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Are motorcycles better for the environment?

One upshot to riding a motorcycle is the fuel efficiency. Putting aside how cool, how fun, how absolutely thrilling it is to ride, you’re also always getting better mileage than any of the other guys on the road.

That got me thinking, shouldn’t the motorcycle be a symbol of the environmental movement?

I dabble a bit in saving the planet. I recycle. I clean up parks when I have some free time. Around the end of the year, I donate to a few Earth-friendly organizations if I have money left over after buying everything for Christmas. And, when I’m not riding, I take the bus everywhere.

It sure would be nice to be able to pat myself on the back for being even more Earth-friendly than I thought. I might even be able to convince myself that the environmental impact was one of the reasons I started riding in the first place.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that clear-cut. According to the MythBusters, motorcycles do have better fuel efficiency, and they do have lower carbon dioxide emissions, but they emit far more of some of other pollutants.

According to the LA Times, that includes more than 8,000% more carbon monoxide and 416% more hydrocarbons.

To sum it up best, of course, there’s Adam Savage: “At best, it’s a wash. Motorcycles are just as bad for the environment as cars,” he said on the show. “At worst, they’re far worse.”

This result was apparently not unexpected. According to experts in the article, the problem is the lack of space and the quick rise in cost for motorcycles. There’s simply not the room to attach some of the fancy engine changes that cars all have now to lower their emissions. At the same time, the motorcycle has just been able to slip by without as much attention to that side of its engineering since it isn’t the main vehicle for most people.

Still, it’s a disappointment for me, since I now feel a little more guilty when I go for a long ride. At least, as the article says, it took fewer raw materials to put the bike together. That’s something.

And, I suppose, if I forget about the kind of emissions, there’s something to be said for motorcycles taking up less than one percent of the overall pollution.

In the end, though, guilt or not, I’ll keep riding. The risks of riding never stopped me from it, and the costs are unlikely to do so either. I know bikers have a higher risk of serious accidents. I take the proper precautions. Now, I know bikers also create a lot of pollution, how I’ll take precautions against that, I don’t know.

Perhaps I’ll try to offset somehow. I could donate more, and more often. I could try to eliminate some other kind of environmentally unfriendly behavior. Perhaps I’ll give up plastic bags.

I encourage everyone reading to consider these sorts of steps. I doubt many of us would give up our rides, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do something to keep the world a little cleaner.

Auto Accidents Due to Highway Defects: Arguing Against Government Immunity Challenges

When an auto accident occurs fault is often immediately attributed to the driver, who is usually deemed as careless, distracted, reckless, speeding, or drunk. After all, much more than half of the millions of car accidents recorded annually by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are caused by the factors mentioned.

There are times, however, when all the factors that contributed to an accident have been thoroughly investigated do traffic authorities find out that some accidents are actually due to elements that are beyond a driver’s control. Traffic enforcers work so hard to ensure and maintain safety on all US roads and highways; but what if the actual cause s of dangers are the very roads and highways where millions of motor vehicles are driven every day?

Road defects include simple cracks, improperly designed and constructed curvatures, deep pot holes, and uneven pavements. These defects, as well as the many more others, are usually due to the use of sub-standard materials, and very poor road design, construction, maintenance and repair.

The real major impact of road defects can be seen on the consequences of the accidents that occur due to these. No matter how careful a driver may be, or how much he/she obeys traffics rules, or regularly inspects and maintains his/her vehicle, an unnoticed defect on the road can cause him/her to lose control of the vehicle and end up suffering from a serious injury, such as paraplegia, quadriplegia, brain damage, severe orthopedic injuries, or even wrongful death. And each day a defect remains unrepaired, it will continue to pose risk of an accident to thousands of motorists.

Accidents resulting in injuries, however, even if due to a road defect, but so long as the driver can be proven as also having been negligent, can render federal, state, or local government agencies immune from liability: this is based on Federal and State Government Codes. Thus, it is important that where road defect is the major reason why an accident occurred and an injury sustained, a victim should be represented by a lawyer who is knowledgeable and well experienced about lawsuits based on road and highway defects or personal injury.

Preventing Auto Accidents

Distracted driving constitutes about 20% of auto accidents in the US. In 2012, 3,328 were killed in a car crash that involved a distracted driver, which means that more than 9 Americans died a day of that year because someone was not paying attention to the road.

This is a sobering thought, especially when considering that a significant number of people who caused an accident were distracted while using a mobile phone. This is a circumstance that has developed quite recently, and yet the impact is considerable. Aside from those who have been killed in such auto accidents, 421,000 were injured in 2012, which translates to 48 people every hour.

Merely reaching for, holding and dialing a number while driving increases the risk of a car crash 2.5 times, even for long-time drivers. It may seem that there is a simple method for preventing auto accidents due to mobile phone use: simply stop. But despite these statistics, which has held constant since 2008, almost half of all drivers in the US admit to persist in using mobile phones while driving. These include truck drivers, which is bad news for those who may have an unfortunate encounter with one of those big rigs.

While not a perfect solution, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has recently released regulations for preventing truck accidents due to mobile phone use. The FMCSA is the agency that monitors and regulates commercial motor vehicle operators, and the new regulation does not precisely ban mobile phone use but mandate safer ways of doing it. Central to the new regulations is the use of the hands-free features that are now basic to most mobile phones, and Bluetooth headsets for truckers are an excellent tool for regulatory compliance.

Auto accidents can be life-changing, so drivers must exercise due care when operating a vehicle. Distracted driving is a common way that this duty is breached. The majority of these distractions, and therefore the accidents that they lead to, are completely preventable. This makes injuries and deaths that are the result of such neglect all the more tragic. If you or a family member was injured by a distracted driver, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer to get some compensation.