Jul 28, 2016
You probably got at least one thing right [The reader claimed motorcycling on freeways was particularly unsafe.]. You'd be pretty hard pressed to find a traffic situation where motorcycling is "safe" by any definition of the word (Webster's uses "secure," "protected", "out of harm's way," "harmless" and such words as synonyms). I'm unconvinced that an average rider can ever be as "safe" as an average car driver in normal traffic situations. I don't think most of us ride because we think it's safe; part of the deal is the risk. If you want to be safe, take the bus.
Apparently, it's very possible that "training" as we define it may be an fantasy attempt to create "safer" riders, since motorcycle insurance companies are (according to what we heard last week at the MMSAC) are dropping discounts for riders who have received "training." The MSF honchos, two years ago, cautioned us against trying to correlate training with safer riding. It appears that something is not as it appears in the training world. Rider Magazine has been talking about this for a couple of years. It's not new news.
I think we always get the government we deserve, so if government has let us down "we have met the enemy and he is us." I don't know where you got that, but it was an interesting leap in something. However, regardless of your paranoia, it's (I think) logical that, if we (motorcyclists) don't manage to get a grip on the fact that we are a microscopic fraction of traffic and a substantial (10% I heard this summer) component of fatalities, we're likely to lose the tolerance of those with whom we share the road. Do you see a lot of snowmobiles on the road today? How about dirt bikes, horses, carriages, tractors, or lawn tractors? The way society and democracies work, if you don't have a social value to offer, you lose clout and privleges (it appears to be less than common knowledge that driving on public roads is a privledge, not a right). Currently, it's hard to estabilish how motorcycles provide any more transportation value than any of the historic vehicles I listed above, all of which can no longer use public roads (outside of incredibly restricted application for farm implements). I commuted about 40 miles today, starting at a little before 8AM and returning at 5PM, pretty much rush hour, and saw one other bike on the road. Who would it inconvenience if the two of us were banished from the highway? There was a lot of smoke and bullshit said when one dinky US manufacturer who can't meet EPA or safety standards in the US, let alone the rest of the world. It's not like many would notice if one of the US bike manufacturers vanished, let alone a tiny one. We've tossed more and better paying jobs into India in the last year than Harley will generate in the next decade.
As a dirt biker, I saw once practically unlimited access to public land and undeveloped land vanish to today's state of practically no off-road availability; in a portion of my lifetime. Motorcyclists get a good share of the blame for that loss, since motorcyclists (including me) abused practically every land use privilege we once had. You still see that biker hooligan attitude often on private land and the resulting enforcement of tightening riding space. We have no one to blame but ourselves for what we've lost.
Only a math-phobe would imagine that our current society has any foresight, so I'd probably agree with some of your rant on that subject. We're in debt. We're the world's worst polluter. We're chewing up natural and human resources as if we don't even know there will be generations after our own, let alone care about them. You could call that shortsighted, I'd be hard pressed to credit us with any vision capacity. I think humans are pefect evidence that there is no such thing as intelligent design in genetics. We're dumber than ants, as a species.
As for US corporate execs, they clearly don't care about their companies' futures and have no reason to do so. They pay themselves for non-performance and doing fatal damage to their corporations and the public invests in their worthless stocks to let them know we're too dumb to know better. We've been here before, at least a couple of times in the last century. They aren't smart enough to conspire toward any long term goal.
Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha were all but out of the motorcycle business in the 80s because of declining profits and inclining liability. Darwin could probably remind us of why that didn't happen, I can't remember. Probably a "feature" of being old. Honda and Suzuki got into cages. Yamaha broadened its products into everything else, but has had a steadily declining income for almost a decade. Kawasaki builds ships and construction equipment. They've all hedged their bets on motorcycling and, based on the fraction of their product line that they import into the US, I'd say they're not putting a lot of effort into our market's future.
One of the concepts/goals that was introduced into the MMSAC last week was "zero tolerance" for motorcycle highway deaths as a possible goal for the state. That sounds radical, but it might be the kind of approach we need to take to remove ourselves from the sights of outside regulation. Personally, I'm unconvinced that self-regulation ever happens in society, but it would be cool if it did with motorcycling. If we set out, as a class of folks who participate in this activity, to eliminate all motorcycle traffic deaths and did everything we can, as a group, to achieve that goal it seems to me that there could be all kinds of positive results from removing ourselves from the traffic death equation.
