Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Vankaye, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. Vankaye

    Vankaye n00b on the move

    Mar 14, 2009
    I know this has been beat to death as a topic but I felt compelled to discuss it today.
    I have a habit of reading every local story about motorcycle accidents and fatalities in the Tampa Bay area. Believe me when I say there is no shortage of serious and tragic wrecks in this area. We also ride year long so it doesn't ever stop. I read these article to keep myself in check when I ride.

    There are always combination of common denominators as contributing factors in fatal motorcycle accidents but it seems the most common is speeding. It's always speeding and no helmet -or- speeding and alcohol -or- speeding and left turners... Sometimes speeding is not proven and not mentioned in the articles. However, it's not hard to figure out when a 22 year old kid looses control of his bike [all by himself] on a straight away at 2am and ends up being killed on the guardrail, that he was probably flicking the throttle or pushing himself beyond his limits somehow.

    It is my personal opinion that there is almost no situation that speeding can solve that slowing would not have a safer and equal result. Even if I am being tailgated, I slow down and wave the tailgater on by.

    I am no expert by any means. I mostly ride dirt and I have been street-riding off and on for about 30 years without going down and that's the only thing I am good at. I don't speed. I don't like to speed. Hell, I can't even do a wheelie. Every situation I have avoided to date has been with the ability to brake and avoid. I feel like scrubbing speed has always been my best tool for avoidance.

    Please don't admonish my position, I am just wanting to have a discussion after being saddened by reading about another seemingly senseless motorcycle fatality in my area.

    Ride Safely My Friends
  2. JRP

    JRP Old guy

    Apr 4, 2004
    Hampden, MA
    And if you really need to speed, do a track day
  3. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

    Sep 8, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    Well, I like going fast, always did, but never needed or used more speed to get out of a jam.
    I don't get in a jam in the first place.

    Modern sport bikes leave no room for error, they can get up to high speeds very quickly...

    I think there are more accidents involving bikes not being able to make a turn (due to lack of lean angle) then sport bike crashes around here.
  4. Offcamber

    Offcamber Long timer

    Aug 23, 2010
    New Hampshire
    I lived in Carrollwood for 10 years....seemed there was always a fatality on the Courtney Cambel-causway on the Tampa side...bikes use to scream over that bridge at night, cars just couldn't judge the speed they were coming at and pulled right out in front of a bike going 100+ mph.
  5. Rob.G

    Rob.G Mostly Harmless

    Jan 14, 2010
    Fulltiming in an RV! Currently Arizona
    Riding a motorcycle takes a lot more common sense than the average person has these days. Most motorcycles are pretty doggone fast, and can get somebody into trouble really quickly. I'm glad I didn't start riding til I was on the other side of 40; had I started in my teenage years or 20's, I probably would be a statistic as well.

    IMO, the term "speeding" is offensive. It's because the term has been used by the group I call the Safety Nazis (such as Ralph Nader and his ilk) to try to force everybody to do things their way, because they think they know better than everybody else.

    Remember the 55 mph National Maximum Speed Limit? This piece of crap law was enacted by Richard Nixon as an answer to the oil embargo of the 1970's. What happened in turn was the birth of new ways to abuse the public. Cops discovered they could write tons of tickets, especially given their fancy new radar guns. The gov't passed a law REQUIRING insurance companies to raise the rates of people who got speeding tickets. And so the insurance industry learned just how much they could rape the public.

    So since that time, "speed enforcement" has become big business. Local governments have learned that they can post their speed limits at pretty much any speed they want (in direct defiance of federal law stating how limits must be set), and rake in the money. Red light cameras are the same way. The Mainstream Media screams about all these horrible people running red lights, when in actuality, every single time the yellow light timing has been set according to FEDERAL ENGINEERING SPECIFICATIONS, the cameras have become unprofitable. Cities figured out if they shorten up the yellow light timing, they can create more tickets.

    But then we have motorcycles, and the point of your post -- I know, you're pointing out how there are people who are definitely killed because they're going too fast. And I call that, "too fast for conditions." Because really, a "speed limit" is actually pointless. It has no meaning at all. The number on that sign can change given the political climate of the area. Heck, look at the interstates. 55 mph. Everything was 55. Then they bumped it up to 65 for "some" stretches of interstate. Then finally in 1995, the NMSL was overturned, and states were once again allowed to set their own limits.

    Now, Texas has stretches of road set at 80 mph. This same stretch of road was posted 55 mph and then 65 mph... all in the name of, "safety." Yet it handles 80 mph just fine. Yeah cars have gotten better, but frankly, cars have been very good since the mid 80's.

    Me, I'm tired of some bureaucrat telling me that if I go over a number on a sign, that I'm being unsafe. That's bullshit. Every road has a speed limit -- but that actual limit varies from person to person, to vehicle to vehicle, and from time of day and weather conditions.

    BUT... because of these stupid speed limit signs, we have people who are scared to ever exceed them. This is how we get moving road blocks, whether it's on the freeway or on a four-lane urban road. They won't move over to let faster vehicles pass... they insist they'll get a ticket if they do. And besides, they feel like it's their civic duty to keep you from, "speeding" (in their mind).

