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post #1 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 9:21 am Thread Starter
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Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

Lot of interesting "suggestion" in this article from the Tampa Tribune. My 2 cents: Should have emphised car/truck education as opposed to motorcycle education. Both are equally important.


By BRENTIN MOSHER, JASON KUSHNER and CYNTHIA ROLDAN
Special to the Tribune

Published: January 25, 2009

TAMPA - Despite the chunk of money Floridians were spending on gas the past few years, many said they could not change how much they drove.
So some changed the vehicles they drove instead, buying fuel-efficient hybrids and motorcycles. Nationwide, motorcycle registrations increased from 3.9 million in 1998 to 7.1 million in 2007, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Florida reported 582,000 in 2007.

And with the increase in registrations has come more accidents. Motorcycle fatalities accounted for about 13 percent of all vehicle crash fatalities in 2007, up from 5.5 percent in 1998, according to the highway safety administration. In Florida, 530 motorcyclists died in 2007.

Both the highway safety administration and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation report that after a crash, the drivers of other vehicles involved often say they never saw the motorcyclist or were unable to respond in time.

That's what happened to Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Rex Barbas.

Barbas, who has been riding for decades, was hit from behind a few months ago by a motorist who didn't see him braking. He suffered a broken pelvis and two herniated disks in his back.

Barbas said drivers don't look out for motorcycles on the road. Exacerbating this is drivers' tendencies to multitask- eat, text, talk and listen to the radio while driving, he said.

"It's like I'm invisible," Barbas said. "I know they're looking right at me, but they don't see me because they aren't looking for me. They're looking for cars."

The rise in motorcycle crashes has prompted lawmakers to revisit road safety concerns as the rate of crashes involving motorcycles has increased steadily over the past 10 years. Florida enacted a law July 1 that requires all new motorcycle riders to take a 15-hour safety course that prepares them for the road. Previously, the law applied only to riders younger than 21.

The course is offered at several schools and dealerships in the Tampa Bay area.

Harley-Davidson of Brandon has offered a Rider's Edge course for years. Barbas took the course in 1990, including the advanced course, and insisted his children take it, whether or not they chose to ride.

A grandfather clause in the law meant people who had a motorcycle endorsement on their license before July didn't have to take the class.

The highway safety administration designated May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, part of a yearlong "Share the Road" campaign.

Some of the highway safety administration recommendations include allowing more following distance when behind a motorcycle, giving them the full lane and checking "blind spots" often.

Barbas said one way that driver awareness of motorcycles can be improved is by including it in driver's education courses. He also said motorcycles need to have brighter brake lights, louder engines, and handlebar streamers.

"Anything that would catch a driver's eye and make them pay attention," he said.

MOTORCYCLE FATALITIES
Motorcycle rider deaths accounted for 5.5 percent of all vehicle accidents in 1998. By 2007, that percentage had risen to 12.6 percent:
1998: 5.5 percent
1999: 6 percent
2000: 6.9 percent
2001: 7.6 percent
2002: 7.6 percent
2003: 8.7 percent
2004: 9.4 percent
2005: 10.5 percent
2006: 11.3 percent
2007: 12.6 percent

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Brentin Mosher, Jason Kushner and Cynthia Roldan were University of South Florida journalism students. Keyword: USF Motorcycle, for a database of motorcycle accidents in the Bay area, an interview with Circuit Judge Rex Barbas and a map of training course

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/jan...se-in-florida/

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post #2 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 9:46 am
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

I know what your saying Dan, as far as driver awareness. However, if a cage driver is not going to pay attention he just isn't, a couple minutes reading a manual and taking a test aren't going to change that. Motorcyclist simply must be the AWARE ones. We must use offense as the best defense.

That's how I approach it and we must continue to enlighten new riders to this reality. The tough part in that offensive battle plan is convincing LEO's if we are pulled over for aggressive maneuvers or speed, even if for a very short burst of time. That short time frame always seems to be the one the officer notices. I don't care what the books say, slowing down on a bike to avoid a dilbert is just putting you in the hands of more dilberts. Find a safe gap and stay there and assume nothing at intersections.

