Motorcycle Headlines and Upcoming Events: Growing Older but Still Crashing; Cops' Drink-Ride Deaths Raise Questions; Loud Pipes Prompt Laws.

Recent news articles of interest to motorcyclists

As 2005 dawns, motorcycle news stories look at 2004 crash statistics, and the CDC looks at older riders' drinking, riding and crashing patterns. Those patterns were demonstrated by two Austin cops whose deaths are creating a minor scandal in Texas. Meanwhile legislators go after loud pipes, Florida riders may have to buy insurance, and Japanese riders may have to buy passenger pegs.

A Study by the CDC Examines the Alcohol Issue and Older Riders
The same riders—or at least the same generation—who were crashing 20 years ago are still doing it now, and drinking is frequently a factor.
Join Together
CDC Report
Access North Georgia

Motorcycling Deaths Up Around the Country in 2004
It's probably just a result of more people riding, but no one actually knows the cause, and older riders and cruisers figure prominently in the stats. Drinking remains a big factor too. Wisconsin saw a more positive trend, however...

Kansas:
WIBW TV, KS

Drink-and-Ride Deaths Put Focus on Austin Cops' Behavior
An off-duty Austin, Texas Police Commander and her retired detective husband were killed in a motorcycle accident after an extended drinking session in a bar following a charity poker run ride. The couple reportedly performed a burn-out in the last bar before departing, but the other cops present allegedly did nothing to dissuade them from riding away. Both had blood-alcohol-contents significantly above the legal limit—his was three times the .08 legal level and hers was .33. Neither was wearing a helmet when their Harley hit a guardrail a short while later. Among the signs and memorials left at the crash site was one that said, "These people died because they acted outside of the law." The investigation, which includes several agencies, will look at why their fellow officers in the bar did nothing to protect them by keeping them from driving. It might also make more motorcyclists think about preventing their fellow riders from drinking and riding. It should also call into question the pattern of poker runs to make stops at bars. The links below, read in order, show how this story has played out so far.
KLTV TV, TX
Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, TX
News 8 Austin, TX
KXAN TV, TX
Austin American-Statesman, TX
KXAN TV, TX
KGBT TV, TX
Austin Chronicle, TX
News 8 Austin, TX
KXAN TV, TX

**New Hampshire Bill Would Prohibit Exhaust Mods **
If you think your loud exhaust doesn't really bother anybody, look at the bill being proposed in New Hampshire, which would make it illegal to modify or change a motorcycle's exhaust system. This may solve the noise problem, but we worry that it leaves riders with few options when they have to replace their exhaust systems, as they might after a crash or if it rusts out. Owners of older bikes may not be able to find stock pipes. We'd like to see wording that permits any exhaust system that includes markings that say it meets EPA standards, which might also provide incentives for the aftermarket to make quiet systems.
WMUR TV, NH
Foster's Daily Democrat, NH

Should Florida require Motorcycle Insurance?
It's one of the last states to let motorcyclists legally ride without insurance, but it may be costing other road users.
The Ledger, FL
Orlando Sentinel, FL

Japanese Motorcyclists Will Get to Carry Passengers Again
It's been illegal to ride two-up in Japan since 1965. Now motorcyclists with the right licensing will be able to ride double.
Stars and Stripes

For more breaking motorcycle news, visit the home page of www.MotorcycleCruiser.com.

If you have questions or comments about the stories referred to here or know of an article or event that you think we should include, email _Motorcycle Cruiser's web editor at _ Art.Friedman@primedia.com _or at _ ArtoftheMotorcycle@hotmail.com.

Back in those days, it was younger riders who were crashing. Now that they have gotten older and wiser, they are still crashing. According to the CDC, drinking plays a large role.