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Motorcycle giveaway

The principle
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Motorcycles are fast and fuel efficient. But they have a bad reputation for killing people, because they do. However, do these people die because they take unnecessary risks? Is it because the kind of people who buy motorcycles are accident prone?

Insurance companies are in the business of determining what sort of people are at risk for accidents. I propose that these tables be used to look at motorcycle accidents.

Finally, a motorcycle company could give away motorcycles to 100 riders selected because they have the lowest actuarial risk for accident. The success of these riders and their short commute and gas savings would be used to advertise motorcycles to the masses. Their death and dismemberment at rates comparable to those of testosterone-addled 23 year old men would not be widely publicized.

bungston, Apr 12 2011


       Wouldn't it be cheaper (and more statistically significant) just to do a survey and then publish the results?   

       example news bulletin:
"motorcyclists who say their motorcycle was used primarily for commuting to work had a accident rate below that of commuting motorists"
xaviergisz, Apr 12 2011

       I am concerned that there are too few low risk people who own motorcycles to do the analysis. It would be like an analysis of sane normal people who keep black mambas for pets, or who own assault rifles and teflon coated bullets. Where to find them? One would have to artificially create this low risk group to be sure. One could create a larger group and randomize them to motorcycle vs Honda Civic, to be sure that the receipt of a free vehicle did not somehow contribute to what was then observed.
bungston, Apr 12 2011

       Admittedly the really boring low risk people you seek probably ride scooters rather than motorbikes. Having said that, I've meet plenty of motorcyclists who seem to be low-risk people (but perhaps not the super boring person you want).   

       Anyway, the whole marketing campaign is pretty disingenuous if you only want super boring people riding the givenaway motorbikes.
xaviergisz, Apr 12 2011

       I think that's where the real beauty of this thought lies: "give low risk people high risk things". I'd like to see that more widespread than just motorcycles, to see if there is something intrinsically dangerous about these items or they have a certain essence that attracts dangerous people to them. that would really substantiate the claim that guns don't kill people, people kill people. If it's just an essence then maybe the essence can be extracted from them and applied to safer things.
rcarty, Apr 12 2011

       To offer the viewpoint complimentary to Simpletons:   

       I'm a 48 year old design engineer who rides a 900cc 'cafe racer' style bike for commuting and pleasure. I'm a member of a bike club and spend many weekends each year at motorcycle rallies (for those unfamiliar, a rally is essentially a weekend party with camping).   

       While I'm not a twenty something speed freak, I'm also very far from a scooter commuter or a boring goldwing owner. I clock up around 10k miles per year on the bike, about 3k in my car.   

       Insurance companies clearly think I'm a low risk. I pay under £100 for fully comprehensive cover.   

       I am very much aware of the risk involved in riding and I believe it is that awareness that has kept me in one piece through over 30 years of riding.   

       Everything we do is a risk. Each of us makes our own assessment of each risk and decides what is acceptable and what is not. I find riding sufficiently rewarding as to be worth the risk. I don't find guns rewarding, so I avoid the risk by not playing with them.   

       As regards measuring individual risk: In over 30 years of riding, I have been involved in one accident, when I was stationary and a car hit me. There will be many others with similar records. How do you choose the top 100? Am I a higher risk than someone who has been riding for 1 year with zero incidents? Or someone who has been riding for 60 years with one incident?   

       Motorcycles don't kill people. People kill people.   

       As with guns, the problem is that the wrong people are often attracted for the wrong reasons.   

       Somewhat different from guns, the victim is more likely to be that person.
Twizz, Apr 12 2011

       //Somewhat different from guns// Somewhat different from cars, even, in that respect.
mouseposture, Apr 12 2011

       Cheers MP, nice to see that someone gets the subtext.
Twizz, Apr 12 2011

       Well, the very best way to convince people is to make them think they had the idea for themselves.
mouseposture, Apr 12 2011

       //the very best way to convince people is to make them think they had the idea for themselves//   

xaviergisz, Apr 12 2011

       However one likes to justify it, the balance of risk is the thing to consider.   

       There are many owners of guns, cars, motorcycles and other potentially lethal items who make no pretence about the fact that they have them because they like to, myself included.   

       I certainly enjoy riding hard and fast, beyond what is required to arrive at my destination. That is playing, as is target shooting and trophy hunting.   

       If you believe your gun can save your life, the term rewarding is entirely appropriate.   

       Getting back to the idea:   

       Your intention appears to be to show that statistically low risk riders are a lower risk than the average motorcyclist.   

