Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Arnold and bikes

I knew that Arnold rides bikes, but I didn’t know he still did it, as governor. Well, he rides still. And, he got into a small accident (fifteen stiches on his lip) and it was discovered that he doesn’t have the proper endorsement on his California driver’s license to operate a motorcycle. Because the bike was attached to a sidecar, he is probably OK (no fine). Yet, it is clear that all the years he has been in the USA (arrived in 1968) he has been riding his bikes illegaly. Amusing. I would say that about 4 out of five people who ride do not have the proper endorsement. Some don’t care, some can’t pass the test. Look for new laws to be passed; look for no humor. Too bad.

Discussions - 5 Comments

So, what are you saying? That if most people don’t have the proper license or endorsement (because they "don’t care or can’t pass the test") then we shouldn’t bother to have or enforce the law?

I passed the Ohio test after my second try (but just by a couple of points). I think the cones portion of the test is VERY difficult, and not a good prediction of rider ability. I think the cone test favors older bikes, and modern bikes with with older style geometry (crusiers). The cones are placed so close together that it is difficult for modern sportsbikes to steer through them, also the cones are so close together and modern sportsbikes geared so high that one has to ride the clutch, or rapidly engage and disengage it while attempting to pass through them or the engine dies and one loses points (how I failed the first test).

The cones test is not an accurate test of rider ability because no rider will ever have to manuver their bike at two miles an hour, slowly swerving past obstacles. I suppose the object of the test is to test balance, but this is silly because once the bike is ridden at more than a few miles an hour it becomes a giant gyroscope, and it is pretty impossible to tip it over unless radical manuvers are performed.

A better test would be testing rider judgment. Modern bikes can outperform all but the most exotic sportscars, and lack of judgment and maturity is what gets people killed. It is tempting to go from 0-100 mph in 10 seconds (or however fast the bike can go), many people do this, and as a result a few terrible accidents happen each year. Perhaps someone could apply for the test, and then at some point an examiner could "spy" on the person while he was riding. Or, the person could just ride on the street for a few blocks, much like they do with cars.

I suspect the cones test is used because it costs little. The option of taking the safety class, passing it, and not having to take the test is great, but the classes are so full (at least in Columbus) that one has to wait a long time to get into one. Again, another instance of lack of funding.

I agree with Steve about the cones test. It is both difficult and useless. Although I passed it on first try, I think it was luck. I think everyone should be forced to take a class, a hands-on class, on a bike (a small one) for a weekend (which I did years ago), before getting a lince to ride. That was helpful, riding around a parking lot, over logs, learning to stop, use the clutch; learning habits and overcoming fear.

i’d tend to agree with steve and peter, i learned to ride on a ’47 harley back in ’55, then didn’t ride for something like 30 years. when i got back on a honda it took a couple of hours learning the hand clutch/foot shift coordination and i was back up to speed. in all my riding, then and now i never needed to do a low speed "weave" as in the cone test. steve is correct about the "gyroscope effect", even at low speeds the bike "wants" to stay upright unless the rider does something to upset the balance. i taught my daughter to ride circling a dirt parking lot, going to figure eights when she got used to leaning with the bike in a turn and she turned out a competent rider both around town and up the interstate until marriage and a baby put an end to her riding, now her daughter is learning on a little electric bike and doing quite well at it. i’ll agree there needs to be a test of basic skill but the cones are a waste of time, effort and gas.

note to my above post, "hand clutch/foot shift", the old knucklehead harley was a foot clutch/hand shift set up, with the shifter on the left side of the gas tank and a "rocker" clutch over the left footboard.

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