One might be more folks would consider riding "safe" and ride occasionally. The more of us there are on the road, regularly, the more of a share in traffic management we can claim.
That's my take, any way.
Jul 27, 2016
My wife and I have been off-and-on fans of the History Channel’s Vikings and the BBC’s The Last Kingdom. Unless you are historically and sociologically clueless, you can’t miss the resemblance between these relentlessly violent and brutal characters and biker gangs. That infamous quality of men who will do any damn thing to get in their share of rape and pillage. Of course, modern Vikings pretend to be sensitive types with “feelings” with their “Pirate Parades for Kids” bullshit and occasional high-profile, half-assed attempts to humanize themselves by not killing a stranded family or helping an old lady across a street they’ve made unsafe with a pirate parade.
Of course they are for Trump. Like all kings and strongmen from the last 500 years, Trump is an inbred weakling who masquerades as an actual human being and who appeals to their absolute worst qualities, which are their predominant qualities. He promises “You’re gonna be so rich,” which is pretty much what every warlord has promised his soldiers since the first douchebag took up a club and marched off to battle other douchebags.
Yeah, I’m pissed off. I’ve avoided these morons my whole life. At this late date, I can’t hear the sound of a badly tuned, underpowered two-wheeled lawn tractor without looking for high ground and weapons. You’d think centuries of war and military incompetence would have bred these morons out of the species, but sometimes I suspect stupidity might be the core gene to humans. With all their homoerotic Village People posing, lifestyle, and Darwin Award-winning riding skills, you’d think they’d have vanished from the gene pool.
The Ed Sanders song, below, will make a perfect soundtrack for contemplating these characters.
Jul 17, 2016
More Proficient Motorcycling: Mastering the Ride 2nd Edition
by David L. Hough, 2012All Rights Reserved © 2013 Thomas W. Day
David Hough and, through his writing for Motorcycle Consumer News, Sound RIDER!, and BMW Owners News has been a strong advocate for motorcycle training and safety for most of his 75 years. Hough was inducted into the AMA's Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame in 2009. As a motorcycle safety advocate, Hough has won the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Excellence in Motorcycle Journalism award twice, but he isn't one of the MSF's fans. In fact, in this 220 page book, the MSF is mentioned exactly three times and mostly in an unfavorable light. In 2004, through a short series of MCN articles ("Trouble in Rider Training 1 & 2") Hough championed the argument that the MSF is more committed to selling motorcycles than promoting motorcycle safety and crash and fatality reduction. In 2012, he obviously holds the same positions to be true. There are numerous references to rider training programs that Hough considers to be worthwhile, but the MSF is not among them. With that as a background, the newest edition of Mastering the Ride takes on many of the issues Hough believes are driving motorcycle fatality statistics into public discussion.
Hough has some excellent arguments regarding how we ride and how that relates to the frequency that we end up in hospitals and cemeteries. Marketing gurus say "perception is everything" and that goes for motorcycling, too. Several sections of Mastering the Ride are dedicated to discussions of safe following distance, scanning for hazards and escape routes, visibility, and evasive maneuvers. In many piloting, automotive, and motorcycle training programs, this translates to SIPDE (search, identify, predict, decide, and execute). This takes the MSF's SEE (search, evaluate, and execute) to a more functional and detailed level by forcing riders and drivers to think about all of the steps necessary in avoiding catastrophe on the road.
All of this stuff is about learning how to accurate gauge and react to typical situations with exceptional skill. Since Hough managed to overshoot his own limits at a ride in August 2012 and crashed Lee Park's Triumph in an emergency stopping maneuver, some people might take his advice with a small block of salt. However, most experienced riders know that there are only two kinds of motorcyclists: those who have crashed and those who haven't crashed yet. Hough isn't shy about illustrating this book with pictures of his own off-pavement misadventures and self-deprecating examples of moments when his mental state resulted in (or could have) his sliding down the road shiny-side-down. Crashing is just one possible result from riding a vehicle that doesn't balance itself.
