“Don’t Bother Learning How to Ride Properly,
You Will Die Anyway”

That’s the basic gist of a new report by insurance-industry group IIHS. It’s a ridiculous statement from a group that’s come under fire from motorcyclist rights groups before, but that didn’t stop the (usually-right-on) New York TImes “Wheels” blog from regurgitating it verbatim and trying to pass it off as journalism. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation quote at the end can be translated as, “We’re so shocked and appalled, we don’t even know where to start with our rebuttal.”

Here’s Eric Almendral’s response at Modern Buddy which is pretty much right along the lines of what I’m thinking. I hope scooterists and motorcyclists will both attack bloggers and journalists who reprint this ‘study’ as science, and hype the f**k out of the MSF rebuttal, when it comes.

One thought on ““Don’t Bother Learning How to Ride Properly,
You Will Die Anyway””

  1. OK. I’ll be the jerk to stand up for them. Their first quote, “We are not saying they aren’t supposed to get training, but we need to have realistic expectations about what training can do,”. Being realistic is one personal attribute often lacking in the two wheel riding world. I love bikes. I love riding. I’ve met most of my best friends through being on 2 wheels. But if you go to a motorcycle shop, mass gathering or read craigslist motorcycle classifieds you can come to the easy conclusion that people into motorcycles are not all that bright. An idiot with training is still an idiot.

    As for the ‘Wheels’ blogger, they really dropped the ball when reporting the data. The raw numbers do not speak for themselves. Further comparison of crash or injury rates are more important than gross numbers. Like an idiot with training is still an idiot, a reporter with no accurate grasp of science will not be able to accurately report research. Even the statement that it’s ‘not statistically significant’ tells it all. That means there is no difference. Trends do not matter unless they are significant. It’s something we like to call in science as ‘hand waving’, meaning BS with an optimistic slant towards ‘maybe’. To say it’s not significant is saying, ‘if we measured again, it may come out in the opposite direction by just as much if not more’ (without knowing the confidence interval). It sounds like the person interviewed was not part of the actuarial team that composed the study. They are probably groaning when they read their spokesperson’s interviews.

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