Letting fools make biking laws

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Tom Suit

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Aug 30, 1991, 1:36:03 PM8/30/91
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In article <1991Aug27....@axis.dsg.ti.com>, j...@bs12.dsg.ti.com (Joe Senner) writes:
> ok, bad image drivel aside, yes, I DO want to be a part of deciding what
> Joe Butthead gets to buy and why! and for a damn good reason. NOT becase

Please, rise up and save us from ourselves!

> Joe Idiot will go kill himself, but because he will most likely inflict
> that fate on SOMEONE ELSE, like a little girl running after a tennis ball.

Who are you to judge the competence of a complete stranger?

> I personally have had to run after and grab by the collar my 4yr old
> (when he was 3) to stop him from running out in from of a car. if

You probably blamed this incident on the driver of that car too. He
was probably 17 years old and on his way to buy some liter +
displacement superbike, I'm sure. Maybe you as the parent should
be responsible for your own offspring and MAYBE even teach him
not to wander into the street. If you think he is too young to
understand, then you should be restricting his activities, NOT Joe
Random-SOB.

> Mr. Joe Penisbrain is going to be let on the streets, then he damn well
> better realize that he's not alone! I have to do my part to to protect
> my person and property and family, and more importantly so does the guy
> behind the controls of vehicle_of_choice. since we can't depend on the
> guy to be able to safely control his vehichle, the government had damn well
> better do it for him.

ABSOLUTELY NOT!! All the government should do is see to it that he
is justly/severely punished when he screws up. If the penalty is high
enough and if the penalty is CERTAIN (more on this in a sec) then
Joe Random-SOB will be far more careful. He may even decide ON HIS
OWN that maybe biking isn't for him.

> your right to free choice stops where the risk to others comes into play.

This attitude can justify all kinds of idiocy. Backyard pools claim
the lives of children and adolescents on a regular basis. By your
logic, they should be strictly regulated. And since no one would
be willing to pay lifeguards for 24 hour shifts, most backyard
pools would cease to exist. But hey, if it saves a few lives it's
okay! Sarah Brady loving MoFo!

> the "government" has to assure me that Joe Stupid will not kill my
> child/SO/self/friends/etc/etc/etc. it can't do that, but it can attempt to.

And it should do so only by punishing the guilty, not by restricting
the innocent. It's because of people with your attitude that we now
have this society where no one is responsible for their own actions
and sueing someone else because you slipped on a wet leaf is the
norm. It's because of people like you that it is illegal for home
owners here in Fairfax County, VA to have basketball nets permanently
mounted anywhere on their property. It's because of people like you
that possession of a BB,(you know, ammo for a BB gun) yes, just one BB
is illegal in Massachussetts unless you are a licensed BB gun owner.
The list goes on far too long.

> will I support restrictions based on proof of rider ability? YES.
> in a heartbeat.

While this actually sounds like a good idea in theory, it would only
be acceptable if it applied to everyone, particularly car drivers.
And we all know how soon that will happen. Besides, once you start
to regulate something, it becomes easier and easier to regulate it
more. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions...

> assuming you have never flown a plane before, and you were hanging out
> at the local air base. you had a whim, and pulled out X million from your
> wallet and bought that nice shiny new F-16. you think the guy in the
> tower is going to let you take off? HELL NO. NOT because you will most
> likely splat your brains on the ground, but because there's even a minimal
> chance that there will be someone else under you when you do.

This happens to me all the time. When you have as much money as I
do, you have to get creative when you go looking for ways to
entertain yourself. The best money I ever spent was the $100,000
I paid to some loser to claim he had a van full of explosives and
was going to blow up the Washington Monument. Good fun indeed. But
then he got blown away by the cops. So I guess this proves that
cops shouldn't have guns.

> Joe Senner DoD#0354, SpoogeHead#03

Tom Suit

Byron A. Matthews

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Aug 31, 1991, 10:27:44 AM8/31/91
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>> will I support restrictions based on proof of rider ability? YES.
>> in a heartbeat.
>
> While this actually sounds like a good idea in theory, it would only
> be acceptable if it applied to everyone, particularly car drivers.


