public’s lack of physics and steering dynamics has a lot to do with the screwed up conclusions non-riders end up making in the 1st place.

    • Hi X,

      Exactly. As with air bags, I don’t object to the technology – or its availability. I tried to make that clear in the article. The thing I take issue with is the government – which is just other people, not some kind of Oz-like Deity – forcing this down our throats at gunpoint. And that is exactly what we are talking about. If mandated, building or selling a new bike without ABS or stability control would be a crime – punishable by men with guns.

  14. It just never stops…

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will, torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” – C.S. Lewis

    • Stability of a motorcycle has to be inherent in its very design. Unsprung vs sprung weight, center of mass in relation to wheelbase and steering rake angle, as well as front and rear wheel diameters, all greatly affect, improve or radically change the handling and performance of every different motorcycle design. That alone is one distinction that a motorcycle has that makes each bike model different. The very motor configuration has a substantial effect on each and every different bike. In car design you make have a dozen or so different basic handling characteristics. In motorcycles, you will have hundreds of different handling machines, as well as performance capabilities, and a maybe only a few within the skill control of any given rider. However, for any given rider, there will be at least one bike that fits his or her personal skill and comfort level better than any automobile. That being said, skill and competence of a bike rider is paramount to anything required for driving a automobile, as well. If one has no sense of feel for the machine or the road, all the “safety” equipment in the world will do no good. But you can’t explain any of this to the non-bike driving sheeple. All they know is what they experience in a car, and that should apply to anything and everything else. Having grown up in general aviation with my parents, I have seen the phenomenon of ignorance and 2 dimensional thinking applied to aviation constantly. Motorcycles get as close to aviation physics as possible without actually leaving the ground. What works for a 4- wheeled vehicle is totally different in 2-wheel vehicle physics. Most Non-riders (and even a fair number of riders as well) have completely erroneous notions of 2- wheeled vehicle physics. Just to illustrate a point that indicates how moronic a government agency can be on the subject, VA DMV “bike license” testers are instructed to fail an applicant who employs countersteering during any corning or turning maneuver. This is preposterous considering that countersteering is one of the most intrinsic and the most important skill every bike rider needs to master! Bureaucrats indicate their general ignorance of nearly every science and technology at every opportunity, it’s just a fact! Most of what they force upon us is stupidity, lack of responsibility, unreasonable culpability, and child-like dependency. Nearly all of this garbage is, as Eric indicates, demanded by a minority of interfering, ignorant do-gooders, that would do better to just mind their own “efiing” business, and leave well enough alone!

      • excellent gtc.
        coutersteering is the ONLY way a motorcycle leans from side to side, and the ONLY way a motorcycle turns. one could argue that one could apply weight to one peg and it will turn, however it still won’t without countersteering. The ONLY way a motorcycle turns is by the round profile of the tires. put a square tire on a bike and it won’t turn. try it, by leaning a motorcycle tire on the ground and push it.
        I was fortunate to be in engineering college when I started motorcycle roadracing, so I brought a lot of ‘projects’ to my professors and they were enamored with my questions. One example is “if I brake as hard as possible without locking the front tire will the bike go over?” the answer through many hours of calculations was NO, the tire will lock up first. and we could have removed the rear brake, never used it especially when doing it right with the rear tire slightly in the air, the ultimate braking force/maneuver. I won lots of races with just knowledge. lots of other examples for another day.
        And back to countersteering. you could have limited my race bike to a 1/4″ turn of the bars and we could race around the track just fine.
        my kids were lucky I gained all this 2 wheel knowledge because they were riding 2 wheelers at 2.5-3 yrs old. why, because ‘we’ put them on 3 wheelers and they turn right to go right, but then we put them on 2 wheels and they turn right AND GO LEFT, hahahaa. Try it.

    • Thanks, Richb, for posting this. In response to this linked article: this is an excellent example of misinformation which looks very competently and persuasively written. For starters, this B.S. statement of
      “motorcyclist death rate” is so ambiguous and undefined. Are we talking 28 biker fatalities for every 100 bikers, that ride ( ie, a percentage) or 28 bike rider fatalities for each auto driver death? If the former, I’d like the see how many involved automobiles with the car-driver at fault. If the latter, well that is just preposterous, as the number of biker is so dramatically small vs auto drivers, that MORE than 100% of the bikers on the road would be dead in 12 months time. Is any one biker 28 more times likely to be killed in a similar collision as any one car driver? Possibly, but this of course is all left up to the conjecture and imagination of the reader, and is a meaningless figure expressed in the manner presented. But it DOES appear frightening and alarming, which is the real purpose anyway, swaying by emotions of “fear of bodily harm”, rather than presenting any rational facts. Having struck fear into the hearts and minds of the reader,
      the article immediately make the presumptive car-bike association for the reader (most likely non-bike rider).
      Which brings me to the second point. To whom is this directed? Certainly not a skilled and seasoned bike rider, as those of us who are, already know, or have weighed, the pros and cons concerning these features on bikes, for several decades now. So this is really for the un-bike-informed reader, whether a dedicated cager,
      or perhaps a potential 2-wheel novice. Either way, an appeal is being made to a group that is NOT participatory in the actual RIDING of said apparatus. That being said, why are these people even supposed to be weighing in with an opinion in the first place? OHhhhhh…..saaaaafty. OF course, Greater good of all for the sake of those poor stupid risk-takers, tsk tsk tsk. My response to the clever author of the article…F. U. 2!