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post #3 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 10:19 am
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

In my opinion, the biggest problem is a lack of "accountability"
The attitude of "my insurance company will take care of me"
and the "it's all about me" attitude while driving.

If and when a auto/truck hits a motorcycle "they" might get a traffic ticket (or not)
and maybe their insurance rates "could" go up in the future,
that's about it, so why should they care?

Put "a bite" into motorcycle related crashes (if it's their fault)

and drivers will start "noticing" motorcycles,
until then we'd better watch out for "them"


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post #4 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 11:54 am
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Cool Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

Good post Dan. One item the Judge brings up is the point of making ourselves more visible. Especially to the rear, where we may occasionally forget to check! I always try to watch my rearviews whenever I am slowing down for any reason, not just an intersection, but do sometimes forget if it is happening too fast. And that is the worst case! So I have installed an attention getting Brakelight which goes through the sequence of rapidly flashing, then gradually slowing down to a steady light. Even with this light I still find myself "tapping" (not really applying pressure, but just enough movement to actuate the Brakelight) my brakes several times when I am preparing to stop if time permits.

The other good point the Judge brings up is one that I emphasize to anyone who is fixing to take up our favorite sport, and that is that they must ride as if they ARE INVISIBLE! Because so many of the drivers out there really do not see us, even when they are looking right at us!

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post #5 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 12:03 pm
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

This morning at about 1:15 I was west bound on I-26 south of Spartanburg SC & a full size white pickup past me heading east in my lane. I had enough time to get on the shoulder & almost stop before he went past me.

I rode up to the next mile marker got my phone out turned it on & took my helmet off. I called 911 and told the operator what had just happened. I told him I was on a motorcycle & it had been at least three or four minutes before I could call.

I'm on the shoulder & a few vehicles go by you can feel the wind every time. This operator wanted me to sit right there & wait for a trooper to contact me. I again told him I was on a motorcycle & if he wanted to call me back I would go to the next exit 1 mile away & wait. He said stay on the phone & wait.

Now here is a 911 operator who probably doesn't have a clue between a bike and other vehicles on the road. I finally told him I was hanging up putting my helmet on & ridding home. About 4 miles later I saw flashing lights headed eastbound. When I got home two hours later there were no incoming calls & it didn't even show the 911 call. Hope nothing bad happened.

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post #6 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 12:23 pm
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

I would suspect that LEO was looking for you

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post #7 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 12:40 pm
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

"Barbas said one way that driver awareness of motorcycles can be improved is by including it in driver's education courses. He also said motorcycles need to have brighter brake lights, louder engines, and handlebar streamers."

HANDLEBAR STREAMERS! I think we've all finally found that ultimate farkle!
Okay, who's first?? (And you have to post a picture!)

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post #8 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 1:12 pm
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

Humm? I wonder if its all sportbike guys that are killing or being killed or is it maybe the 50 years old that said I aint taking no safety course I rode them things 20 years ago!! I would like to see a chart with deaths vs. age vs. bike type.

HANDLEBAR STREAMERS???

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post #9 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 1:31 pm
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

I'm a truck driver for a large company that puts it's drivers thru the Smith System. It teaches 5 keys that will keep us out of trouble. The keys apply no matter what you are driving/riding. The main focus is knowing what is going on all around your vehicle and keeping enough space around yourself to be able to react safely to hazards. They are essential when driving a 72' 80k lb vehicle but are also the only way to avoid trouble when on 2 wheels. The best defense is an proactive defense!

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post #10 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 1:36 pm
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tat_n_Telle
"Barbas said ...........................
motorcycles need to have louder engines,
and handlebar streamers."
hmmmn I can tell this guy really knows "his stuff"
and I suppose they should all be "made (or assembled) in America
to be "really safe?

That will probably be Abate's next slogan
(makes about as much sense as their current slogan)

Loud streamers save lives!


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post #11 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 2:29 pm
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

I wish we would enact driving laws in the US like they have in Japan. A driver of a car or truck that hits a motorcyclist IS ALWAYS at fault until proven different. Not only did your insurance have to payout, you generally had to payout of your pocket over and above. One of the guys I was stationed with, found this out the hard way. When I asked on of the Japanese nationals I worked with, was this a tough penalty just because he was a G.I, his was as NO! It happened the same way for the nationals.

