Notes: Bikers in Hong Kong (Pt 2)

Tuesday 7 February 2012, 9.00am HKT


From Part 1

3. Bikers the world over are better drivers than the rest. The other road users are shite, dangerous and psychopathic, and the government is part of the problem.

But just like everyplace else, all the other road abusers users denigrate bikers as ‘a dangerous obstruction’ — when in fact everybody else on four or more wheels are even more dangerous in their driving abilities.

The government adds to the problem by laying on stringent driving standards on motorcyclists — pointless, because motorcyclists have even higher standards for themselves since they are the ones who sit outside of metal rather than the other way round.

It has never occurred to any government, ever, to increase driving standards on the other drivers in order to make roads safer for everybody else.

*

A GRUESOME ASIDE

Is motorcycling dangerous?

Answer:
Only if the government decides road safety is a priority.

First, a grim warning to the rest of us that ‘motorcycle safety’ is an illusory term.

In a motorcycle accident, the victim often loses shoes and trousers. Even slow-speed incidents at 30 mph (48 kmph) involve remarkable damage to the body — the rider gets torn into two right at the weakest point at the abdomen, around the waistline. Physics is cruel to the body.

Photos of real traffic accidents often appear surreal or unreal because very often there is little or no blood left at the scene and the bodies are cut so cleanly that they look like staged effects.

The biggest volume of blood at any one time is present in the aorta and vena cava inside the chest area. When the body hits the ground or a pole at only 30 mph, the blood pressure inside the aorta and vena cava becomes enormous and explodes, vaporising most of the blood in a big red cloud, and contributing to splitting the body into two.

Gruesome enough for you? Now you know why bikers are ‘next-level kind of people.’

Second, a grim warning to the rest of us that ‘road safety’ depends on which side of the fence you’re on.

In the name of road safety, governments worldwide put up lots of UNBELIEVABLY DANGEROUS things that kill or maim car drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians at the lowest-possible cost.

One of the most dangerous road-safety measure is dubbed The Human-Sized Cheese-Cutter.

This is a wire-rope safety fence designed to cut down on head-on collisions on divided highways and roads. Lately they have started to pop up worldwide along the edges of roads because they present a lower-cost alternative to all-metal crash barriers. They are a real worry for bikers and pedestrians alike.

Pedestrians should worry: The wire has serrated edges (left photo) designed to lock in a colliding vehicle in place. It’s also designed to snap free and flail all over the place so as to dampen the velocity of the vehicle. In effect, a collision turns it into clusters of little flying chainsaws that mow down anything and everything in their flight paths. It’s a great idea as an anti-personnel weapon for wartime, but I don’t think it’s quite what we need in a civilian traffic situation in peacetime.

Motorcyclists should worry: The serrated wire is plain bloody dangerous by any stretch of the imagination. When a motorcyclist comes into even minor, glancing contact with it, it will instantly slice you in half so fast that you won’t even have time to say, “Hey, that’s my liver!”

The cable system is another highly dangerous contraption being introduced in Australia. It uses cables of piano-wire thickness and is installed beside or between highways. The British invented this contraption in the 1950s and gave it up almost immediately after pilot trials showed it’s even more dangerous than just callously letting the vehicle hit a few pedestrians. The wires don’t snap and they actually bounce the vehicle in the opposite direction. The same wires on the other side of the road do the same, so the vehicle end up being pinballed all over the place. It’s the video game Pong but with a lawn mower for the blip.

The first time I saw the cable system in action was on British TV around 1976 or thereabouts, and it was bloody dangerous to watch. Cars literally and effortlessly sliced in half by the cables, and that was everything I needed to know about that system, thank you very much.

Then there’s the old standby of steel fences — like pool fences — for the middle of roads to make pedestrian crossings (where pedestrians are regularly hit by cars). For one thing, the steel fences obstruct the view of the pedestrians for the driver. For another, the steel plates after being hit flies off like Captain America’s shield and decapitate everyone at high speed within a 50-feet radius.

These ‘great ideas’ are starting to pop up worldwide and are lauded by many automotive-safety organisations as the best thing since sliced bread.

Just who the goddamned hell came up with those ideas? And how much did they bilk bill the government for?

*

If you’re still up to it, we’ll go on back to Hong Kong bikers in Part 3

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012.

Images: Motorcycle plates via Drew Steitz ♦ Human-Sized Cheese-Cutter via ssqq.

4 Responses to “Notes: Bikers in Hong Kong (Pt 2)”

  1. Ed Hurst said

    Sadly, Oklahoma has been erecting the cable system on the federally maintained highways here. The good news is we have alternate routes aplenty. Even our turnpike system is better, with concrete walls.

    Like

    • Despite the horrible and dangerous looks of concrete walls, they are safer (relatively speaking) for road users. I just wonder why the hell the authorities have to install that cable system – when TV documentaries have reported their dangers since the 70s. I just don’t understand.

      Like

  2. Ed Hurst said

    When did common sense ever interfere with politics?

    Like

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