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Drebbin
01-25-2005, 02:14 PM
(HERE WE GO AGAIN.)

Press Enterprise (Riverside, CA)

January 22, 2005, Saturday


HEADLINE: Accident levels rising for older motorcyclists

BYLINE: MICHAEL FISHER; THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE

Diane Jones practically lives astride her beloved
Harley-Davidson Sportster, chewing up more than 11,100 miles on
rambling rides across the Temecula Valley and the state since
February.

But before Jones took to the roads, the 44-year-old Canyon Lake
woman took a training course with her 1,200-cc, steel-and-chrome
Christmas present, despite having spent years motorcycling with
her husband, Shadow.
Enthusiasts and safety experts agree that more baby boomers with
disposable income and empty nests are turning to the
increasingly popular hobby of motorcycling, and some are buying
more horsepower than their aging bodies can safely control.
Older bikers are accounting for a growing number of motorcycle
deaths and injuries, state and federal statistics show.
Jones and her husband belong to the Temecula Valley Harley
Owners Group, where most of the nearly 500 members are 40 or
older.
"The last three or four (female motorcyclists) who started
riding with us haven't taken the safety class and that bothers
me," Jones said. "The class helps you identify areas that are
going to be trouble for a motorcyclist. It kind of concerns me
that they are learning from their husbands."
Nationally, the average age of a motorcyclists killed in an
accident was 38 in 2003, up from 32 in 1994, according to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Riders in their
mid-40s to their mid-60s accounted for 31 percent of
California's motorcycle fatalities last year, up more than
three-fold from 1993, California Highway Patrol data shows.
But many inexperienced riders are taking the road, unaware of
the vast differences between controlling a four-wheeled vehicle
and a two-wheeled motorcycle, said CHP spokesman Steve Kohler.
"You have more affluent people buying motorcycles, maybe for the
first time, so they don't have that experience before they go
out riding," Kohler said. "You have to be alert and aware and
always working when you are on a motorcycle, looking for escape
routes and potential problems. There are things you can run over
with a car that will put you over on a motorcycle."
Some say it's obvious that more older riders are dying because
more of them are buying more bikes than ever before.
"It's economics, plain and simple," said 63-year-old John
Blowitz, of Palm Desert, who owns four motorcycles. "Look who's
buying the bikes."
Harleys, the quintessential motorcycle for those trying to
recapture their youth, can cost roughly $ 7,000 to $ 50,000.
"A lot of baby boomers are retiring right now and one of the
hottest, growing industries in the U.S. is motorcycles," said
Paul Garza of Quaid Harley-Davidson & Buell in Loma Linda. "A
Harley-Davidson is a $ 22,000 toy and you aren't going to find
many 19-or 20-year-olds who can afford to get one."
Similarly, there are few young customers at Eagle Rider Rental,
a motorcycle rental shop at Palm Springs International Airport.
"They're all three-piece-suit guys. That's all I rent to. I
haven't seen someone with a biker tattoo in the three years I've
worked here," said employee Gary Olson. The shop requires its
customers have a valid motorcycle license and at least three
years of riding experience.
Like other shops, Quaid salesman encourage buyers take a
training course, Garza said.
Returning motorcyclists also face risks, especially those who
haven't ridden in years but return to the sport without
refresher training, said Mike Mount, spokesman for the
Motorcycle Safety Foundation in Irvine.
"Don't assume you remember everything you did from 20 years ago,"
said Mounts, adding that some of the foundation's courses remind
older motorcyclists to act their age.
"Older riders should think about things like how your body
changes, how your eyesight has diminished, how your night vision
won't be what it once was and your reaction time might have
slowed down," Mount said. "You need to make allowances for some
of the things that happen as we get older."
For Jones, the allure of the road is freedom.
"When you are riding your bike, it's a rush," she said, "being
out in the open, being able to enjoy God's country without a
bunch of metal around you."
* * *
Staff writer Henri Brickey and The Associated Press contributed
to this report.
* * *
ACCIDENTS: Middle-aged and older riders are accounting for a
greater share of those hurt or killed in motorcycle accidents.
AGES 45-64
Motorcycle fatalities in California
1993 - 10% of total of 303

2003 - 31% of total of 368
Motorcycle injuries in California
1993 - 10% of total of 11,043

2003 - 26% of total of 9,681
* * *
* Total represents all age groups
* Source: California Highway Patrol

NOTES:
Staff writer Henri Brickey and The Associated Press contributed to this rep

momsridin
01-25-2005, 06:43 PM
"The last three or four (female motorcyclists) who started
riding with us haven't taken the safety class and that bothers
me," Jones said. "The class helps you identify areas that are
going to be trouble for a motorcyclist. It kind of concerns me
that they are learning from their husbands."


It is concerning that these gal's don't realize the value of proper training. I'm afraid there are many folks like that out there. I could have easily been one. My husband is an experienced rider who used a motorcycle for primary transportation for years. When I asked him to teach me to ride he said no I'll get you in a class, that's what you need. Since there were no spots open in my local class he looked across the state until he found one a few hours away and signed me up. I guess I can consider myself fortunate that he had the wisdom to know I needed instruction from a professional organization.

harley50glide
01-28-2005, 06:11 PM
Altho i took the class i find that driving experience is also invaluable as situations are real on the road. :D I try to read lot articles on safe procedures and find speed,braking,awareness critical.Leaving a out in case of some moron going stupid.Alot of riders ride to close to the vechicle in front of them or follow trucks.Ride safely out there

gliderider94
01-28-2005, 06:30 PM
Simple math guys. More riders, more deaths.

Hey Mom, your hubby's a smart guy. Two of my three boys are now riding. If you don't think that will make your sphincter tingle you're wrong!!! I wouldn't let ANY ONE OF THEM get near a bike without first passing the MSF class (which they did). Then I won't let them ride alone until they've logged a full season riding with dad. Then, they will be required to take the advanced riders coures (or else). I've already mapped this out for them. My oldest said "yeah, but I'm 22 years old and theres nothing you can do to keep me from riding if I don't do that stuff". I have a plan for that too. It involves an ass kicking and chain & padlock.
:lol:
freakin

anarchy
01-28-2005, 07:08 PM
hey, glide, under your plan, you're kids won't be able to ride on their own until they're 40!!!! :lol: :lol:

seriously, though, you can't be too careful out there. i would recommend the rider course to any one and every one. i nkow my kids will be taking the msf basic rider course if they ever want to ride while living with me...

thorsblood
01-28-2005, 07:12 PM
My oldest said "yeah, but I'm 22 years old and theres nothing you can do to keep me from riding if I don't do that stuff". I have a plan for that too. It involves an ass kicking and chain & padlock.


I don't remember reading about this type of methodology for behavior management in Dr. Spocks book. Sounds effective though. :lol: