The Great Motorcycle Debate

No fighting for those rights are needed. Just look at what is happening right now, Gore and others want Hollywood to tone down what they make. Just a few years ago Two Live Crew were arrested for singing to adults who WANTED to be there. ABATE and the AMA have shown prototype bikes of what some people would like to see on the road, some don’t even want them on the road, and they look really stupid and probably wouldn’t do jack anyway.

I wear a helmet for more than just crash protection, since I ride year round, except in snow/ice, I’ve ridden in hurricanes, hail, extreme heat etc, and the helmet provides protection from that as well. I’ve got nicks and stuff on my helmet from rocks and other things that fly and wouldn’t want that to be my head. But hey if you really don’t wanna wear a helmet be my guest it’s your life not mine, but it should be a choice and not forced.

On fast bikes a full face lid is totally essential, your face is not good at dealing with bug impacts at plenty mph and the streamlining effect is just as essential.

If you wear an open face lid then the bugs, especially stinging ones, present a risk of getting behind your eye protection unless it’s full wrap goggles and I have not seen many wearing the latter.

Loud pipes, why is it the the slowest big bikes out there seem to need to announce their presence ? Are you trying to convince the world that you really are baaaddaaas ? If you must prove your butchness the rip the fairing from a Fireblade and try to hang on, now that is mean and mad.

Loud pipes over here will attract the attention of the traffic plod which means an instant addition of points against your licence, not good, and while they are at it the plod will probably look for anything else wrong and stack that up against you.If you attract attention to yourself with loud pipes you stand a much greater risk of being pulled over for speeding too.

You lot call it lane sharing, we call it filtering.You are fine doing this so long as you don’t put yourself and others at risk - filtering through standing traffic at 60 is not a very good idea.The police themselves do it all the time but there is a time and place for it.

One thing that makes me wonder a little is the increasing use of scooters.Most bike riders wear protective gear to a greater or lesser extent but I see folk chugging along at 60 or so on their little putt-putts, dodging between traffic wearing cloth paddock jackets, denim jeans and trainers.Having had one rather fine stack up at 45 mph on a bicycle when a bloody sheep ran out I have a painful appreciation of decent clothing, lycra skinsuits don’t last long when sliding down tarmac.
I never give a stuff about how hot it is, I go for leathers with armour and a full lid every time, if I want to cool off I just use the air-con in the right hand.

Not trying to prove anything, I just don’t like getting run over. I’m sure that there are people who rip the baffles out of thier bikes just to try and sound bad, but thats not the reason most of the people I know do it. I ride with all sorts, harley, triumph, Motoguzzi, Matchless, and jap bikes, and most of the people I know run open pipes so people will know they are there, and not run over them. When I used to have a Moto Guzzi, I got tired of the noise, and got a set of stock mufflers to put on it. I left them on for about a month, and almost got smashed several times. I took them off and decided that its better to put up with the noise, then get killed. everyone knew I was there then(you think a Harley is loud, try a Guzzi with open pipes sometime). Never had a problem again after that(with people not seeing me that is). Oh, and the cops around here understand this, and don’t generally write loud pipes tickets. I have had them write me all sorts of tickets, but never one for loud pipes, and have had them tell me they don’t enforce that law because THEY think loud bikes are safer.

Reminds me of the time I rode from L.A. to Lake Havasu. A couple-hundred miles through the Mojave Desert. In the summer. 108ºF Full one-piece leather suit. But at 120mph, there was plenty of breeze!

Not that it was a 108ºF suit. I missed a punctuation mark. The temperature on that day was 108ºF. I was wearing full leathers, too.

I’ll always wear a helmet. My first bike got, erm, dinged a bit by a sudden impact with a late model LTD.
Okay, here’s the whole story, not that anyone wants to hear it:

One night after work, I was leisurely cruising up the street, and my brother was following me. It was about 1:00 am and we were going to stop at the 24-hour Wal-Mart for some munchies before heading home to hang out and enjoy an exotic blend of tobacco.

So I’m turning into the lot, which was a one-way entrance-medianed and everything, when this late model Ford LTD boat pulls out right in front of me!

I smack into the car between the driver’s door and the front tire. My beloved bike goes under, I flip over, land in a bush, bounce out, and SMACK! on my face on the concrete.

I broke my right radius, my collar-bone, and split my helmet right down the middle, thusly suffering a concussion.

My brother tells me that as I lay there senseless, the guy kept driving and drug my bike into the street and onto the median.
Then he backs off of it.
Then he runs over it again with the other side of his car as he proceeds to drive down the wrong side of the road with no lights on.
I think he was drunk, the fucker.

Anyway, my brother was torn between looking after me and following the guy and giving him an ass-beating. He decided to look after me.
Poor me. I built that bike from the ground up with my own two hands.

So I always wear a helmet. If I didn’t, I’d be dead now.

