Friday, October 07, 2005

Working for the THREE DAY weekend.....

It's here! The three day weekend!

One of the advantages of working in the financial industry is the 'free' three day weekend, getting time off without being dinged for the actually time taken off. Let's understand that there are drawbacks to this perk....after all there is a space in the summer where you can go months without a federal holiday!

Tough life I know.

Three days and what to do? Maybe its the beaches, could be the theme parks or even perhaps the nearly naked ladies lying on the bleached hot sand but the stormfronts love to visit South Florida over the three day weekends so planning activities is always a little challenging.

Looking to head out on the bike I've been keeping a close eye on's 10 day forecast to see what Mother Nature has in store on both the east and west coast of Florida. Don't know why, but an urge to ride across the Tamiami Trail to Goodland and maybe even up past Naples toward Fort Myers seems to be bouncing around my mind.

At this point, going overnight might be overkill and the dryest daytrip seems to be Monday.

Can you say statistic?
Had to roll my eyes today while reading an article featured on MSNBC's website titled 'Is a motor scooter in your future?'

In it Denise Oto writes about the growing trend for drivers selling their cars and trucks in favor of the more affordable option of buying a scooter. Aside from the question of whether or not the scooter is truly in the big biker family (when was the last time you waved to that old guy with the hawaiian shirt, black nylon socks and panama hat on his new Vespa you saw in traffic) this brings up the question of safety for both the sccoter rider and us (assuming you the reader do in fact ride a motorcycle).

Why us? Two reasons why.

Firstly, it seems to me that the riding community has built up goodwill out there on the roads. Whether its from drivers wishing they'd taken the plunge and started riding, to every good, respectful, image-shattering encounter a car owner has with bikers in grocery stores, gas stations and even in traffic. Are scooter riders going to affect this? Maybe I've seen too many people riding scooters on vacation but I've always felt the riders consider them as bicycles with engines and are free to handle them accordingly.

Second, with no kind of thought given to training or protective gear, if there happens to be an increase in scooter accidents the numbers will have a direct impact on the motorcycle statistics. If these are to increase in any of the sensitive catagories it'll be the more serious riders, the ones of us who chose to ride because we enjoy it and not because it's saving us a buck or two, who'll feel the real impact of any resulting legislation to bring down 'sky-rocketing numbers'.

I don't wish anything on anybody, but we as riders know not only are there organized groups in this country that seem to want to legislate motorcycles off the roads, but laws are generally created with knee-jerk reactions. Think about it, people see a motorcyclist riding along with no helmet and negative reactions tend to follow. A person toodles along a scooter five minutes behind that same bike, no helmet, shorts and flip-flops and the general public won't even have a second thought.

So what do we do? I'm all for freedom of choice and who is anyone to say that a person can't buy a scooter? They may catch the biking bug, and it's always nice to have new people in our community. Maybe we should even start considering scooters as being in the mainstream of motorcycling? Do we take new scooter owners and coach them like you would a new cruiser or sports bike owner?

Would you, could you, should you wave to a scooter, Sam I am? Perplexing.

But it's not only the biking community that has to face questions. The sudden interest in this cheap form of transportation has brought on a glut of cheap import scooters that have both the Government and established manufacturers worried. MSNBC's article reports the concerns from emission standards not being met to the bikes being imported correctly all of which has officials from an array of governmental departments scrambling.

And a final note
I mentioned before in Biker Diaries about our soldiers completing their tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan only to die in motorcycle accidents when they got stateside.

The powers-that-be in Fort Hood, Texas are hosting free motorcycle safety courses for their military personnel to hopefully stop the tragic trend.

Captain Mark Anders says he loves the adrenaline rush of a motorcycle, and signed up for the class just to be on the safe side. He's already lost two friends and now he's making sure he's knows the proper way to brake, swerve and turn.

Read the complete story at KCEN's website.

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