Monday, April 12, 2010


This has been bugging me for a long time ...

The government regulates an incredible number of things in the automobile industry in the name of safety. Air bags, passenger airbags, side air bags, seatbelts, collision resistant bumpers, car seats, lights, mirrors, etc. Law enforcement then wields ticket swords over our heads if we don't follow their safety mandates - I risk a $200 fine if anyone in my car isn't wearing a seatbelt. Now, I don't necessarily have a problem with all of that, though some of the regs and enforcement seem to be a bit over the top.

Now, move to the motorcycle ...

As illustrated above, motorcycles are a minority of vehicles on our road. They are small, and hard to see. The afford no protection to the rider in the event of an accident. Some idiots, like said example above, completely disregard their own safety while riding these crotch rockets. Notice our genius rider is dressed in sneakers, shorts, and a T-Shirt - and that's it. For some reason, it seems that they feel the normal physical laws of motor vehicles don't apply to bikes and their riders.

Federal, state, and local laws concerning motorcycle safety are very weak, and in some places non-existant.

Some states have a law requiring the rider to at least wear a helmet. Most states have weakened laws that only require a passenger on a motorcycle to wear a helmet (such as here in Texas) - the rider doesn't have to wear such a safety device. Some states have no helmet law at all. Motorcycle rights actvists fight an ongoing battle for their 'freedom' to ride as they please ... to feel the wind in their hair, bugs in their teeth, roadrash and death as their choice.

The irony strikes me ... all those regulations and laws to protect me while I am driving a 4 wheeled 3500 pound automobile, surrounded by steel. But if I strap 2 wheels on and travel the same roads with the same traffic, I don't have to have any protection at all, even though the only thing around me is air (and a large number of those 3500 pound 4 wheeled vehicles).

I'm not necessarily for tighter safety on motorcycles, though anyone with an ounce of sanity who rides these things would choose to use as much protection as they could. I just find it puzzling why the government has to make our safety its business in regards to cars, but it is hands off for motorcycles.

1 comment:

Margot said...

I was just recently pontificating about this. Being as close to Daytona as I am - Bike week rolls around and well, need I say more? I think the only bike restriction here is don't ride naked - but during bike week that is questionable. As Florida is broke, we are being stopped for seatbelts and car radios too loud, and I hear that five miles an hour over the speed limit will warrant a ticket these days. Makes no sense to me. No one in this state knows what a turn signal is for and back in my day, failure to signal was worth a ticket - Florida is losing a lot of revenue for not enforcing this one. Maybe the bikers have a secret union that we don't know about!

The older I get the less sense it makes - I just survived my eldest's prom night. It once again occurred to me that the drug that kills more teenagers each year than all the others combined (and there are a lot) is still the only one that is legal. Maybe we could focus on underage drinking instead of worrying about Ronald McDonald and whether he promotes obesity in toddlers.

I think the USA needs a healthy portion of common sense.