This damn argument just gets dumber. The only motorcycle magazine I read from cover-to-cover (sometimes) is Motorcycle Consumer News. The editor, Dave Searle, usually pisses me off and his pro-hooligan attitude is not much different than the rest of the motorcycle press, which defeats the best purposes of MCN. This month's issue started well and turned to crap by the letters to the editor. Bad timing on someone's part. My subscription is about to run out and I still have 2-3 back issues I haven't been able to stomach. Now, I might just read the damn thing at the library on the rare occasion I need to know what Mark Barnes or Ken Condon have to say. I was so pissed off, I sent this letter to MCN's editor:
From: T.W. Day [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, February 18, 2013 9:32 PM
Subject: Misuse of Statistics
I was pleased to see Dave's "Open Road" this month. It's unusual for a motorcycle magazine to advocate any sort of safety gear and, when they do, it's usually as unscientific and "freedom" biased as crap from the NRA. It didn't take long for that pleasure to turn sour, though. In a grossly incompetent and statistically misleading response to a readers letter on the NTSB's universal helmet law recommendations, the editor wrote, "the number of motorcycle fatalities in the US has been on a sharp decline over the past few years despite the fact that the number of miles ridden has increased. The decline in fatalities is not because more states have instituted mandatory helmet laws--they haven't."
The argument that motorcycle miles ridden has increased in recent years is doubtful. Until recently, the garage candy crowd has been purged from the road as their rides were repossessed along with their eviction notices. From 2008 to 2011, the only good news about motorcycling has been that fewer of us are on the road and fewer of us are dying because of that. Last year, there was a slight upsurge in motorcycle sales and the early and mild spring put riders back on the road and deaths jumped accordingly. If you look at the states' statistics (http://www.ghsa.org/html/publications/pdf/spotlights/spotlight_motorcycles11.3.pdfhttp://www.ghsa.org/html/publications/pdf/spotlights/spotlight_motorcycles11.3.pdf), you'll see a consistent rise in motorcycle deaths from 1997 to 2008 as states repealed helmet laws and riders took "advantage" of that and splattered themselves all over the nation's roadways.
The future of motorcycling is at risk due to autonomous vehicle development and our out-of-line mortality and morbidity contribution to highway safety and our barely-noticeable contribution to useful traffic. If we insist on pretending that we're getting safer and riding more when all evidence contradicts that, we're shooting ourselves in the foot and will deserve our place along with buggy whips, go carts, and horses in the history of discarded transportation options. The AMA and the motorcycle press are absolutely useless when it comes to promoting practical motorcycling. You should do better than that.
Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly Magazine