       I could guess at the result. What do you hope to achieve?
Twizz, Apr 12 2011

       Perhaps the idea is, at its core, a real-world implementation of common faith-based behaviour control systems, the difference here being that the good (passive, safety conscious) behaviours are, occasionally, rewarded before death, with the opportunity to experience pleasurable transgression of the inculcated "good" behaviours. bungston may then be ride the wave of positive feeling generated by the rewarded all the way to godhood.
calum, Apr 12 2011

       /to godhood/ yes yes, exactly so. The whole godhoodie! My surfboard is ready.   

       /statistically low risk riders are a lower risk than the average motorcyclist/ If such people exist then this is a truism. But is the risk to low risk people on a motorcycle comparable to what it would be driving a car? People who are statistically low risk are probably so in part because they are risk averse. If they perceive motorcycles to be innately risky they might be forgoing an economical means of transportation.   

       My goal is to get a lot of fuddyduddies and save the earthers out there on motorcycles, to conserve gas.
bungston, Apr 12 2011

       ... by undoing the catch-22 that safe people don't ride motorcycles because safe people don't ride motorcycles.   

       (Slightly relevant) Someone once said to me, from a car, "You shouldn't ride a bike - you might get run over!" I hope they at least saw the irony.
spidermother, Apr 13 2011

       "Quasar was the safest..."   

       Not sure about that. If I am to be involved with a fast moving machine, I see two approches:   

       1) If the machine is crashworthy (i.e. full roll cage and impact absorbtion) then I want to be firmly attached to it.   

       2) If the machine is not crashworthy, I want to be able to part company with it very quickly.   

       The Quasar doesn't satisfy either of these conditions.   

       Back to the idea: The original idea says that insurance companies would "give away motorcycles to 100 riders selected because they have the lowest actuarial risk"   

       So you're giving bikes to people who already ride.   

       How does this "get a lot of fuddyduddies and save the earthers out there on motorcycles"?
Twizz, Apr 13 2011

       /So you're giving bikes to people who already ride./   

       No! That would be pointless. These people are low risk because of their other qualities - never crash, pays bills, employed, good neighborhood, last name with starts with a letter between Q and V; that sort of thing. Their inherent lowriskiness means they might not have considered a motorcycle. This would at its heart be an advertising campaign.   

       I proposed this project to my daughter, with the subjects being 100 employed young women. "No!" she protested. "What if they all die? That would be such a waste! And what if they have kids?" Clearly motorcycles need some better PR. I proposed an variant project, incrementally giving motorcycles away to small groups of calloused and childless uncles who otherwise met criteria, stopping the project for excess deaths, and that passed muster.   

       But I like the young women. Because the next step would be to give them handguns with education on their use and concealed carry permits, and see if there was excess morbidity/mortality. Last step: does police brutality happen because of the nature of the job, or the nature of the people who become police? The gun toting motorcycle riding young female fuddiduddies are drafted to become police officers in an area known for police brutality. How does their record compare?   

       I suppose the fourth experiment could involve giving them pet black mambas but even a good outcome there does not carry the same prospect for improving society.
bungston, Apr 13 2011

       And when you get arrested, you get to say "that's a fair cop".
spidermother, Apr 14 2011

       Here we go:   

       The term "riders" in the phrase "give away motorcycles to 100 riders" leads one to believe the selected individuals already ride.   

       I assume your idea would not propose to force anyone to ride a motorcycle. On that basis, your new sample would more accurately be:   

       100 individuals, judged on some unrelated criteria to be low risk, not previously riding a motorcycle for reasons other than preferance (i.e. financial limitations).   

       I suggest that this would not be a statistically useful group.   

       The suggestion in your last step was addressed in the well documented Stanford prison experiment.
Twizz, Apr 14 2011

       There were never enough Quasars built to get proper statistical analysis of their safety. It's easy to get swept away by a couple of anecdotes.   

       There is no getting away from the fact that a few inches of structure and low vehicle mass can not protect the rider from a high velocity impact.   

       There are recognised safety benefits in the feet first design, such as low roll moment. While this may help the rider to maintain control, it doesn't help with the widely percieved issue of other road users.   

       I would ride a feet-first bike, but I'd be more wary of other road users failing to see the small frontal area.   

       One also has to wonder about a report which says how safe the vehicle is on the move, then goes on to describe spectacular crashes.
Twizz, Apr 14 2011

       /feet-first bike/ I thought that generally one flew a full sized flag from a tall pole off the the rear of these things, to improve visibility.
bungston, Apr 14 2011


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