West is a matter of where you stand in the world, but in this case, the wild wild west is in South Korea. Apparently the motorcycle scene there is a gang-ho, all out, motorcycle rodeo.
It has become so dangerous, that the Korean government is planning a major crackdown on the motorcycle world. Their target? The couriers and delivery motorcycles. Some 400,000 are registered, representing probably half of what is really out there.
These motorcycle delivery boys & girls hop onto sidewalks and speed over them in order to make their delivery on time. Pedestrians are just obstacles in their daring race against time. Seoul city is gridlocked with cars, so they do not have any options. Enforcement is very difficult anyway, so the couriers get away with it. The traffic fine they are presented with, if they are ever caught, is the equivalent of US$25.
According to the head of an express delivery service company: “Quickness is what we are for. We know it’s illegal but when the road is jammed with cars, we don’t have any choice but to hit sidewalks to go fast.”
Not only will the Seoul Metropolitan Government hit motorcycles who are riding on sidewalks, but they also plan to go after the ones that ride in the bus-only lanes and park on sidewalks, hindering pedestrians.
The service owners do not think that the Government efforts will pan out to anything. They plan to continue their operations as normal. Full story
Europe is passionate about motorcycles, and it’s seen in special areas unknown in many countries outside of Europe. In France, the motorcycle insurance company “Mutuelle des motards” has recently announced a special insurance for riders who take their passion to the race circuits.
Up till now, if you took your motorcycle on a circuit and crashed, you had pay for the damages. The new insurance covers your bike and you in case of a crash. Not only will the reimburse the repairs costs (for your bike and for you), but they will also transport your motorcycle back home.
What’s more, they also cover the transport of your motorcycle, even if it’s not a street legal bike. If, while loading your motorcycle onto a trailer, it falls, or if it brakes loose of the tie-downs while bringing it to the circuit, your bike is insured.
The special insurance is valid on any European Union race circuit, or any circuit in a country represented by the green insurance card.
But, and there is always a but in the insurance business, the insurance does not cover you when you are in an official race. So, if you’re competing in a SuperBike race, you’re not covered (the start fee covers you), but if you’re training with your buddies to compete in the SuperBike races, then you’re covered.
The French insurance company has started offering this product in order to help safety for bikers. Many bikers like racing, and going on a circuit often meant that you lose your insurance coverage. It was financial smarter to race on the streets and risk getting fined. Now with this insurance, you can safely race on a circuit.
Not bad. Now, if other insurance companies would offer these kind of insurance products, we’d be in good shape. Full story
Duck Motorcycle season is open in the UK. Motorcyclists in the county of Essex in the United Kingdom have been warned. They will most likely be picked up from the sky if they ride dangerously.
Distinctive signs have been placed at strategic location on the roads in Essex warning riders. Police helicopters have been equipped with a special Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) device, that coupled with the a digital speed radar can detect motorcycle traveling in excess of the speed limit from as high as 700 feet above the ground.
The helicopter is equipped with high tech GPS, thermal imaging hardware and a set of loudspeakers that would make Mick Jagger proud.
Initially used for cars, the Police force has now turned their undivided attention towards bikers. Since there are more and more motorcycles on the road, bikers have become easy targets.
According to Norman Hume, Chairman of the Essex Casualty Reduction Board ”We are seeing accidents in Essex dramatically reduced in as a result of our intervention and education campaign but we need to make more of an impact on motorcycle accidents. There is a perception that it is sometimes easier for motorcyclists to evade detection of offenses because of the speed they travel at. We feel that signs warning of the likelihood of detection by air will be an extra incentive for particularly motorcyclists, but all motorists, to drive safely and help us to reduce accidents further.”
Traffic Management Officer from Essex Police, Adam Pipe, said: “Use of the force helicopter will enable officers to obtain video evidence of offenses including excess speed plus support specific Road Safety Operations providing information and intelligence to officers on the ground in addition to the helicopters ability to disrupt and detect traveling criminals.”
So now we’re traveling criminals? What’s next... Gunships against motorcycles? Full story
I know, you’re going to ask what’s ASL? ASL stands for Advanced Stop Line, and consists of the area before a traffic light, after the solid white line, and the pedestrian crossing.