There are a lot of valuable, but subtle, riding tips that could be missed by a first pass through Mastering the Ride. As an example, in MSF classes, instructors always challenge riders to "look where you want to go," but Hough extends that further by saying "point your nose . . . in the direction you want to go." Using the fighter pilots' tactic of both looking in the intended target direction and keeping your eyes level to force a commitment to a direction change, this hint goes a long ways toward minimizing "target fixation." Just for this tip, I'm glad to have read the book.
Hough's take on preoccupied drivers is accurate and usually far more politically correct than my own. When he describes the reckless homicide rear end crash that took Anita Zaffke's life in 2009, he doesn't provide more than the first name of the victim or much of a condemnation of the homicidal fingernail-painting driver. In a similar fashion, he refrains from seriously criticizing modern driving skills or in-vehicle distractions. Hough is less politically correct when he describes most US highway law enforcement tactics as being "revenue generating" rather than safety-oriented. Having been hooked by speed traps in some pretty silly locations and even sillier law enforcement legal interpretations, I'm totally on board with Hough in this regard.
Hough mistakes bicycle habits or newbie fear for skill when he describes using two or three finger-braking as an advanced riding skill. If you watch the extras on the Faster DVD, you'll see that Valentino Rossi often uses all four fingers and I suspect Hough is rethinking his own braking skills after flipping Park's Triumph this past summer. There are times when two finger braking is more than enough, but making that a regular habit is a formula for reduced braking when you really need it and a busted finger or two when the bars slam to the ground in a right turn low-side. His take on advanced braking systems (ABS and linked) seems to be pretty "old guy biased," too.
Where this book shines is in the street riding strategies. Hough describes a roadway that is in constant flux and a high state of hazard; just like the roads we all ride. His tips for evaluating traffic, turn radii and camber, road surfaces, and other road risks are valuable and expert. There are two appendix entries that the majority of American riders should read: "The Aging Rider" and "Travel." Since the average age of American motorcyclists is moving right along with the Boomer generation, we're all heading toward that moment when we have to consider being too old to ride. Goofy "solutions" like trikes and sidecars aside, it is simply a matter of time for all of us. Hough is close to that point himself and discusses aging and declining skills honestly and factually. His admonition that we all need to ride somewhere on our motorcycles is just good sense. Ride someplace you've always dreamed of visiting.
Jul 13, 2016
A few weeks ago, on her way to church in River Falls my wife received a speeding ticket/random-tax-assessment on the fourteen mile unmarked section of speedtrap also known as US 63 between Red Wing, Minnesota and Ellsworth, Wisconsin. She was, as is her habit, not even close to being the fastest moving vehicle on the road at the time the trooper decided to single her out, but she was probably the only non-Wisconsin victim for Pierce County’s uniformed tax assessor.
As a Minnesota motorcyclist, I’ve long known that Wisconsin is one giant speedtrap mostly aimed at out-of-town targets. It’s a well-discussed subject on every internet motorcycle group and one of many reasons that many motorcyclists choose to ride in long, loud, and intimidating pirate parades. The state’s tax assessors are less likely to harass twenty bikers than they are one. However, one reason for the state’s high motorcycle crash/morbidity/mortality rate has to be that riders are keeping an eye out for traffic tax assessors and missing critical hazard factors as a result. If you are suffering the delusion that a 5mph-over-the-limit violation is about highway safety on a road that locals commonly travel at 75mph, you are fooling no one but yourself. If safety were a real concern, drivers’ license tests would be a difficult hurdle for at least half of the people behind a wheel.
After receiving the speeding ticket, we began to evaluate that section of road for both the average speed and the highway markings. The fact is that most of the traffic on US 63 in that area travels at well over 65mph and you will stack up dozens of vehicles if you travel at the unmarked 55mph speed limit. The more telling fact is that the only speed limit sign in 14 miles on that road, from Red Wing to Ellsworth, is right after the Red Wing bridge (a couple of miles before the cynical “Welcome to Wisconsin” sign). That one speed limit sign is carefully placed as close to a bridge barrier as possible to be easily missed. The next Wisconsin speed limit sign appears as you enter Ellsworth.
