8 Ball In The Wind

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Hatred and Political Hypocrisy

David Duke                                       Louis Farakhan

The majority of us all agree that racial, gender. or religious hatred is wrong, am I right?  The majority of us all agree that bullying and publicly shaming a person who does not share your views is also wrong, am I right?  Then how is it that so many people on both sides of the political spectrum are hypocritical enough to denounce someone on the other side while overlooking the hatred espoused by those on their own political side of the spectrum?  Politicians who attack the openly Anti-Semitic view of those such as Louis Farakhan, had better not associate with or downplay the equally vocal Anti-Semitic actions of those such as David Duke.  

We have seen it again and again over the past decade or so especially.  Say or write the "wrong" thing and you may well become the victim of political bullying and brow-beating by those who openly condemn bullying and publicly shaming a person.  Yet when someone on their side of the political spectrum spouts racist, gender, or religious hatred it is either ignored or downplayed.  That is hypocritical.

Whether they are; a member of the political Left in the US who attacks a politician from the other side as "racist" because that person doesn't agree with them, all while having been openly photographed with Louis Farakhan, Al Sharpton, or some other person pushing a racist, religious, or gender agenda of inequality, or a member of the Right who does the same yet does not attack White Supremacists or Anti-Semitics in their own party are hypocrites.

When it is politically correct to say "Black Lives Matter" but racist to say "All Lives Matter", something is wrong.  And yet as Americans, we have seemingly lost our balls in this regard.  No longer do Americans seem to have the courage to stand-up for what is right and join together against the hatred from both sides.  What is good for the goose, is good for the gander.   We have begun to become a country that is so polarized we barely even listen to the other side, and ignore the actions of those on their own political side whose behavior is as repugnant to American ideals as the very person they have just publicly accused of racism, sexism, or of being a religious bigot.  All while proudly and loudly proclaiming they are holding American ideals high.  

Whether you call it; deceit, duplicity, or dissimulation, it is all hypocrisy.  Right or Left, it doesn't matter, hate speech is hate speech.  Saying; "The Jews don't like Farakhan, so they call me Hitler.  Well, that's a good name.  Hitler was a very great man" is no different than saying; "The Jews are trying to destroy all other cultures...as a survival mechanism...the only Nazi country in the world is Israel".  They are both as bad and both of the men who said those things stand seemingly on the polar opposites of the political spectrum.  Both are full of hate, and both should be excised from the support of politicians because of their openly hateful actions and words.  

No race is "better" than another, no religion is "better" than another, and no gender is "better" than another.  Until we as a Nation remember that again. Or, as a society we quit trying to micromanage the beliefs of its members while neglecting the broader needs of a healthy Nation, we will be lead down the garden path.  

One last thing to think about; it has been shown, to those who care to see, that by hypocritically attacking a political opponent for something while neglecting to do the same for a political ally, you have become the protector of that behavior.  By being silent about the behavior, you are condoning it.

Much like in the recent months Hollywood has been in an uproar about the sexual harassment of actors by men in power.  While more and more women and men begin to step forward and speak of how long they were aware of this behavior, none of them spoke out.  That is until it became politically correct to do so.  Up until then, they admit they "knew" but kept quiet.  By their silence, they consented to allow it to continue.  With all the "hashtag"s in Hollywood regarding this issue, there was a lot of silent consent for many years.

As John Kaas said in his column today in the Chicago Tribune; "What we are witnessing is the Balkanizing of the United States."  Allowing hate and hypocrisy to divide us and weaken us all.  We need to put this shit aside and stand united together as Americans.  Equal and unhyphenated.  Being united doesn't mean we agree on everything, but that we stand together as equals.  Regardless of race, creed, or gender.  Perhaps then we can be the Nation that Dr. Martin Luther King saw in his "Dream".  Perhaps then we will achieve the true American Dream, and be the Nation that we all deserve to live and die in.

Think about it.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Historic Vote Protest Ignored By Media

For what is believed to be the first time in the modern history of the State of Washington, and entire Caucus refused to even vote on a bill in protest.  After nearly two hours of impassioned debate on the bill SB6199, the Republican Caucus stood firmly together and in protest refused to vote in what was already a foregone conclusion of a defeat that would have made passage of SB6199 seem normal and not at all irregular or out of the ordinary.  The bill passed out of the House due to every Democrat voting yes.  Yet the story of the House Republicans refusing to even vote; something of historic significance, was completely ignored by the media here in Washington State.