And as far as loud pipes are concerned, I like them. I really don’t think that they improve the safety at all, I just agree with PLG’s dad:
They’re cool. They sound cool, they feel cool, they are cool. They aren’t loud at a stoplight like some stereo’s can be, so they aren’t that much of an annoyance.
At least, there are no laws in CO about them, except in “Quiet Zones” like hospitals and downtown and such like.

This is why we wear helmets. I don’t see anything about a broken neck. I still think that a helmet is going to help more than hurt in 99.9% of accidents. I also think that if someone gets a broken/hurt neck it wasn’t because of the helmet it’s because it would have happened anyway. Glad you’re ok though.

This is gonna make me sound like a dickhead but… maybe you ride too much in people blind spots. If this is happening so much then maybe you should rethink your lane possition when you ride. That’s only my thoughts since I don’t know how you ride and people around you may drive like that. In most of the states I’ve been too, 30 or so, I’ve never had a serious problem with this though. I also ride a bright red Kawi Concours and wear a bright red Aerostitch suit so I’m sure I can be seen a lot better.

Except that they can cause physical discomfort to the person next to you, as I posted earlier.

As for being “cool”, I think it’s cooler to have a bike that generates gobs of energy quietly. Like a science fiction vehicle. (Not that my Seca II generates much power. 125mph is about all it will do. But I’ve ridden bikes that seem to be pouring out raw plasma, and they do it relatively quietly.)

*Originally posted by Edward The Head *

No, actually people pulling out in front of you out of parking lots and side streets are the majority of the problem. That, and making a left turn in front of you. I avoid try to avoid riding in peoples blind spots. A friend of mine was test driving a Honda interceptor for a friend who was thinking about buying it, and this lady pulls out of a side street right in front him, sees him and just stops in a panic. Her only excuse was she didn’t see him. He wound up with a steel rod in his leg, and a broken arm. and pretty substantial hospital bill(she didn’t have insurance). If he had been on his triumph, she would have heard him, he would probably be able to walk without a cane now. A guy I knew in Utah, who was riding a Seca, was driving on his way to work and this idiot makes a right turn out of the left lane. I don’t know if he was in his blind spot or not(I wasn’t there), but it left his wife and five kids without a father. His wife got a pretty substantial settlement out of all of it, but it hardly makes up for it. Motorcycling is a dangerous past time, and anything you can do to give yourself a little bit of an edge you should do.

Since I have to ride to work on a morning each day, loud pipes would not go down at all well with the neighbours.

In the UK most houses are close together, mine is in a terrace row and there is another row across the road, the sound bounces around quite merrily between them.

I find that riding around with my lights full on helps but if I get stuck behind a car the beam from the front hits the drivers rear view mirror and they do odd things to try and let me past. It’s better if they keep on doing what they were doing and acting predictably.

Riding round town, especially when there are plenty of side roads I generally keep my speed well down, cagers often have other things on their minds and make last second decisions like sudden turns. I usually take one car at a time rather than a whole line in one go.
Many of those who ride and have been injured that I know only ride a few thousand miles a year and trust other drivers too much, they still ride their bikes like they drive their cars, expecting to be seen and keeping too close to the kerb.The safest place is near the middle of the road, if someone pulls out you have a chance of getting round.

My main gripe is with diesel spillages.Right now we have protests by haulliers who complain about the tax on diesel and how expensive it is, well if it is so damned expensive why do they spray the roads with the stuff? Get the tax on I say!!!"

I always went for the full body armour approach and appreciated it even more after other friends developed severe cases of road rash. As good as it feels to ride in jeans, a t-shirt, and runners I feel that the risk factor is too high to ride unprotected. People in cars are your enemy, act accordingly.

I prefer my full face helmet to an open face. People who ride without lids are just looking to be removed from the gene pool in the event they crash. People without helmets have been severely injured, killed, or paralyzed after crashing at low speeds. If you ride at speeds in excess of 120mph there might be less need to wear a lid, if you wipe out someone will likely be scraping your remains off the pavement.

I was saved from some serious injury by my full face. I was screaming along at about 90 mph and just as I flipped my visor open a few inches to get some cool air circulating a bumblebee came my way. It glanced off the top of the opening before smashing into my face, I figure that if it had hit an inch higher I could have lost sight in my right eye. As it was I looked like I had been hit in the face with a baseball bat.

I ran an unsupressed racing header on my supersport and I watched the reactions of people in cars when ever I pulled behind them. They knew I was there. I never had a problem with pedestrians jumping in front of me either. Loud is good but there is such a thing as too loud also.

Man, I want to confer about the loud pipes helping. They do. They have saved me from getting ran off the road many times. My pipes are louder when r’s are higher. I remember one time this lady was fixing to squeeze me into a cement rail. I honked my horn she kept on going then a pulled in my clutch and revved it up and she finally heard me and swerved back. Stats are not stats experience is the best. And loud pipes do help.

