8 Ball In The Wind

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Is Inclusion of Motorcycle Crash Data Too Much of a "High Cost" to Save Motorcyclists Lives?

According to a 2010 Virginia Tech-Wake Forst University study; between 2003 and 2008 there were 1,604 motorcyclist fatalities from a collision with barriers in the United States, accounting for approximately 5.8% of all motorcycle fatalities.  While over this same period only approximately 1.6% of all automobile fatalities were barrier related.    Motorcycles make up about 3% of all registered vehicles in the US.  But, according to this study, motorcyclists account for nearly half of all guardrail fatalities, and 22% of the fatalities involving concrete barriers.  During this same time frame, there were 1,723 fatalities among automobile passengers involving barriers.  In other words, nearly half of all barrier related fatalities in the US were motorcyclists.

The video above demonstrates clearly why half of all guardrail related fatalities are motorcyclists.  It also demonstrates the mindset that highway safety features are in place to protect automobile and larger vehicle occupants.  Not motorcyclists.  The posts are not the only area that provides a high risk of injury to motorcyclists that are not likely to affect occupants of other vehicles.  The top of "W-Beam" guardrails also provide a serious hazard to motorcyclists.  The sharp edges can slice open the motorcyclist as they travel along the top of the metal rail.  All while the top of the posts deliver repeated blows to the rider traveling at highway speeds along the path of the rail.  Concrete "jersey barriers", signposts, cable barriers, and more all constitute dangerous and often fatal "fixed obstacles" to motorcyclists in a crash.

A 2004 study compiled for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) entitled; "Improving the Compatibility of Vehicles and Roadside Safety Hardware" would seem to be a possible step in the right direction.  In the first paragraph of chapter 2 of the report entitled "Analysis of Real Worl Crash Information" on page 7 reads as follows; "It was found that the different classes of vehicles had different compatibility issues with roadside hardware systems."  Even with that line in mind, which would seem to indicate the report would investigate the "different compatibility issues" of all vehicles, nowhere in the 262 pages of the report are motorcycles even mentioned.  However, vehicles are broken down into categories within the report.  The categories are; car, truck, SUV, and van.  Again it appears that even the NCHRP tends; whether consciously or not, to exclude motorcycles from highway transportation policy thinking.

In 2008, the NCHRP did release another report, part of the NCHRP Report 500.  This was volume 22 of the NCHRP 500 Report; "A Guidance for Addressing Collisions Involving Motorcycles".  Was this finally a transportation policy actually concerned about motorcycle safety?  Not really, if one takes the opportunity to read it.  Section IV is entitled; "Index of Strategies by Implementation Timeframe and Relative Cost".  It is this section of the report that shows how little motorcycle transportation safety means to policy planners.  The same failed strategies such as increasing awareness of impaired motorcyclists, the benefits of wearing high-visibility clothing, and increasing the use o FMVSS-218 compliant helmets are all listed as low cost to implement and operate.  Does it seem strange that these low-cost strategies are virtually the only ones the transportation bureaucrats tend to implement?  The report also lists such strategies as; considering motorcycles in the selection of roadside barriers, including motorcycle attributes into vehicle exposure data collection programs, and developing a set of analysis tools for motorcycle crashes.  However, each of these strategies, which seem like common sense to motorcyclists, is listed as being of "moderate to high cost" to maintain and operate.  This could well be some of the best and most effective strategy options, but because the NCHRP lists them as they have, it would seem to have the effect of these strategies being completely ignored.  Even the simple act of forming "strategic alliances with the motorcycle user community " to promote motorcycle safety is listed as a "moderate" cost.  These categorizations of strategies may well explain the virtually complete lack of motorcycle policy in transportation planning in Washington State.

This Washington State DOT's video provides a fine example of the total failure to consider motorcycles in transportation policy.  Watch the video closely and see how many motorcycles are used in testing and demonstrating safety benefits of cable barriers, or how first responders can extricate motorcyclists from cable barriers after a crash.  Also, notice that vehicles weighing many times greater than a motorcycle are used in testing, but motorcycles are not used to demonstrate cable deflection.  

As long as there is no legislative pressure to change, policies that place virtually all the focus of motorcycle safety on impairment awareness, Hi-Viz clothing, training, and helmet use, nothing will change.  If motorcycles are to be considered when designing roadways and roadside barriers, the owners of approximately one-quarter million motorcycles in Washington state need to demand their legislators pressure the WSDOT to begin seriously developing a set of analysis tools for motorcycle crashes, and including motorcycle attributes into vehicle exposure data collection programs.  Only by pressuring legislators across the state can motorcycles possibly even begin to be considered worthy of the "high cost" of implementing these strategies by the WSDOT.  