During the debate, legislators who mentioned this were gavelled down by the Speaker, and not allowed to continue their comments.  As can be seen by following this URL to the TVW broadcast archive of the floor debate. https://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2018031006  After a series of amendments by the Republicans were shouted down by voice vote in the House Chamber (beginning at the 14:00 point of the TVW video), it was soon obvious the Democrats were not going to allow anything to block the passing of this bill.  

Why was this bill so extraordinary that it resulted in such an unprecedented action by the Republican Caucus?  Several things in the bill seem rather odd.  Such as giving DSHS to "adopt any rules as it deems necessary to implement the provisions of this act."  Giving DSHS carte blanche to "adopt any rules" that it deems necessary would seem to give DSHS broad power to act independently of the legislature.  It would also set up a "directed employer program".  This program would allow DSHS to contract with an outside third-party entity to act as case managers for the independent providers.  This would be a one-time selection, and then this third-party entity would become the permanent case managing body for the independent providers in Washington.  That body would be a unionized organization requiring its employees, the independent providers, to pay union dues or fees equal to those union dues.  It was strongly held that the SEIU, which is a powerfully influential contributor to the Democratic Party, would be that union.  

The most egregious part of this bill is buried deep within it and would require the Individual Providers (caregivers) to pay union dues or fees equal to those union dues.  That amounts to over $900 per year.  Or roughly one and a half months pay for people, mainly family members caring for relatives, going to union dues with no ability to opt out.  But being forced to pay union dues or fees equal to those union dues.  This bill effectively forces unionization of people caring for their family members or friends.  With little benefit to them for the amount of money they would be having withheld from them.

As a result, the Republicans were left at the end of the debate with little option left except to protest the inevitable passing of this bill by boycotting the vote.  It is believed to be the first time in modern state history that an entire caucus stood together and did not vote on a bill.  Yet the only sort of news report on this was TVW's own Legislative Review program, which showed highly edited bits of the debate. As can be seen by at this URL:  https://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2018031001 

It seems strange that the media can widely cover the legislatures gun control measures, or the failure of the Carbon Tax, or even the legislature's actions on Atlantic Salmon.  Yet not even a whisper about the passionate debate and political protest against forced unionization and an entire caucus boycotting a vote against a bill that would cost the state tens of millions of dollars annually in perpetuity.  With the majority caucus ignoring "hundreds" of emails and letters from individual independent providers opposing the bill, and only addressing "form letters" in support it brings to mind a question about the true intent of this bill.  One that brought the gavel quickly down on several legislators who attempted to ask the question, or made the remark; was this some form of payback to the SEIU for its support in Democrat campaigns?  A question that while best left to the media, appears to be one they are unwilling to ask.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Seattle Centric Thinking

Over the last few years, there has come to exist what is being called an urban, or "Seattle Centric" mindset among many in the Democrat party.  Following agendas that on the broad face, and at first glance seem reasonable.  As experience has shown with the heavy push for bio-diesel, once the realities involved come to light, the urban 'progressives' quietly leave the efforts behind in pursuit of the newest "green" effort. 

Such as the current emphasis on electric cars.  One of the current items in this year's supplemental budget is $75,000 for a study on how to facilitate the use of electric cars among low-income people of the state.  With an average sticker price of just over $26,000, the eight least expensive electric cars are still very close to being out of reach for most low-income people to purchase.  One of the possible ways of getting around that is a possible ride-share program similar to Seattle's bicycle ride-share program.  The main difficulties with that solution and ones that will affect most low-income people in the state are the lack of electrical charging infrastructure around the state, and the much greater distances to be traveled to and from work, etc. in rural areas.  But it would probably work great in Seattle and the metro areas.

Over the past several months it would have been amusing to watch if it hadn't had such serious effects across the State of Washington.  Issues such as; private water rights (urban water users receive their water from government sources and pay the government entity for their water, and couldn't seem to grasp that rural water users paid for their own wells and pumps  but were not protected by the same privileges of the urban water users sources), the use of foam fire retardant in rural/agricultural or industrial area areas to fight petroleum-based fires,  and others all fell upon deaf urban ears in the urban, Democrat-controlled legislature.  While I am saying there is a strong Seattle/urban mindset among the Democrats, I am not saying all Democrats are afflicted with this issue.  Many are able to look beyond the city lights when presented with solid evidence and see the value of ideas and concerns from the rural parts of the state.  Whether they will vote against their caucus is an entirely different matter altogether.

