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I just got this off of Yahoo news, Interesting....


Daryl Ruff's earliest childhood memory is climbing aboard his father's parked Harley-Davidson — and struggling to pick it up again when the kickstand gave out.

He survived that first crash unscathed, and his life's been punctuated by the throaty roar of a powerful hog ever since.

So last November, with his kids out of the house and having children of their own, the 55-year-old put some cash into one of the quintessential baby boomer luxury purchases.

"I bought the biggest, baddest most expensive Harley that they make," he says with a chuckle. "It's kind of the Winnebago of motorcycles, so they don't get any bigger or heavier than what I'm riding."

When Ruff fires up his customized Harley Ultra Classic, which weighs about 800 pounds and produces about 90 horsepower, he's hardly alone — people 40 and older have become the largest single group of motorcycle owners in America.

But as they hit the road in record numbers, riders 40 and older also have been getting killed more often than their younger counterparts. That's spurred state governments to re-examine their motorcycle regulations.

The effort is in its infancy, but officials from the Washington State Patrol and the Department of Licensing are already discussing refresher training courses for experienced riders and a requirements to show a motorcycle license before buying a bike.

"What we think is happening with this older group is that they rode a motorcycle when they were 18-20 years old, then they hit their 40s and realized, 'Hey, I can afford a bigger, better bike,'" said Gigi Zenk, a licensing spokeswoman.

Statistics show state motorcycle fatalities on the rise, with most involving riders 40 and older on bikes with the largest engines.

Nationwide, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's projected 2004 figures have motorcyclists 40 older involved in about 47 percent of 3,900 fatalities. They're also expected to account for more than 60 percent of the yearly increase in deadly crashes.

"If it keeps going, we're going to be in trouble. We're already in trouble," Patrol Capt. Jeff DeVere said.

Industry and rider groups caution that tightened regulation should not be based solely on raw crash statistics.

"When the fatality numbers come out each year ... special interest groups tend to react to that and speculate on solutions without having anything more than data," said American Motorcyclist Association spokesman Tom Lindsay.

Tim Bouche, president of the cycle manufacturers' Motorcycle Safety Foundation, said officials should consider that older riders are the largest group of riders, not just the largest group of fatal crashes.

"It's not really saying there's a cause and effect there, or that it's a key factor," Bouche said. "It's simply that the average rider is older and they're on larger bikes."

Few would argue that physical capabilities and reaction times tend to deteriorate with age. The safety foundation, which offers training programs, has developed a special "seasoned rider" package to address those particular problems.

For Ruff, getting older has meant the obligatory purchase of reading glasses. But he hasn't noticed any decline in riding skills.

Nevertheless, he does give himself more space on the road than when he was 20, and still regularly takes experienced riders' courses.

"I've been riding for 30 years and I always learn something," he said.

Industry and rider groups are looking forward to a planned national crash study — the first of its kind in decades — which they think will show the real reasons behind rising motorcycle fatalities.

"We're focused on finding out the cause of crashes so we can take the best approach long-term to saving lives," Lindsay said.

For Ruff, who serves as chief road safety officer for Tacoma's Harley Owners Group, ramped-up training regulations might not be such a bad idea.

"I'm not opposed to some way of making sure they at least have basic skills," he said. "There are a number of them that'll go out and say, 'Oh yeah, I used to ride a dirt bike,' and they'll go out and buy a Harley.

"If it keeps one person from killing themselves, all the better."

___

On the Net:

Motorcycle Safety Foundation: http://www.msf-usa.org

American Motorcyclist Association: http://www.ama-cycle.org
 

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Cagers _also_ need to take motorcycle safety courses so they are more aware of bikes and how the actions they take increase the risk to m/c riders. PA started putting information cards about mototrcycling in license plate renewals this year. It's too early to know if they have had any effect, but it's an enlightened start.
 

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FXD-Tim said:
Cagers _also_ need to take motorcycle safety courses so they are more aware of bikes and how the actions they take increase the risk to m/c riders. PA started putting information cards about mototrcycling in license plate renewals this year. It's too early to know if they have had any effect, but it's an enlightened start.
Be interesting to see the stats that come out of this. Keep us informed.
 

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ROCK BOTTOM AND DIGGING
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I ams so tired of the notion that "if it saves one life, it will be worth it". That is BS. It is almost as moronic as, "it's for the children". There are a lot of stupid ideas that we could put into place that might save a life. But at what cost in dollars, time, pleasure and freedom. Let's just outlaw anything that might possibly harm someone......Oh, I guess that is what we are doing.

Once again it is called PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. You used to hear the phrase, "it's a free country". When was the last time you heard some say that and really mean it. As Dennis Miller says, "its time to thin the herd". Folks, have some fun and use some common sense and take some personal responsibility.
 

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Personally I'm for it. I have always said they should make older drivers, maybe around 65 or so take a skills test periodicly so why not motorcyclist too. I have seen too many people including my mother and my father in law almost kill them selves or somebody else because they just can't see or are not alert enough. I would rather my mother have to depend on me or my brother for transportation than have her get killed or kill someone else. I also have some friends who ride who need to consider giving up riding before they kill them selves. BTW lest you think I am someone who supports this because it won't affect me any time soon I am 55 now so something like this will hit me soon enough and if I can no longer pass a basic skills test then I need to be off the road regardless of what I am riding or driving.
 

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Thanks for the link, very interesting.

