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Motorcycle News Roundup: NTSB Looks at Motorcycle Safety
News for motorcycle enthusiasts, June 28, 2006

High-profile crashes and rising fatality numbers may make motorcycle safety a hot topic.
A bike/van crash that killed five people attracts the feds' attention. Roethlisberger fallout. Sales and ridership climb with gas prices. Harley-Davidson of Hanoi? Motorcycles save lives.
National Transportation Safety Board Schedules Motorcycle Safety Forum
Provoked by the steadily rising U.S. motorcycle death toll and some recent events (see below), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has slated a two-day motorcycle-safety forum for September. The NTSB usually makes the news when there is a major aviation or rail crash, but its broader assignment "is to find out what causes transportation accidents, and to recommend safety improvements to prevent them from reoccurring." The NTSB doesn't make any laws or regulations, but it can advise other federal agencies to take action to prevent transportation accidents.
Toledo Blade, OH

Speeding Rider Kills Four in Minivan
This is one of those events that has the potential to change national policy concerning motorcycling, having drawn the attention of the feds. A motorcyclist riding at high speed killed a family of four as well as himself when he struck and overturned their minivan. The Pennsylvania crash was mentioned by the NTSB as an event that prompted its motorcycle-safety forum. The federal agency is also investigating the crash.
The Patriot News, PA
Carlisle Sentinel, PA
CBS News
PhillyBurbs, PA

Roethlisberger's Crash Raises Motorcycle Safety's Profile
The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback's well-publicized crash—in which he was riding unlicensed without the helmet he was required to wear—may draw some useful attention to motorcycle safety issues. Roethlisberger himself has recognized the folly of riding without a helmet and says he never will do so again. A full-face helmet almost certainly would have saved him some teeth and prevented his broken jaw. The accident has prompted plenty of musing in the mainstream media as well as mention by the NTSB.
Charleston Daily Mail, WV
Seattle Times, WA
Mason City Globe Gazette, IA
Tribune Chronicle, OH
Washington Times, DC
Yakima Herald, WA
Portsmouth Herald News, NH
News-Leader, MO
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, PA
The Patriot-News, PA
Springdale Morning News, AR
The Philadelphia Inquirer, PA
Chambersburg Public Opinion, PA
Greensboro News Record, NC
Cincinnati Enquirer
Lynchburg News and Advance, VA

Yamaha Shows Next-Gen V-Max
And asks for your thoughts.
Next V-Max

Gas Prices Boost Motorcycle Sales and Use
Sales of motorcycles turned up right after Katrina hit, and have stayed up because gas prices have too. More people Small motorcycles and scooters have seen the greatest boost, but street bikes in general have been selling strong. Harley's stock price rose on reports of its strong sales
Baltimore Sun, MD
San Gabriel Valley Tribune, CA
Oakland Tribune, CA
Cherry Hill Courier Post, NJ

Harley Hopes for Research Tax Credit
Unless congress reauthorizes the tax credit for research, Harley says its bottom line will suffer. The tax credit is billed as a means of helping U.S. countries invest in R&D.

And Eyes Vietnamese and Indian Markets
Harley faces a large tariff and strict emissions standard in India, but the Vietnamese market is likely to be friendlier.
Asia Times

Michigan Helmet-Law Repeal Vetoed
Michigan's governor nixed a bill that would have permitted some motorcyclists in that state to ride bareheaded, saying "The social and economic costs of this legislation simply are too high."
Detroit Free Press, MI
Port Huron Times Herald, MI
Yahoo! News
MLive, MI
Insurance Journal
Myrtle Beach Sun News, SC
Yahoo! News

Scorpion and Arai Top J.D. Power Helmet Satisfaction Study
Premium helmet maker Arai has again landed atop the J.D. Power rankings of consumer satisfaction with their motorcycle helmets, but relative newcomer Scorpion, which is priced much more attractively, received a similar rating. Arai performed better than Scorpion in the 2005 Department of Transportation (DOT) testing, however. The J.D. Power study, which surveyed the responses of over 5400 purchasers of new 2005 motorcycles also found that more helmet buyers purchased via the internet and that the average price paid had actually dropped almost 10 percent since 2002.
J.D. Power
J.D. Power
2005 DOT Helmet Test Results

Plain Lies, Damn Lies, and...
Statistics released recently concerning motorcycling deaths in Florida have been turned into newspaper articles that make it sound as if there has been wholesale slaughter since the state's helmet law was removed. At least one writer realized that some important info was missing.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, FL

Here Kid, Take My Helmet
One motorcycle-shop manager's insistence on a customer wearing a helmet turned out to be a life saver in short order.
Centre Daily Times, PA

Asian Americans Most Likely to Wear Helmets
An NHTSA study of race and ethnicity in fatal U.S. motor-vehicle crashes found that Asian and Pacific-Islander riders were most likely to wear helmets and Hispanic and Native Americans (at least those involved in fatal accidents) least likely to wear head protection.

DynoJet Warns Again on Counterfeit Jet Kits
The company says that counterfeiters are now copying its private-labeled kits as well as its own branded kits and warns that the fake kits do not perform like the real thing and cannot be replaced by DynoJet or its licensees. Companies distributing privately labeled kits include Harley-Davidson and FMF. The release at the link below explains how to spot the counterfeit kits.
DynoJet (PDF)

Honda's 125cc Glamour FI uses fuel injection to clean it up for that emissions-sensitive market. Honda expects to use fuel injection on most models in the future.

EFI Reaches the 125cc Class
Honda has announced a 125cc model for the Indian market that will feature PGM-FI (programmed fule injection) for better starting, reduced emissions, and fuel economy. The company says that it "plans to install PGM-FI on most of its motorcycles worldwide by the end of 2010 to reduce emissions." At the moment, its only fuel-injected cruisers are the VTX1800s.
Honda World News

Motorcycles Save Lives in Hungary
One-person paramedic units on motorcycles have been declared a success.
Political Gateway, FL

Hybrid Motorcycle: Part Scooter, Part Jet Aircraft
He mated a Honda Helix with a BD-5 homebuilt jet airplane to get 73 mpg.
Duluth News-Tribune, MN

Sturgis Is on the Way
Organizers for the rally, which begins August 7, expect attendance to drop slightly. Improvements are expected to ease traffic slightly.
Rapid City Journal, SD
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA

After Deadly Laconia
Even though the turnout was lower, the number of deaths rose this year. Police say an unusual amount of the crashes resulted from crossing the center line.
Concord Monitor, NH
Nashua Telegraph, NH
Brattleboro Reformer, VT
Insurance Journal
Union Leader, NH
Boston Globe, MA

Honda's Riding Simulator Studied in Italy
University of Padua in Italy is conducting a study to see how effective Honda's motorcycle simulator is as a rider-training device.
Honda World News

Wreck of the Week: Rider Dies After Lightning Strike
A Colorado rider died after apparently being struck by lightning while riding in rush-hour traffic in Denver. It's unclear whether he died from the lightning or the crash.
Denver Post, CO
Rocky Mountain News, CO

But When You Pull Off the Road, You Might Not Want to Make a Call
If you are struck by lightning while holding something metallic, your injuries are likely to be worse than if the lightning just strikes your skin. This week's health scare involves folks holding cell phones when lightning strikes them.
Consumer Affairs
Sci-Tech Today
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