Friday, November 5, 2021

Florida asked for my opinions on motorcycle safety

Two motorcyclists ponder their opinions.
Who knows more about motorcycle safety than motorcyclists?

  What's my opinion on motorcycling safety? Glad you asked.  

  You say no one asked me my opinion? You're wrong!  

  The University of South Florida "randomly selected" me to participate in the 2021 Motorcyclist Survey, funded by the Florida Department of Transportation and administered by the university's Center for Urban Transportation Research.  

  Deadline for responding was Aug. 31, 2021. Since I had been "selected" I thought I'd better ask if it was OK to write about the survey in this blog. The survey's "principal investigator" asked that I hold off until after the survey.  

  At last all can be told.

 The survey explains itself this way:

"During the past decade, Florida observed an unusual increase in serious motorcycle injuries and fatalities and a continued increase in motorcycle registrations.

"Florida has more than 1.2 million drivers with motorcycle endorsements and more than 600,000 registered motorcycles annually. Motorcycles represented three percent of registered motor vehicles, and less than one percent of traffic on Florida’s roadways, yet represented 17 percent of Florida’s traffic fatalities and 12 percent of serious injuries during the last five years.

"Taking the survey helps us better understand motorcyclists' behaviors and measure the progress of motorcycle safety programs in Florida."

Of course the survey asked the basic questions: age, sex, Zip Code, how many miles I ride a week, do I commute by motorcycle, do I ride alone or in groups, do I wear a helmet, do I go to Bike Week in Daytona.

One question that threw me asked whether or not I wear a bandana.

Is wearing a bandana considered a safety measure? I am not sure what they are looking for with that one.

The survey also asked the type of motorcycle I ride. My 1999 Royal Enfield Bullet is clearly a "Standard" motorcycle, but in an unstandardized way.

So I responded that it is "Standard, but retro-vintage, i.e. like an old-fashioned motorcycle although a 1999."

I am sure the tabulators will find that fascinating. For me it is no small safety consideration. My vintage-style Royal Enfield relies on cable operated drum brakes (ABS? Ha!). Its low-r.p.m., low-compression 500cc's don't have the reserve power to squirt me ahead to a safe opening in faster moving traffic.

Working through the rest of the survey I get the feeling that researchers want to know what kind of safety courses I've taken, whether I am aware of the courses that are available, and where I get my motorcycle information. Social media? YouTube?

My guess is that they're going to wind up recommending a push to get motorcyclists trained up to a higher standard.

I was pleased that the end of the survey asked what in my opinion is the greatest danger to motorcyclists in Florida.

One choice was "Potholes." I don't think that is going to be the champion danger named by Florida riders. Florida's roads are generally new enough to be relatively smooth.

The greatest danger to Florida motorcyclists, aside from their own sometimes nutty behavior, is inattentive, careless, distracted, incompetent or impaired drivers of automobiles. Fixing this element is apparently beyond the scope of consideration (a lost cause?). The survey did not suggest it as an answer. 

I chose "Grated Bridges," which refers to the metal grid of drawbridge surfaces. We're taught to ride straight and steady across them, which works. Really not a big deal.

The survey's final question asked if I have any safety tips to pass along to fellow riders.

As if I am the expert!

Thinking about it now, I think I should have recommended against wearing flip flops while riding. You know, something Florida specific.

What I in fact recommended was that the rider should plan an escape path before entering any intersection. Kind of think about "where you gonna go when the volcano blows?"

I try to do this. But would it even work? How much does it help? These things I do not know. And I hope never to have to find out.

I do hope to learn how the survey turns out. I was told to check back after November.

1 comment:

  1. I like the 250cc rule and/or 25 HP or under for 18 months or so. A new rider doesn't benefit from either an Electra-Glide or a Hayabusa. MSA foundation training is prudent also.I like the "What If" technique you use. The head on a swivel is a useful habit also.
    "There are old riders, and there are bold riders, but there ain't no old bold riders."


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