This argument keeps showing up in the posts of various contributors,
but for the life of me I can't follow the logic. If it's a good idea,
then it's a good idea. That doesn't change just because it would be
an even better idea if it were more broadly applied.


I'm also puzzled by the apparent willingness of some posters to go down
in flames on the basis of ideological principle. We all want to maximize
our individual freedom to do as we please without interference. But that
requires a little pragmatism -- things like knowing your enemy, antici-
pating the next puch, etc. The enemies in this case are a generally
hostile public opinion when it comes to motorcycles and people who ride
them, and seeming legions of product liability lawyers hungry for a
big payoff. Add to that various state and national legislators and reg-
ulators looking for something to do that will be reputation-enhancing
and publicity-rich. Only one more taco to make the combination plate --
a system that allows a 17-year-old untrained and inexperienced rider
to ride out of a dealer's showroom on a brand new ZX-11.

I can't predict the future any better than you, but I smell trouble
ahead. If I'm right, the result is not going to be an enhancement of
the personal freedom of anybody on rec.motos. I'll say it again:
Libertarian principles are great, right up the where they start to
get in the way of self interest.
--
Bud Matthews 1990 Low Rider
Department of Sociology HOG#0411931
University of MD, Baltimore County AMA#571307
Standard disclaimers apply.

Alastair Young

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Sep 2, 1991, 11:36:13 AM9/2/91
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I have been following this thread and I thought I would put in my ha'pennrth
into it from the UK outlook. We have much more restrictive laws than the
US and much less restrictive than, say, Germany (wakey wakey Konrad!).
As far as I can gather the state of things in the USA is at age (?) 16 you
can pass a written test and get a license to ride any bike you please, though
you must have liability insurance. Raised in the UK I have to say that I
find this concept diabolically frightening. Here's what we have here. They
have changed it a lot since I learned so I may have some details wrong.

At age 17 you can apply for a "Provisional License" (god I forget which
is the UK spelling!) which allows you to ride a machine of up to 125cc and
12.5 HP. You must pass your test within 2 years or you have your provisional
license revoked for a year. This was brought in because some people NEVER
passed their test and were riding about for years with no certification
whatsoever that they knew what they were doing. Frankly I am in favour of it.
If you can't learn to ride in two years then you need a push to learn quicker.
Recently they have altered the law to include compulsory training. I *think*
you must now undergo a basic machine control (ride round cones, stop in the
box etc) training course before you are aloud out on the road *at all* (I'll
probably be corrected on this one) There is now compulsory training somewhere
along the line. Again, I am in favour of this, though there are practical
difficulties involved, particularly for people in remote areas, which the
govt. should make exceptions for but haven't. Before you get your "Full
License" you must pass a "Pursuit Test". In this you get given a radio
reciever and the examiner follows you around saying "take the next left" etc
etc and watches you do it. You are also verbally examined with questions on
the Highway Code and roadsign recognition. Once you have your license you
can then ride anything, though there is pressure to have a limitation of
400cc for the first year or three, in spite of the fact that government stats
show that bigger bikes are *SAFER*. The new laws can be divided into two
groups:

1) Ham fisted, frequently counter productive legislation dreamed up by
grey suits in Whitehall eg the one year ban, 400cc limit, leg protectors,
type approval.

2) Somewhat better legislation derived from listening to motorcycle pressure
groups eg compulsory training.

I really do believe that the government are trying to reduce the number of
motorcycle deaths. Unfortunately they have figured out that the easiest way
to do this is to reduce the number of motorcyclists. This has in fact
been effective. The motorcycle casualty rate has been steadily decreasing
in recent years in spite of steadily increasing rates in cars etc. I
believe that this is because there are less inexperiened riders around
to get killed because there are less youngsters starting out. Your
"average rider" has more riding experience than he/she did a few years ago.
What training gives you is access to the accumulated experience of the
course devisors. You can learn things that you may not figure out for
youself until you are recuperating in the hospital, if then. It needs to
be compulsory because otherwise people won't do it.

