It's supposed to be a new year, a time for fresh slates and endless possibilities. A non-tangible point in our ever shifting lives where we can draw a line in the sands of time and say 'from here on in I'll do this and this better!'
Instead I'm feeling the same old negative vibes and bad news crowding out my aura of optimism. C'mon people, can't you see I'm trying to feel good over here?
First I read in a local biker magazine, Wheels on the Road that although the Toys in the sun run raised more money in 2005 than it did in the previous year, the organizers were disappointed with the number of toys collected (page 6 since I can't give a direct link to a pdf file). Big hearted bikers who had suffered through a miserable hurricane season here in South Florida helped raise $544,000 (after expenses) for charities like Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Foundation. Unfortunately where the run managed to fill two trailers full of toys in 2004, this one only had enough to fill one and a quarter trailers. As you can read in the editorial, the feeling is that some bikers didn't bring a toy (whats the point of coming then?) and others kept their toy to go onto other events! Thats just sad.
The editorials also complained about passengers on motorcycles not bringing a toy as well. This was the first time I took part in the run, didn't know what to do and consequently poked around as much as I could to get a clear idea of the event and what to bring. Did I have to register, just show up, drop off the present at the start or the finish of the run? I even called the number listed on the website for more information but never got a call back. All these things were still unclear even as I pulled into the starting point the morning of the run and although surprised I had to pay the $10 fee for the girlfriend riding on the back of my bike as well as myself, I gladly paid it. The whole reason for being there was to raise money after all. So I openly apologize now for not bringing a present on behalf of my girlfriend, but hope the DVD I did bring made some childs Christmas that much better than it would have been.
I totally understand the organizers frustration at the toy shortfall and would politely suggest its made clearer on the website or publicity for the 2006 event. Pulling something together as massive as an all day entertainment event and bike run with 30,000 attendees is amazingly difficult, even if you only did one of the two, but both on the same day. My hats off to them.
What really makes my blood boil and leaves me shaking my head is the story told in the other editorial on the same page of Wheels on the Road. It seems someone bought the VIP tickets early on just to meet a particular celebrity appearing in the run. When that famous person couldn't ride in the event, the un-named person wanted his VIP entry money back. And he didn't just make an idiot of himself with the organizers, but contacted the local radio station affiliated with the event and even Joe Dimaggio (I'm guessing the charity) before being put straight. Threats of bringing in his attorney were greeted with the reminder that this was a charity event and if he really wanted to push the matter his name could be published for all to see who this cheap so and so really was.
The hits keep on coming
After blogging about New Hampshire reporting a spike in motorcycle fatalities for 2005, I read today that Delaware is setting morbid records with 21 deaths last year.
Newszap reported 'Of the 21 fatalities, 14 were Delaware residents, Mr. Kemp (DMV motorcycle safety program coordinator) said, and five of the 14 did not have motorcycle endorsements, required to ride a bike beyond a 60-day permit. Although there has been a proliferation of speed bikes racing down the highway with younger drivers steering them, Mr. Shock ( training administrator for the state Division of Motor Vehicles) said the average age of the victims is more than 40.
This is actually a well written article and as easy as it would be for the reporter to fall into the rhetoric of 'over 40 year old baby boomers need to wear their damn helmets' which so many other media outlets do, Drew Volturo didn't. Instead, he painted a full and balanced picture on the growing problem.
The State officials acknowledge that improving safety programs are key, both for drivers as well as riders and no-one seems keen to bring back mandatory helmet laws. As matter of fact Rep. Bruce C. Ennis, D-Smyrna, who chairs the Motorcycle Riders Education Advisory Council, said he has heard of interest at the federal level to require safety training before issuing a motorcycle endorsement.
But anti-helmet supporters, or pro-choice if you'd prefer, don't rejoice. There are feelings that helmets do help. Dover Police Sgt. Timothy Mutter heads the city's six-officer motorcycle unit.
In recent years, two officers have fallen off their bikes and gotten bruised, but were not seriously injured. "If they didn't have their helmets on, they would've suffered severe injuries the way they were tumbling around," he said. Sgt. Mutter said he took "a good tumble" off his bike when he was 17 and landed on his head, but he walked away from the accident because he was wearing a helmet. "I'm not big on government mandating rules, but government also has the duty to try to protect us," he said.
"If (wearing a helmet) was mandated, it would cut down on lives lost."
But then he does point out, "But a helmet is not a cure-all. It's not like putting on ironclad gear. You're not going to win if you strike something solid like a pole, tree or a car."
The reporter also mentions that 5,000 motorcycles were registered in the state of Delaware during 2005 alone. When you only have 22,000 registered in total, that jump in 2005 numbers are really going to change the statistics. Throw this in with the fact that 5 of the 21 were still on their 60 day temporary license and you have the statistics being faced right now.
Every rider should read this article in full at NewsZap.com.
No more aching butts?
Looks like Harley's not only taking the hardships out of riding by improving on motorcycle design, but now they'll save your sore buttocks by shipping your bike for you. Harley has a nicer way of putting it, 'Harley-Davidson Shipping expands riding opportunities for motorcyclists who want to ride in locations throughout North America, but face the challenges of insufficient vacation time or inclement weather constraints.'
You say tomato and I say tomato and although that saying really doesn't work in written word, I think we all get the point! As with all pick up services, they'll come to your business or home and delivery it where you need it. The claimed benefits? Guaranteed pricing as well as group, HOG (Harley Owners Group) and BRAG (Buell Riders Adventure Group) discounts.
Whats the fun of going to Sturgis if you can't show the saddle-sores?