I never felt safer on a bike than when I was stationed there. But then that was another life and long long ago.

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post #12 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 3:52 pm
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

The simple truth of the matter is the age old reality . Cagers and lawmakers and DOT crews and highway safety engineers could care less about Motorcycles or their riders .

Case in point. All over North Georgia now the interstates have new catch fencing in stead of steel railings made of small guage wire and sharp metal pickets to support them so close to the highways that any bike who lowsides on oil or wet pavement or ice will be streaded upon impact. No one is saying a word about that. Recent snows up on the mountain roads have left unusually large amounts of peagravel in corners on the road and by the time you see the gravel you are already down. I'm speaking from experience as I went down this week on some that was completely over the road right in a curve and had to make a choice of going off the mountain or laying it down in the gravel. I was going no where near the normal speed and had already encountered many "normal gravel in apex" conditioins so I was not even trying to go quickly. The good news is my leather is all that got hurt but I was wondering why all the gravel is still there. Last snow was weeks ago.
]
That is just one point. Braking for redlights and cautions is something else I've been closely almosts killed doing and one actually hit me from behind while LEAVING a red light upon turning green. Stupid young woman hit me before I could get away from the light . Reason . I didn't see you, unquote.
Guess what . The back of my beemer looks like a friggin cristmas tree. I didn't see you. It's and uncomfortable reality and now with younger drivers text messaging in my state it is time for all phones to be dissallowed in motor vehicles. I use my phone too but im on a bike and I use blue tooth technology and hands off phone use. The technology is affordable now so I don't see why I have to pull alongside a cager and see she has her phone up to her ear which makes anything to the left of her nose invisible.

I agree with one of the post above. Raw aggression is your only defense. Stay ahead and away from everyone and if you are going to sit at a red light you better have it in gear and screw the dry clutch issue and watch your back more than whats in front. I've gone off a lane twice in the last month to avoid being run over and one of the cluprits was a volvo. I wish they were as concerned about my safety as their own.

Needless to say I think a lot about this and everytime I meet a new to bikes rider I kringe knowing the learning curve is steep for defensive bike riding and the time to learn is short before being exposed to the reality of riding in modern traffic. It's so bad in Atlanta I am actually thinking of giving up my riding and limiting it to trips only. Downside to that is you need to be on one often to be any good at it at my age.

Tough world. Whoever used the word invisible hit the nail on the head though

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post #13 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 4:04 pm
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by tobiwan
I would suspect that LEO was looking for you
I spoke to a trooper from that local post & he said they were looking for the wrong way vehicle. They never never found it. He unlike the 911 operator understood completely why I didn't want to wait on a narrow shoulder on a bike.

Don't get me wrong the 911 operator was polite he is just like most who don't know much about motorcycles.

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post #14 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 4:11 pm
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

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post #15 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 4:27 pm
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by saddle-man
I spoke to a trooper from that local post & he said they were looking for the wrong way vehicle. They never never found it.
Anyone remember the video of the rice rocket car that over-braked, spun out, and caused a massive chain-reaction on the freeway? It was taken by a biker who had been cut off one too many times on the way to work, so she installed a helmet cam specifically for her commute. The kid denied everything, of course, until his insurance adjuster saw the video . . .

I wonder if something like that would have been useful in this case, maybe to get a plate number of that truck, followed by a visit from the local constabulary.

But how can we expect personal responsibility and consequences from the average cage driver when Congressmen can run a stop sign and kill a rider and get the merest slap on the wrist?

The bottom line remans that we are all but invisible, and if there's a truck coming at you or a teen text-messaging, you're the one who's gonna hurt worse. Awareness and defensive riding skills are about all we really have going for us, although I do like my 139 dB Stebel air horn.

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post #16 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 6:59 pm
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

I'm hoping that a great benefit of $4.00 gas will be fewer square nosed trucks and pseudo trucks on the road--they are killers when they nail a mc rider!

Maybe CONgress will reclassify PT cruisers and SUVs back into automobiles instead of trucks, forcing them to get higher mpg of autos, and thus help decrease their sales?