Just some points.

  1. You don’t have to spend more money to open up your pipes. Just take out the baffles or knock them out, I’ve done it to a 61 Panhead and a 97 Fatboy. I put mine back in as I lost back pressure and had to many backfires on the Pan, didn’t have quite the problem with the Fatboy.

  2. Lane Changing results in more accidents, it’s not a coincidence that statistics for motorcycle accidents are usually taken from California where there is no lane law.

  3. Helmets are a good idea, but you should be able to choose to wear them or not (Actually no helmet on the market will maintain integrity in an impact above 35 miles per hour, I don’t have the source with me but I can find it if anyone wants to call me on it.)

  4. Unless you want your skin to look like hamburger, leather is a good idea.

  5. Always wear closed toe shoes, don’t laugh you would be amazed at the number of people I see riding with shorts, no shirt, foot-flops, and a helmet. Boy good thing you have that helmet if you get in an accident.

I picked up a copy of CA Biker, or a similar newsprint magazine around 1993. It said that the California Highway Patrol conducted a study that found lane sharing “is not particularly dangerous.”

Just to show you all I don’t hate bikers or anything like that, on eBay, and elsewhere, you can get Kevlar* riding clothes, which are tougher than leather, and not as hot. You can get a jacket as cheap as $80.

It’s why I always wear a helmet, too. What I meant by what I said was “…thusly suffering only a concussion [instead of suffering death.]”

I didn’t always wear a helmet back then, but I was that night because it was chilly.

From that night on, I always wore a helmet, and always will.

Helmet: Full face, and I always wear it.

Loud Pipes: Don’t get me started 'cause I’ll say things that will get me in trouble with other posters. Let me just say that I think they’re obnoxious.

I have a helmet-related question, though (Stuyguy said hijackingly):

I’ve often heard that helmet laws are part of an insurance industry conspiracy. Yet Connecticut, the “Insurance State,” has no helmet law. What gives? Are those Hartford lobbyists losing too much money at jai alai to grease the right palms?

Non-biker here.

I hate loud pipes.
I’m not all that crazy about rigged up Hawgs.

I used to rent a place near some bikers, who used to like cranking their ‘hawgs’ up at about 2 am. Neighbors complained. They were warned. It didn’t stop. They’d crank 'em up, rev the suckers until my windows shook, then peel out for other places, long before the cops arrived.

Moved to another place. Discovered kids with dirt bikes. No mufflers. The BRAPPPPPP!-BAPBAPBAPBAP! Drove me to nearly shooting the riders. They’d roar up and down the streets and get off of them when the cops were on their way and go shred what little bit of forest was left. Some neighbors, pissed, strung steel wire through the paths and some bikers got kind of strung on them a few times, but that did not stop these people. They walked through the patch of wrecked woods first, cutting subsequent wires. Broken arms, bruised ribs and wrecked bikes did not as a deterrent. (I’m surprised that no one was killed or seriously injured.)

I moved again.

I got caught in a herd of bikers on their way to Florida for some big rally. They drowned out my radio and set my teeth on edge even though I had the windows up, the A/C on and my radio up loud. (Some of the biker chicks looked HOT!)

We passed a noise law in town. It rarely is enforced.

I hate loud bike pipes.

I just had this discussion on the Long Distance Riders list. it was all about lane splitting and how much safer it can be. One of the things that I found to be intersting was that the law is actually you can share lanes, not actually split them. they were also saying that technically MCs were not supposed to ride between the cars, but that it has been tolerated for years now so they’ve let it be that way. Also stated was that if traffic was moving more than 35mph the police didn’t like lane splitting as much. I know that in VA two bikes can’t even ride side by side. I’ve been temped to call the MD police as well because I’ve never heard of a law that prohibits splitting, it was even talked about in the hand book that they give you when you get your license. I think that splitting is a good idea, I’m not fond of the idea of being hit from behind.

That’s why if you ever go down you should get rid of the helmet. I’ve heard that in Britian they sometime cut the helmet in half so that the person can’t use it again.

Actaully you should wear boots. When I hit that deer I was wearing tennis shoes and they tore right off. got some cool scars though. and in states with out helmet laws they don’t wear the helmet either.

Anyone who has read my posts knows how much I hate semantics wars. That said, the only difference I see between “lane sharing” and “lane splitting” is that the former phrase has a positive connotation and the latter, a negative. Being single-track vehicles, of course, motorcycles cannot “straddle” two lanes. They have to be in one or the other (unless you like riging on the “drunk bumps”!).

As it happens, I did call the California Highway Patrol to ask about the legality of lane sharing. They said it is not illegal, as long as you are not “operating in an unsafe manner” (read: “going too fast”). Also, riding on either shoulder is not permitted.