Waht really irks me is that many of the licensing restrictions do not apply
to other vehicle types. Car provo licensees must have a qualified driver
in the front seat with them (having a qualified rider on your pillion was
recently OUTLAWED, figure that one out) but there is no compulsory training
and no time limit on how long you have to learn, and no proposals for power
restriction on either learners or newly qualified drivers. The govt's
own stats show that most motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle are
the fault of the other vehicle, but the onus is put squarely on the
motorcyclist to get trained better/be safer. The fact that there are 20 times
as many votes in car drivers than riders has, of course, no effect at all
on govt policies.

My own belief is that use of the road is a privilege NOT a right. You should
be trained and examined and certified before you are allowed to drive/ride
ANY vehicle on the public highway. Of course you have to learn somewhere
and the public highway is the only place to do it, so you must be allowed
access in a restricted/regulated/supervised manner until you have *proven*
that you are fit to "go solo". In this I believe the UK system is better
than the US (though I may have got an entirely bogus impression of
your system). In the US access to the road (written test only) is
dangerously unrestricted. It is treated as a birthright rather than a
privilege to be earned. My self I believe that all road users should have
to re-sit their test every five years and should have an opticians certificate
showing that their eyes work properly done at the same time. Fat chance.

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Alastair Young Systems Supervisor (SMTS) _ DoD#0927
European CAD Developments Limited aka EuCAD )/___
EuCAD/Cadence mail: alastair +44-31-225-3434 __/(___)#####c ARIEL NH
Full Email Address: alas...@eucad.co.uk / /\\|| \ / \ NVA927
9 Wemyss Place, Edinburgh, Scotland EH3 6DH \__/ ---- \__/~~~~~ 1956
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--

Dan Sorenson -- Seed Testing Labortory

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Sep 2, 1991, 1:44:06 PM9/2/91
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In article <1991Sep2.1...@cadence.com> alas...@cadence.com (Alastair Young) writes:
>
>My own belief is that use of the road is a privilege NOT a right. You should
>be trained and examined and certified before you are allowed to drive/ride
>ANY vehicle on the public highway. Of course you have to learn somewhere
>and the public highway is the only place to do it, so you must be allowed
>access in a restricted/regulated/supervised manner until you have *proven*
>that you are fit to "go solo". In this I believe the UK system is better
>than the US (though I may have got an entirely bogus impression of
>your system). In the US access to the road (written test only) is
>dangerously unrestricted. It is treated as a birthright rather than a
>privilege to be earned. My self I believe that all road users should have
>to re-sit their test every five years and should have an opticians certificate
>showing that their eyes work properly done at the same time. Fat chance.

I think your information is somewhat bogus. When I went in for my
motorcycle permit, I had to pass the written test, and be within shouting
distance of a licensed rider over the age of 21 to legally ride the roads.
This was at age 14. When I hit age 16, I had to again pass the written
test, followed by a driving test. My vision was checked both times, and
since my left eye is weak I have to have a left outside mirror on any
vehicle I drive. While there are no restrictions on what size of bike
you may ride, the state has seen that you have the basic skills necessary
to ride the bike in a competent manner. Whether you choose to do so is
beyond their ability to test.

Interesting thought. When I applied for my chauffers license, I
had to take a written and a driving test in the vehicle I would be
requiring the license for. In my case, I showed up in a 15 ton GVW
strait truck. After a complete safety check on the truck, I had to
drive about thirty miles in mixed city/highway driving. I passed,
and everything was fine.

About a year later I was stopped in a weigh station, and told that
I had a mudflap that needed to be replaced. The nice officer asked for my
license and logbook. I didn't need a logbook for the short distances I
was driving, but I did give him my license. It turns out I was not licensed
for the vehicle I was driving! My license was for trucks less than 7500lbs
GVW, and not over. Tell me if this makes sense: I can legally drive a
school bus with 40 screaming kids, some with tennis balls, and most with
spooge dripping off their chins, but I cannot drive a truck full of corn
or cattle to the next town. Bogus...

I had to call my father to come down and drive the truck home,
and I stopped by the drivers testing station to vent my spleen. Later
on I was given a new, accurate, license.

