Bikers Rights to Motorcycle Safety SITEMAP
Motorcyclist Safety - Bikers Rights
Statistics Demonstrate that fully two-thirds of multi-vehicle motorcycle accidents are solely the result of auto driver inattention and negligence without any fault at all on the part of the motorcyclist. A review of the data makes plain that it is specifically auto driver ignorance of motorcyclist safety issues and auto driver ignorance of basic driving strategies for avoiding accidents with motorcyclists which is the overwhelming cause of the vast majority of multi-vehicle motorcycle accidents. Options
Hence, " Motorcyclists Against Dumb (Ignorant) Auto Drivers”
Making Motorcyclist Safety a Bikers Rights Priority
Secondary examples of auto driver ignorance include that most motorists don't realize that their car rear view mirrors have "holes" in them large enough to obscure a motorcyclist riding or passing in their adjoining lane; hence their ignorance of the basic “motorcycle accident avoidance strategy” that auto drivers must turn their ("dumb") heads and look into their rear view mirror blind spots before changing lanes. Auto drivers are also uninformed and hence ignorant of the fact that bikes generally can stop more quickly than cars in emergency situations, hence the necessity for auto drivers to leave a greater number of "car lengths" between their vehicle and a motorcycle ahead of them.
Statistically the most common cause of motorcycle accidents is auto driver inattention to motorcycles when they enter a roadway from a side street or turn left at an intersection into the motorcyclists right of way. Auto drivers claim they don't "see" us, which is their most common excuse for killing or maiming one of us after they've crossed into our paths at an intersection. The problem is NOT the supposed "lack of conspicuity " of the motorcycle, so often misinterpreted by NHTSA and state policy makers to implicate the motorcycle’s size and supposed “lack of visibility” to auto drivers - their fatalistic explanation for auto drivers not “seeing” us, and excuse for not doing anything about it.
Motorcycles are just as “visible” as cars, equally evident in the auto driver’s visual field, at the distance at which a car entering an intersection would pose a threat to the motorcyclist. Indeed, since most motorcycles now come equipped with standard headlights which turn on at ignition and remain on day and night, motorcycles may be even more obvious in the visual field of auto drivers who enter into intersections from side streets or turn left in front of us into our right of way.
Unfortunately, Harry Hurt coined this term “lack of conspicuity” in his landmark 1981 motorcycle accident survey; and, equally unfortunately, NHTSA and many state policy makers have seized on this concept, equating it with “lack of visibility,” and so have come to the conclusion that intersection motorcycle accidents are “unavoidable.” Since auto-motorcycle intersection accidents result in the greatest porportion of motorcyclist injury and death, NHTSA's decades long conviction that this catagory of accidents was unavoidably the result of the motorcycle's "lack of conspicuity" has led to horribly failed "motorcycle safety" policies focusing on what motorcyclists wear, instead of why auto drivers don't "see" us.
So what is it that leads auto drivers not to “see” us if it is not the smaller size of the motorcycle. The answer is to be found, at least in part, in the literature of inattentional blindness, the scientific phenomenon which explains why people don’t "see" what is right in front of them, readily apparent at the center of their visual field. There are numerous factors contributing to the phenomenon of inattentional blindness, including “expectation” “relevance” which we have tentatively concluded to be the most potent factors. Further research is necessary to specifically define the operative factors, but an example, “expectation” would refer to the auto driver’s failure to consciously anticipate and look for a motorcycle approaching at an intersection. We believe that “relevance” may play a part as auto drivers may not appreciate fully the life and death implications of their pulling out in front of a biker, or they may see oncoming motorcycles as less “relevant” because bikes don’t pose a threat to them in the same sense that oncoming cars or trucks would pose a threat. Trading Options
Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers is currently researching the phenomenon and putting together a team of scientists to describe how the phenomenon of inattentional blindness accounts specifically for auto driver inattention to motorcyclists when entering intersections and turning left into the right of way of motorcyclists. We hope to provide both an accurate description of the operative aspects of intentional blindness which account for auto driver inattention to motorcyclists, and to provide specific solutions, signed off on by the appropriately qualified scientists. Our current research indicates that indeed the solution is auto driver education directed at getting auto drivers to look for motorcycles in their visual field while engaging in the auto driver behaviors most likely to result in motorcycle accidents. We applaud "Motorcycle Awareness" programs, but we are not convinced that vague pronouncements by NHTSA or our state Governors, or even billboards and public interest televisions spots will be effective to train auto drivers to "see" the motorcyclist. Inattentional blindness can perhaps be best understood as the result of a subconscious selection process in which only a small subset of the visual stimuli which enter through our eyes and then are extensively processed subconsciously are permitted through to our conscious attention, and if the visual stimulus is not passed through to our conscious attention, the experience is that we "didn't see it." “Only those objects to which attention is either voluntarily directed or that capture attention at a late stage of processing are perceived. It is as if attention provides the key that unlocks the door dividing unconscious from conscious perception. Without this key, there is no awareness of the stimulus.” Mack & Rock, "Inattentional Blindness," 1998. