Saturday, September 22, 2007

From the Insurance Industry's perspective.

In the last post I shared the recommendations from the governmental agency side. Now here's the viewpoint on motorcycle fatalities from the insurance industry's point of view. At least you know where these folks are coming from. It's all about the $$$$$!.

Some interesting things from this report are that they lay a lot of blame on the so-called "Super-Sport" type of motorcycle. I'm not sure that I'm comfortable with identifying one type of bike as the problem. In the same report it says that registrations of these kind of bikes is up 83%. To me, more numbers means more fatalities by representation.

The report states that rider education isn't a magic bullet. That motorcycle rights groups shouldn't offer safety training as an alternative to helmets. I can agree with that part. Being safe on a bike is a combination of many factors. The IIHS says the real answer is in more rigid implementation and enforcement of helmet laws.

Where this all goes awry is in different parts of this report. For example, it states that 71 percent of the supersport riders wear helmets. The report outlines how these young riders outfit themselves in racing leathers and full face helmets to emulate their track heroes. Let me see. They have gear nearly equal to racers and yet they suffer fatalities? The reasoning of the report doesn't make sense to me.

Here's another thing to look at. Despite saying that rider education has little effect, the report states that riders who suffer fatalities, regardless of the bike they ride, share the same characteristics. Namely, that they're likely to speed, ride impaired, etc. How are helmet laws going to be the magic bullet here? Isn't the answer to get riders to take responsibility for themselves in the first place? I'm not taking a stand on mandatory helmet laws; I'm merely stating that these aren't the magic bullets, either.

Want to look at the report? Click here. The report's very colorful, by the way.

Be sure to come back, though. You might also find some amusement and insight by clicking here, too.

This is a blog post by Wendy Moon. She's a moto-journalist. Several of her articles on rider education have been published in Motorcycle Consumer News. Wendy has an interesting way of looking at the world. Just remember that this is her own take on things. Wendy and I see eye to eye on some stuff and not so much on others. This post doesn't necesarily reflect my own thoughts. It's just a different viewpoint.

Hopefully this will help keep you entertained for the weekend. Next week I'm starting a small push to go back to having fun. I miss telling funny stories of commuting and working on a bike. Time to go back to laughing!

Miles and smiles,

Dan

3 comments:

Steve Williams said...

Both this and your last post were good to read. I can't help but think that there is no magic bullet that will bring down fatalities. It's too complicated as you imply and there are too many personal decisions and inclinations that contribute to terrible outcomes.

Because our society will reach out and help those a person who needs medical care and cannot afford it then it becomes a public issue and not one of personal freedom. Sort of like privatizing Social Security. Some people will screw up and we just won't abandon them as much as we would like to think that it's their problem.

Being out on the road it doesn't surprise me that fatalities are going up. Unlike cars that can take advantage of new safety technology to offset bad habits riders can't avail themselves of it in the same way.

Slow down, pay attention, manage risk, gear up, wear a helmet. live long and prosper....

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

lobsterman said...

I love these reports and the commentary sure to follow them. Statistics are slippery things.

One thing jumped out at me, since I ride a scooter myself.

The IIHS report specifically mentions scooters only a few times, in the charts (always lowest or close to lowest loss) and this quote:
"Scooters had the lowest overall losses per insured vehicle year of $17."

The moonrider article didn't mention scooters at all, just how pro Harley the IIHS report was.

For what it is worth, in my experience here in Cincinnati, most scooter riders wear good quality helmets, even though Ohio law allows us to go without a helmet after one year following endorsement.

You could probably argue that scooter losses are low because the relative cost of a scooter is low compared to your average HD, but many scooters costs as much as entry level sport bikes. Who knows the truth in a world where 84.375% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

irondad said...

Steve,
I have to shake my head when the safety efforts are always to protect people from themselves despite what they do. Where does taking responsibility for ourselves come in? Why not focus on making better drivers and riders?

That's also been one of my counterpoints when people say their decisions affect only them. As much as we hate to think so, nobody lives on an island anymore.

Lobsterman,
The scooter thing is interesting. I don't know what time frame the statistics cover. Could it be that scooters aren't really represented truly since the big surge is relatively new?

I find out here that scooter riders for the most part aren't as serious about gear. There seems to be a prevailing current that
"they're only scooters". Like you say, most are getting as powerful and big as regular bikes.

Was it Will Rogers who said something about figures lie and liars figure?

It all depends upon who's bull is being gored, doesn't it?

Take care,

Dan