With Washington State repeatedly using the goal of "Target Zero" in transportation planning policy, shouldn't motorcycles actually be included in the data sets WSDOT, and other state agencies use concerning highway infrastructure and roadside safety barriers?  Or has the low cost of failed strategies kept them in place even though they have had little effect on reducing motorcycle fatalities in Washington State?  By not including motorcycles into vehicle exposure data, or creating analysis tools for motorcycle crashes, is WSDOT and other agencies saying that even working toward effectively analyzing motorcycle crash data too "high cost" to implement in order to reach 'Target Zero'?  Or is the cost in human lives each year through lack of actually including data from this mode of transportation not already enough of a "high cost"?

Catch you on the road sometime...

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Centerline Rumble Strip Danger To Motorcyclists Disregarded By WSDOT

The following diagram and quoted text is an excerpt from page 38 of the Washington State DOT's 2011 study on Centerline Rumble Strips; comparing the results of motorcycle crashes before and after installation of the centerline rumble strips.

"Excluding Motorcycles

While the motorcycle findings (see Figure 5.15) are an interesting study on their own, it is clear that they are skewing portions of the CLRS analysis.  For that reason, these 35 motorcycle collisions were excluded from the dataset."

Except for the complete lack of mention of motorcycles in WSDOT publications and studies, it is hard to imagine a more blatant example of the total disregard for motorcyclists by the WSDOT.  Despite the percentage of "fatal & serious injury" motorcycle crashes after the installation of Centerline Rumble Strips (CLRS) nearly doubling, the researchers excluded the entire dataset because it was "skewing" their data.  Doesn't the fact that WSDOT researchers chose to completely ignore such a significant increase in serious and fatal motorcycle crashes because it was "skewing" the data bring into question the entire validity of the study?  Besides the fact that the existence of such a high percentage change should have begged to be answered as to why, but was ignored, the fact that researchers completely ignored the data because it was not in line with the desired result, and redefined the purposes of CLRS so that they were not "not an effective countermeasure for this class of vehicle" brings forward the question of how intent were the researchers to support the benefits of CLRS regardless of their safety findings.

"The primary contributing circumstances CLRS are expected to influence are those where an operator is asleep, fatigued, or distracted."  While that may be the intent, completely disregarding the safety deficiencies of CLRS in regards to motorcycles simply because the data was "skewing" the results away from CLRS being beneficial in influencing a vehicle operator who is "asleep, fatigued, or distracted" would seem to be placing a much lower value on the lives of motorcyclists than other motor vehicle operators.  The complete lack of any mention of motorcycles or their riders in the 2013 follow-up study would appear to support the hypothesis that the lives of motorcyclists were not of as great of a concern to WSDOT as ensuring that CLRS became a ubiquitous element of the highways in Washington State in order to influence the effects of "asleep, fatigued, or distracted" drivers.  

Beyond the fact that WSDOT has apparently "cherry-picked" data to support the added expense of grinding CLRS into the roadway,  even though this has the detrimental effect of increasing the rate of roadway degradation requiring repair more often.  It also would seem to show that WSDOT is open to ignoring both the safety of an entire mode of transportation in pursuit of a satisfactory data result, but also disregards the Governor's highway safety plan "Target Zero", and it's goal of no serious or fatal crashes on Washington's roadways by 2030.  It also brings the question of how many other studies have been "cherry picked" to provide the desired result for WSDOT, regardless of the risks created for users of the states highway system.  

Catch you on the road sometime...if the road doesn't kill you first.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Data-Mining License Plates To Track and Toll Vehicles?

Digital license plates that can use GPS to track your vehicles movements and report that, and much more information to the Washington Dept. of Licensing may be in the future for motorists.  The features this new digital platform could offer are only limited by connectivity.  The more the platform becomes integrated and connected to the system the more information can be displayed.  Which also means the more data that can be mined about your vehicles movements and driving behavior.  Some legislators are actually supporting this concept, while others are questioning its desirability.

These plates are the creation of a silicon valley start-up called Reviver is offering their "rPlate".  The features being promoted can seem quite beneficial in many respects.  But upon further, more in-depth thought it also opens up the opportunity for unwanted data-mining of the movements of a vehicle by the government.  Does this open the possibility for a license plate to allow constant connectivity with the DOL's system to be used to monitor a citizens movements by law enforcement covertly?  Or perhaps; to create a tolling system on virtually every roadway within the state, with tolls automatically being debited on the spot as a person drives down the roadway.  Even on rural two-lane roadways which do not have congestion issues, but with this tracking ability can become instant toll roads.