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the answer is quite as simple as just telling auto drivers that they have to look for motorcyclists. For example, our preliminary research suggests that to get auto drivers to actually consciously focus their attention on oncoming motorcycles in their visual field what is necessary is that they be informed that it is necessary for them to engage in a specific conscious task specifically with respect to the motorcycle. For one example, through mandatory auto driver education on motorcycle safety issues motorists might be informed accurately that it is more difficult to gauge the speed of an oncoming motorcycle, and hence the necessity for auto drivers to pause to consciously assess the motorcycle’s speed before entering or turning left at intersections. While not as obviously a function of the phenomenon of inattentional blindness, this aspect of the same solution, conscious task involvement, may also be useful to reduce the incidence lane change accidents, by informing auto drivers that their rear view mirrors have holes in them large enough to obscure a passing motorcyclist, and hence their responsibility to consciously engage in the task of turning their heads and looking into their rear view mirror blind spots before changing lanes. The same with regard to multi-vehicle motorcycle rear-end accidents, informing auto drivers that motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars and hence the necessity for them to consciously leave a greater distance when following a bike. In each instance providing the conscious task to perform when the motorcycle appears in the auto driver's visual field will have the effect to force the auto driver to "see" the motorcycle.
In order to modify this auto driver attention deficit specific to motorcylists we also consider that srong penalty legislation is appropriate, including in particular penalities for right of way violations which result in injury to a motorcyclist. The penalty must be specific for ROW violations causing motorcyclist injury because the purpose we want to acheive is to raise the motorcycle in particular in the auto driver's assessment of relative "relavance" so that the appearance of the motorcyclist in the auto driver's visual field will bre processed through to his consicous attention. In order to acheive sufficient relevance, the penalties also must be substantial, one or two year drivers license suspensions plus 16 hours of motorcycle safety education for the first offense and jail time for any subsequent offence. Auto driver inattention to motorcyclists is responsible for the greatest number of motorcycle accidents and consequent biker injuries and deaths, so auto drivers must be forced to "see" the motorcyclist square at the center of their visual field. If the penalties appear severe, consider that the consequence of failing adequately to modify auto driver inattention to motorcyclists is measured in broken bodies, wrecked lives, and the piled caskets left in path of the inattentive auto driver.
One other aspect of auto driver education which will be very important in reducing the obscene incidence of motorcyclists injury and death is that driving under the influence of cell phones is as dangerous as DUI drunk driving. Specifically, driving while engaged in cell phone conversation results in a four fold likelihood of causing an accident. We consider this an important subject for auto driver education, at least until comprehensive cell phone bans can be enacted, because we believe that the danger posed by the cell phone impaired to motorcyclists may be even greater than the danger these drivers pose to the general public. See the Scientific Review Article on Cell Phone Driving Impairment prepared for Motorcyclists-Against-Dumb-Drivers by Ray Henke. The reason is that the impairment resulting from cell phone use is another type of inattentional blindness, similar to the previously identified auto driver inattentional blindness for motorcyclists, but different in the sense that the preexisting inattentional blindness results from a value moderated visual stimuli selection process, while cell phone conversation induced inattentional blindness results from the switching of attention to the internal-cognitive tasks associated with the give and take of the the cell conversation away from the external-visual tasks essential for safe driving. We suggest that the combination of these two distinct attention deficits results in at least an additive effect and possibly a synergistic effect to incerease the auto driver's inattentional blindness specific to motorcyclists. Option
Auto drivers need to be informed that driving under the influence of a cell phone is as dangerous as DUI drunk driving, and that the DUI level danger results from an inattentional blindness that has nothing at all to do with dialing or holding the cell phone.
