December Motorcycle News
Fuel Conservation Continues Despite the Fall in Gas Prices

Prices at the pump have fallen to half the high watermark of $4 per gallon, begging the question whether the driving and lifestyle changes people made in the past year to conserve gas will stick.

Americans drove 15 billion fewer miles this past August than in August 2007, says the Federal Highway Administration, the largest one-month decline since figures have been collected.  An increasing number are using public transportation. Car sales are at their lowest national levels since 1991, and the federal government projects U.S. fuel consumption will decline this year by the largest amount since 1980.

OPEC has cut its output in an attempt to stabilize prices, but the global recession is pushing down worldwide demand even further.

Many drivers have said despite the recent decline in gas prices, they have indefinitely changed their habits such as running fewer errands, combining trips, driving slower…and riding more motorcycles instead of SUVs. Although sales of cruiser models have fallen with the unstable economy, small motorcycles and scooters have posted record sales because of their mileage ratings.

And even though new motorcycle sales have flattened recently, sales have picked up in other areas, including clothing, merchandise and other accessories, parts and service.  Bike owners who might have traded in their older motorcycles during better times are opting to keep them and put more money toward service and maintenance, reflecting a national trend.

Whether Americans will continue to be more fuel conscious depends largely on the economy, because despite the price of gasoline there's still a need to conserve money.

Motorcycle Parking Protection

It used to be bad enough to find someone sitting on your motorcycle, but with more people riding bikes, and parking them, an increasing urban problem appears to be with drivers moving two-wheelers out of their way to make room to park in congested downtown areas.  To top it off, they seem to be wheeling them into No Parking zones or onto sidewalks where it's illegal to park.

Recognizing this troublesome trend, the city of Seattle, Washington recently enacted an ordinance making it illegal to move another person's vehicle without their knowledge or consent.  Ordinance Number 122761 passed unanimously on August 4 to "prohibit a person from moving a motor vehicle not lawfully under his or her control when the motor vehicle is occupying a parking stall or space on City property."

Honda Demonstrates New Motorcycle Safety Technology

In its efforts to improve safety for everyone, especially vulnerable road users, Honda's leading motorcycle to car communication system was recently demonstrated for the first time in Germany at the CAR 2 CAR Communication Consortium. The Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) System generates warnings to riders and drivers of other vehicles by continuous exchange of positioning data from satellite GPS sources. This is particularly relevant as road users approach intersections, alerting them to other vehicles that are potentially on a collision course, allowing avoidance maneuvers.  Research data shows that the majority of accidents involving a motorcycle are caused by perception failures and this system will reduce these failures.

The majority of motorcycle accidents are caused by the simple failure of other motorists to detect the presence of a motorcycle on the road until it is too late, or to correctly assess its distance and speed. V2V communication rapidly relays information in a simple and concise manner, which supports motorists' and bikers' recognition processes. Information including position, direction and vehicle dynamics coordinates is exchanged between vehicles. Motorcycle riders can safely receive warnings about vehicles near them on a Head-up Indicator Display, and can receive information through an in-helmet audio system, neither requiring them to take their eyes off the road. Drivers can view information on the status of cars and motorcycles in their vicinity and receive warnings on, for example, their navigation system display.

Honda's life-saving V2V System is interoperable and facilitates communication with vehicles from 8 other manufacturers.

Stunt Video Bust Bikers "

A biker in England was brought down by the Internet and his own video evidence was sentenced for speeding and performing stunts on his motorcycle.  The 28-year old rider became the talk of the British press for being arrested after he posted video footage of himself riding a motorcycle at more than 130 miles per hour as well as performing stunts on the popular video site, YouTube.

Last year similar events took place in Spain when a group of riders videotaped and posted their speeding rides between two small towns. They were also convicted by authorities who used the footage posted on YouTube.

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