    IMO, the whole Speed Limit thing is largely responsible for the attitude on the roads today. If we simply were allowed to travel at a Reasonable and Prudent speed, and cops actually did their jobs and OBSERVED traffic, rather than munching on donuts and waiting for the alarm on their radar gun to go off telling them a nearby vehicle has exceeded some arbitrary number, the roads would be safer.

    Back to your post... I do agree that there are a lot of people on motorcycles that go entirely too fast. Many of them pay the ultimate price. Part of me says fine, let them. Let's thin out the gene pool. But another part of me says that more training would help a lot -- and I bet it would. Heck, driving in general... the US has virtually NO driver training. You read a thin driving manual, go take a written exam of maybe 20-50 questions, then drive around the block and you're awarded a license. In Europe, it's a lot different. It takes many hours of training and can cost up ward of $1500 to get a license. For motorcycles, it's similar... they have a tiered system that limits the amount of power a bike can have for the first few years. This is probably a very good thing, and would go a long way to keep younger people from taking out roadside trees.

    Now I've been rambling for a bit.. I've been interrupted a few times since I'm here at work during lunch.. and I'm losing focus. So I'll close with... I feel your pain, I can sympathize to a point, but society is fucked up and needs to change in many ways.

  6. mb90535im

    mb90535im '05 R1200 GS

    Jun 8, 2008
    NW GA
    My friends and I typically ride at a "spirited" pace. It might on occasion involve speeds greater than the posted speed limit.
  7. oldschoolsk8ter

    oldschoolsk8ter Adventurer

    Jul 9, 2007
    Riding above the posted speed limit does not automatically make something unsafe.

    Have the deaths been pretty much constant over time? or is the internet just allowing a proliferation of articles that you would not see in earlier years?:ear
  8. Vankaye

    Vankaye n00b on the move

    Mar 14, 2009
    Yep, exactly what I'm talking about. Just last week a 20-something with his girlfriend on the back, took himself out and critically injured his girlfriend on the causeway. They hit a stationary Florida Highway Patrol vehicle that was sitting at a road construction detail with his flashing lights on. He was surrounded by highway cones (I drove past the site the night before) This darwin-award-winner managed to get thru the cones that closed the lanes and hit the stationary cruiser at full speed. He hit the cruiser so hard the Officer was injured as well!!! :huh
  9. Mordgier

    Mordgier Adventurer

    Jul 10, 2009
    Speed alone is almost never the cause of any accident.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Combine speed with any of the following:<o:p></o:p>
    Poor Road Conditions<o:p></o:p>
    Poor Visibility<o:p></o:p>
    Unfamiliar Road<o:p></o:p>
    Peer pressure
    Heavy traffic
    ...and you have an accident waiting to happen.<o:p></o:p>
    I don't like the concept of "speeding" because I have seen many riders who were unsafe at any speed due to their total lack of experience.<o:p></o:p>
    Someone who has been riding for several years and is comfortable on the bike they are riding can safely exceed the posted limit in favorable conditions.<o:p></o:p>
    I often read motorcycle accident reports as well, (just add "motorcycle" to google news), and yeah come spring, the number of crashes is hard to swallow. Yet once you read the ages and types of bikes involved it's pretty easy to identify the drunk guy on the cruiser and the inexperienced kid on a supersport.<o:p></o:p>
    The sad thing is, nothing you say or do will keep the guy on the supersport from doing 100+ or keep the guy on the cruiser from drinking. Don't even try to get either one of them to wear some gear...lost cause there too. It seems that all the squids think that they don't need gear, ABS or traction control - yet they need a supersport bike on which even pros keep those aides on.
  10. eatpasta

    eatpasta Lawnmower Target

    Jul 5, 2006
    Santa Barbara, Ca

  11. eatpasta

    eatpasta Lawnmower Target

    Jul 5, 2006
    Santa Barbara, Ca
    That might be fine for where you live, but I'm guessing you've never spent any time riding in a city. Around here they had to start taking out the red light cameras because people were being killed stopping at red lights eg; if you're not running red lights, you're about to be run over.
    The way I ride in an urban area is EXACTLY the opposite - you HAVE To keep moving in order to not get hit. As soon as you "stagnate" in traffic, you're going to be taken out. I've been hit enough times to know what works and what doesn't.

    I can't for the life of me remember where I read the study concerning car drivers and how they associate more with horizontal lines than vertical ones so essentially bikes will disappear in the field of vision of a cager, but if you ride slowly in front of cars (or Lawn Mowers) for long enough, you will be taken out. I have some experience in this area.