And I can tell from your Avatar that you are interested is SAFETY too :)
 

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The_Snowman said:
Thanks for the link, very interesting.

And I can tell from your Avatar that you are interested is SAFETY too :)
I wonder if that poor Matador was as safety conscious as we are? In other words, I wonder if he was wearing a cup? :blink:
 

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Its true. There are more people over 40 dying of old age then ever before!
 

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If in fact riders over forty are dying on the roads more than other groups it is simply because the population is aging.....
Basically it's the "Baby-Boomers" who've managed to save a wad of cash over the years, have now retired and woke up one morning and said to themselves, "I think I'll buy a motorcycle even though I have no experience riding what-so-ever". So now we have a bunch of aging, inexperienced riders on the road.
 

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I would gladly support a basic skills requirement for licensed motorcycle operators after a certain age, right after the same requirement is made for cagers..:clap:
 

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utrvp said:
Personally I'm for it. I have always said they should make older drivers, maybe around 65 or so take a skills test periodicly so why not motorcyclist too. I have seen too many people including my mother and my father in law almost kill them selves or somebody else because they just can't see or are not alert enough. I would rather my mother have to depend on me or my brother for transportation than have her get killed or kill someone else. I also have some friends who ride who need to consider giving up riding before they kill them selves. BTW lest you think I am someone who supports this because it won't affect me any time soon I am 55 now so something like this will hit me soon enough and if I can no longer pass a basic skills test then I need to be off the road regardless of what I am riding. Now if as the article seems suggests this kind of testing needs to start around 40 or so than I am opposed to that as I don't think for most people their riding or driving skills deteriate much until at least 65. In fact I believe at 40 we are probably safer than at any time in our lives as we become more cautious, we tend not to ride as fast as we used to and we have much more experience than when we were younger. If in fact riders over forty are dying on the roads more than other groups it is simply because the population is aging and people over 40 is probably the fastest growing demographic in any area of life you care to examine. We are probably drowning more, dying in car accidents more, plane crashes, sky diving or anything else you can think of because we are participating in these activities more too..
I can see your world, and I would not want to be a part of it. Freedom is all about personal choice. You would rather your mother be dependent upon you than be dead. I would rather be dead than be dependent upon anyone. YOU feel that skills don't start to deteriorate until age 65, and that's based on what? I would rather my uncle, and closest living relative, would not ride a motorcycle, but I will defend his right and HIS choice to do so. It is not my choice, but his. That government is still best, which governs least. We're all going to die; we have no choice about that. But for now, we are all living, and, in many countries, we do have a choice in how we do that to the extent that our choices don't endanger or infringe upon the rights of others. If, or more correctly, when, my skills deteriorate to the point where I no longer feel I can safely ride, I will reluctantly stop doing so, but you will not stop me from doing so. That is my choice, not yours; not my sons', and certainly not my governments'.

I think it's obvious by my post that this is something I feel very strongly about. If you feel it is worded too strongly, I feel is not not worded strongly enough, but considering the bounds of good taste and comraderie, I've deliberately "honed" the edge still felt in my heart.
 

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81wildcat said:
I wonder if that poor Matador was as safety conscious as we are? In other words, I wonder if he was wearing a cup? :blink:
Even if he was, I don't think he needs to worry about that now.
:wacko:
 

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If Driving School is mandatory to obtain a license to drive a car, what's wrong with a mandatory MSF course to obtain a MC endorsement as well?

I was one of those older than 40 that gave up riding years ago and returned. Suggestions from members of this site convinced me to take the course to obtain the endorsement, a lesson I truly value. I had no problem being the older, fat, gray haired guy in the class. There were two others returning to MC's in the group, I being the only one who rode to class.

And I learned a few things too!
 

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Bugs
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I rode a whole lot of miles before giving it up when kids arrived in a 2nd marraige. I just went back by buying a new XL1200C well into my 6th decade. I took the MSF course as a way to force the discipline to practice for the California skills test. I re-learned a few things and would recommend the course. What I did though was scare the cr*p out of myself in SoCal traffic on a bike that somehow got heavier as I got older and went faster quicker than I remember. Having lived through the reintro to riding, I say that us oldsters learn faster to ride carefully, and are probably less of a hazard to anyone than the youngsters on 100+ hp metrics blasting around everywhere. Stats often lie.
 

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fourhour said:
If Driving School is mandatory to obtain a license to drive a car, what's wrong with a mandatory MSF course to obtain a MC endorsement as well?
Is driving school required somewhere in order to obtain a license to drive a car? It's not required in Oklahoma or Texas.

T113
 

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trooper113 said:
Is driving school required somewhere in order to obtain a license to drive a car? It's not required in Oklahoma or Texas.

T113
In PA you must complete 50 hours of documented driving with a licensed driver and have you permit 6 month to take the test.

When I did it I got my permit in the morning and passed my test in the afternoon. of course that was 33 years ago^rolleyez^
 

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FOG
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LAF said:
In PA you must complete 50 hours of documented driving with a licensed driver and have you permit 6 month to take the test.

When I did it I got my permit in the morning and passed my test in the afternoon. of course that was 33 years ago^rolleyez^
Interesting requirement in PA, but fourhour referred to mandatory driving school. I assumed that to mean a formal driving school for every person, not just high school students.

I went to high school Driver's Ed many years ago, but that was so I could get my learner's permit earlier and obtain a reduction in insurance rates, but it wasn't required.

T113
 
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