Thursday, April 7, 2011

Seatbelts for Motorcycles?

image by gullevek under Creative Commons

Airbags? Seatbelts? How soon before they aren't motorcycles anymore?

Designed for bikes like the Goldwing, where the rider won't be hanging off or moving around much in the seat, the belt arrangement is designed to make sure an airbag can work more and to reduce the chances of injuries, particularly in the sort of accident where the bike comes to a sudden halt.

Honda working on motorcycle seatbelts

I'm not into motorcycles. I wasn't even in to them as toys. As a child, I loved toy cars (of all sizes) but I didn't really know what to do with motorcycles. I do remember having a few, including a really small matchbox-sized one, but I don't remember playing with them much. Very square, lame, four-door sedans were more my thing (still are).

My girlfriend, now she once owned and rode a bike. Rode it all up and down the United States (or at least, rode it all over the city where she lived at the time). She's an ex-cop, but when she was a policewoman, she wasn't on a motorcycle, but in a patrol car.

I also once worked with an old guy who was a disgraced doctor (got the pants sued off him and lost his medical license) and he had a big Honda Goldwing. He took it out all the time. He liked to drive up into the mountains late at night and then stop for hot chocolate before heading back. He once took my ex-girlfriend on a ride and she was thrilled. She was a refuge from Afghanistan and she had crossed the desert on a camel with no food or water for days, so maybe she was excited to be in the open air going much faster than camel speed. Things turned sour with the doctor when she told me that one day that when they were alone together, he came up to her and said "Let's fuck." He was serious. Maybe after the motorcycle ride with her, he thought he was irresistible or something. Or maybe he was just a dirty old man.

My mom never gets tired of telling the story of the time my dad came home late one night from work. He rang the door bell (to surprise her, I guess) and she saw him standing there in a leather jacket holding a helmet. He had a brand new motorcycle in the driveway. He returned it the next day after Mom screamed at him the he was going to leave his two children fatherless when he when ended up all over the highway in pieces. Maybe she was also remembering the time Dad came to the aid of a girl who was riding a motorcycle and spun out of control and ran into a tree. Dad stayed with her and held her split-open head in his hands until the ambulance arrived.

Maybe airbags and seatbelts would have changed Mom's mind, but I doubt it.

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