One final example of this Seattle Centric mindset is one I discovered this morning.  During her run for a House seat in the 25th Legislative District in 2014, 24 year old  Republican Melanie Stambaugh, was opposed by an incumbent Democrat.  One of the pieces of campaign art produced by the Democrats in opposition to Melanie's age stated that "State Representative is not an entry-level job".  The amusing part, and one that fully demonstrates the Seattle centric mindset can be seen in the image of that campaign art below.  It shows then-candidate Stambaugh with a city skyline in the background.  The problem with the image is the 25th Legislative District includes Puyallup, Fife, Midway, Summit, South Hill, and parts of east Tacoma and Parkland.  However, the skyline used was downtown Seattle, which is several districts away from the 25th.  Seattle was absolutely irrelevant in this campaign, yet the state Democrats who approved the art had no issue using Seattle's skyline to represent the 25th district.  Even the Capitol in Olympia would have had more relevancy than Seattle.  That is, unless your political mindset is that everything of political import is focused on Seattle.  So am I wrong?  What do you think, tell me.  I am looking forward to hearing back from you on this.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Complete Integration of Motorcycles Into Transportation Policy Planning

Currently, in Washington State, motorcycles make up 4% of the registered vehicles.  That still accounts for more than 250,000 vehicles.  Yet, the Washington State Department of Transportation and Department of Licensing seem to either totally misunderstand the differences between a motorcycle and an automobile, or simply choose to ignore those differences.  As we move closer to the date for reaching Washington State’s “Target Zero”, it is becoming more evident to those who see and understand the differences that strategies to reduce fatalities in automobiles simply cannot be as successful with motorcycles.  There are actually very few ways that the two are similar.  Until that is realized, and transportation policy ceases seeing motorcycles only as a safety concern, the fatality rate will continue to, in the words of the Washington Traffic Safety Commision, remain “fairly flat”.  Which means that the current strategies for automobiles are not as effective with motorcycles. 
One of the key problems is that transportation policy planners are currently virtually ignoring motorcycles and other powered two-wheelers.  Motorcycles are not currently being integrated into and are underutilized as a part of a comprehensive transportation policy.  The evidence of this is quite easy to observe.  Take for example the May 2016 WSDOT report Two-Lane Rural Highways Safety Performance Functions.  In the 406 pages of the report; pedestrians as mentioned 35 times, bicyclists are mentioned 33 times, and motorcycles aren’t even mentioned at all.  Similar disproportionate differences occur in WSDOT’s June 2016 report Urban and Suburban Arterial Safety Performance Functions: Final Report.  Possibly more telling of the institutionalized mindset regarding motorcycles is found in the March 2011 WSDOT report Performance Analysis of Centerline Rumble Strips in Washington State. 
In that report, it states that “In looking at contributing circumstances for the 35 motorcycle collisions in the dataset, it is clear that CLRS are not an effective countermeasure for this class of vehicle.”  The report does not state why centerline rumble strips are not an effective countermeasure, except that there were no reports of sleeping or fatigued motorcyclists associated with the 35 collisions.  However, the report does state that the percentage of fatal motorcycle collisions increased by 23%, from 30% to 53%, after installation of centerline rumble strips.  The authors of the report state on page 38 that because the motorcycle dataset was “skewing portions of the CLRS analysis”, all the motorcycle collisions were excluded.  The authors were so narrowly focused on the effect of centerline rumble strips on fatigued or sleeping drivers that they could not understand the probable reasons for the increase in fatal motorcycle crashes after installation of the rumble strips.  Even though they briefly describe the conditions under which most of the crashes occur, their narrow focus and unfamiliarity with even the basic handling characteristics of motorcycles led them to simply “exempt” all motorcycle collisions so that they were no longer “skewing” the data.  Anyone who has even the most rudimentary understanding of how a motorcycle travels through a turn can quickly see the relationship between rumble strips and 85% of the motorcycle collisions.  These collisions all had one thing in common; flat, unbanked curves.  Of the collisions on these curves, 86% were “lane departures to the outside of the curve”. 
A motorcycle maneuvers through a curve by leaning.  While the body of a car may “lean” somewhat on the suspension, for all intents and purposes, the tires are still flat on the roadway.  Motorcycles turn by actually leaning onto the curved sides of their tires.  While on the road, a car has approximately 144 square inches of contact with the road surface.  A motorcycle on the same road has approximately 16 square inches of contact with the road surface.  Now add the fact that in the curve, the motorcycle is no longer in the vertical plane with the roadway, but is off center at an angle equal to the amount of lean needed to maneuver through the curve.  Factor in the destabilizing oscillations of the rumble strip on a vehicle with an already offset center of gravity and the reduction of road surface contact below the already small 16 square inches as traction is lost due to the rumble strip.  If the destabilizing effects of the rumble strip, decrease in both traction and contact surface, added to lean angle lead to the bike going down in the curve, centrifugal force will send the now sliding motorcycle across the oncoming lane resulting in “lane departures to the outside of the curve”.  Just as 86% of the motorcycle collisions on curves were reported.
This combination of disregard and misunderstanding of motorcycles and how they interact with the roadway as opposed to automobiles has led to inefficient transportation policies and planning.  It is the hope of this paper to show that motorcycles and other powered two-wheelers can be an effective mode of personal transport that can, in conjunction with other modes of transportation, can be used to; ease traffic congestion during commute times, reduce parking space issues in urban and suburban curbsides, as a fully functioning mode of transportation.
That is not to say that by simply promoting the use of motorcycles all these things will come to pass, but with the promotion of certain strategies and options, the entire transportation system can experience the benefits.  As has been shown in other parts of the world, such as the United Kingdom.

