Motorcycles save on gas, but pose danger to inexperienced

Full story: LA Daily News

More Los Angeles County commuters are riding motorcycles to save money on gas - then crashing them and dying.
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1 - 17 of 17 Comments Last updated Aug 14, 2008
Harry

Hermosa Beach, CA

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#1
Jul 31, 2008
 
New riders, please at the very least spend a weekend at Willow Springs Raceway. To turn right on a street bike you push on the right hand grip, left/left. Never squeeze hard on the brakes while leaned over and I beg ya not to ride the Angeles Crest Highway at Mach III. Always consider the barriers up there are steel and after hitting one of them you will look like a blend of watermelon and ground beef. Save the high intensity riding for the track and best wishes surviving out there.
Dino

Covina, CA

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#2
Jul 31, 2008
 
Good advice Harry...
The article was fairly well written too...

People need to understand, you have to crawl before you walk or run. Start with a smaller bike, get some skills and seat time under you before you buy the biggest, baddest thing you can (or can't) afford and end up dying on it.

It takes time and you're going to hit the pavement at some point or another. Rather have a nice low-speed dump than a high-speed splatter.

Road-Rash hurts!!!
Dave- Chatsworth

Palm Desert, CA

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#3
Jul 31, 2008
 
I had a friend die on a motorcycle when I was 20. He was 6' 9" riding on a bike too small for him in Simi Valley just after the 118 went through. Late at night he hit a deer that was crossing the freeway and ended up in a close casket ceremony that I had to preside over for my DeMolay Chapter's funeral service...

Today I see riders wearing helmets from little brain buckets to $900 carbon fiber/graphite jobs. The last rider I saw was riding north on Topanga Cyn. Blvd. in Canoga Park with a nice, expensive helmet, a light jacket, shorts and tennis shoes. Now I ask you, what good is protecting your head when you get in a collision or lay your bike down when the rest of your body ends up as a mangled mess? I guess you can get an open casket service...

I watch for motorcycles and bicycle riders and give them some room when I can.

Note to riders... spend a little money out there, protect yourselves and don't think extra safety equipment makes you look like a p***y. It makes you look smart.
Barstow guy

Barstow, CA

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#4
Jul 31, 2008
 
I'd like to see a % of accidents caused by unsafe motorcyclists

And then

A % of accidents caused by douchebags on cell phones, people who don't use blinkers, people so fat they can't turn around or look in a side mirror. People who saw the fast and furious too many times, passing on a double yellow, text messaging on a cell while driving, DVD players playing while driving, adjusting their radio stations, changing CD's, falling asleep.

Yes taking a motorcycle saftey course can prepare you to look for everything. But let's be serious.
Idiots in cars cause more accidents than motorcyclists.

Ppl in cars need to start paying attention to their driving instead of every freaking thing else.
Paul

Alhambra, CA

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#5
Jul 31, 2008
 
I commute 105 miles a day, from RSM to Torrance. See lots of bikes these days, but not enough safety gear being worn. The 405 is grooved pavement, which can shread street clothing like a cheese grater. Riding pants with armor, motorcycle boots, motorcycle jacket with armor, leather or armored gloves and a full face helmet will allow you to walk away from a crash with minor injuries.
Al Bear

United States

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#6
Jul 31, 2008
 
I see lots of @-h0le$ out on the freeway, riding wrecklessly, lane splitting at 2X the speed of traffic and really being jerks. I've also seen riders doing wheelies on the street.

About the savings in riding motorcycles, I myself pass. If you wipe out on one, there goes all the money you "saved" by not driving. I'm not saying that all motorcycle riders are bad, but a small percentage gives all of them a bad rap.
PinkBlur on the 101

Los Angeles, CA

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#7
Jul 31, 2008
 
I agree. I've been riding for 12 years. It took me a few years to feel comfortable enough to ride on the freeway. The training course should be mandatory for EVERYONE. I took it and learned so much. Plus it was fun!
Matt Cuddy

Burbank, CA

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#8
Jul 31, 2008
 
It's the ones you don't see that get you. An SUV rear-ended me going about sixty, I was going about 25, and almost killed me. Now I'm paralyzed from the waist down, struggling to live again. There will always be worse things than dying.
jon

Los Angeles, CA

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#9
Jul 31, 2008
 
After 35 years of riding accident free I was finally hit on my motorcycle last year. Guess what she was doing when she hit me? LA drivers are the most unconscious in the US mostly because 95% aren't from here. I want to ask them "Did you drive that badly when you lived in Cheesehead, Wisconcin or Rapstarwannabe, New York? " I wonder how many people died because somebody just had to make a phone call?
I hate the environment

San Diego, CA

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#10
Jul 31, 2008
 
jon wrote:
After 35 years of riding accident free I was finally hit on my motorcycle last year. Guess what she was doing when she hit me? LA drivers are the most unconscious in the US mostly because 95% aren't from here. I want to ask them "Did you drive that badly when you lived in Cheesehead, Wisconcin or Rapstarwannabe, New York? " I wonder how many people died because somebody just had to make a phone call?
your 100 percent right but no one will say it because all the douchebags do it can't wait 10 minutes to talk on their phone
Venice

Los Angeles, CA

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#11
Jul 31, 2008
 
Been riding for ten years. Almost got hit at an intersection last week. Even if I was in a car, the van would have hit me. Four way intersections are very common places for accidents to occur. Take the extra two seconds to look ALL ways. I did and avoided the guy in the van who speed through the red light way after it turned red. My instinct said "self, take extra precaution through intersections." Thank my higher power because that van was doing at least 50 and would have plowed me to the ground.
Bill

Reseda, CA

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#12
Aug 1, 2008
 
Another motorcyclist taken down by the drive by media it seems.