Using GPS to track a vehicle as the rPlate creators say that it does, could easily be used as a surveillance device against citizens.  As the database and tracking system are operated by the government, it would seem only reasonable that the data be shared among the different branches of the government as deemed necessary.  All without the operator of the vehicle's knowledge.  Would state law enforcement even require a warrant to access the state's own database?  

Add to this, the expense of purchasing these digital license plates, which are expected to be approximately $300, with a roughly $10 per month connectivity fee.  This also brings to mind the question of what happens if someone fails to pay their monthly fee, does the rPlate inform law enforcement that the plate owner is operating the vehicle without payment of their fee?  Would these plates signal that the registration has expired and provide to law enforcement the location of the vehicle as it is being driven with expired registration?

One really has to wonder about the possible privacy concerns of the vehicles owners.  Basically having a digitally connected tracking device foisted on the citizens by the state, brings about many concerns.  Especially with the knowledge that with the expansion of information mined by technology growing at such an alarming rate, do citizens truly trust the State of Washington to collect only data relating to vehicle registration?  Do these plates pose the risk of being used by some in state government for uses other than what was initially proposed?  Could these digital rPlates eventually be used to automatically record through their GPS the fact that you may have been speeding; where, and by how much you exceeded the speed limit?  Either causing a citation to be mailed to the vehicle owner or debiting the amount instantaneously and directly?  

Whether some members of the Legislature and the Dept. of Licensing should be allowed to force such devices on citizens should demand serious thought and consideration.  It may well have many more possible digital uses.  Even displaying advertisements according to the manufacturer Reviver.  One can only imagine the possible irritation or offense that could be created by an owners rPlate displaying an advertisement for something they oppose.  These are only a small handful of the reasons that the citizens should discuss their thoughts on the DOL's intent to use rPlates, with its inevitable privacy and other human rights issues, with their legislators.  

It is up to you, to decide whether you support such technological access to your private lives.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Motorcycle "Tonnage" Fee Unfair To Motorcyclists

As of July 1, 2016, when you register your motorcycle in Washington State you have to pay a weight or "tonnage" fee.  The issue for motorcyclists, whose motorcycles have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of around a half ton or less, is having to pay the same fee as a two-ton car.  RCW46.17.365 lists the fee by weight beginning at 4,000 pounds.  In other words, the Dept. of Licensing is receiving the same $38.00 fee from each of the more than one quarter million motorcycles in the state, as from a Chrysler 300 Platinum. That is in the neighborhood of $10 million in tonnage fees for motorcycles each year.  

The heaviest Harley-Davidson touring bike has a GVW in the range of 1,500 pounds.  Most motorcycles are far lighter, with a significantly lower GVW.  Even at 1,500 pounds, the big Harleys, Hondas, and Indians are nowhere near the 4,000 pounds they are being charged for.  This is even more extreme for the smaller motorcycles which have a GVWR of far less than 1,000 pounds.  Yet they are paying out of pocket the same fee as a Mercedes Benz M Class SUV.

RCW46.17.350 set a fee by vehicle type.  One of the types included was motorcycles.  However, RCW46.17.355 has no distinction between vehicles at all except for by weight.  The DOL still charges the $30 for a vehicle registration license, but since July of 2016, there has been an additional fee by weight which completely ignores the GVWR of motorcycles.  Is this yet another example of the Washington Dept. of Licensing completely ignoring motorcycles as if we do not exist?  Or is this just an "end around" by DOL to get additional fees above the legislated $30 license fee?  The Dept. of Licensing requested this as a bill to the legislature.  Only by going through the legislature ourselves can motorcyclists hope to remove this fee or exempt motorcycles from the same GVWR related fee as on vehicles like the Lincoln Continental AWD Sedan.  Contact your legislators, and the candidates running for legislative office, and tell them the owners of over a quarter million motorcycles are unhappy with this "tonnage" fee on motorcycles, and we vote.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

DOT Helmet Standard Is Flawed

I do not believe people should be forced to not wear motorcycle helmets.  However, I also do not believe motorcyclists should be forced into wearing a helmet that could also be a contributing factor to injury.  What I am saying is that I believe the basic individual American adult is intelligent enough to decide for themselves when and when and even whether to wear a motorcycle helmet.  Especially when a significant percentage of motorcycle helmets on US highways, constituting many thousands of helmets on the road today, do not even meet the minimum standards of the extremely outdated DOT helmet standard.

