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Someone once told me that motorcyclists have 2 times as many fatalities as bicyclists and 10 times as many as car drivers. Motorbikes are dangerous but they probably aren't that lethal. Another published statistic 'proves' you are 56 times more likely to be killed when walking than when riding in a car...on a per mile traveled basis. All popular statistics are somewhat biased by social bigotry. Antimotorcycle prejudices thrive because bikes are 'non conforming' vehicles. What makes them seem excessively risky is...partly...that they are potentially disruptive to the order of our transportation system. Superior nimbleness causes bikes to be subconsciously seen as mildly threatening and seditious. Our road network is optimized for cars and light trucks so this bias is well rooted and insidious. Motorcycling may statistically chart as being riskier because more riders are young, male, and risk (speed/performance) oriented,...or because social drinking may more often be combined with riding than with overall driving activities. Riders sometimes become cynical, alienated or estranged after they've accepted the apparently increased risks of riding in return for it�s greater efficiency, enjoyment and fun.
Written for the Daily Rider by
Recommended Reading from Progress:
Surface Transportation Policy Project
Volume X, Number 3; June 2000 Bureau of Transportation
Divorce Your Car! Ending the Love Affair with the Automobile,
Katie Alvorod, 2000. New Society Publishing
Toward Sustainable Communities - Transition and Transportation in Environmental Policy,
Daniel Mazmanian and Michael Kraft, eds., 2000 MIT Press
Transportation of Liveable Cities, Vukan R. Vuchic, 2000 CUPR Press
Green Urbanism: Learning from European Cities,
Timothy Beatley, 2000 Island Press
Car Free in Cleveland, Alt-Trans Cleveland, 2000 Alt Trans Cleveland Project; EcoCity Cleveland
The Charter of the New Urbanism, Congress for the New Urbanism,
1999 McGraw Hill Professional Publishing
Designing Sustainable Communities - Learning from Village Homes, Judy and Michael Corbett, 2000 Island Press
Car Free Cities,
J.H. Crawford, 2000 Paul & Poe Press
Parking Spaces - A Design, Implentation, and Use Manual for Architects,
Planners and Engineers, Mark Childs, 1999
McGraw Hill Text
The Wealth of Cities - Revitalizing the Centers of American Life,
John O. Norquist, 2000 Perseus Press
The Old Neighborhood - What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration: 1966 - 1999, Ray Suarez, 1999 Free Press
Sprawl City - Race, Politics, and Planning in Atlanta,
Robert D. Bullard, Glenn S. Johnson, and Angel O. Torres, eds., 2000 Island Press
The Nature of Economics,
Jane Jacobs, 2000 Modem Library
The Livable City - Revitalizing Urban Communities, Partners for Livable Communities,
2000 McGraw Hill
Sprawl Busting: State Programs to Guide Growth,
Jerry Weitz, 1999 Planners Press
Bobos in Paradise - The New Upper Class and How They Got There,
David Brooks, 2000 Simon & Schuster
Roads - Driving America�s Great Highways, Larry McMurty, 2000 Simon & Schuster
Outside Lies Magic - Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places,
John Stilgoe, 1998 Walker & Co.
It's nice to see you undertaking this project! I have a couple of questions about statements in your newsletter (IssueNo.1).
"One thing we know is that the accident rate for motorcyclists has been declining for many years. Riders now are a much safer group than in the '50s, '60s,and '70s. And through the '80s and '90s things seemed to improve even more, though the decline in registrations at the same time had to have been a large part of the explanation. Motorcycling has undergone another boom, however, and more people are riding again. Unavoidably, with greater exposure comes more accidents, though the best data we've seen recently still indicate that the number of riders is increasing faster than the accident rate, which means that on the whole, motorcyclists are safer than ever. This fact is being ignored. Motorcycle accidents are perceived differently from other traffic incidents; car wrecks are considered regrettable, but a cultural norm; the same result on a motorcycle is viewed as senseless. Or worse, inevitable.
Motorcycles are potentially dangerous, of course, but they don't have to be. The risk inherent to motorcycling seems to me a frictionless sliding scale: depending entirely on your own approach, it can move freely between safe and relaxed recreation and something verging on suicide. No other vehicle offers the movement so easily from one extreme to the other. So yes, you need to think about what you do and be careful."