Currently 70 percent of drivers use cell phones while driving, and at any given daylight moment in time fully 10 percent of the drivers on our American streets are actively engaged in cell phone conversation. In terms of the resulting danger for all motorists, imagine that 10 percent of all drivers on the street were DUI driving under the influence of alcohol. There is no difference in terms of the severity of the impairment or in terms of the likelihood that the cell phone impaired or alcohol impaired will cause an accident. Auto drivers who use cell phones will certainly resist accepting that their own driving is impaired, even as they acknowledge that they observe that other drivers who use cell phones do appear to drive impaired. This is a function of a "disconnect" between the driver's inattentional blindness and his ability to recognize his inattentional blindness. If the auto driver doesn't "see" what it is that he doesn't see, he doesn't realize that he didn't see it. And this is why it is so very important that auto drivers be informed of the attentional impairment that results from cell phone use while driving.
Every opportunity should also be availed to inform the driving public that cell phone use while driving is a potent factor contributing to traffic congestion and the length of our daily commutes. Drivers under the influence of cell phone conversation take 19 percent more time to regain flow of traffic speed following each braking episode, and with 10 percent of all drivers engaged in cell phone conversation, the cumulative effect is to substantially increase congestion, slow traffic flow, and increase everyone's commute.
Education will not be sufficient to eliminate the danger posed by the cell phone impaired.. Comprehensive prohibitions against cell phone use must be enacted, and that means prohibitions on the use of all cell phones, handheld and hands-free alike. There is no difference at all in the level of driving impairment or in the likelihood of causing an accident resulting from auto driver use of handheld and hands-free cell phones. See, the Motorcyclists-Against-Dumb-Drivers Scientific Review Article on Cell Phone Driving Impairment. The penalties for using cell phones while driving should be the same as those for DUI drunk driving, substantial drivers license suspensions for first offenses and jail time for each additional offense. Again, if this is considered at first blush severe, consider that the cell phone impaired are just as dangerous as DUI drunk drivers, and the path of the cell phone user is equally littered with human carnage and caskets.
There Is a Solution to Auto Driver Ignorance. Auto Driver Ignorance Can Be Cured By Motorcycle Safety Education. A Proposal for Mandatory Auto Driver Education on Motorcycle Safety Issues and the Motorcycle Accident Avoidance Strategies Which Auto Drivers Must Employ for the Safety of Motorcyclists. This is a matter of Bikers Rights.
Auto driver ignorance can be cured just as all manner of ignorance is cured, by education. Specifically, mandatory auto driver education. It is our position that the objective of reducing the incidence of motorcycle accidents can be most effectively accomplished by changing the state auto driver education booklets to include the comprehensive information specifically on motorcycle safety issues and the strategies which auto drivers must employ for the protection of motorcyclists; second, by the inclusion of a comprehensive list of motorcycle safety questions on the written tests auto drivers must take to obtain or renew their drivers licenses; and third, by mandating the denial of driving privileges to any prospective driver who fails to demonstrate full and complete knowledge of motorcycle safety issues and full appreciation for motorcycle accident avoidance strategies by answering all motorcycle safety questions correctly.
Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers Solicits Your Help to Make Our Streets Safe for Motorcyclists
Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers actively lobbies to achieve its mission. We have communicated with the state Governors offices and with many state officials. Our hope is by year end to critique the motorcycle safety policies and programs of each state and offer specific recommendations tailored to each state. We have participated in some state symposia to present our views, critique state policy, and offer our solutions. You may review on another page of this web site one such Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers position paper submitted to a Florida Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month symposium at which Florida state transportation safety policy makers made themselves available to receive the views of biker advocates. We also directly lobby federal agencies whose charters include motorcyclist safety. You may review as an example our "Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers Response" to NHTSA’s invitation to comment on its most recent proposed "Amendments to Highway Safety Program Guidelines.” We have communicated directly with state legislators, particularly those who are involved in the motorcycle safety debate. In this regard you may review our letter to Senator Martinez, on another page of this web site. We have also prepared speeches delivered to bikers rights rallies, including one most recently solicited by ABATE Utah and presented by the CEO of Utah Abate at their Utah Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month Rally in Salt Lake City. Spokesman for Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers, Ray Henke, also co-moderates with Bruce Arnold, of "Long Distance Riders," the most active national bikers rights discussion forum, “Bruce-n-Ray's Biker Forum,” which has become a centerpiece of serious discussion about motorcycle safety issues. We welcome the opportunity to participate in meetings and seminars with state legislators, policy makers, and to avail every opportunity to get our message out to bikers so that we can all join together to redirect the motorcycle safety debate from the traditional myopic paternalistic focus of state policy makers on what bikers wear to the real solutions to this obscene and hugely disproportionate incidence of motorcycle accidents caused by auto driver inattention and negligence.
