On Behalf Of Daryl Oster
Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 9:38 PM
Motorcycles have several cost and safety advantages over other modes:
A couple of measures that best indicate a vehicles efficiency and relative
safety in an urban environment is the vehicle mass per occupant, and the
vehicle mass per driver.
The vehicle mass per occupant is a good metric to compare the relative
efficiency of materials, and energy use:
For a motorcycle with a mass of 100kg, the average vehicle mass per occupant
is either 50kg at best (vehicle fully loaded), to 100kg worst case(only the
driver). For a car of 900kg, the vehicle mass per passenger is about
150kg/pasenger at best, to 900kg/passenger worst. For a 10,000kg 50
passenger bus, the best case is 200kg, and the worst case is 10,000kg. For
a train, the mass per occupant are yet higher. The mechanics of material
use dictates that larger vehicles will required more material use per
occupant under best case, and the usual case of less than 100% load factor,
the real world material utilization is much worse.
It is true that motorcycle death rate is much greater than the rate in cars
or busses. How much of that is the fault of the motorcycle, and how much is
the fault of the cars and buses? For equal speed of vehicles, the fully
loaded vehicle mass per driver is a good measure of the relative potential
for one individual to cause damage in the event of loss of vehicle control,
or failure to observe the ROW:
Motorcycle == 150kg to 500kg per driver
Private Automobile== 1500kg to 5000kg per driver
Bus== 5,000kg to 20,000kg / driver
For a given speed, the motorcycle represents the lowest risk to others, by
more than a factor of 10. The private automobile driver not only has
responsibility for more passengers, they also can cause much greater damage
to other vehicles, and or property. The bus driver has far more potential
to cause death in the event of an error, for the passengers on the bus, AND
those other pedestrians and vehicles on the street.
There is much evidence to support the view that bus drivers abuse
pedestrians, car, and motorcycle occupants by un-rightfully taking the ROW
through intimidation by virtue of their potential to damage other vehicles
(with little relative risk to the bus driver). By contrast, motorcyclists,
since they are more exposed to greater personal risk, they drive more
cautiously, and do not aggressively take the ROW from other vehicles that by
law should have priority.
An observer will rarely see a motorcycle pull out in front of a bus, while
it is frequent that busses will bull out in front of motorcycles that must
make defensive maneuvers to avoid injury.
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