Hi Fellow Riders,
This is my first post on this Forum, my name is Joe and I have rode motorbikes since the age of 13. I use my bike to commute and for recreation, and I feel that the unique characteristics of motorcycles should allow a different type of road rules than are created for cars and trucks. (Especially in stop and go rush hour traffic) Below is my submission to the RPM Symposium on motorcycle safety that was held in Whistler BC on September 27th and 28th, 2007. Participants in this event are still waiting for the final report from the MCC (Motorcycle Confederation of Canada) and the BCSC (British Columbia Safety Council) but I would like to set up a poll to see if you agree with my submission. Enjoy...
Risk and Performance Management
Symposium 2007 (Whistler BC)
Submission Date October 2, 2007
“Prepare riders by having them understand the full limitations of their motorcycles’ unique abilities and performance levels, and change the riding atmosphere by considering the unique abilities of a motorcycle as a commuting vehicle in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, and Nationally”
In order to accomplish this goal, a completely new motorcycle culture is needed, and so is an open mind from those set in the current system.
Getting a motorcycle licence should not be an easy task. Full competency and control must be achieved in cornering techniques, including full awareness of counter-steering, as well as clutch, throttle and proper braking techniques in dry, wet and cornering situations. The capability awareness of the individual motorcycle that the person will ride is of high importance. It is my personal belief that all persons seeking a motorcycle licence should take a mandatory riding skills course. There should be standardized instructional material for the course outline and delivery.
Graduated Motorcycle Licensing Restrictions and Benefits with 3-Tier System:
• Year One – Bright Yellow Colour Licence Plate: No Riding After Dusk – No Riding With a Passenger – May not exceed posted speed limits to a maximum speed of 90 KPH – No Highway Use
• Year Two – Bright Orange Colour Licence Plate: No Riding with a passenger – May not exceed posted speed limits to a maximum speed of 100 KPH.
• Year Three – Regular Issue Provincial Plate: If an Advanced Riding Course is completed in the third year of motorcycling: May exceed 15 KPH over the posted speed limit in free flowing traffic that is more then two lanes in the same direction - In congested traffic (travelling under 30 KPH) full access to all “Diamond Lanes”, “Lane Splitting” (or Filtering) and “Slow Paved Shoulder Pass” privileges allowed.
Note * There was one request at the RPM conference for a reflective vest with an “L” or an “N” on the back for new riders. A vest could be forgotten or not worn because of not fitting properly over bulky clothing and jackets; it may be uncomfortable, cause wind resistance, buffeting or loss of control. With coloured plates motorcyclists can be consistently identified as to their experience. A motorcycle with a higher-level plate could not be loaned to a lesser-experienced rider.
Rational for Year 3 licensing criteria:
• By the time a rider is in their third year of riding they will be proficient enough to go 15 KPH over all posted speed limits which allows a rider to slowly overtake cars when on roadways with two or more lanes in the same direction. This is a safety issue; an experienced rider is better off slowly moving through traffic then being static in the regular flow of traffic. I call this the “Boring Syndrome”, when a motorist in a vehicle finds you boring you become part of the “woodwork”; they are less likely to see you and more likely to hit you. (I realize this one is a contentious issue, again, an open mind please )
• Diamond Lanes – If traffic slows to below 30 KPH and is congested, then a slow and cautionary use of diamond marked lanes is permitted. Right of way given to cyclist use.
• Lane Splitting (Filtering)– This is allowed in most European countries but not in North America. (Except California) I propose that slow and cautionary use of lane splitting be allowed for motorcyclists in stationary or slow moving traffic that is traveling under 30 KPH.
• Slow Paved Shoulder Pass – On roadways that have paved shoulders, when traffic slows below 30 KPH then motorcyclists can pass on the paved shoulder in a slow and precautionary manner with extra awareness of the access of First Responder Vehicles.
Although these new actions for a third-year Advanced Trained Rider may seem controversial at first, it is my belief that once awareness of these new laws are in place and motorists are informed, it will ultimately lead to a reduction of all motor vehicle incidents and collisions due to creating a higher awareness level in all motorists. A motorist with the awareness of a possible motorcycle in the vicinity and diligently checking for a motorcycle is less likely to hit another car or motorcycle. If you are looking for a large object, you are less likely to see the small ones.
