Motorcycle Seatbelts Required?
Joan Claybrook Heads the U.S. DOT

A Dead Dog Rides the Ultra-Safe Motorcycle Using a Seatbelt

She had, it was rumored, a project hoping to require seatbelts and pressure-sensitive seat switches on MOTORCYCLES. By god as a biker I was very worried about this.

If you weren't on the seat and buckled in the motor would not start. Her idea was killed when CYCLE mag published a hilarious story about a guy who tried out one of these bikes. Seems he was riding down in New Mexico, on some desert and deserted highway, when he swerved to miss a dead dog in the road, and ran his bike down into a culvert and fell over.

He was un-hurt, but the culvert sides were sandy and he couldn't ride the bike back up, and was threatened with being trapped in the desert in the middle of nowhere with no one in sight.

After an hour or so of failures he realized he needed to run alongside the bike - if any of you ever did dirt biking you know this trick - guiding the bike up the hill by running along it. Of course the seat belt and seat switch, not to mention some experimental training wheels were an obstacle since he couldn't be both running beside the bike and sitting on it at the same time. Brainstorm.

And there, in moments, was the dead dog, strapped onto the seat of the bike, providing both weight and an object to be sensed by the seat belt retractor. Unfortunately when the bike, ridden by the strapped-on dead dog, cleared the top of the culvert the biker slipped and fell, and the bike took off down the highway, teetering on its training wheels, and you know how long and straight are those New Mexico roads.

The bike was last seen heading for Laredo and the biker was left hoofing it into town.

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