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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A Crash Course in Keeping Streets Safer
By Ken Glassman - Spec ial to the Daily Herald
Posted Monday, October 18, 2004


As of last week, 15 motorcyclists have died in crashes in Chicago area since August 1 according to the Illinois State Trooper's office. The number may be even higher by now. That is certainly an alarming figure; but let's look into the crashes further.

According to police, many of the accidents were a result of riders on sportbikes, or self-proclaimed "Night Riders" who were driving on local expressways and highways at speeds above 100 miles per hour and weaving in and out of traffic. Others were stunt riding on city streets popping wheelies and doing stoppies. Some of this behavior may have been inspired by some recent biker movies, like "Biker Boyz," where inner city motorcycle clubs face off against each other to exhibit their manhood and vie for supremacy by street racing and stunt riding.

In response, Chicago's 14th Ward Alderman, Edward Burke, has proposed a motorcycle helmet law ordinance for the City of Chicago. Unfortunately, under current state law, the city can't do that. According to Cheryl Pearre, state legislative coordinator of ABATE of Illinois (a lobbying and education organization for motorcycle riders), a city helmet law would be illegal. This stems from a 2000 law stating, "no unit of local government, including a home-rule unit, may enact an ordinance requiring motorcycle users to wear protective headgear."

But what would a helmet law proposed by Alderman Burke do to deter those who don't think twice about facing the penalties of excessive speeding, reckless driving and probably half a dozen other laws? Crashing into a guardrail or concrete median at 120 miles per hour with or without a helmet will more than likely have the same results.

Illustrating this point, Illinois State Trouper, Brian Windle, appearing on the weekly Open Road Radio show Sunday, October 10, said five of the six crashes that they investigated showed that the rider was, in fact, wearing a helmet. In addition, all had valid motorcycle licenses, but surprisingly only one involved alcohol.

here's the rest of the article..
 

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Well, I say they shouldn't impose any more laws than they already have on the books, but simply start ENFORCING the ones already out there. It's time to get people like that off the roads, even though they're apparently doing a pretty good job of that themselves. Go Darwin!
 

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stevnmd said:
It's time to get people like that off the roads,

Do you mean people like us?? who here hasn't blasted down a road at 100+ mph running through twisties in the last 2 weeks??? I'm guilty...I just try to take it out of the urban areas where the only innocent bystander to get hurt might be a tree. Let's not pretend it's always "the other guys" that engage in this behavior. We all do it!! It is up to us to promote education, safety and improved skills before some politician riding in the back of a limo decides for us. but please...don't play the outraged victim here.
 

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There are a few questions I would have had for this article. Of the riders involved in the crashes, how long had they been riding? How many had taken some sort of MSF course? were they wearing proper protective gear? were the accidents the result of poorly maintained equipment? Such questions should be asked by members of the motorcycle community to head off more regulations. Of the few sites/boards I visit, a recurring theme I see is newbies wanting to buy a GSXR or R-1 or 1000RR as their first bike because they "look cool", instead of buying something smaller and not so twitchy as a starter bike. I see some of the more experienced riders tell them to go ahead and buy that big bike and learn how to ride it. Sadly a lot of these inexperienced riders are the ones we read about in the paper. I know my little F4i deserves constant attention and respect. It has a throttle twitchy enough that if you just give it a little twist at the wrong second, you're in trouble. If we, in the sportbike community, do not become proactive in policing ourselves, the politicos and insurance companies will do it for us. and we will all be back to riding mopeds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thats the whole problem with these kinda articles, nobody ever takes the time to explain any kinda circumstances about the riders, their equipment, experience, etc...so all the public has to go one..is they're on speed bikes and hoarsin around, causing trouble..which in this case it looks like atleast some of them were..but still, SQUIDS!!! UGH!! :cursin:
 

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I agree bumblebee... Let's face it though... The majority of people who ride sport bikes ride them like a bunch of a$$es constantly... They're SPORT bikes. They're built for the TRACK and engineered for HANDLING. Their high speed capabilities and super fast acceleration abilities are just due to the nature of their design. That does NOT mean that manufacturers build these things for people to buy them and fly down the interstate at 100+ mph everywhere they go...

