According to a KSL article, highway deaths in general are down this year. That's good. But "motorcycle deaths increased for the 10th straight year. There were 5,154 motorcycle deaths last year, compared with 4,837 in 2006.
Peters, an avid motorcyclist who keeps a scuffed helmet in her office that she credits with saving her from a severe head injury in a 2005 crash, said the rise in motorcycle fatalities was disappointing. The increased deaths have come while the number of registered motorcycles have surpassed 6 million, compared with 3.8 million in 1998, and vehicle miles traveled have risen.
Peters said with higher fuel prices, more people may use motorcycles or scooters that can get 50 to 60 miles per gallon."
I can't really say that I am surprised that more people are dying on motorcycles. I wonder if they include scooters in the motorcycle category? It doesn't say one way or another, but I wouldn't be surprised if there is some special feature story some day soon about how people on scooters aren't taking their safety seriously. I see it every day. There will always be the "motorcycle veterans" who have been riding for years without helmets, but the new people, who have no experience and haven't taken a safety course, really scare me. The other day I was behind a woman on a brand new scooter- didn't even have plates yet. As we came to the red light, she was weaving all over and having trouble controlling it and almost fell off when it finally did stop. Then, she started fishing in her pocket and ANSWERED HER PHONE! I couldn't believe it. The light turned green and she, still on the phone, wobbled off. Of course, she wasn't wearing a helmet, a jacket, or any kind of safety gear. I got out from behind her as quickly as I could, because I didn't want to be the cause of her death if she fell off and I ran over her.
I just don't understand how people can think that no equipment is safe. I see people wearing flip flops and shorts, on the phone, texting, doing anything but actually driving safely on their scooters. I have road rash scars from falling off my human powered bike when I was a kid. Why on earth would I trust my unprotected self to a motor powered bike that goes 3 or 4 times as fast as I ever did on the bike? What really gets me are the people who take their helmets for a ride. You know, they obviously have them- they are strapped to the back of the bike. Well then why aren't you wearing it!? I think it should be a law that you cannot sell a motorcycle or scooter to someone without selling them a helmet too- or at least they have to show you their helmet first. I know that it is a law to wear a helmet, but most people don't, and I'm sure the officers have more important things to do than ticket someone for a helmet law violation. And I have noticed that people on two-wheeled vehicles think they have special privileges. I've seen more than one bike or scooter driving down the sidewalk. That isn't safe for them or for pedestrians.
I applaud people who buy a scooter and make it work to save money on gas. That is a very good idea. If I had thought a little more, and known what gas was going to do, I might have bought a scooter instead of my car. Once Alann brought up the scooter idea, I was like "well duh, I could have bought one outright with my down-payment," but the car has worked out. And I would have had to give it up when I got pregnant (I am not the most coordinated at the best of times) or when I started this job since I run errands that require having car space at a moment's notice. But it would have worked when I was working at Granite and the Post Office. But anyway, that's my rant for the day. People need to quit being dumb about driving in general and two-wheeled vehicles specifically.
(As a funny side story, the other day I was at Wal-mart. The parking lot was designed so that you could only go one way down the aisle, and was clearly marked with arrows. I pull out of my spot and just as I can turn and go straight, here comes this shiny poop-colored convertible the WRONG WAY down the aisle. (I assume it was supposed to be bronze or copper colored, but it looked like someone ate a whole lot of glitter.) It is driven by a younger guy with another younger guy riding shotgun. The driver just glared at me and stopped. I honked and motioned for him to back up. He didn't move. Obviously, it was a one-way. There was another car behind me, I couldn't back up and I certainly wasn't going to move for this jerk who thought he was better than everyone. So he finally guns it and whips around me. Luckily there happened to be some empty parking spots for him to drive through. I just couldn't believe him. Another example of people with "special" cars thinking they have special privileges. (Or maybe they are just special needs....))
And in other news, we have another doctor's appointment today. Yay! We should get to hear the heartbeat and we just might know what color to paint the nursery. Here's hoping.