Thunder Roads LA/MS Gulf Coast JAN2019 - Page 33

EWS BYTES that partial or total bans on phone use while driving has had any effect on fatalities, due largely to the high level of crash safety built into modern cars. Such is not the case when it comes to motorcycles, however. To the researchers’ surprise, data from the study reflects that states that have either a partial or total ban on cell phone use while driving have a lower number of motorcycle fatalities compared to states with no ban at all. The researchers of this study argue that policymakers should consider strengthening texting and handheld cell phone bans, as well as enforcement, to improve safety and save motorcyclist lives. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, using a hand-held cell phone while driving is illegal in just sixteen states plus Washington, D.C. “In the case of motorcycles, these laws seem to be effective,” said study co-author Gulcin Gumus, Ph.D., an associate professor in health administration in the Department of Management Programs at FAU’s College of Business. “While it’s not clear that these laws have had an impact on reducing the overall number of traffic fatalities, when we focus specifically on motorcycles, we find that these laws are having a major impact in reducing deaths among motorcycle riders.” RECORD NUMBERS OF WOMEN ARE RIDING MOTORCYCLES More and more women are moving from the back seat of a motorcycle to behind the handlebars, with the number of female riders doubling over the past decade from one in ten in 2009 to one in five today. A study by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) found that women now make up 19% of motorcycle owners, with even greater ownership among younger generations. The survey found that among Millennials (Generation Y, born from 1985-2004), 26% of motorcycle owners were women. Among Gen X (those born 1965- 1984), 22% were women. “As the number of Boomers and mature motorcyclists shrink and are replaced by newer riders, we could soon be looking at a solid 25% of motorcycle owners being female,” said Andria Yu, MIC director of communications. The MIC polled 2,472 adults nationwide for the 2018 Motorcycle/ATV Owner Survey. For decades, the MIC says its surveys have served as the census of motorcycling, and have tracked a steady growth in the percentage of women who own bikes. The MIC says the 2018 owner survey also found that women motorcycle owners spend, on average, $574 a year on tires, routine repairs, maintenance, replacement parts, and accessories and modifying equipment, compared with $497 by men. Motorcycling has grown in popularity and acceptance in American culture in recent decades, which the MIC says is reflected in their survey. It found that 66% of women motorcycle owners say their family and friends would have a positive attitude toward motorcycles and scooters. However, total ridership is struggling according to USA Today, and overall new motorcycle sales have been stagnant in the U.S. since the Great Recession, with annual sales peaking in 2006. reducing pollution, congestion and overcrowding but we continue to be ignored.” The charge will apply 24/7 and in October 2021 will be extended to the area inside the North and South Circular roads – multiplying the charge zone by 28 times. MAN CLAIMS DISCRIMINATION IN CANADA’S HELMET EXEMPTION LAW Earlier this year, the province of Alberta in Canada became the third province to pass a law exempting the Sikh community from wearing motorcycle helmets -- north of the U.S. border, helmets are mandatory on a motorcycle. One Albertan, however, strongly believes the exemption is discriminatory and that if Sikhs don’t have to wear a helmet, neither should he. Troy Fandrick from Medicine Hat, Alberta, believes that the exemption granted earlier this year is discriminatory. As a non Sikh, he his forced by law to wear a helmet and his claim is that if a small percentage of the population is allowed to ride without a helmet, everyone else should be allowed as well. Fandrick explains that his issue doesn’t lie in the fact that Sikhs have been granted the exemption: his main complaint is “why them and not me”? He points a finger at Transport Canada for imposing a rule that doesn’t LONDON MOTORCYCLISTS FACE SURCHARGES apply to everyone and that in this case, he is being In a bid to improve air quality, the ULEZ (Ultra Low denied equal rights. Emission Zone) will launch April 8, 2019, and drivers or “The sole distinction in the law is racial and ethnic in riders of older vehicles in London’s central congestion nature. There’s no additional qualification,” Fandrick told zone will thereon face a round-the-clock charge of Medicine Hat News, claiming that he has already been £12.50 per day ($15.80 USD). pulled over -- and fined -- three times because he wasn’t ULEZ has been described as the world’s most radical wearing a helmet. crackdown on vehicle emissions, and will apply to “I just want equal rights,” says Fandrick, who is motorcycles that fail to meet “Euro 4” standards (those currently gathering funding via a GoFundMe page to registered before 2007). enlist the services of a lawyer interested in taking on his The rider group We Ride London is campaigning cause. against this unfair and counter-intuitive tax, stating QUOTABLE QUOTE: that “Motorcycles and scooters are part of the solution to “Every man is guilty of all the good he didn’t do.” ~ Voltaire (1694-1778), French historian and Coast philosopher 31 www.thunderroadslams.com | January 2019 | Thunder Roads Magazine LA/MS Gulf