While the article advises riders to get more training in an attempt to stay alive, it seems the automobile driver is safely free from any responsibility for any of the accidents in the statistics quoted. Content (statistics) without context is pre-text, and the supposition of this piece is that motorcycle riders are largely uneducated louts killing themselves and car drivers can only sit by and watch. Maybe simply paying attention to the world around you when operating a 3000+ Lb. vehicle is too much to ask…

The last comprehensive study of motorcycle accidents (The “Hurt Report” 1981) shows %75 of all motorcycle accidents, are mutli-vehicle accidents and that 2/3’s of those are caused by the automobile driver failing the yield the right of way to the motorcyclist.
While this information may seem outdated, we can all be pleased that new data will be forthcoming as congress has pledged $2.8M for a new comprehensive study. This figure has now been matched by the American Motorcyclist Association & motorcycle manufacturers.

If riding a motorcycle for 20+ years has taught me anything it’s heightened situational awareness on the road, and to be a better citizen of the roads. We may not all be going the same place but for now, we’re all going the same way and we may as well get along. We’re all in this together after all.
Dino

Covina, CA

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#13
Aug 2, 2008
 
Bill wrote:
Another motorcyclist taken down by the drive by media it seems.
While the article advises riders to get more training in an attempt to stay alive, it seems the automobile driver is safely free from any responsibility for any of the accidents in the statistics quoted. Content (statistics) without context is pre-text, and the supposition of this piece is that motorcycle riders are largely uneducated louts killing themselves and car drivers can only sit by and watch. Maybe simply paying attention to the world around you when operating a 3000+ Lb. vehicle is too much to ask…
The last comprehensive study of motorcycle accidents (The “Hurt Report” 1981) shows %75 of all motorcycle accidents, are mutli-vehicle accidents and that 2/3’s of those are caused by the automobile driver failing the yield the right of way to the motorcyclist.
While this information may seem outdated, we can all be pleased that new data will be forthcoming as congress has pledged $2.8M for a new comprehensive study. This figure has now been matched by the American Motorcyclist Association & motorcycle manufacturers.
If riding a motorcycle for 20+ years has taught me anything it’s heightened situational awareness on the road, and to be a better citizen of the roads. We may not all be going the same place but for now, we’re all going the same way and we may as well get along. We’re all in this together after all.
Very well put...

There were no MSF training courses when I started riding. Just handed you a permit and put you out on the street. Sort of like "Sink or Swim".Had to learn how to survive by yourself back then. Hate the mandatory helmet law. But, I rode with a helmet back before it became mandatory. Too many close calls on the So Cal freeways not to wear one.

Big problem we have in California is the lack of Motorcycle awareness information. All the training and safety stuff is aimed at the rider. Nothing is aimed at the motorist. That would help.

But, we've also got lot of young folks that are full of testosterone riding hi-performance sport bikes and getting in over their heads. Not a good combination for a long life of riding...
Lee Elfenbein

Richmond, CA

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#14
Aug 6, 2008
 
" Lane Spliting" is reckless, dangerous and should be illegal in CA, like all the other states in this country. Driving between the cars thru traffic is stupid no matter that the CHP motorcycle cops do it. It adds to car drivers anger when a bike squeezes in front of you only to stop short and forces you to back off his rear.
Bill

Reseda, CA

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#15
Aug 6, 2008
 
Rather than write a knee-jerk emotional reaction Lee, why not check the facts, then post? A 30% reduction in rear end collisions doesn't sound reckless at all.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lane_splitting
"The Hurt Report, published in 1981 and based on accident data gathered in the 1970's, concluded that lane splitting reduces rear end crashes and improves motorcycle safety. FARS data from the United States Department of Transportation shows that rear end collisions with motorcycles are 30% lower in California (the only US state where it is legal) than in Florida or Texas, states with similar riding seasons and populations."

Car drivers also get angry when car drivers squeeze in front of them & stop short don't they? Road rage incidents would suggest that your fellow automobile drivers aren't spared that at all. I suggest that because motorcycles are different, they are easier to pick out and make the target of your road frustration.(Doesn't racisim work much the same way?)

Also, lane splitting didn't start just to help traffic flow. Early motorcycles were air cooled and when air is not moving around the engine, they would overheat. This would leave a broken motorcycle in the middle of the road, so they decided that allowing the motorcycle to continue moving & not break would be a better course of action.
Dino

Covina, CA

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#16
Aug 7, 2008
 
Early motorcycles? Until recently, past 20-25 years, just about all motorcycles were air cooled. Mine is. 21 years old and I guess that makes it "Old Technology".

But, done with care and courtesy (from both car and bike) lane-splitting is safe. But, there are risks. Just have to be willing to take those risks. If you're on a bike, its risky to begin with.
Rafael Rivero

Fremont, CA

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#17
Aug 14, 2008
 
Need to read article..

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