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post #17 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 8:12 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

"Loud streamers save lives" - Nice Hans!

I personally like to take it one more step and take full responsibility for everything that happens around me on the bike, my fault or not because I'm generally going to have to pay the price of inattentiveness.

A good test that I use is if I need to swerve or think I should use my horn, I've lost control and am reacting. It happens, but the less it does the more I am in control.

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post #18 of 23 Old Jan 25th, 2009, 8:27 pm
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

Just because the motorcycle crashes are on the rise, what is that compared to registered motorcycles in Florida. That has to be on the rise also.

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post #19 of 23 Old Jan 26th, 2009, 12:47 pm
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Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tat_n_Telle
"Barbas said one way that driver awareness of motorcycles can be improved is by including it in driver's education courses. He also said motorcycles need to have brighter brake lights, louder engines, and handlebar streamers."

HANDLEBAR STREAMERS! I think we've all finally found that ultimate farkle!
Okay, who's first?? (And you have to post a picture!)
That's it! I'm having custom pipes installed--facing FORWARD and W/O a can!

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." (Some really OLD friggin' White dude who couldn't have possibly known what he was talking about!) WARNING: Official HATE speech!
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post #20 of 23 Old Jan 26th, 2009, 2:28 pm
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

FWIW, the AMA's "Justice for all" campaign is working to put laws on the books in every state that death or injury caused by drivers have mandatory penalties regardless of the mode of transportation of their victim (car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, pedestrian). They could use help. If you're not a member consider joining. If you would like to help promote Justice for All legislation in your state, contact AMA Legislative Affairs Specialist Imre Szauter.

[email protected]


Do you suppose I can get a price break on insurance if I have handlebar streamers?

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post #21 of 23 Old Jan 26th, 2009, 4:28 pm
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by pendie
I'm a truck driver for a large company that puts it's drivers thru the Smith System. It teaches 5 keys that will keep us out of trouble. The keys apply no matter what you are driving/riding. The main focus is knowing what is going on all around your vehicle and keeping enough space around yourself to be able to react safely to hazards. They are essential when driving a 72' 80k lb vehicle but are also the only way to avoid trouble when on 2 wheels. The best defense is an proactive defense!
I found the Smith System pretty effective and practical. We had it when I was 15 years old in CA Driver's Education (in the early 70s.) His training reels (no videos back then) were corny but really stuck with you. To all of us in class, Harold driving his convertible, wearing his sport coat and tie, and keeping his "space cushion" while always alertly driving with his "friendly tap of the horn" was kind of over the top for a bunch of too-cool teenagers, but, like I said, it all stuck. And, as you point out, it works regardless of the vehicle.
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post #22 of 23 Old Jan 26th, 2009, 6:30 pm
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by VitesseLT
I found the Smith System pretty effective and practical. We had it when I was 15 years old in CA Driver's Education (in the early 70s.) His training reels (no videos back then) were corny but really stuck with you. To all of us in class, Harold driving his convertible, wearing his sport coat and tie, and keeping his "space cushion" while always alertly driving with his "friendly tap of the horn" was kind of over the top for a bunch of too-cool teenagers, but, like I said, it all stuck. And, as you point out, it works regardless of the vehicle.
True, true, but the one thing that REALLY stuck with me about the Smith System films was that instant in one of the films when Harold changes lanes while driving through the middle of an intersection. We were all stunned.

Our driver training teacher told us that he had called and asked about the maneuver. Apparently the question has often come up. According to my teacher, it wasn't illegal at the time to change lanes in an intersection, but the Smith System people admitted that it wasn't recommended. Nonetheless, Harold kept insisting that the lane change was safe, and refused to edit it from the film, despite protests from driver training teachers.
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post #23 of 23 Old Feb 4th, 2009, 8:46 pm
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Re: Motorcycle Crashes Are On The Rise In Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by motorman587
Just because the motorcycle crashes are on the rise, what is that compared to registered motorcycles in Florida. That has to be on the rise also.
Yes, statistics can be a funny thing. Imagine if everyone in Florida gave up their cars and motorcyles and started to drive tricycles. The accident rate of tricycles would go up.

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