One way in which you can do your part to make a difference specifically to improve motorcycle safety on our streets and highways is to write to your Governor, remind him that motorcycle injury and death on your state's highways is a serious state public health issue, that the problem is auto driver ignorance of motorcycle safety issues, and that there is a solution. Inform your Governor that he has it in his power to adopt the solution and make a substantial impact to reduce this obscene incidence motorcyclist injury. Inform him that 2/3 of motorcycle accidents are the result of auto driver inattention and negligence, and that the problem is auto driver ignorance of motorcycle safety issues and the motorcycle accident avoidance strategies that they must employ for the protection of the biker. Make plain to him that the solution to ignorance is education. Tell him that the solution to auto driver ignorance is mandatory auto driver education, specifically on motorcycle safety and basic motorcycle accident avoidance strategies; the addition of comprehensive motorcycle safety questions to your state's DMV auto driver education booklets, and the addition of comprehensive motorcycle safety questions to the written tests which auto drivers must take in order to obtain or renew their auto driver licenses.
Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers provides a "Form Letter" which you may send or adapt to send to your Governor. And we also provide the e-mail addresses for the 50 state Governors. We can make a difference. We needn't have to suffer the idiotic antics of ignorant auto drivers at our every turn and every corner, every time we ride. Motorcycle safety is a matter of bikers rights, but you have to fight for your bikers rights if you hope to attain them.
In Order to Seize the Offensive on Motorcyclist Safety We Need to Be Able to Undermine the Traditional Foci of State Policy Makers Which Have Sidetracked The Motorcyclist Safety and Bikers Rights Debates.
One of the hurdles facing bikers rights advocates seeking to provide the real solutions for reducing incidence of motorcyclist injury and death is that federal and state policy makers have traditionally chosen to focus myopically on “what bikers wear,” from helmets to multicolored neon clown suits, and appear entrenched in their misunderstanding of the motorcycle statistics which has led them to this overbearing, paternalistic, and unproductive focus.
Auto Driver Ignorance About Motorcycle Accident Avoidance Strategies Which They Must Apply for the Protection of Motorcyclists Is the Cause of the Vast Majority of Motorcycle Accidents. Get Mad. This is a Matter of Bikers Rights, the Right to Ride Free of the Danger's Posed by Dumb (Ignorant) Auto Drivers. Call for Motorcycle Safety on Our Highways.We need to broaden the battle front with NHTSA and state policy makers. Until now our good freedom fighters have largely fought a defensive battle against these government entities and personalities who have so myopically focused on what bikers wear. We need to take the offensive on the broader motorcycle safety fronts, meet their statistical fallacies with the statistical truths; we need to meet their pretense of concern for motorcyclist safety with calls for them to put up or shut up, do something actually constructive, or please stop pretending to care; for those who care little for the pain and suffering of motorcyclists and their families but who consider bikers who don’t “succumb” a burden on the state, well if they are sincere about wanting to ease their state’s fiscal burden then fine, we can work with them to achieve that too; but we need to meet their ill-conceived traditional myopic and paternalistic focus on dictating what bikers wear both with an attack on their false premises and a plan to actually, truly and effectively reduce the full range of motorcyclist injury resulting from auto driver ignorance, inattention and negligence.
Get mad. When we first took up riding, do you remember what we felt? We chose life. We chose to fly like an eagle rather than live our lives as caged in parakeets. It is the cagers who have made our lives hazardous, and it the cager politicians who want to cage us in again, deny us our freedom, cage us in clothing of their choosing, or force us back into cages for fear of our lives by refusing to accept their state public health or state fiscal responsibilities to curtail this obscene auto driver massacre of bikers on their state’s highways.
Get mad. Join M-A-D-D in our efforts to obtain the only true and calculated solution to this obscene political tolerance of motorcyclist murder. Demand that your state Governors order mandatory auto driver reeducation on motorcycle safety issues and the motorcycle accident avoidance strategies which motorists must employ for the protection of their two-wheeled brethren. Demand that auto drivers be denied driving privileges if they cannot demonstrate competent knowledge of motorcycle safety issues. Demand that your state legislators also enact penalty legislation for negligent driving which causes motorcyclist injury, or as a back up if that is deemed politically unfeasible in your state, then general penalty legislation combined with a well funded public relations campaign to bring to the attention of the public both the new penalty and the special vulnerability of motorcyclists to injury.
Yeah, Get Mad. Take names. And lets kick the political ass of anyone who stands in our way.
If We Are to Achieve Our Goal of Making Our Streets and Highways Safe for Motorcyclists, We Must Demand That Our Governors Order Our State Departments of Motor Vehicles to Educate Ignorant Auto Drivers. But First We Must Educate Our Auto Driving Governors. And This is Where YOU Can Make a Difference. This is a matter of Bikers Rights.The most prevalent cause of motorcycle accidents stems directly from auto driver ignorance of motorcycle safety issues. The goal of dispelling auto driver ignorance can only be achieved practically by mandatory auto driver education calculated to provide auto drivers the tools to apply consciously for the safety of motorcyclists.