In American states with some form of motorcycle helmet requirement. that requirement tends to require motorcycle helmets to meet the US DOT standard.  This standard is one of the weakest in the world in terms of helmet safety and allows manufacturers to design helmets to pass the testing that they may (or may not as it is not required by the standard) before self-certifying that their product meets the standard for them to sell.  This self-certification is only one of the flaws of the DOT standard.  It allows manufacturers to build a helmet that meets a very minimal list of requirements, and then self-certify that the helmet complies with the standard.  Even if that helmet is no more than a hard-shelled yarmulke with a DOT emblem on it.  As long as that helmet has not been; randomly purchased and tested by the USDOT's independent labs, and then actually failed the testing protocols, that certification is valid by law.  So a manufacturer can sell thousands of helmets that would not meet the standard and it would be perfectly legal.  If by chance that model helmet was purchased and tested and failed these tests.  A recall may or may not be required.  Even this would result in only a small percentage of the affected motorcycle helmets to being returned due to recall.  Between 1980 and 2008, just over 1,500 motorcycle helmet models were tested by independent laboratories.  Of those, over 60% failed to meet the standards.  Each model failing represented tens of thousands of helmets sold.

The DOT standard was based on earlier 1971 ANSI research on head injuries in crashes.*  However, these weren't motorcycle crashes, but automobile crashes with unhelmeted occupants.  This is the second flaw in the DOT standard.  It was based on head injuries to unhelmeted automobile occupants, not motorcyclists.  Two completely different types of crashes with significantly different rates and types of injury involved.  Yet the NHTSA moved forward with inaccurate data to create this standard.  

The DOT standard allows 400g's at impact.  That is the equivalent of a pick-up truck on your head.  Even if only for a few milliseconds this stress can cause damage to soft tissue such as; blood vessels, ligaments, and muscle in the neck and shoulders, but NHTSA (who created the standard) does not even put any consideration of these effects into its research.  Other helmet standards, such as SNELL and ECE are recognized around the world, and use the much lower but still significant level of 290g for 2 milliseconds.  Even this level is still on the cusp of a skull fracture.  However, DOT is significantly higher, with a lower requirement for protection.  Does only half head forms with an accelerometer inside a helmet actually constitute a reasonable representation of a human head and neck?  Apparently, it does to DOT.

Flaw number three can be shown as the DOT's failure to even test "roll-off".  Or how much the helmet rolls around on the wearers head as the head moves from side-to-side.  DOT also does not test face shields on helmets for impact safety.  While other standards do DOT ignores the potential for debris to strike the motorcyclist in the face.  

Perhaps it can be said that the fourth major flaw in the DOT standard is that it is outdated.  The last major change to the standard took several years to complete, and it simply involved the labeling of the DOT emblem on the back of a helmet.  The DOT standard has "changed minimally since its introduction" in the words of a study by the Head Protection Research Laboratory in 2001.  Since that time the only change has been the previously mentioned labeling change.

However, possibly the worse flaw is the way that manufacturers are able to design strength into specific areas of their helmets in order to pass the minimal DOT standard while leaving other areas they know are not in the testing standard to be less well protected.  The manufacturers intent overall is not the safety of the rider, but being able to sell their product and receive a profit.  Thus helmets can be designed to pass any DOT testing they may receive, but still not provide adequate safety to the motorcyclists wearing them in a crash.  Strength in real life is measured at the weakest point.  A real-world motorcycle crash is very good at finding those weak points and exploiting them.

Of the impact speeds that a DOT helmet is supposed to attenuate, the highest is on average, 13.4 mph.  This incredible speed is attained by dropping the helmet in a free fall from 72 inches (6 feet).  Or, mechanically moving the helmet at an equivalent speed.  The lesser impact is attained by dropping a helmet from 54 inches.  That's four and a half feet.  This impact, by the way, destroys the helmets ability to effectively protect the motorcyclist during a crash.  It is for this reason that manufacturers place in the helmets users booklet an instruction to replace the helmet if it experiences an impact, even if there is no visible damage.  How many helmets on the road today have fallen off a shelf, or motorcycle accidentally?  While the manufacturer has said this may destroy the helmets ability to protect the rider, rarely are helmets returned or replaced for such an impact.  So this leaves a significant number of questionable helmets on the heads of motorcyclists.  Above and beyond the possibly hundreds of thousands of helmets self-certified by manufacturers that could not actually pass scrutiny if tested.