    I'll take the ticket every single time - it's ALWAYS better than being hit.
  12. DavidBanner

    DavidBanner Banned

    Oct 6, 2012
    Planet earf.
    speed gets you where you're going, faster...even if it's just "all the way to the scene of the crash."
  13. concours

    concours WFO for 44 years

    Dec 2, 2008
    Kensington, NH USA
    My favorite news line: "speed, is thought to have been a factor in the crash" Not, EXCESSIVE speed... just "speed", We use some everyday, to get anywhere. The sensationalist press is just another way our Nanny State society villainizes GENERALLY.
    That being said, there is a time and a place for everything. One of my pet-peeves.. 40 mph in a parking lot.. pedestrians and vehicles backing everywhere, and still the uptights RACE through there. I always idle in first gear, bike or car. Just my .02
  14. Racer111v

    Racer111v Long timer

    Aug 21, 2011
    Hudson, NH
    After road racing for a few years, I had to stop street riding for a while. My comfort zone had been raised way too high. I felt way too at ease at 80 mph. I have never been a street racer.
    I generally ride around the speed limit, but the situation has more influence on me than a sign. Law enforcement is one of the factors that influences me.:D
    After years in the saddle, fate still ways on my mind. Once I was riding by myself on Rt 202 in Maine south bound out of Gray. At about 70 mph I see something flash across in front of me (like 10' in front of me). It was a car that had blown through a stop sign at a cross road to 202. A fraction of a mph faster and I would have truly been dead. A lot faster or slower and I would never have known about the car blowing across the road. :1drink
  15. Wraith Rider

    Wraith Rider Banned

    Feb 11, 2012
    I ride at the speed I think is safe. That may be more than double or less than half the posted speed limit.
  16. RustyStuff

    RustyStuff Long timer

    Jan 14, 2012
    There is a right time and place for everything.

    I see nothing wrong with rideing at a quick pace, on a deserted road that you know well, when it's devoid of traffic and the conditions are good for it. I don't often speed when the "limit" is 60 though, the roads around here are not in that good of shape.
  17. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

    Mar 18, 2007
    Begin Op Zoom
    IMO speeding is the safest way to ride. Not excessive speed mind you but it is a very rare thing for me to be riding at or below the speed limit.

    I ride Assertively. What does that mean? I go slightly faster than the flow of traffic over 95% of the time. (even when that flow is well over the limit)

    I NEVER need to be the fastest vehicle on the road. In fact I prefer if a few others speed on ahead to be my pilot car. :D

    Why do I think faster than traffic is the safe way?

    First: It puts the rider in control vs. being at the mercy of what is coming from behind.
    Second: All those vehicles that you have just passed (in a reasonable and prudent manner) now know you are there which reduces the risk of being rear-ended in the event of a traffic slowdown in places where lane sharing is NOT allowed.

    I do not condone Excessive Speed. Like others have said: "Take It To The Track"

    Always ride reasonable and prudent to road conditions, visibility and traffic.

    Be Polite BUT BE ASSERTIVE!!! (and live to ride another day)
  18. hamiamham

    hamiamham Been here awhile

    Jun 6, 2010
    The last comprehensive accident study - at least that I can find - in the US is the aptly named "Hurt Report" - after Dr. Hurt who ran the study. It can be found here: http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~john/vfr/hurt.html / Sadly it was published in 1981 from data collected in the mid-70's.

    The Europeans did a more recent study and it can be found here: http://www.maids-study.eu/pdf/MAIDS2.pdf

    There are lies, damn lies and statistics but I think each have a lot of value.

    Read the executive summary of each.
  19. farmerstu

    farmerstu Been here awhile

    Apr 24, 2011
    Minnesota west central
    that is exactly my thoughts. in addition in most situations i prefer the far left lane and if at all possible i keep the car on my right in front or behind me but i never sit with one on my 3. good post dakez
  20. windmill

    windmill Long timer

    Feb 18, 2008
    Kent, Washington State
    Please forgive me for picking on you, but the lines I selected from your post reflect common attitudes. I don't necessarily disagree with what you said, but I do question how practical these sentiments are.

    It is human nature to not want to be told what to do, to think were a little better than others, and have superior judgment.

    You discredit speed laws as arbitrary, which they are, suggesting folks should be left to their own judgment, and have cops enforce by their personal judgment rather than those arbitrary laws.
    Are you sure being subject to an individuals judgment rather than set rules is a good idea? Laws may be arbitrary, but they are a known standard not subject to one persons prejudices.

    While it is possible to nit pick our system and engage in endless rhetorical arguments based on individual philosophies, is it really that bad? IMO, our system works rather well in the big picture.

    Crazy you say? Think about it.

    Our traffic laws may be excessively conservative, but enforcement is rather sparse and predictable, we are actually fairly free to do what we want. Speed in its self is not dangerous, its the lack of skill, awareness, or judgment in its use that is.

    If we ride regularly beyond our abilities or conditions, physics will make it painfully obvious and soon correct us.
    If we have more than a very rare encounter with law enforcement, clearly we don't have adequate awareness and/or judgment for our choices and johnny law will correct us.

    Speed laws may be arbitrary,
    But they do give a fairly useful indication of possible conditions. Having to watch for johnny law keeps us alert, looking for him we may see that deer, kid, old lady, spilled fuel or countless other hazards. If were not paying enough attention to avoid johnny law, what else are we missing?

    Arbitrary? mostly. Without merit? rarely. Worth fretting over? never.

    It begs an answer to 2 questions,

    If we were allowed to choose by our own judgment rather than arbitrary laws, would you.......

    1; Ride significantly differently than you do now?

    2; Need/use any less skill, awareness, or judgment?