The initial hurdle in obtaining these changes is that most state Governors are auto drivers who are also mostly ignorant of motorcycle safety issues. Unfortunately, as alluded to above, they may also have been misguided by NHTSA or find they are politically entrenched in previously adopted ill-conceived strategies based on skewed analyses motorcyclist death statistics or the heretofore unchallenged misinterpretation motorcycle "lack of conspicuity.” As the result our state Governors may be less than fully open to being bullied off their conclusions that auto driver inattention is unavoidable, or that the only politically viable way to appear to be doing something about motorcyclist carnage and death is to impose their "dress code" upon the minority.
State Governors are motivated by two things, getting re-elected, and occasionally, by doing what is right, for the state's citizens, or for the state's economy. We can appeal to all of these motives. If we write to our Governors in substantial numbers they will recognize that a significant population of their constituents consider this issue important, and so it is possible that they may consider it in their political interest to consider our point of view. We can first approach them politely, armed only with quality information demonstrating the problem and solution. If they will consider the well documented statistical information on the causes of motorcycle accidents, they cannot avoid the conclusion that the vast majority motorcycle accidents are the result of auto driver ignorance of motorcycle safety issues and that the only practical means of curtailing motorcyclist carnage is mandatory auto driver reeducation.
Giving our Governors initially the benefit of the doubt, we would hope that they will appreciate that this is the right thing to do for the health and safety of a significant population of their riding citizenry. The fact is that this is an important state public health issue because bikers involved in accidents will indeed often suffer serious and catastrophic injuries. We should also be willing to acknowledge and embrace the fact that motorcyclist injury and death is a state fiscal issue if this is the principle concern of some Governors, because it is the unfortunate truth that most auto drivers carry only minimal liability policies, and are almost always woefully underinsured to pay for the medical expense associated with the motorcyclist injuries they cause. We should embrace our Governors concerns with the state fiscal impact of motorcycle accidents because every political motivation which we can exploit to achieve our goal will provide us the advantage.
What Can You Do To Insure Your Motorcycle Riding Safety? Simply Copy or Adapt The Form E-Mail Located on This Site and E-Mail Your Governor Using the E-mail Addresses Provided For the Purpose. You Must Assert Your Bikers Rights to Motorcycle Safety Or You Will Never Gain Them.YOU can make a difference. And it will require only a few minutes of your time. You can find your Governor's e-mail address on this site by clicking your state on the "Governors E-Addresses" page. You may review our Form letter, rasing the issues which Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers considers initially most salient and persuasive. If you find that the form letter adequately expresses your views, you can simply copy and paste it to your e-mail to your Governor. Or you may write your own e-mail or adapt the form letter to express more specifically your individual position. If you have been in a serious injury motorcycle accident caused by an auto driver, it would be desirable, we believe, if you would point that out in an initial paragraph and describe the impact the accident has had on your life. If your accident was caused by one of the most common causes of auto accidents attributable to auto driver ignorance, you may consider also pointing that out in an initial paragraph. This would include any accident in which an auto driver pulled out from a side street into your lane of traffic, turned left in front of you, changed lanes into you, or hit you from behind. You can point out that auto drivers pull out in front of bikers from side streets and turn into our paths because they are not educated about the extreme danger they pose to motorcyclists, and the special, enhanced duty they should recognize to turn and look for oncoming motorcyclists. If you were hit by an auto driver changing lanes into you, you can point out that auto drivers just don't realize that their car mirrors have holes in them which obscure a motorcycle located or passing in an adjoining lane. If you were hit from behind, you can point out that auto drivers don't realize that bikes generally are capable of stopping more quickly in emergencies and auto drivers don't realize that they need to leave a greater number of "car lengths" when riding behind a motorcycle. The more personal the initial paragraphs of your e-mail to your Governor, the more impact you will achieve. But, if you will just send an e-mail, joining in the e-mails of the other bikers in your state who write to your Governor, you will contribute significantly to making a difference for all bikers.
In some states it may require more than polite and reasoned persuasion, so we hope also that our message will reach bikers rights groups, bike clubs and other biker organizations. We need to reach out to all our two-wheeled brothers, those riding Harleys and sport bikes alike, those who want to ride free of the dictates of government "dress codes" and those who wouldn’t conceive of riding without first strapping on a helmet, because the goal of safer roads is one which affects all of us equally.
