My response, sent in a couple minutes ago:
Today I read the other views editorial by Ms. Baldacci found here. http://www.suntimes.com/output/other...dt-bald02.html
While it does bring some valid points (no safety gear, excessive speed), it is full of inaccuracies, right from the first point (hear them before you see them). The Hurtt study, the basis for motorcycle accidents, shows that 40% of all car to motorcycle accidents are caused by a CAR making a left hand turn in FRONT of a motorcycle. The car driver gives the classic 'couldn't see them' line and gets a failure to yield. Motorcyclist gets: destroyed vehicle and a trip in the ambulance (if he's lucky, sometimes it's a hearse).
Clearly not looking out for themselves or passengers? How many readers (or writers) travel at half of these 'insane' speeds while flipping through radio stations, drinking coffee, searching for CDs, or the ever popular cell phone search/calling? THEY are clearly not looking out for themselves or their passengers (who are often their children). Check out your next traffic jam at some non rush hour time, odds are it's caused by a rear end collision from an unattentive car driver. The motorcyclist is focused on the road, cars in front of them, potholes, debris that most car drivers ignore.
Bikes take longer to stop than a car? I would LOVE to see where she got this fact. The average sportbike, from 60 mile per hour can stop in 125 feet in 'ideal' conditions (per Cycle World magazine). What is the average car stopping distance? Closer to 180 feet, NOT counting 'thinking' distance of 60 feet, that is assuming both the motorcyclist and the car driver are paying attention to the road. Source: http://www.hintsandthings.com/garage/stopmph.htm
One thing I do agree with her on is that car drivers MUST start looking for ALL motorcylists. Even with full protective leathers and helmet, nothing will prevent serious harm or death if a car hits a biker (or pedestrian) at 30 or 40 miles per hour. However, most car drivers can rest assured that they will not be punished too harshly if they kill a biker, even if they have repeated moving violations (just ask Bill Janklow from South Dakota). Hopefully, the AMA's Justice for All campaign will result in tougher penalties for those who kill motorcyclists.
It is obvious that I spent more time compiling information to write this email than Ms. Baldacci did to write her published article (all of about 15 minutes.) I would be interested to read what others say about her article.
avid sportbike and motorcycle enthusiast