Objectives and Actions

1.      Safety Statistics
Safety statistics are a key factor in demonstrating whether a process or a proposal such as this is functioning properly.  One must acknowledge the negative statistics, but also highlight progress made and focus on possible solutions.  Not merely stating the percentage of increase or decrease of fatalities for example.  Transportation planners need to look beyond the basic statistics and look to gain a greater understanding of transportation safety issues which should bring greater recognition of what sort of intervention might be effective and when.  With an eye towards including long-term trends, since most transportation plans are scheduled out over periods of decades.
The statistics themselves may require better clarification.  This would better provide beneficial data to transportation planners.  For example; simply stating whether a motorcycle fatality was wearing a helmet or not can be very misleading.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); 64% of fatalities to unhelmeted motorcyclists are due to injury to parts of the body other than the head, while 81% of fatalities to helmeted motorcyclists are due to injury to parts of the body other than the head.  Thus reporting that a motorcyclist died while not wearing a helmet can be somewhat misleading and inflammatory.  If the fatality was due, say, to internal organ damage in the torso caused by trauma, whether or not a helmet was worn is unlikely to have had any effect on the final outcome.  Also, combining the statistics for “killed” and “seriously injured” can lead to an over estimation of the seriousness of the injuries.

2.      Government Recognition
It will be shown that motorcycling has its place alongside that of bicycling, walking, and public transit in the preferred transportation paradigm.  Doing so will promote the use of motorcycles in conjunction with bicycling and walking.  For those who are less likely to travel to light rail stations for the commute to work or school because the distance to walk is too great, or they are physically unable to pedal a bicycle that distance; motorcycles provide an excellent option while also taking up less room in light rail station parking areas.  Also, motorcycles in an urban center will consume much less parking space.  Allowing more people to park which should help reduce their stress as has been shown is an issue in the INRIX impact of Parking Pain study.
By the recognition of motorcycles as a fully integrated mode of transportation by transportation planners, it will help raise public awareness  Which should aid in reducing the current vulnerability of motorcyclists on the highways.  With greater awareness of the differences between automobiles and motorcycles, and their significantly different capabilities and deficiencies, transportation policies can be better focused to aid in increasing safety benefits for all transportation modes.

Conclusions and Discussion
Not recognizing and dealing with the different needs and capabilities of motorcycles on the public roadways may actually have the unintended effect of preventing the reduction of motorcycle fatalities simply due to transportation policies that provide infrastructure that is perfectly safe for an automobile, yet could be a fatal factor in; motorcycle stability, control, and safety.