When my wife appeared in the Pierce County kangaroo court to contest the ticket, she was told by the judge that she should consider it “a privilege” to be allowed to drive on Wisconsin’s highways. When she said the state should consider installing a few speed limit signs to inform visitors that Wisconsin has lower-than-average speed limits, he said “taxes would go up on your cheese, then.” Along with admitting that patrolling this road and randomly enforcing a 55mph speed limit was nothing more than a visitor tax, those statements made it clear that the county (and state) knows it is running an unmarked speedtrap. Even more, the attitude of the two county bureaucrats, a “traffic court administrator” and prosecutor, was clearly one of pride and arrogance. At no time did either of those bureaucrats admit that more rational and fair behavior should be expected of either Pierce County or Wisconsin.
For the nearly two years that we have lived in Red Wing, we’ve travelled to Ellsworth, River Falls, and Hudson several times a week; often spending $75 to $150 shopping at the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, local stores, and local restaurants. Since she received that ticket, we’ve rarely made the trip and look for every opportunity to avoid Wisconsin’s $175-per-visit tourist tax. We have avoided purchasing fuel, food, or anything else in or from the state, not as a boycott but simply because this experience has left such a bad feeling about Wisconsin that we simply want to do what we have to do in that state quickly and escape as painlessly and cheaply as possible. The “privilege” of being allowed to travel un-harassed on US highways in Wisconsin has been excessively expensive and there is nothing about being stopped by an armed tax collector that says “Welcome to Wisconsin.”
Having just returned from a 2,800 mile motorcycle trip through Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Colorado, New Mexico, and Kansas, I can state from experience that a fourteen mile section of unmarked 55mph US highway is unusual, at best. Many states appear to have abandoned Jimmy Carter’s 55mph fuel economy altogether, but every state I visited clearly marked local speed limits. Not doing so is clearly an attempt to generate income for local bureaucrats as ruthlessly as possible and it likely explains, in part, the poor state of Wisconsin’s economy.
Recent events have demonstrated the hazards involved when an armed, nervous, and too often unsuited-for-police-work officer accosts citizens over insignificant infractions of irrational or surreptitious laws designed to generate revenue for governments rather than provide peace and security for the public. Financing local governments with “law enforcement revenue” is dangerous for everyone, except the local governments. Operating under the reasonable premise that “they’ll never uncover this scam before we’re outta her with our pockets stuffed,” the bureaucrats behind this semi-legal highwayman scheme could not care less about the communities that harbor them. If every business goes broke, every citizen leaves town for a better life, if every building falls into ruin, these people will keep doing what they are doing until the money runs out. And when one of the tax asseessors screws up and shoots a motorist because he mistook a billfold for an Glock and the family of that victim rightfully sues the city into bankruptcy, the sharks will take their resume and somewhere else and do it all over again.
The simple fact is, when a local government has screwed up badly enough that there isn’t enough revenue to support the bureaucracy, the only logical move is to reduce the bureaucracy to a size that fits the budget. Nobody in their right mind ever promised government employees lifetime employment. The idea that the last people left in town will be the local cops is well past insane.
Jul 11, 2016
Modern Motorcycle Technology: How Every Part of Your Motorcycle Works
by Massimo Clarke, 2010All Rights Reserved © 2012 Thomas W. Day
Massimo Clarke is an Italian version of Cycle World's Kevin Cameron. Clarke has several motorcycle books to his name, was the technical editor of Motosprint, and is currently a Director for Assomotoracing. (If you can figure out what this organization does, please explain.) Clarke's grasp of technology is excellent and his ability to quickly describe the function, advantages and disadvantages, and evolution of machines and their parts is why this book is worth reading. The photographs and illustrations, on the other hand, are what make Modern Motorcycle Technology fun to look at and browse through.
For me, this was not a cover-to-cover read. Instead, I skipped around to read about subjects that interested me at the moment; starting with "Intake and Exhaust." I followed that with going back to the beginning for "Engine Design" and "Structure and Function." While I have a decent basic understanding of internal combustion engine operation, there is no subtlety to what I know. When I'm troubleshooting, "suck, squeeze, bang, and blow" is about all the theory I use to stumble my way through solving engine problems. Clarke's detailed explanation of how the myriad of engine systems work and how the various one, two, three, and four cylinder configurations provide power, reduce vibration and instability, control heat, convert fuel to energy, and how design engineers compensate for the weaknesses of the basic design they have chosen was worth the price of the book. There are useful descriptions of the reliability sacrifices several engine designs make in the hunt for superior performance.