<=====================================================================>
< Dan Sorenson, z1...@exnet.iastate.edu, nobody else claims the above >
<"I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't so heavily sedated." >
< -- M. McKean >
<=====================================================================>

Blaine Gardner

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Sep 2, 1991, 2:33:57 PM9/2/91
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alas...@cadence.com (Alastair Young) writes:
>In this I believe the UK system is better
>than the US (though I may have got an entirely bogus impression of
>your system). In the US access to the road (written test only) is
>dangerously unrestricted.

It varies greatly from state to state, but there's a standardized skills
test that a number of states have adopted in recent years. When I took
my test about 16 years ago, it was the "wobble around the cones without
falling off" type, but it's an actual skills test now.

> It is treated as a birthright rather than a privilege to be earned.

You got that right! Unfortunatly even drunk driving or automobile
homicide is sometimes considered insufficent reason to revoke a license.

>My self I believe that all road users should have
>to re-sit their test every five years and should have an opticians certificate
>showing that their eyes work properly done at the same time. Fat chance.

Agreed. While the UK driving tests are much more stringent, once you've
got it, you're licensed until your 70th birthday (if I remember right,
and things haven't changed in the last 10 years). In the US you have to
renew your license every 4 years. But unless you've collected some
tickets, you can usually do it by mail, or at worst with an eye test.
Actually having to retake the driving test is pretty rare.
--
Blaine Gardner @ Evans & Sutherland 580 Arapeen Drive, SLC, Utah 84108
blga...@javelin.sim.es.com uunet!javelin.sim.es.com!blgardne BIX: blaine_g
DoD #46 My other motorcycle is a Quadracer. FJ1200
"I didn't know Fisher-Price made luggage" "Who makes that luggage, Rubbermaid?"

Tom Suit

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Sep 4, 1991, 3:59:45 PM9/4/91
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In article <1991Aug31.1...@umbc3.umbc.edu>, bmat...@umbc5.umbc.edu (Byron A. Matthews) writes:
> >> will I support restrictions based on proof of rider ability? YES.
> >> in a heartbeat.
> >
> > While this actually sounds like a good idea in theory, it would only
> > be acceptable if it applied to everyone, particularly car drivers.


> This argument keeps showing up in the posts of various contributors,
> but for the life of me I can't follow the logic. If it's a good idea,
> then it's a good idea. That doesn't change just because it would be
> an even better idea if it were more broadly applied.

I said it SOUNDED like a good idea in THEORY. What I don't like is
the fact that it discriminates against bikers, ie a small percentage
of the road user population. The number of lives saved from such a
law would be insignificant in comparison to a similar law aimed at
car drivers. But since we all know that that won't happen, then the
only solution is to "do what we can". That of course would be
discrimination, and thus I don't think it is a good idea. It would
be a good idea if it was non-discriminatory.

> I'm also puzzled by the apparent willingness of some posters to go down
> in flames on the basis of ideological principle. We all want to maximize
> our individual freedom to do as we please without interference. But that
> requires a little pragmatism -- things like knowing your enemy, antici-
> pating the next puch, etc. The enemies in this case are a generally
> hostile public opinion when it comes to motorcycles and people who ride
> them, and seeming legions of product liability lawyers hungry for a
> big payoff. Add to that various state and national legislators and reg-
> ulators looking for something to do that will be reputation-enhancing
> and publicity-rich. Only one more taco to make the combination plate --
> a system that allows a 17-year-old untrained and inexperienced rider
> to ride out of a dealer's showroom on a brand new ZX-11.

Yet no one has a problem with the same 17-year-old going out and
getting a used '67 Camaro or some other muscle car. Makes sense
to me.

> I can't predict the future any better than you, but I smell trouble
> ahead. If I'm right, the result is not going to be an enhancement of
> the personal freedom of anybody on rec.motos. I'll say it again:
> Libertarian principles are great, right up the where they start to
> get in the way of self interest.
> --

So get out of the rut of trying to solve problems by throwing
additional laws at them and instead work on getting the current
laws properly enforced. Also, how about educating the public?
"Motorcyclists are your friends...they are friendly, ecology
minded, actually LIKE little girls with tennis balls, etc"
Reduce the size of the enemy vs making enemies out of allies.
An impossible undertaking? For one person, yes. But one person
can work on his family and friends....

Tom Suit

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