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
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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