Posted: 17 Jun 2009 04:00 AM PDT
It seems this slow economy has some politicians thinking with their butt rather than their head (well more than they usually do). Not only do some in Congress think that it would be a good idea to add motorcycles into the “Cash For Clunkers” program. Supposedly that would help the environment by getting gas guzzling pollutant spewing vehicles off the road. What it really would do is help the automakers sell more new cars.
Now the Honorable Governor Schwartzenegger of California has made a suggestion to some of his constituents suffering through this financial slowdown. Hey, if you need some extra cash to help pay your bills why don’t you just sell your motorcycle! That’s a good idea because there are loads of people looking to buy bikes right now.
In his letter to the “Gov”, Tim Buche the President of the Motorcycle Industry Council brings up some great points countering the sell proposal. He also gives examples of how some cities have embraced the idea of getting people to ride their motorcycles. It would be sensible if more cities and states adopted some of these ideas. Here’s an excerpt from that letter:
“Whether you ride or not, everyone can appreciate what a two-wheeler does for the environment versus a car, even a hybrid.
It starts with hundreds or even thousands of pounds less in raw materials, and that can include the toxic elements used in hybrid car batteries. There’s less energy required to ship a motorcycle from factory to dealership. With smaller engines and fewer components, there’s less use of motor oil and chemicals throughout the life of the bike. And, of course, there’s less use of gasoline, as a motorcycle or scooter can get two, three, sometimes four times the MPG of four-wheelers using the same roads.
Less fuel use means less CO2 emissions, now recognized as a pollutant and long known to cause climate change. Altogether, motorcycles are very green machines, capable of everyday transportation (particularly in sunny California) while minimizing waste.
Motorcycles reduce traffic congestion and parking problems, benefiting all manner of motorists. In California, the only state to permit lane-sharing, motorcycles can continue through stopped traffic, thereby saving time, aggravation and fuel. This also reduces pollution, as motorcycles don’t just have to sit there with an idling engine while getting nowhere.
Not far from Sacramento, the city of San Francisco is a showcase for all the benefits of motorcycling. There are no bridge tolls for riders during commuting hours. There are thousands of designated motorcycle parking spaces, each one costing far less per hour than car spaces. Motorcycles are allowed to sensibly park where cars can’t. The SF Municipal Transportation Authority recognizes that motorcycles help keep the city moving.
Worldwide, many other cities have taken advantage of these same benefits. As American roadways inevitably become more green with regard to choice of vehicles, we also should embrace more motorcycling.
Motorcycling is much more than a weekend thrill for enthusiasts, customizers and collectors. Motorcycles are a practical part of the answer to our economic and ecological troubles.”
Of course these ideas from the government come as the price of gasoline is rolling back towards record profits levels.