In an article recently appearing in the online publication Motorcyclist, one writer and biker enthusiast makes some interesting — and hopeful — points regarding motorcycle travel in the United States and globally in the not-so-distant future.
His bottom-line take: It’s going to be far safer than it is now. In fact, Dexter Ford states that bike-related “fatalities and serious injuries are going to fall like unicycles on ice” within the next decade.
Although that’s a nice thought, of course, and something that every motorcyclist fervently hopes for, is such a salutary outcome likely?
In other words: As much as every rider and traffic safety official fervently wishes for materially reduced accident statistics for motorcyclists and their passengers, is Ford’s projection likely to be even remotely accurate?
It certainly could be, of course, given that he bases it largely on progressively evolving safety enhancements being made to both passenger vehicles and motorcycles. Ford specifically refers to things such as accident-avoidance technology and automatic braking and steering capabilities that could become standard features soon in vehicles. A next-generation car, notes Ford, could have capabilities for “looking left and right, forward and back, up and down, all at the same time.”
And that would of course bode well for motorcyclists.
The most relevant question to perhaps be posed, though, relates to human shortcomings — among both passenger vehicle drivers and motorcyclists — that will always challenge next-step tech developments. Those assists will almost certainly help to reduce adverse road outcomes involving motorcyclists, but they will always be pitted against human limitations (read distracted driving, especially).
A flat reality regarding motorcycles is that they are comparatively small conveyances, don’t offer much protection at all for their drivers, and are routinely disrespected by many drivers of passenger vehicles. Unless the day comes when drivers entirely relinquish the wheel to robotic-type forces operating their cars and passenger trucks, human error will continue to be a catalyst in large numbers of accidents that seriously hurt and kill motorcyclists in California and nationally.