Motorcycles are geared differently then cars, and often have a higher speed once the clutch is disengaged in first gear, this can cause fatigue and unnecessary clutch and engine wear in stop and go traffic. The combination of fatigue from constantly raising and lowing your legs, the increased exhaust emissions being inhaled and the constant chance of being sandwiched between two larger vehicles all create a justifiable direction towards a safer and more environmentally friendly utilization of the unique capabilities of a motorcycle
Creating these new motorcycle laws will also create an incentive for single occupant motorists to consider purchasing a motorcycle to reduce their commuting time in rush hour traffic, thus further reducing congestion and helping the environment. Traffic in Metro Vancouver is consistently getting more congested as more vehicles are placed on our roadways. By reducing congestion and utilizing the unique abilities of motorcycles, we help to increase the traffic flow which will save our economy millions per year
By creating more incentives to purchase motorcycles, all motorcycle related businesses will flourish as more people consider motorcycles as secondary commuter vehicles, as well as recreational vehicles. Transferable plates should also be seriously considered to help give incentive towards purchasing motorcycles.
By enforcing the fact that these commuting incentives could not be reached until the third year, the experience levels of motorcyclists will increase, as well as the demand for Advanced Rider Training courses.
With the increased roadway population causing congestion towards the 2010 Olympics, can we afford not to?
“Teach street riders to be ‘road racers’ and they will more effectively avoid collisions”
Youth Rider Experience Credits for Insurance Rebates
Y.M.E. (Years of Motorcycle Experience) Credits- Insurance rebates credited for years of some type of sanctioned motorcycle activity (moto-cross, trials, road-racing, etc) Riders that complete their first year of licensed road riding without incidents (collisions or traffic fines) and with at least two years of previous sanctioned motorcycle activity before obtaining their licence will be granted additional insurance rebates. This is further incentive to learn motorcycling techniques early and ride responsibly once on the roadways.
Items to Include in Advanced Riding Techniques
• Creating Attention by Riding “Theatrical Precision Performance” – create an awareness that you are in other drivers’ vicinity – counter-steer slightly, (oncoming from ahead), flash brake light (upcoming from behind) This entails very precise, controlled riding with heightened awareness of your surroundings…No, Wheelies and Stoppies DO NOT fit in this equation on the street. Although someone who masters these techniques on a closed circuit is further increasing their awareness of their motorcycles performance and control. (Remember that word “Conspicuity” and the new term “Boring Syndrome”?)
• Reaction time awareness. (Timed while riding) How long does it take YOU on YOUR bike to stop from different speeds, accelerate to a certain speed from various speeds, or swerve and counter-steer your bike at various speeds safely but effectively at a moments notice? Each individual should know their own timing characteristics, which is measured using the certain type of bike they ride and an awareness of how they differ from other riders and types of motorcycles. Buy a different bike and the performance equation changes; riders could be strongly advised to take the option of participating in another “Reaction Time Awareness” course when they purchase a different motorcycle.
• Bike performance and capability awareness will ultimately allow each rider to know the limitations of their vehicle in order to properly initiate and effectively complete evasive manoeuvres.
• Lane positioning, pro’s and con’s. There can be pro’s and con’s to all lane positions in certain situations, new riders should be taught all of them so they can make the best decision in certain roadway situations. Unlike racing, the apex cornering technique is not the best street option in most situations. We could all go on for hours on the topic of lane positions, so I will leave it at that for now.
• Hazard awareness recognition in test situations. Although simulators cannot produce real life riding experiences to the same high degree of the different variables regarding riders’ abilities and different machines, simulators can be extremely effective in teaching riders the serious consequences of roadway situational hazards. Simulators can, very effectively teach these hazards, including weighing risks and probability analysis, that all riders should master.
Weighing Hazards, Risks and Probability
What is the potential hazard?
What is the risk of it happening and to what degree?
What about other probabilities? Should further caution be used?
More manufactures are making computer-controlled motorcycles. Recently one brand has released a three-level power option that is similar to this; Level one will barely spin the rear tire on a wet surface and will not exceed a certain speed. Level two will have increased power at a higher RPM range for passing, and a higher top speed. Level three is the full performance motorcycle. These options give new riders the abilities to make their own choices on controlling the power output of their motorcycle and should be encouraged.
One of my favourite philosophies is “Ride like everyone wants to kill you”. If you are always thinking, that car ahead will turn out, there is a stopped truck in the middle of my lane around the next blind corner, or that person will swerve into my lane, you will be prepared for when they do. “A Motorcyclist has to strive to survive each ride, if they do not, they become a statistic”.
Considering the unique characteristics and capabilities of motorcycles, as well as the worsening congestion on our roadways, I believe it is time to allow advanced riders new privileges to help alleviate congestion and environmental problems on our roadways. By doing so, we also influence more people to get out of their single occupant cars. They will see the benefits of motorcycles for rush hour commutes, with the incentive of not having to wait in stop and go traffic and by cutting down on their commute time so they have more time to do other things rather than sitting in traffic.
Can we, in today’s society, finally allow motorcycles to operate in a safe manner on our roadways with the utilization of their unique capabilities?
Again, can we afford not to?