I have VERY VERY VERY rarely ever run down the interstate at over 80. There is almost ALWAYS traffic in my area. Weaving through traffic is not only dangerous, but it makes sport bike riders look bad. It pisses off John Q. Public. Many of you may say you don't care what others think, but you really should. Most of the public think we're out to kill ourselves since we ride sport bikes. They think we're idiots who might loft the front wheel up at any second in traffic. They think we may weave around their car without notice at any second. Because of that, they don't respect us at ALL. We complain about cages cutting us off, riding our a$$es in traffic, and just ignoring our "safety zone". Well, why do they do that? If they were educated that motorcyclists are responsible adults who choose the freedom of two wheels, maybe they'd give us some respect. Forget the education though. If we managed to educate them the squids would just prove them wrong...

Yeah, the guys who have recently died in that article may have not been squids. However, there's a VERY good chance that they were. I'm just imagining the situation taking place in my area. Sorry, there's NEVER a time to blast the highway at 120 in my area. EVER... IMHO, at 2am there's STILL too many people around. If it's the same case up where the situation took place, then IMHO they asked for it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I dont know what the ratio to squidly behavior vs responsible behavior is to be honest...all we can do is out part to ride safe, have fun, and not be stupid...easier said than done sometimes when we're out for a ride, and just get that urge to get on it..i admit, sometimes I get on it...i dont do in traffic, nor do i cut people off and be stupid..but ive been known to break a speedlimit or 2 in my time. :rolleyes:

the problem to is..with all the squids out there, the public sees them more, than the rest of us. :( so they equate every rider as a jacka$$ ..i hate stereotypes!
 

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Need4Speed750 said:
the problem to is..with all the squids out there, the public sees them more, than the rest of us. :( so they equate every rider as a jacka$$ ..i hate stereotypes!
My point exactly... I'm no saint, trust me. I mean, come on! I've got pics of me in the gallery dragging sparkie pucks on the street. THAT is pretty irresponsible in and of itself. However, it was a desolate road that the group I was with pretty much owned for the hour we were railing it. I'd never do that under difference circumstances.

I've travelled the highway at a high rate of speed. I will only do it when there's NO ONE around though. Last year, a friend of mine and I left Bel Air, MD and headed to Harrisonburg, VA to meet up with some friends. I don't think our speedos dropped below 105 but 10 times the whole time we were on I-66. However, it was 7am and there was virtually NO ONE around.

You have to pick your places. Seriously, the BEST mentality I think you can have is to think of yourself as an ambassador to the sport. Make it your goal to show John Q. Public that not all sport bike riders are idiots, and I think you'll do fine... That's what I do, and that's what I wish EVERY rider would do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
its sometimes depressing though, when ur out there with a group, just riding, enjoying ur bike, ur friends and the scenery,etc...and some cage cuts u off, drives by and gives a dirty look, for no reason...u wonder if u can ever really make a difference, on ur own, seems u can never win.....and u probably will never change it completely, some people just blow..but just keep on keepin on, ride ur bike, have fun, do ur best to show them ur a responsible rider..and if they dont like it..dont sweat it. its their loss to not have the courage to try it out and see for themselves..
 

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Yeah, it's also discouraging when I'm following a cage doing 10 BELOW the speed limit on a two lane road. I'm DYING to pass them on the double-yellow, but I restrain myself and wait for the passing zone (just because cops are known to sit on that road). When we get to the passing area the guy lays on the horn and comes into MY LANE while I'm going by for NO REASON.

Yup, a lot of people hate motorcyclists... I really don't think I've contributed to their negative feelings at all. So, don't thank me... Thank the squids... Yup, thanks for helping to endanger MY LIFE with your stupidity, squids!
 

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At some point, you have to pull the saddle off because you can't beat the horse no more...and maybe this is the place...but I just feel that those of us who are taking leadership roles in this forum...are probably leaders in the groups they ride with. I ride with a group that will send you home at the first stop sign for squidly behavior. We need to impress upon the young and new riders That Matt Mladin has been riding bikes professionally for years and the Suzy he makes look tame is not a toy. However, we cannot protect people from themselves we can only warn them, and hope their first fall will only wake them up and not wreck them. The posers will always be among us, you have to learn to recognize them quickly and get away from them before someone gets hurt. I was not too offended when I had about 200 miles on my sportbike and after the first set of twisties, they sent me to the back and told me to stay there and someone would wait for me at the turns.
 