In addition to lobbying our state Governors and policymakers Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers is in the process of gathering information from state officials about their state motorcycle policies and programs. Over the next year we hope to have the information to report on the qualities of the state programs, and we may also gain some insight into the qualities of the state political personalities and their openness to our message.
You can help Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers by providing information known to you about your state’s policies, programs and political personalities involved in the motorcycle safety issue.
We are pleased to entertain requests to provide policy positions to your motorcyclist rights organization, club, or group for presentation at state bikers rights or motorcycle safety symposia, and speeches for biker rallies, or other events.
A warning to our state Governors, legislators and politicians: We will approach you first with all the politeness and studied intellectual reason that we can bring to this debate; but if we find you intractable, we will not stop at polite reasoning. We are dying every day on your streets and highways, and it is you who are responsible for our deaths, just as surely as it is you who can take the responsibility for saving our lives. Thus far most of you have chosen the low road, misrepresenting the statistics, focusing on only selected statistics which support your ill-designed political agendas at the expense of biker safety. If you will not listen to politely stated reason, or if you are unwilling to do what is essential for our protection, then you must understand that bikers, notwithstanding that we are a minority, have the political option at our disposal to bring your cities to a halt. If the legend is true, when Los Angeles enacted a municipal “one bike per parking space” ordinance, one well known motorcycle club here in Southern California took over every parking space in downtown LA and the next day the ordinance was repealed. There are any number of options available to an organized biker community to make our good, worthy, pleas for common respect more emphatic than just begging you to do what makes sense and what is right. We will achieve the day when we can jump on our bikes and ride free of state tolerated auto driver idiocy, inattention, and negligence, and this ever-present threat to lives and limbs.
Bikers Rights to Motorcycle Rider Safety in Alaska Alabama Arkansas Arizona California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Massachusetts Maryland Maine Michigan Minnesota Missouri Montana North Carolina North Dakota Nebraska New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico Nevada New York Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Virginia Vermont Washington Wisconsin West Virginia and Wyoming.Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers is a national bikers rights and motorcyclist safety organization which has as its mission in every state to contribute to obtaining a riding environment on our roads and highways less characterized by the obscene risk that currently exists. We urge, for example, mandatory auto driver education on motorcycle safety issues, motorcycle specific ROW penalty legislation, and comprehensive cell phone bans. We also are pleased to present our motorcyclist safety perspective in opposition to proposed helmet legislation. We do this as a motorcycle safety organization first because we consider the myopic focus on helmet legislation which has dominated NHTSA policy and state and federal motorcycle safety debate for the past 25 years to constitute a failed policy. Motorcycle accidents result in an entire landscape of resulting injury, quadriplegia, paraplegia, other spinal cord injuries, debilitating internal injuries, catastrophic orthopedic injuries, limb amputations and others, none of which can be averted or reduced in severity by the use of a helmet. So rather clearly, even as we acknowledge that helmets may be useful to prevent some head injuries and biker deaths where the accidents involved application of impact energies to the head within the window of impact energies for which helmets have some utility, even then, we must recognize that such laws do nothing at all to reduce the incidence of every other of the panoply of injuries which motorcyclists sustain in accidents. Helmet laws are a BandAide on the broken body of the American motorcyclists. The common denominator responsible for the entire landscape of motorcyclist injuries is that they result from motorcycle accidents. It is our perspective that if we are to achieve our goal of reducing the overall risk of the full landscape of motorcyclist injury that the solution must be to reduce the incidence of motorcycle accidents. We intend to seize this motorcycle safety offensive every time our state or federal legislatures open debate on helmet laws, in part because our legislatures rarely discuss motorcyclist safety outside the context of a proposed mandatory helmet bill. It is our opportunity to redirect debate away from the unproductive to the productive. We seize the complaints of these legislators that motorcyclist injuries are a public health crisis or state fiscal crisis, and we join with them and thank them for acknowledging these facts, because indeed bikers confront obscene risks of injury from motorcycle accidents. But then we make very plain that their state public health and fiscal crises are not defined by some number of deaths or head injuries which might possibly have been averted or lessened by use of a helmet, the public health crisis extends to the full panoply of motorcyclist injury sustained in accidents, 95 percent of which cannot possibly be averted or reduced by the use of a helmet. And the same is true for the state fiscal crisis. The medical expenses which the state must pay for motorcyclist injuries, when the one who caused the accident is underinsured to pay for the medical expense, is medical expense incurred again for the entire landscape of motorcyclist injuries. The state therefore cannot put at dent in its accurately defined state fiscal crisis by enacting helmet legislation.