Bicyclists are expected to use this “box”, giving them an opportunity to leave on the green light first. However, in some countries, motorcyclists are now given the same chance. Notably in Spain (Madrid and Barcelona), motorcycle riders can pass the cars and position themselves in first position. Test in Spain (...) > Full story
While riders in Eastern Europe complain about traffic participants not having the culture of motorcycles, China considers them illegal and, most important, has bulldozers destroy 14,277 bikes. The event happened late last month in Yungang district, Shenzhen and it is the biggest motorcycle “genocide”, not the first. Part of the city’s “motorcycle ban” campaign, 9532 motorcycles were also vanished this April.
This radical solution is being applied after many breaches involved robbers on motorcycles snatching jewelry and handbags and then making their escapes successfully. Instead of setting up motorcycle police patrols, Shenzhen authorities decided in 2003 to ban motorcycles from riding in downtown areas. Ever since, 580.000 two-wheeled machines were confiscated.
Police claims this as being the only solution for reducing infractions and as a result it lets the numbers talk: robberies have declined by 58.32% compared with last year. So they’ll apparently continue doing this. What, didn’t they thought at exporting the motorcycles?
The Massachusetts Senate are proposing a bill that will forbid anyone under the age of 14 to ride a dirtbike (or ATV or snowmobile). If you say “so what, why should a kid be allowed to ride a motorcycle”, think about those families that have kids riding small 50cc dirt motorcycles on the weekends in the forest or dirt tracks. We’re not talking about kids riding motorcycles in the “wild”, but under supervision or their parents.
Most top motorcycle riders learned riding their motorcycle at a very early age. Valentino Rossi (5 years), Nicky Hayden (3 years), Troy Bayliss (6 years), James "Bubba" Stewart (4 years), Mike Metzger (4 years) and Travis Pastrana (4 years) to name a few champions, all showed that you need to start young, really young, to be good at your sport.
At 14 you are already quite old to not have the fear of crashing. Having young kids ride, under supervision, as early as 5, can only drive up the overall standard. If parents think their kid can ride a motorcycle at a young age, why should the government stop them? Small displacement motorcycles don’t go fast, and when wearing proper protection, your kids will not be more at risk than riding a bicycle, possibly even less.
This law could possibly forbid you from letting your kids ride a small motorcycle in the forest, or even a dirt track. Instead, the politicians should concentrate on education.
If you disagree with this proposed bill, there’s something you can do about it. Click on the link below and send a message to your state representatives. It’s important that you do, since they are depriving you from your freedom.
http://capwiz.com/amacycle/issues/alert/?alertid=11519221 Full story
We’ve already mentioned last week the high number of fatalities for the US armed forces stationed in Europe (link). But in the USA, things are even more grim.
Since October 2007, 32 Navy and Marines have died on their motorcycles. 30 out of the 32 were riding sports motorcycles!
This has caused the upper echelons of the Navy to mandate a training course for any sailor or marine riding a sports bike. The one day course teaches them safety on their motorcycles, from cornering and (...) > Full story
With escalating fuel prices, US soldiers stationed in Europe are being forced to purchasing and riding motorcycles. Fuel prices in the USA are high, but nothing compared to gasoline in Europe. Full story
Since US soldiers stationed in Europe have the possibility of buying motorcycles at discounted prices (typically a Harley-Davidson will sell for US$2500 less than what you’d pay for it normally in the States), many are now flocking to these Powered Two Wheelers.
In 2006, 3,184 motorcycles were registered by the Armed Forces in Europe, today 3,125 were registered, but there are now 15,000 less US soldiers in Europe, so per capita, far more new registrations.
The biggest problem the officials face is safety. US soldiers receive a 2 day training in the US for their motorcycles and then return to Europe to ride their new bike. In comparison, a German motorcycle rider requires 39 hours of instruction, including riding their bike on freeways, rural roads and at night time. In France, 40 hours are required, half on special platforms, half on the public roads.
Number plate manufacturers are secretly receiving a proposition from DVLA which, if approved, will probably create controversy. The idea is to fit all new motorcycle plates with electronic ID tags in order to transmit details to roadside or handheld police readers, allowing motorcycles to be identified and tracked on the move.
The electronic vehicle information (EVI) is in the stage of project but a questionnaire was sent to every number plate manufacturer in order to obtain the (...) > Full story
Valentino Rossi claims that the new regulations are the main impediment between him, Casey Stoner and the podium.
The premier class tyre restrictions took away a key advantage held by Michelin over rivals Bridgestone, with the French manufacturer no longer able to fly in special tyres made overnight for its riders including factory Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi.
The pilot affirmed that the new tactic is generating the big handicap in his bid to fight against Casey Stoner, Ducati and (...) > Full story