      • In fact, I’m going to take this rebuttal even one step further. The author states that “BMW apparently wants to start by just helping to cut down on the most avoidable accidents.” Ok, but what does that have to do with the 28-1 “fatality rate”? The incidents that are avoidable on the part of the bike rider are rarely, if ever, fatal. Unless you wish to include the inability to avoid the actions of a car or truck, etc, that collides with the bike. THOSE are the fatalities folks, not basic riding skill errors, such as balance, cornering, stopping, etc. While basic riding skill errors constitute many biker injuries, to imply that BMW’s R&D is going to even address this horrendous “28-1 fatality rate” is simply ludicrous! Unless R&D finds a way for a 500-900 lb. motorcycle to have the same impact force (not to mention occupant protection) as a semi, we aren’t even making a dent, pun intended! My point is, what kind of argument is there for a building a better flyswatter, if the predator is a raging bull-elephant? The seasoned rider already knows the threat to his or her life, and I can damn sure guarantee that motorcycle ABS, or the lack thereof, isn’t even on the map!

        • Just to verify the 28-1 fatality rate, I did look at the (not so obvious) stats link pdf. download provided in the article. The 28-1 ratio is per 100 million vehicle miles traveled per car fatality vs. per bike fatality. This is mutually exclusive of any and all mitigating factors. In short, this figure alone suggests that, mile for mile, a bike is 28 times more likely to be fatal than a car, and not 28 actual bike fatalities for every car fatality. But this is comparing oranges to apples. What I could not find in the stats was ratio of actual bikes registered to number bike fatalities vs. actual number of motor vehicles registered to motor vehicle fatalities. It would be wise to keep in mind that the overwhelming NUMBER of motor vehicles vs. motorcycles creates a disproportionately SMALLER car-fatality rate, when doing a direct mile-to-mile comparison rate of the two dissimilar NUMBERS of vehicles. Nearly any biker would acknowledge, or at least accept that bikes are 28 time more dangerous to operate than a car under equal operating/crash circumstances. But then again, this is precisely because of the inherent inequalities between bikes and cars. Physics, specifically mass, traction, and lack of occupant impact protection, makes such a comparison virtually pointless when arguing the need for ABS, or any other performance enhancing device.

          • Last though on this subject. If I’m 28 times more likely to die on my bike for every mile compared to a car over that same distance, does that make me 28 times better at driving when I haven’t been killed or injured during those miles? Seems like a fair conclusion to me!

            • Graves!

              Never apply logic or reason… unless it’s to examine the true purpose of this stuff. It is not about saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety. No more than Goldstein was real and threatening the Party in Orwell’s 1984.

            • Hi Graves,

              Here’s what this is all about: A systematic effort to make bikes increasingly expensive and not fun. Take the control away from the rider. Make riding less and less appealing. No need to formally outlaw bikes. Just regulate them to the point that most people no longer care about them.

              It’s worked superlatively with cars.

              • And the courts.

                If you don’t bow, scrape, salute, use the proper inflection on the sacred words, you lose. Well, you lose either way as fighting the state is often more costly than just paying the pricks, even if you win (anyone, ever?).

                So nobody bothers anymore because they know it is rigged. What is it now in the US, 95% plea bargain felony convictions? What tiny percentage of the remaining 5% get any fair justice?

    • Probably not. They love putting bicycles, pedestrians and motorcycles on the “unrestrained” death toll. That way they can pad the stats for their seat belt propaganda campaigns. When you account for those the seat belt “safety” starts to be exposed for the lie that it is.

      Just as Eric says. It’s not about safety. It never was and never will be. It’s about control. Always was and always will be.

  15. Eric, it won’t stop until they are stopped by either the force of economics (governmental bankruptcy) or as in the Soviet Union, people just stop listening and obeying. I don’t see a violent overthrow viable because those that would beat them would probably be worse…think Armed Clovers.

    I recall back in the 70’s under the Carter administration, Joan Claybrook headed the DOT. This She-Devil commanded that in order to make a safer motorcycle they would build one with rear-wheel steering. Yes, you read that right. Only one problem, no one could ride it. Maybe that was the point.

    I believe I read about it in Autoweek, that once-great publication.

    • Oh, I searched for anything on that bike. Should have mentioned the training wheels, for the visual- still wouldn’t have done the ungainly mess justice, though.

      In case anyone else wants the picture, with a short read:

      I’m just thinking- I’ve driven forklifts, including one hilarious/terrifying old one with no speed governor that could manage a bit over 20mph. Granted, that’s a heavy machine, so much more inertia, but rear wheel steering is terrifying at even a modest speed and on four wheels, nevermind something you have to balance dynamically to control, and then you sit the rider down so there’s even less way to balance by shifting your own mass…

      You know, most apes can at least throw rocks, stick, whathaveyou underhand with rough aim, implying that apes generally have a limited but intuitive understanding of some subset of kinetic physics. I see less acumen evidenced in this design than in the poo-flingers at the zoo.


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