I am a long time AMA member. Just to make sure we're on the same page, that's the American Motorcyclist Association. This organization is providing an opportunity for riders to further the cause of motorcycle safety training. Each individual contribution is relatively small. Collectively, though, we can make a huge difference in keeping riders alive and well on the streets.
The last major study of motorcycle crashes was released in 1981. It was called the "Motorcycle Accidents: Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures" study. Otherwise known as the Hurt Report. Not because people got hurt, ( although they did ) but after the lead researcher, Dr. Harry Hurt.
From this study we learned that motorcyclists are more vulnerable, less visible, and that making good decisions is critical for a rider. We saw how vital it was to be able to provide rider education. Most of what is being taught even today is based upon the results of that study. Mental strategies to deal with "blind" motorists and other hazards were developed and taught. The study exposed what physical skills were lacking in accident involved riders. These skills are now being taught as "accident avoidance skills". Most riders take up learning these when they're avoiding an accident. That's a bummer of a time to start. Rider education gives us a chance to be prepared ahead of time.
It's all good but we live in a world that's vastly different today. Things exist now that didn't back then. Some examples are the myriad of drivers distracted by cell phones, SUV's, anti-lock and linked brakes, sport bikes that are ungodly fast, the proliferation of scooters, and the sheer volume of traffic, to name but a few. It's time for a new study.
The good news is that the federal government has funded just such a project. The AMA was heavily involved in this effort. A transportation bill was passed in 2005 that allocated almost $3 million dollars to a new study. Sounds great, right? Ah, but there's a condition attached to the money. Motorcyclists are required to match the funds before the government releases theirs.
The motorcycle industry is putting up a significant chunk of it. The AMA is also committed to funding a large share. Even with that, there's a need for additional funds. That's where the individual riders come in. This study will benefit us as well as future riders. If the collective motorcycle world doesn't come up with the funds to match, who knows how long it will be before the government decides to offer it again. As you can imagine, as a motorcycle training professional, this kind of study is dear to my heart. It's something that we sorely need.
The AMA is asking individual motorcyclists ( that would be us ) to get involved. It's an effort called "Fueling the Fund. They are asking that riders contribute what they can. A suggested amount is the price of a single fillup ( hence the "fueling" part of the name ). The AMA has made it easy to participate. Clicking on this link will take you to a secure website where riders can donate online.
Those who prefer the postal system can send a donation to:
Fueling the Fund
13515 Yarmouth Drive
Pickerington, OH 43147
If you feel so moved, your help will keep us moving in the right direction. Please mention it to those you know that ride. This is an excellent cause.
Miles and smiles,