4: The most dangerous motorbikes
Driving a motorbike is dangerous. No impact protection, centrifugal forces, no protection from the elements, poorly visible for other drivers.... the list goes on and on.
One of the key self-protecting defenses is the ability to drive or steer away from trouble before it begins.
Imagine this situation:
A 17 year old boy drives with his 125 cc, 15 bhp motorbike along a single carriageway. Because his maximum speed is about 100 km/h and a hill slows a truck down, he is slowly gaining up on it. He can't stay behind the truck because visibility there is poor and if the truck driver does anything unexpected the boy doesn't have a chance. So he needs to overtake the 18 meter long, 40 tonnes heavy vehicle.
After 10 minutes he sees his chance! Gaining some speed downhill, laying with his head on the handlebars as to reduce drag as much as possible, using every ounce of speed that little bike has, he slowly starts overtaking. First wheel of the trailer, second wheel of the trailer, last wheel of the trailer...pushing, pushing....the trailer is long.....finally he makes it to the tractor where the driver decides to help him a bit by breaking slightly. The boy finally, after half a minute (!) of agonizing effort, passes the truck. This time he survived.
Imagine overtaking a truck with a normal motorbike would take maybe 2 seconds; some bikes are able to do it in less....
The problem is that it requires a lot of skill and experience to safely operate a motorbike with a dangerous power deficit in today's traffic; especially outside the city. The irony is that these are the only means of transportation that we put at the disposal of our most vulnerable and inexperienced group of 16 year old children.
We expose them to danger, they get killed. This needs to change.
Solution: The difference between a 125 cc bike and a 250 cc bike limited to for instance 20 bph is very little from a technical, drive-ability and weight point of view. However, being able to drive 120 km/h will safe a lot of young lives. A1 bikers should be allowed a little bit more power.