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bumblebee said:
At some point, you have to pull the saddle off because you can't beat the horse no more...and maybe this is the place...but I just feel that those of us who are taking leadership roles in this forum...are probably leaders in the groups they ride with. I ride with a group that will send you home at the first stop sign for squidly behavior. We need to impress upon the young and new riders That Matt Mladin has been riding bikes professionally for years and the Suzy he makes look tame is not a toy. However, we cannot protect people from themselves we can only warn them, and hope their first fall will only wake them up and not wreck them. The posers will always be among us, you have to learn to recognize them quickly and get away from them before someone gets hurt. I was not too offended when I had about 200 miles on my sportbike and after the first set of twisties, they sent me to the back and told me to stay there and someone would wait for me at the turns.
WOW! That is truly one of the BEST posts I've seen on a forum site. :iagree:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
we all gotta learn somehow..the problem is..there never seems to be enuff responsible ones to take the squids under our wing...and for that matter, the ones ive seen dont care to learn the right way anyways..
 

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There's an easy cure for squiddism... THE TRACK... Once you get a taste of it the track will COMPLETELY change you whole attitude towards riding... NOTHING beats planting a knee all the way around a tight hairpin at WAY over the speed you'd dare take the corner on the street...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
stevnmd said:
There's an easy cure for squiddism... THE TRACK... Once you get a taste of it the track will COMPLETELY change you whole attitude towards riding... NOTHING beats planting a knee all the way around a tight hairpin at WAY over the speed you'd dare take the corner on the street...

yeah, but dont u find, that sometimes, those same people who just planted a knee around a hairpin turn, will then try and practice out on the busy streets too?
 

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I sure I have stepped on more than a few toes in this thread, but this is an important topic. It truly is the future of our sport. Ok so the Flamers get ready, Here's something for you to consider... I feel they should re-classify motorcycle licensing. I feel that you should not be allowed to operate certain bikes until you reach a proven level of skill. When I got my pilot's license, I was heavily restricted. I couldn't fly after dark, or in certain weather or with passengers until I had logged enough hours to qualify for more priviledges. And before you say apples and oranges, consider this. My F4i will travel faster on the ground than my Piper Cub could fly in the air by nearly 2 to 1. We give an 18 year old a motorcycle license with no restrictions and allow him to go out and operate a 150+ mph, 400lb (dry weight, more with full load and pilot) missile on public streets!!!
I feel licensing should be re-classified by the following restrictions;

1) for at least 1 year you should not be able to operate a motorcyle with more than 500cc displacement or,

2)more than 50 HP at the rear wheel, or,

3)dry weight of more than 350 lbs.

This will force people to show proficiency before they are allowed to move up. I believe the testing should be stricter and tougher. Yes it will raise the barrier to entry, but it will also weed out knuckleheads who do not need to be given a missle pilot's license. We, as sportbikers are in control of our sport now, but there are those who want to take it away. If we are not responsible, they will.
 

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Need4Speed750 said:
I dont know what the ratio to squidly behavior vs responsible behavior is to be honest...all we can do is out part to ride safe, have fun, and not be stupid...easier said than done sometimes when we're out for a ride, and just get that urge to get on it..i admit, sometimes I get on it...i dont do in traffic, nor do i cut people off and be stupid..
but ive been known to break a speedlimit or 2 in my time. :rolleyes:
the problem to is..with all the squids out there, the public sees them more, than the rest of us. :( so they equate every rider as a jacka$$ ..i hate stereotypes!

Just a few times??? Are you sure just a few times. :whistle: Like I have much room to talk. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have no problems with tiered licensing at all..Australia does it, why shouldnt we ? But if you do that..arent you going to have to do the same with cars though..whats gonna stop rich 16 year old kid from going out with daddy's money and buying a new camaro, mustang, 300Z..etc..remember there's alot of squids in cages too.
 

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No offense, but I can actually use this smilie... :bthorse:

You all have some good points but let's remember that we are out here to have fun and let Darwin take care of the rest! :dthumb:
 
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