We are pleased to get involved in the motorcycle safety debate in any state, and would welcome the opportunity to contribute our motorcycle safety offensive to the helmet law debates as they arise in any state of the Union. We are pleased to get into the fights as they reach the legislative floor, or at any other stage of the process, as we did in our efforts with many others to attempt to attempt to persuade Michigan Governor Granholm to refrain from vetoing the Michigan repeal bill. And we welcome the opportunity to get involved even before the bills are introduced, as we see our best opportunity to redirect the debate as before legislators have taken a fixed position. Just in the past two weeks before this editing in January 2007, we participated at the request of the President of ABATE Utah, Bill Evans, and the Secretary of ABATE Montana, Linda Baldwin, in efforts to preemptively nip in the bud helmet legislation before its introduction. The Salt Lake City mayor, Rocky Anderson, had made it known that he would push for a universal helmet law for motorcyclists and bicyclists despite that the state of Utah is a 21 and older free state. ABATE Montana got wind that state legislator, Betsy Hands, had asked that a mandatory helmet bill be prepared for introduction to the state legislature. We presented our position papers to each, which you can review on other pages of this site, click here for Montana, and Utah. Other bikers rights organizations and individual bikers were also urged to participate in letter campaigns as we sent out a call for action from Bruce & Ray's Biker Forum, a Forum jointly moderated by Bruce Arnold of Ldr Long Distance Riders and Ray Henke of Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers. We were informed by Bill Evens that the Utah campaign was successful in persuading Mayor Anderson to discard his municipal helmet legislation, and we hope that the same result may be obtained in Montana. We will follow through with these politicians now to urge our alternative motorcycle safety strategies, in our effort to seize the opportunity presented by their expressed interest in the risks of injury we face as motorcyclists. We welcome any bikers rights organization in any state to advise us when they have a helmet law pending or when they are informed that a legislator, Governor or other elected politician is considering introducing helmet legislation.
When we say bikers rights to motorcyclist safety followed by our list of states Alaska Alabama Arkansas Arizona California, Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Massachusetts Maryland, Maine Michigan Minnesota Missouri Montana North Carolina North Dakota Nebraska New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico Nevada New York Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania, Rhode Island South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Virginia Vermont Washington Wisconsin West Virginia and Wyoming, what we are saying is that we welcome every opportunity to get involved in the helmet law debates whenever and wherever they arise and at any stage of legislative proceedings, before, and during all stages of consideration of helmet or repeal bills. We consider our motorcycle safety positions to be complimentary to those of the bikers rights organizations, and it is our hope that in the process not only will helmet bills be defeated or such laws repealed but that our legislatures will consider our motorcycle safety alternatives as superior means to reduce their state public health and fiscal crises associated with what I think we can all agree is an obscene incidence of motorcyclist carnage on our American streets and highways.
Thank You, Please "Ride Safely," And Watch Out for Dumb Auto Drivers.
"Ride Safely" is not just our way of saying good-bye. We mean it. And what we mean specifically is ride SMART, because you can only expect the opposite from the "dumb," ignorant auto drivers who you are likely to encounter on the road at every turn.
To be specific, when we say "ride safely" we mean use strategies to anticipate auto driver stupidity, actively look for potential hazards that might arise from auto driver stupidity, separate the hazards, and be prepared to act to defend yourself from the idiotic maneuvers of the ignorant auto driver. To this end Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers provides some SMART strategies for riding your bike on streets populated by auto drivers who, unfortunately, have not been educated about dangers they pose to us, or the simple and ordinary strategies which auto drivers should, but don't, employ to avoid causing our deaths and serious injuries.