These flaws would seem to show that the DOT standard is virtually useless.  The standard has been considered obsolete by many in the motorcycle safety research field for decades.  Manufacturers are able to design helmets to withstand impacts on the places that the standard states are to be impacted.  Manufacturers are not even required to test their helmets before self-certifying that they meet the standard.  The highest impact velocities are so low, they can be nearly attained simply by falling off a motorcycles seat, or table.  Yet, every year, millions of motorcyclists are forced to wear helmets, and the vast majority wear the minimum they have to wear, a DOT helmet.  The DOT standard truly brings into question whether mandates and universal helmet laws are truly about safety or more about providing law enforcement with a pretext for possible traffic stops.  If being mandated to wear a DOT helmet is truly about motorcycle safety, then why have automobile fatalities been going down for many years, while motorcycle fatalities have remained relatively unchanged for over a decade?

I urge you to think about these many flaws in the DOT standard, and consider the question; do we really need to mandate that motorcyclists must wear helmets that meet such a flawed standard, or might they actually be able to choose for themselves if and when they would wear a helmet?

Catch you on the road sometime...

* ANSI standard Z90.1

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Lane Splitting Survey Questions

This will be a bit of a departure from my normal blog posts.    These survey questions are from the 2012 California Lane Share Study by Emald & Wasserman Research Consultants LLC for the California Office of Traffic Safety and the University of California Berkeley's Safe Transportation Research and Education Center.  Perhaps the answer to these questions can be used to communicate to Washington State's lawmakers the benefits of lane sharing.

1.  What best describes how you use your motorcycle most of the time? You use it for:
    A. Pleasure riding on weekends
    B. Both commuting to work and pleasure riding on weekends
    C. Commuting to work
    D. Long‐distance touring rides
    E. Sport
    F.  Bar-hopping
    G. Other

2.  How many miles on average do you ride per day?

3.  Do you lane split on your motorcycle when riding on freeways?

4.  How frequently do you lane split on freeways?
    A. Always
    B. Often
    C. Sometimes
    D. Rarely 

5.  Have you ever hit a vehicle or has a vehicle hit you while you were lane splitting on a freeway?

6.  Did you ever nearly hit a vehicle?

7.  Would you say you lane split only
     A. Traffic is at a standstill
     B. Traffic is stop‐and‐go
     C. Traffic is moving less than 20 MPH
     D. Traffic is moving less than 30 MPH
     E. Traffic is moving less than 40 MPH
     F. Traffic is moving less than 50 MPH
     G. Traffic is moving less than 60 MPH
     H. Traffic is moving less than 70 MPH
      I. Other 
      J. At all times

8.  Do you lane split on your motorcycle when riding on multiple lane roads other than freeways?

9.  How much faster than the rest of the traffic do you go when lane splitting?
      A. About 5MPH faster than other traffic
      B. About 10MPH faster than other traffic
      C. About 15MPH faster than other traffic
      D. About 20MPH faster than other traffic
      E. About 30MPH faster than other traffic
      F. About 40MPH faster than other traffic
     G. About 50MPH faster than other traffic
     H. Other

Let me know your answers in the comments below.  The answers can be used to help in the fight to bring lane splitting to Washington State.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Reducing Motorcycle Fatalities In Washington State

Cover of 2016 Motorcycle Safety Program Report
One of the often repeated statements heard from officials involved in motorcycle safety within the Washington state government is that; while all other motor vehicle fatality rates have declined, the rate for motorcycle fatalities has remained virtually unchanged for over a decade.  The Washington State Department of Licensing's Motorcycle Safety Program's 2016 report actually states that there were "essentially no changes in fatalities in 12 years".  It would seem obvious that if despite the best efforts of the DOL to reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities on Washington State's highways the fatality rate is unchanged in over a decade, perhaps it is time to look more closely at what is really happening to cause the fatalities.  

Perhaps one of the reasons that the number of fatalities has seemed so static is that the number of riders has increased significantly, while the number of deaths per 100,000 registered motorcycles has dropped by nearly one-third over the last decade.  In 2005, according to the MSP's 2016 report, the number of motorcycle fatalities per 100,000 registered motorcycles was 45.3, by 2015 that number had dropped to 30.1.  This still leaves the unanswered question as to why so many motorcyclists are dying on Washington's roadways every year.