If you ever wanted to know what manufacturing processes were used for the various parts of your motorcycle, this book is for you. If you're interested in more than surface-level motorcycle metallurgy, fuel system chemistry, and frame and suspension geometry and physics, this book is for you. If you want to know the real effect of exhaust and intake modifications on the design intention of your motorcycle, Clark has a whole chapter just for you. Transmission? Exhaust emissions? Frame geometry? Suspension parts? Wheels and tires? Electronic components? It's all there and with enough detail to provide a decent background on how each of these bike bits works.
I can't decide if I'm going to keep my copy of Modern Motorcycle Technology in the bathroom/library or in the garage. It's good recreational reading, but it's also detailed enough to be useful as reinforcement to my service and owner's manuals, when I'm stuck troubleshooting some unusual problem. I might need two copies.
Jul 10, 2016
The “lead” motorcyclist has no more business on a vehicle with a motor than does a squirrel. Neither of these two squids are half the rider the bicyclist is. None of that is surprising, though. Spend a Saturday in Red Wing and you’ll see why motorcycle fatalities are grossly out of porportion to the number of motorcycles on the road. It’s an embarrassment.
Jul 8, 2016
The data is always a good bit of behind current trends, mostly because getting information from many of the states is like pulling teeth. This is 2014 data, but it’s still interesting to pick apart.
I can’t imagine how they generate this over-optimistic estimate, “In 2013, motorcyclists were about 26 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled and five times more likely to be injured.” I just don’t buy the idea that motorcycles are that large a contributor to miles-traveled in the US. I still believe we are barely 0.001% of total miles traveled (well under bicycle miles) and, therefore, closer to 1,000 times-or-greater more likely to die per mile traveled, annually.
“There were about 8.4 million motorcycles on the road in 2014.” Yeah, no. I call bullshit.
“In 2014, 39 percent of those motorcyclists killed were not wearing helmets, down from 41 percent in 2013.” Seriously interesting.
“Over the nine years from 2004 to 2013, fatalities among the 40-and-older age group increased by 39 percent, according to NHTSA, compared to 16 percent for all ages.” Expected, since the average age of motorcyclists is climbing at about that rate.
TOP FIVE STATES IN MOTORCYCLE THEFTS, 2015
- California 7,221
- Florida 4,758
- Texas 3,403
- South Carolina 2,160
- New York 1,902
Huh? What’s with South Carolina?
“Older riders appear to sustain more serious injuries than younger riders.” No surprise there.
This is an interesting stat, “riders of ‘super sports’ motorcycles have driver death rates per 10,000 registered vehicles nearly four times higher than those for drivers of other types of motorcycles.” Sort of fits my one hazardous moment in Colorado last week.
This will be the death of public road access for motorcycles, “The Government Accounting Office (GAO) estimated that in 2010 motorcycle crashes cost $16 billion in direct costs such as emergency services, medical costs including rehabilitation, property damage, loss of market productivity including lost wages, loss in household productivity and insurance costs, including claims and the cost of defense attorneys. ” This number will contine to climb and the percentage of costs will skyrocket as cars become smarter and motorcyclists continue to get dumber.
Jul 6, 2016
Jul 5, 2016
* A Mankato, Minn., man was injured at 12:19 p.m. when his 2014 Victory motorcycle hit a deer on Minnesota Highway 16 west of Peterson in Fillmore County. Police say Mark Fromm, 59, was flown to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
* On Saturday, a 55-year-old Oakdale, Minn., woman who was a passenger on a 2006 Harley-Davidson was killed about 3:25 p.m. on U.S. Highway 61 in Goodhue County when the motorcycle ran off the road and hit a sign. The State Patrol identified the woman as Janean Thielman. The driver, Joseph Frisch, 55, of Madelia, Minn., was seriously injured.
* The driver of a 2006 Harley-Davidson and his passenger died about 3 p.m. Saturday when their motorcycle crossed over the center line on eastbound Minnesota Highway 95 in Chisago County and struck another vehicle, triggering a three-car crash. Collin Orth, 35, of Milaca, Minn., and his passenger, Sara Orth, 34, of Milaca, died in the crash.
