Friday, January 28, 2005
Racetrack for sale
Via the AMA:
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Jan. 28, 2005) - AMA Pro Racing has officially removed the Brainerd International Raceway (BIR) event, tentatively scheduled for June 25-26, from its 2005 Superbike Championship schedule according to John Farris, AMA Pro Racing Vice President, Commercial Development.Well, damn. I think we all knew it was going to happen, but it sucks just the same.
The owners of Brainerd International Raceway have put the facility up for sale and terminated the track's operating staff. AMA Pro Racing was hopeful that despite the track's uncertain future an event could be held there in 2005, possibly with a third party promoter. "We have been in communication with BIR officials all along and continued to explore a variety of scenarios that would enable us to keep the race viable," said Farris. "However, it has become clear that there are just too many questions surrounding BIR right now and, in the best interests of our championship, we need to focus our efforts elsewhere."
Any interested buyer is urged to purchase BIR before June. Mr. Barber, you out there?
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Excessive deer population is leading to increased accidents, tangible ecological damage
Every biker in North America should be manifestly frightened by this story.
Here are some highlights:
"Across the country, the rising white-tailed deer population is wreaking havoc on farms, changing the ecology of forests and causing ever more motor vehicle accidents and fatalities."Just like the story says, deer have become the equivalent of vermin in North America. Tasty vermin, but vermin nonetheless.
"New York's Department of Environmental Conservation estimates there are now 1 million deer living in the state. Nationally, the white-tailed deer population has increased from about 500,000 in the early 1900s to 25 to 30 million today, according to various researchers."
"Michael Conover, a wildlife professor and director of the Jack Berryman Institute at Utah State University, estimates deer cause at least $750 million in damage to the United States timber industry annually."
"There were 1.5 million deer and vehicle crashes in 2003, injuring 13,713 people and causing $1.1 billion in vehicle damage..."
If you ride a motorcycle, you should consider it your moral duty to get a hunting license and harvest at least two deer per year. Heck, tag-out for that matter. You can always give the extra meat to a mission or homeless shelter.
We need a large-scale campaign to get the population of these animals back down to a reasonable level.
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Motorcycle Crash Data: Texas
I just received my latest issue of the Texas DPS's Motorcycle Instructor Newsletter. Contained therein where some interesting numbers regarding the recently compiled fatal accident report data from 2001. I thought I'd share them here, along with some of my thoughts regarding the findings.
In 2001, 254 Texas motorcyclists died on their bikes. Out of the total, only 18 had taken one or more of our riding courses. This number would generally tend to support the statistics used by the MSF, which state that trained riders are almost 90 percent less likely to be injured or killed while riding. Granted, statistics mean nothing in the grand scheme of things and are easily concocted, but the fact that well over 90 percent of the riders who died in 2001 likely had no formal training, is certainly food for thought.
A little over 54 percent of the 254 motorcyclists killed in 2001 had no motorcycle license. This is apparently a growing problem in Texas, because there have been mutterings for the last few years about proposed legislation that would make the basic MSF course mandatory for all new motorcyclists. The problem with that rationale is, if new riders aren't bothering to get an already-mandatory license, what makes Austin think they'll sign up and pay for a mandatory training course?
Exactly 48 percent of the fatalities were caused by single-vehicle accidents. This is another number which bolsters the idea that many of the Hurt findings are still relevant. And while it is likely that a small percentage of these accidents were not due to rider error, you can bet the farm that the vast majority certainly were.
OTHER FACTORS PRESENT
Alcohol/drug use and failure to properly control the motorcycle were also major contributors across the gamut of these accidents.
A quick glance at this data leads me to believe that common sense indeed prevails in determining whether or not a motorcyclist will be successful. The major causes of motorcyclist death are still lack of rider skill and drug impairment, just as in years past. Some politicians and cops would have us believe that exceeding the speed limit is the major cause of rider fatality, but as usual, hard data refutes such nonsensical claims.
Friday, January 07, 2005
Proposed New Hampshire noise legislation would discriminate solely against motorcyclists
A basic tenant taught in most law schools is that bad facts lead to the passing of bad laws. That proverb would seem to be case-in-point in New Hampshire, where legislators may draft a bill that would attempt to single out and punish motorcyclists who ride so-called "noisy" bikes.
The proposed bill would be dangerously discriminatory in nature, as is it would place its wrath solely on motorbikes, not diesel trucks, sports cars, hot rods, booming sound systems, or any other arguably "loud," non-EPA compliant vehicle:
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) - A group of Seacoast-area lawmakers have filed a bill request with the Legislature that asks New Hampshire to revise the standards for testing motorcycle noise and limiting exhaust systems. The noise generated by motorcyclists touring the coastline appear to be a motivating factor behind the bill request.The whole mentality that drives this nonsense irks me to no end. At some fateful point in such people's lives as those who would support the proposed legislation, they obviously lose their perspective on the things that are really important, the things that really matter in life. Somewhere along the way, sound, color, taste, and feel become their enemies, and all the earth and its boundless wonder becomes only an annoyance. They are the gray people, attempting in vain to make the rest of the world gray along with them. Unfortunately, there are all too many in the world with the same mentality -- people who will live every moment of their lives trying to puke on others, simply so their puke will have meaning.
As frightening and totalitarian as such a law would be, the bigger picture is even scarier -- that despite the lessons of history, American lawmakers continue to legislate against the will of the people (and that many similarly flawed laws already exist). The result is a gaggle of petty, oppressive, largely unenforceable statutes that quell personal liberty, and trample the adventurous nature of the human spirit.
All New Hampshire motorcyclists should contact their senators and congressmen in dire opposition to any such legislation:
FIND AND CONTACT YOUR NH LEGISLATOR HERE.