While studying the Motorcycle Safety Program's report, it becomes obvious that there is a departmental mindset at work.  The report breaks down the number of fatalities and traffic violations between endorsed and unendorsed riders.  It also compares trained and untrained riders.  However nowhere in the report does it discuss the types of collisions involved in the fatal crashes.  It does show that unendorsed and untrained riders are overrepresented in the number of fatalities.  This would seem to point towards a possible avenue of reduction of the fatalities by increasing the number of endorsed riders.  

However, that might only reduce the fatality rate statistically.  Simply reducing the number of unendorsed riders, while increasing the number of endorsed fatalities. Wouldn't it be more effective to look at what types of crashes caused these fatalities, and what caused the fatal injury?  Not in a broad and vague category such as; lane departure and struck a solid object.  That is a very vague description of the end result, not the cause of the crash.  What caused the loss of control that resulted in the crash?  Usually, it is more than one single factor, but if a rider loses control and crashes without being hit by someone else, the State considers that the riders fault.

An example could easily be that you are riding, perhaps 5 mph or so over the speed limit, into a flat right-hand turn.  As you lean into the turn you drift closer to the center line, and your front wheel hits something in the roadway, let's say the centerline rumble strip.  The sudden movement of the front wheel created by riding over the rumble strip while leaning the bike causes a "low-side" crash and you slide across the road, onto the shoulder, and into a guardrail post.  Sadly, you die from your injuries.  In the State's report, you experienced a fatal lane departure to the outside of the curve and struck a solid object.  Since you were traveling at 5 mph above the speed limit you are dropped into the classification of "speeding" as one of the causal factors.  Since no other vehicles were involved it is the riders fault for the crash.  The same goes if you are on the outside of a lane and drift onto the shoulder and crash into the guardrail.

This is how the State of Washington's Motorcycle Safety Program views fatal motorcycle crashes.  The fact that yes, you had drifted to the centerline is a technical failure on your part is what they look at.  The fact that the rapid steering inputs created by riding over the centerline rumble strip while already in a lean may have contributed to the crash is apparently not even considered.  As is the fact that had you not struck that guardrail post your injuries may well have been quite survivable don't even come into the minds of most of those compiling the data.  Why doesn't that sort of information even enter their minds?  Because many in the Motorcycle Safety Program are not motorcyclists and have no concept of the effect of such things as roadway surfaces can affect traction and control of a motorcycle.  

They seem to have no knowledge of the effects of grooved pavement, rumble strips, on the safe handling of a motorcycle.  Nor do they consider guardrails, cable barriers, etc. as anything but beneficial safety features.  Which they are to other motor vehicles.  However to a motorcyclist experiencing the centrifugal effects of crashing and sliding across the roadway, these same "safety features" can be fatal.  There have been studies done for over 30 years that show these dangers, and even show existing ways to mitigate the dangers.  Yet; even though they bemoan the "flat" level of motorcycle fatalities over the last decade, actually mitigating the additional risks these infrastructure "safety features" pose to motorcyclists is at a low priority.  If it is understood at all.  

The WSDOT has studied "Through, Over or Under Guardrail Penetration".  However, in the study, there is again the typical absence of any mention of motorcycles.  The effect differential between larger motor vehicle drivers and motorcycle riders may be quite enlightening.  Instead of viewing all fatalities in relation to guardrail height, type of vehicle involved may prove to be valuable to decision makers and legislators.

Educating motorcyclists how to ride endorsed, safely, and with confidence is a very good thing, and should be encouraged strongly.  Truly raising awareness of the other users of public roadways about motorcycles and their benefits and requirements is another excellent step to likely reducing motorcycle fatalities.  However, the State also could benefit by a reduction in real numbers of motorcycle fatalities if they actually took a serious look at the infrastructure on our roadways, the possible mitigation required to increase the safe travel of all the users of our roadways, including motorcycles, not just heavier motor vehicles.  The data is not difficult to find, and one of Washington's institutions of higher learning could easily verify the data by performing a study of their own.  

I am curious to see if they even care enough about the owners of over a quarter million motorcycles registered in Washington state.  Or just bury their head in the sand, and continue to argue that the data doesn't exist.  Well-intentioned efforts that do little to actually reduce the number of motorcyclists dying on Washington's roadways have not lowered the death rate.  Actually taking steps to mitigate at least the most egregious areas of infrastructure, could affect a noticeable and significant decrease in the number of lives lost in motorcycle accidents on Washington State's roadways.  If the State is truly serious about moving toward reaching the Governor's goal of "Target Zero" by 2030, all options should be seriously examined and mitigation put into action.

Catch you on the road sometime...