Monday, September 26, 2005

I think all the good news happened while I was gone!

Don't get me wrong, there's still some interesting news worth sharing, but I read so many articles while in both England and Atlanta that I would've love written about on bikers diaries.

Oh well.

Maybe it's because I'm still a little ticked Blogger is being cantankerous about not letting me post all of my English pics on my last blog so lets start off with something a little dark, but inevitable and work our way to happier stuff!

The CC don't matter at that point
The modern day motorcyclist is often compared to a cowboy from the old west. Sticking with that theme and thinking of the old saying that cowboys wanted to die with thier boots on the Pantagraph reported an interesting venture springing up all around the country. Motorcycle hearse funerals.

Gary Simko, 54, a retired LaSalle County sheriff's detective sergeant, is now in the business of giving ardent motorcycle fans an appropriate farewell with a hearse coupled to his three-wheel motorcycle. "When a Cadillac just won't do," advertises Simko on his business card for Midwest Iron Horse Funeral Coach Service.

His dress is a tuxedo shirt, blue jeans, black leather vest and highly-shined boots with a single spur. The spur is an old cavalry tradition for taking deceased horse soldiers to the cemetery.

Read about it in the Pantagraph

And with more motorcycles on the road...
ABATE in South Carolina is trying to save some unfortunate souls from needing the above services from Mr. Simko by urging drivers to look out for the motorcycle.

Nationwide, motorcycle dealerships are reporting sales increases of 25 to 60 percent over this quarter last year. When asked why they are interested in purchasing a motorcycle at this time, more and more customers are indicating that rising fuel costs has lead to their decision to purchase a motorcycle.

"ABATE of South Carolina is asking that people drive their vehicles with the constant thought that a motorcycle is nearby, whether the driver can see the motorcycle or not. We need drivers to remain vigilant because motorcycles are everywhere. We're asking drivers to find the motorcycle, to see the motorcycle, and to save a life. But we cannot do this alone. That's why we're asking the media to help us get this message out."

More from the press release at the US News wire.

If it's too hard to catch the crooks, make it legal!
The government in Bangkok decided to stop chasing the street racers and instead, give them an official place to compete. Under the watchful eye of paramedics motorcyclists as young as 11 years old bring their bikes to Bangkok Drag Avenue in Pathum Thani to race.

"We feel this sort of venue makes racing safer for bikers like us, although it won't necessarily reduce the number of illegitimate bikers on Bangkok's streets," Anuwat said. "But we commend the action taken by (Social Development and Human Security) Minister Watana Muangsook to make it happen.

Watana, who has faced a barrage of criticism over the government-sanctioned event, yesterday agreed that bringing bikers to the race circuit is not a practical solution to illegal racing on the streets.

Read about it in the Nation, Bangkok's Independent paper.

And they'll certainly have enough bikes to race
Staying in Thailand, it was reported in the Bangkok Post that new Chinese Motorcycle manufacturing companies are opening factories there to keep up with asian demand.

According to Ittisak Phatcharasin-Olarn, chief executive officer of KMB Inter Business Co, his company has agreed to link up with Jialing Motors, the biggest motorcycle producer in China, to set up Sky Wing Motor (Thailand) to build a plant slated to be finished next year, with annual production capacity of 100,000 motorcycle units. The capacity is expected to be increased to 500,000 units within the next five years, with 20% of the output to be exported to the Asean market.

Riders will have to do a lot of tweaking if they want to race the motorcycles produced out of this plant since only the 125 cc models are expected to be manufactured.

A charity bike run with a difference
The Fourth Annual Swamp Roar Motorcycle Rally will hit the open road in Suffolk VA on Saturday, Oct. 8 to raise funds and awareness for education and signage programs, as well as habitat restoration for the Great Dismal, one of North America's few remaining wildernesses.

If you want to join them you can find more details here.

Not funny! Well, maybe it is!
I'm glad I was back in the USA and have a solid alibi.

Roland Grimm's rare Honda ST70 has again been snatched by joyriders from outside his home in Hilltop Road. The bike had been stolen three times before but was returned each time following a poster campaign offering a reward for its recovery.Mr Grimm said the bike dates back to 1972 and could fetch up to 1,000 english pounds.

This begs the question of course, why does he keep parking it where it can get stolen?

The is a little bit more of the story at the Wood and Vale newsite.

Another date to add to the calender
AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days will be held July 28-30 2006 and will return as usual to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course near Lexington, Ohio.

VMD, which attracts an estimated 40,000 enthusiasts each year, has typically been scheduled for the middle of July, but scheduling of other sporting events during the summer of 2006 prompted what is expected to be a one-year departure from the traditional dates.

The show will benefit the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum and include exhibits of classic motorcycles and memorabilia, the all-brands AMA Swapmeet, bike shows as well as a full slate of American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA) racing.

For more details, keep an eye on the AMA website at

The Helmet Debate
It has been a few weeks since this subject came up and in the space of a week nearly every aspect has again been covered in the media.

Police are investigating the deaths of three motorcyclists who have been killed in traffic accidents during the annual Street Vibrations motorcycle festival in Reno, Nevada. The fatalities happened even though the riders wore full gear. goes a little more in depth than the report at KRNV, but in both rider error is blamed.

KTVO used the helmet debate to kick of their new series 'From the Heartland' on Saturday night.

Laws in the Heartland are split. Iowa and Illinois are among only four states nationwide that have no motorcycle helmet laws. Missouri has a universal helmet law, requiring all riders to wear helmets. Its an issue that has sparked strong feelings from both sides of the debate.

"If Iowa passed a helmet law, I'd move. I feel that strongly about it," said John Uchtman, an Oskaloosa, Iowa resident and member of ABATE of Iowa, a motorcycle rights organization.

The Winston Salem Journal took the helmet debate and refocused it on motorcycle safety training, with more attention to the older, 'born-again' riders.

Survey data from the Motorcycle Industry Council shows the median age of motorcycle riders in 2003 was 41, up from 27.1 in 1985. And more of them crashing those bikes, according federal and state data analyzed by the UNC Highway Safety Research Center.

In a 2004 study for the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, the center speculated that increasing fatality and accident rates may be partly blamed on older riders.

The St Petersburg Times covered Florida's State Governments move to make motorcycle safety training mandatory.

The growing popularity of motorcycles in Florida has led to more fatal accidents, and that has some officials suggesting bikers be required to pass a safety course and carry insurance.
Gov. Jeb Bush and the Cabinet on Thursday backed a proposal that bikers must take 16 hours of safety education, a requirement that now applies only to cyclists under 21.

Citing a dramatic rise in motorcycle registrations, state highway safety director Fred Dickinson included the changes as part of his 2005 legislative package. He said growing numbers of baby boomers in their 50s are buying their first motorcycles.

Dickinson told his Cabinet bosses that in the past two years, no motorcycle fatalities have occurred among the riders who took a safety course. Bush called that "phenomenal."

Not sure about all the numbers from the different studies being quoted by officials as well as in the article, but it's certainly a debate to keep an eye on.

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