Target Zero   http://www.targetzero.com/   

 Two-Lane Rural Highways Safety Performance Functions 2016    Shankar, et al.  WSDOT https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/research/reports/fullreports/856.1.pdf
Urban and Suburban Arterial Safety Performance Functions: Final Report 2016          Shankar, et al.  WSDOT
NHTSA DOT HS 810 856 Traffic Safety Facts, Oct. 2007 Bodily Injury Locations in Fatally Injured Motorcycle Riders  pg 2  https://permanent.access.gpo.gov/websites/crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/lps96244.pdf

INRIX Impact of Parking Pain study   Cookson, Pishue  2017  http://www2.inrix.com/research-parking-2017 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

WSDOT Researchers Ignore Motorcycles

According to the 2016 Traffic Safety Conference presentation by Texas A&M's Transportation Institute there has been; "Limited research to address riders safety when impacting roadside safety hardware."  In the presentation made at the June, 2016 conference Texas A&M also stated that there is no US testing standards for motorcycle riders safety when impacting roadside safety devices, and no world standard for testing when impacting in an upright position.  This is significant in that several studies done around the world show that roughly half of these types of impacts occur with the rider in the upright position.  For decades, studies in the US and other countries have reported that motorcycles and their riders often experience 'lane departure' and impact 'a fixed object'.  Yet the primary focus has long been whether the motorcyclist was wearing a helmet or not, and if the collision was fatal or not.

The Texas A&M report also states that since 1975, passenger vehicle deaths have been reduced significantly while motorcycle fatality rates have remained relatively flat.  Could this be that safety efforts have tended to be focused on the motorcyclist wearing a helmet and their ability to be seen by other vehicles, and not items that have been seen to cause serious and fatal injury?  While it's true that motorcycle safety training, similar to that of Total Control Training in California, has been shown to help reduce the fatality rate. Helping to prevent serious injuries by looking at ways to reduce the risk of those 'fixed objects' along the roadways could drastically reduce the rate of fatal motorcycle collisions.

While many in Washington State government seem to find data from other countries irrelevant, or for some other reason tend to disregard them, it is important to realize that other nations have been looking into these same issues due to a more pressing need, while American researchers have rarely even considered studying motorcycle issues effectively.  For example; in Europe between 2001 and 2009 62,000 people were killed in collisions involving powered two-wheelers (motorcycles, scooters and mopeds).  That is nearly twice the average yearly total in the US.  Australia is another country that has done extensive research into motorcycle safety beyond helmet usage and visibility.  

In the 2013 study 'The Protective Effect of Roadside Barriers for Motorcyclists' by the University of New South Wales, in Australia; sums up the issues with roadside safety barriers and motorcycle fatalities quite nicely in its opening paragraph; "The United States and Australian Roadside Design Guides do not consider motorcyclists in the risk-based decision process for the deployment of a barrier, because the severity indices for barriers and fixed hazards were developed for passenger vehicles."  In other words, these barriers, and roadside safety features were designed to protect passengers in vehicles weighing several thousand pounds, with the body and chassis of the vehicle around them, as well as air bags and passenger restraints.  None of which are a protection for a motorcyclist.  In many cases it is the motorcyclist who impacts the fixed safety feature or guard rail.  Resulting in serious, if not fatal injuries.  In this Australian study, it was found that 71% of motorcycle casualty collisions were speed related; 78.9 percent occurred on a curve; 69.6 percent occurred in a rural location; and the majority of casualty collisions involved helmeted motorcyclists and occurred on dry, sealed roadways, in speed zones of less than 60 mph, in the daytime, and not on highways/freeways or at intersections.  In other words, helmeted motorcyclists riding in good weather, on good rural roads, going over the speed for a curve.  Sounds perfectly logical doesn't it?

In the 2011 report for the Washington State Department of Transportation, the researchers found that a 23% increase in crashes involving "fatal & serious injury" following installation of rumble strips were "skewing portions of the CLRS analysis".  So what did the researchers do?  The "exempted" all the data from all the motorcycle crashes completely from the final findings of the report.  Because motorcycle crashes were affecting the data in a way the researchers didn't want, they ignored it.  Whereas in other countries motorcycles are beginning to be considered a viable alternative mode of transportation, in Washington State they are being "exempted" and ignored in official transportation reports.