You can consider the "ride safely" strategies more extensively on the "Smart Safety Strategies For Dealing With Dumb Auto Drivers" page. But while we have your attention, permit us to mention just a few: (1) Use your eyes constantly. Actively scan for the potential hazards posed by dumb auto drivers when you ride. Actively look for hazards over the distance you will travel 14 seconds ahead of you, with the distance within 4 seconds being the immediate danger zone. This includes looking for cars approaching intersections from all directions, and do NOT expect that ignorant or "blind" auto drivers will respect your right of way. Stay aware of the cars in your adjoining lanes, moving quickly through their rear view mirror blind spots. Look out for cars parked on the side of the street, keeping alert for a turn indicator light or brake or reverse light, and for occupants in the driver's seat who might decide to pull out into your lane of traffic without turning their heads. (Also scan for road defects, pot holes, gravel, oil, and consider pedestrians and animals which might run out into your path.) (2) Separate your hazards. If you see more than one potential hazard, separate them so that you will only have to deal with one at a time. For example, on a freeway, if you are in the right-most lane and there is a car approaching from behind in the lane to your immediate left and another car entering by the freeway ramp to your right, slow down or speed up in anticipation that one or the other or both of these predictably "dumb" auto drivers may do something predictably stupid so that your accident avoidance options are maximized. (3) Provide ample space between you and other motorists by keeping up with traffic but remaining a safe distance behind the car in front of you. And that is not just the distance you would need to stop if the auto driver in front slammed on his brakes. You have to consider that there is another ignorant auto driver behind you who you can predict to have no clue how quickly you can stop you bike, and is probably following way too close to avoid hitting you if you stop as quickly as you can. So you must leave sufficient car lengths between your bike and the car in front of you to slow at the speed it will take the car behind you to brake if you don't want your bike and body pinned between the unforgiving metal of these two cars; (3) Choose your position in your lane of traffic to minimize risk, considering (a) providing the best and greatest number of escape routes; (b) increasing your visibility to other motorists, © avoiding auto driver blind spots, (d) communicating your driving intentions; (e) increasing your ability to observe potential hazards; (f) avoiding road defects/surface hazards; and (g) protecting your lane from other motorists. (4) Ride within your limits and the limits of your bike. A stretched and radically raked Harley chopper is going to have more limited ability than a sport bike for accident avoidance, such as swerving, our two quick counter-steers that will often get us out of predicaments caused by idiotic auto drivers. Each biker also has his own limits which are a function of his individual reaction time, and level of experience riding his bike, among dozens of other factors. All of us can ride with roughly equal "relative safety," recognizing that we all face the same hazards, including those posed by dumb drivers, if we ride within our limitations and the limitations of our bikes. That isn't to say that we can eliminate the dangers, particular the dangers associated with the stupid things that auto drivers do. But by riding within our limitations we can avoid the 20 percent of motorcycle accidents in which our own negligence is statistically a contributing factor.
Motorcycle Insurance: Since You Cannot Rely On Auto Drivers to Carry Liability Insurance Adequate to Pay for the Serious or Catastrophic Injuries They Commonly Wreck Upon Motorcyclists, Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers Advises That You Obtain The Highest Policy Limit Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage That You Can Find to Assure that You and Your Family Will Not Face Financial Disaster In the Event You Encounter an Inattentive or Reckless Auto Driver..
There isn't an "old timer" who hasn't been in a serious motorcycle accident caused by the inattention or negligence of an ignorant auto driver. And it doesn't matter how experienced a rider you are. As noted above, fully two-thirds of motorcycle accidents are cause exclusively by the auto driver's negligence without any fault of the motorcyclist. Additionally, because we don't have thousands of pounds of metal surrounding us, protection designed interior padding, seat belts and air bags, very often motorcycle accidents will result in serious injuries. However, more commonly than not the ignorant auto driver who causes the accident will also be woefully underinsured and impecunious, unable to pay for our medical expenses and loss of earnings, let alone what might be the catastrophic impact upon our future lifestyle. The only way that a biker can be assured of compensation for accidents caused by the idiotic antics of auto drivers is to obtain uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for himself. Generally speaking, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage provides compensation above the policy limits of the at fault auto driver's liability policy, both for your economic damages and your general damages up to the limits of the UM coverage. To take an example, if the at-fault auto driver has $15,000 in liability coverage and you have $500,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, the auto driver's insurance company would pay the first $15,000 and your insurance company would pay the next $485,000, up to the limits of your UM coverage. Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers considers that given the percentage of motorcycle accidents that are auto driver at-fault accidents, and the general failure of auto drivers to purchase liability policies adequate to cover the consequences of the serious injuries they will likely cause a motorcyclist, that it only makes sense to obtain the highest uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that you can. (The above is not intended as legal advice, and may be subject to nuances of state law. The recommendation is based on general principles of law generally common in most states. You should inquire further with your local insurance agent. As a matter of policy, Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers takes no position with regard to the relative strengths of policies offered by particular insurance companies. Again, this is a matter for you to discuss with your agent.)
Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers, A Bikers Rights Forum, Welcomes Your Thoughts, Criticisms, Ideas, Encouragement.You may write to Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers and your thoughts will be given serious consideration. We also welcome your criticism, because if there is any way we can improve our efforts to achieve the purpose of enhancing motorcycle safety, we want to do so. Give us the benefit of your ideas. If you would like to join the Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers mailing list, we would be pleased also to keep you abreast of our activities and accomplishments.