* An Appleton, Wis., man and a female passenger on his 2014 Harley-Davidson were injured when the motorcycle struck a deer at 8:30 a.m. Saturday on southbound U.S. Highway 53 in International Falls. Mark Natzke, 53, and his passenger, Tammy Natzke, 53, were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
* A fourth motorcyclist was killed earlier in the week after his 2013 Victory hit a deer about 3:15 p.m. Wednesday on Minnesota Highway 223 in Clearwater. The man was identified by the State Patrol as 61-year-old Richard Engen of Clearbrook.
After reading this list of crash descriptions, my wife said, “They ought to sell those machines with a theme song, ‘All My Trials, Lord.’” She gets it. Deer or no deer, it doesn’t appear that anyone can ride those hippobikes competently.
In last month's MMM column, "Back in My Day,' I wrote, “Not only can you not go back, you can’t even go where we went.” Turns out, I was wrong. On the way to Valentine, Nebraska I discovered that some of those old unmaintained roads still exist in my old home state. I even took a picture of one. I even hiked up that road a ways to discover that it quickly turned into deep, soft sand that would have put me and my V-Strom down as quickly as Raylan Givens takes out a Chicago mobster (look it up). On the other hand, if I'd have been there with my WR? I'd be on it fast and hard. It was a beautiful road, just not for a road bike.
The good news is that any kid with a dirt bike and a Nebraska home address can still have the kind of fun and make the discoveries I did 40 years ago. I love that. It has been years since I’ve seen a “Minimum Maintenance Road” sign and it makes me feel good (and a little younger) to know there are still some left.
Jul 4, 2016
Look at this list of motorcycle crash descriptions from the past week:
About 4 p.m. Sunday, a motorcyclist ran off the road and hit a tree on Minnesota 113 near Wallace Road in Becker County. The condition of the driver was not released Sunday night.
Also Sunday, a Mankato man was injured at 12:19 p.m. when his 2014 Victory motorcycle hit a deer on Minnesota 16 west of Peterson in Fillmore County. Police say Mark Fromm, 59, was flown to a hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries.
On Saturday, a 55-year-old Oakdale woman who was a passenger on a 2006 Harley-Davidson was killed about 3:25 p.m. on U.S. 61 in Goodhue County when the motorcycle ran off the road and hit a sign. The State Patrol identified the woman as Janean Thielman, 55, of Oakdale. The driver, Joseph Frisch, 55, of Madelia, Minn., was seriously injured.
The driver of a 2006 Harley-Davidson and his passenger died about 3 p.m. Saturday when their motorcycle crossed over the center line on eastbound Minnesota 95 in Chisago County and struck another vehicle, triggering a three-car crash. Collin Orth, 35, of Milaca, and his passenger, Sara Orth, 34, of Milaca, died in the crash.
An Appleton, Wis., man and a female passenger on his 2014 Harley-Davidson were injured when the motorcycle struck a deer at 8:30 a.m. Saturday on southbound U.S. 53 in International Falls. Mark Natzke, 53, and his passenger, Tammy Natzke, 53, were transported to the hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries.
A fourth motorcyclist was killed earlier in the week after his 2013 Victory hit a deer about 3:15 p.m. Wednesday on Minnesota 223 in Clearwater. The man was identified by the State Patrol as 61-year-old Richard Engen of Clearbrook.
While three of these crashes were hoofed rat related and were most likely not the fault of the riders, the rest were purely the fault of the motorcyclists, including the one non-single vehicle crash. It is so rare to find a motorcycle crash that isn’t 90-100% the fault of the motorcyclists involved that the whole “Start Seeing Motorcyclists” campaign is ludicrous. As I discovered in Colorado last week (Our Own Worst Enemies), the best reason to wartch for motorcycles is to keep from getting killed by idiots on motorcycles.
Yesterday was that kind of day in Red Wing. The Hogs were out in full force and wobbling between lanes as if they had no idea those lane marker lines meant anything important. In some ways, I’m not seriously mocking the riders. I don’t have any faith that I could ride a 900 pound hippobike competently. Which is why I ride a 275 pound dirt bike and a 375 pound standard. However, it always seems that the least competent rider among a group of 12 is the guy (or girl) on the biggest bike, demonstrating the least skills and ability, and whining about how dangerous traffic is.