The 2016 WSDOT report "Two-Lane Rural Highways Safety Performance Functions" is another example of the difference between the rest of the world and Washington State when it comes to transportation policy planning.  Within the 406 pages of the report; pedestrians are mentioned 33 times, bicycles are mentioned 29 times, while motorcycles are mentioned 0 times.  In 406 pages of a report on rural two-lane highway safety, the same sort of roads that 2013 Australian study found such strong motorcycle data involved, the Washington State Dept. of Transportation didn't even mention motorcycles at all.  It
would appear that motorcycles were not even a consideration in safety performance by the WSDOT.  This continuing complete
absence of data for motorcycles in WSDOT reports would seem to substantiate the perception of many in the motorcycling community that WSDOT tracks fatalities among motorcyclists, but does
nothing to consider safety issues specific to motorcycles that have little or not effect on other motor vehicles.  While other countries study the effects of motorcycles impacting stationary objects such as guardrails or concrete 'jersey barriers' and possible mitigation opportunities, WSDOT seems to continue in
report after report to completely ignore motorcycles.  All while including the data for bicycles and pedestrians, but apparently excluding any mention of motorcycles in these reports what-so-ever.  WSDOT has even published a report specifically about bicyclists and pedestrians in Washington State. 

While researchers in other states, and around the world, study the effects of roadway infrastructure during impacts by motorcycles, the effects of "run off" the lane crashes, and other safety issues related to motorcycles, the WSDOT appears to be effectively excluding motorcycles completely in favor of pedestrians and bicyclists.  WSDOT, and some of those in the legislature who oversee Transportation policy do not seem to see motorcycles as a serious and viable mode of transportation.  So apparently, they ignore them.  In an age of increasing congestion and transportation policy failures, perhaps that may have begun to be an inappropriate manner of thought.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Monday, September 18, 2017

Does Washington State's Transportation Agenda Override Truth And Data ?

To push their own agenda, members of several Washington State governmental agencies have; misrepresented the facts, disregarded data, or exempted data that skewed their studies away from their desired result.  What may be most distressing is that this seems to only be a loosely coordinated agenda.  With different agencies using different numbers to discuss the same data. For example, the Washington State Patrol (who reports their data to NHTSA), Washington Dept. of Transportation, and the Washington Dept. of Licensing cannot even agree on the number of motorcycle fatalities each year.  Even though they are all parts of the same state government, their numbers are significantly different.  
As you can see, there is a consistent and significant difference in data between state agencies reporting motorcycle fatalities in Washington State.  As you can see, their numbers only came close to matching once in a ten year period.  How is that possible when they all claim to be reporting on the same factor, yet their data is so completely different as to insure error in reporting and forecasts that bring into question the voracity of the data being presented.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission on its website repeatedly quotes data from 2012-2014.  However if one actually looks at the information being presented, in many cases it simply does not add up.  It claims that; "Only 8 percent of the riders involved in fatalities were not wearing helmets."  Those numbers don't add up.  During the period 2012-2014, 3.6% of riders involved in fatalities were not wearing helmets, not 8%.  In that period, that is a difference of ten (10) riders, a 4.4% error in their information on only that one point.  

The WTSC also proclaims that helmets are 37% effective in preventing motorcycle deaths.  Yet, their source for that piece of data, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also states that 81% of helmeted fatalities and 64% of non-helmeted fatalities are due to injuries other than the head.   So basically, in two out of three non-helmeted fatalities, and four out of five helmeted fatalities, the helmet was irrelevant.  This isn't to say they did not provide some measure of protection, but what other piece of motor vehicle equipment would you stand to be mandated to use when it is only effective in a questionable 37% of the time?  I also find it amusing that the concept of automobile occupants being mandated to wear helmets is considered laughable in the legislature.  Even though the Centers for Disease Control have found that an automobile occupant involved in a collision is ten times more likely to go to the ER with a head injury, six times more likely to be hospitalized for a head injury, and four and a half times more likely to die from a head injury than a motorcyclist involved in a collision.  Don't believe me?  Check the 2010 CDC report "Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States". and you'll find the info between pages 30 and 41.  See for yourself, it isn't difficult to find the information.

Perhaps this next excerpt from the WTSC's website is even more telling.  As it places the agencies desire to reach an unattainable goal of zero fatalities and serious injuries within the next 12 years above the wishes of members of the community who actually are affected by this law to the extent that they oppose any measure to amend the helmet bill by blindly disseminating the same incorrect data that I have just demonstrated.  "This is important because there are annual challenges to Washington's helmet laws by advocate wishing the law repealed.  To reach zero fatalities and serious injuries, it is important that this law stay in place."  This should demonstrate that the agencies agenda is being placed placed above the will of the people.

On another issue; that of lane-sharing (or lane-splitting), several agencies in Washington State are clinging tenaciously to 'Target Zero' claiming the practice is dangerous and will cost more lives.  They openly dismiss multiple studies demonstrating the polar opposite to be true.  All without showing any evidence to the contrary other than some deceptively edited video clips showing motorcyclists riding illegally and dangerously getting into collisions.  However the videos are edited to give the impression that both riders were killed.  Which the full clips show is certainly not the case.  In both un-cut clips being shown the riders are shown to get back up on their feet, and relatively unharmed.  Proving the very point that supporters of lane-sharing have been claiming to be true all along.

Another example of Washington State's Transportation Agenda being distorted is the 2011 Washington State Dept. of Transportation study on center line rumble strips.  In this study, the number of fatal motorcycle crashes on newly rumble stripped highway rose from 30% to 53%.  That is a 44% increase in fatalities after rumble stripping.  Yet instead of asking why the number of motorcycle fatalities rose, WADOT's researchers simply decided to 'exclude' motorcycles from the study.  This is the actually explanation from the study itself; "it is clear that they are skewing portions of the CLRS analysis. For that reason, these 35 motorcycle collisions were excluded from the dataset."

So because a sharp rise in motorcycle fatalities "skewed" the dataset, instead of trying to understand why, the motorcycle fatalities were simply 'excluded' from the information that formed the data for the study.  Since the rumble strips were being introduced to have an effect on drowsy and fatigued drivers, the fact that they may have an unintended effect on motorcycle safety seems to have been considered irrelevant.  In the follow-up 2013 study, there is no mention of motorcycles at all.  So it would seem that WADOT is not truly concerned with 'Target Zero' if it applies to motorcyclists.

There is more, but I will let you have fun finding it.  Their actions certainly don't fit the words they provide the legislators.  They don't appear to really consider motorcycles a worthy vehicle to use their roadways.  They just haven't been able to get completely rid of us yet.  

Too many of the legislators still see us as the stereotypical bum on  some cheap death trap of a motorcycle.  I recently had the pleasure of discussing some of the issues we will be working for during the next legislative session with a legislator who wished t get a better 'feel' for motorcyclists.  He had asked to arrange our meeting at a Harley-Davidson dealership.  It was humorous to see the look on his face when he realized the prices on the packed showroom floor.  Most were more expensive then the vintage BMW he drove to the dealership.  It was definitely an eye opener for him.  That is what we need more of, to open the eyes of legislators to who motorcyclists truly are,

Catch you on the road sometime...

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Governmental Prejudice Towards Motorcyclists?

There has long been a line of thought that suggested there is an institutional bias against motorcycles by the government.  I have seen evidence of it while researching and investigating reports and studies over the past few years, and was curious if would be easily found by randomly pulling any one report and carefully looking at it.  What I found when I opened a random report; it happened to be from the Washington State Dept of Health, was disturbing.  There appear to be definite prejudicial comments and statements, that aren't necessarily reinforced by the actual information in the report.  Some of this could be a reliance on a limited number of sources for a wide range of information.  Or it could simply be the bureaucratic mentality in effect.  The mentality that finds it so difficult to understand  why this motorcycle, and the automobile behind it are not simply motor vehicles, equal to each other in all ways.

Look at these two vehicles, and see if you can understand why according to the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission (WSTC), lane departure (aka leaving the roadway) contributed to 49% of motorcycle fatalities between 2011 and 2015.  Meanwhile the bureaucratic response to prevent motorcycle fatalities is a mandatory helmet law.  Which personally I find rather odd, since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data clearly shows that 81% of fatal injuries to helmeted motorcyclists, and 64% of fatal injuries to un-helmeted motorcyclists are to bodily locations other than the head.  So wouldn't a reasonable person agree that a helmet was irrelevant in a majority of all motorcycle fatalities?

Catch you on the road sometime...