Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Politics: "Every K over is a killer!" Bullshit from the Nanny State to justify increasing revenue.

So.. "Every K over is a killer!" Do the politicians from all sides of politics really expect us to believe that crap? Increasing speeding fines, lowering tolerances for over speeding and then justifying it in the name of road safety?

Give us a break.

Utter rubbish.

Now before I get right into the nub of this, if you have lost a friend or loved one in a motor vehicle accident (I have) then my heart goes out to you. There is nothing worse.

But lowering speed limit tolerances and increasing fines won't stop testosterone fuelled young men from driving their high powered cars at over twice the speed limit early in the mornings with often tragic results. They will do it and continue to do it regardless of the law!

They always have and always will.

Consider these statistics from the QLD State Government's websites.

In 1970 there were only 726,000 motor vehicles on the road in QLD.

Also in 1970 there were 580 people who died in motor vehicle accidents.

That is a rate of  death of 80 per hundred thousand registrations.

People died of horrific injuries back then. Thrown through windscreens out of cars, impaled on steering columns, faces smashed into dashboards. Truly awful stuff.

So fast forward to 2013. Cars are now better engineered and built. Increased primary safety with things such as ABS controlled disc brakes, Dynamic Stability Control, Active Roll Mitigation, better wipers, better headlights and heating and demisting systems that were once options back in 1970. Then there is the secondary safety ... the things in your car that save you when it all goes pear shaped. Computer designed crumple zones, seat belts for all passengers, pretensioning devices for the front passenger seat belts, airbags in the front and curtain bags too for the rear seat passengers, side impact prevention systems etc. All designed to keep you from meeting your maker.

Take your pick ... Bel Air or Malibu?

And our roads are much better. Many of them are of world standard. I know this because I regularly drive on the autobahns of Germany and have driven on the highways of the USA.

But still the Nanny State lecture us about "every K over is a killer" and tell us to watch our speedometers all the time. The Europeans are a little enlightened.. they allow a tolerance of 10% because they know that there is a lot going on OUTSIDE of your car that you need to be on the ball about. They understand that you cannot keep looking down at your speedo.

So in light of the above.. what are the statistics for traffic accidents these days?

Well for 2013.. this is what we have.

In QLD there are 4,600,000 motor vehicles.

And in 2013 we had 272 people die on the roads.

So we have 6.3 times as many motor vehicles on the road, yet the number of people killed is less than half the number in 1970.

Or side by side:

1970 80 deaths per 100,000 vehicles.

2013 6 deaths per 100,000 vehicles.

The difference is the 1970 figure is more than 13 times higher than 2013 allowing for more cars etc.

The facts are that modern cars are faster and safer than they were even 10 years ago, and we have tightened the laws on drink driving too!

Yet we still get the "Every K over is a killer" thing.

Well I am calling it .. it's bullshit!

Now what brought this on was that the Government has just been doing an analysis of speed limits on roads that could/should be either increased, decreased or stay the same.

The results are just a complete waste of time and God only knows how much money.

You can read Mark Hinchcliffe's article about it here.

So why do governments all treat us like drongos  and cry on about the terrible road toll. There will always be people killed on the roads. Wherever humans operate machinery, people will die. Simply because we are humans and cannot be across every thing that happens in our environment while we are driving. Distractions do occur. And they can be fatal.

And stupid people in cars will always be stupid... regardless of the law.

But penalising dad doing 86 km/h in an 80 zone on the ICB is just stupid. Most of the traffic travels over the limit every day.. the government counts on it to generate revenue. But if every K over really was a killer, well there wouldn't be enough tow trucks to carry away the wreckage.

Why not just have 3 speed limits.

40 around schools, 60 in the suburbs and then 130 on the highway with the message.. "Drive to conditions" and trust the common sense of the motorist.

I guess the German's didn't get the EKOIAK memo!

I guess... it's all about the money.

And when they say "It's not about the money".. you can bet your bottom dollar it really is!

For once Government.. tell us the truth.. we can handle it!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Bikes: Secret mens' business 727

So with a bit of planning... 3 of us had a longish weekend away to the mountains.

And on bikes of course.

First off.. the title. Secret men's business because I cannot reveal where we went, except to say in the mountains near Dalby. And 727 is the number of kilometres recorded by Fat Max's odometer for the round trip.

The plan was simple.

Meet at St John's Wood on Friday around lunch time and then head off to Mt Glorious for coffee. From here it was the long and winding road to.. a secret cabin in the woods!

Gregor and I left Clayfield and headed off to St John's Wood under directions of my GPS (Violet the pilot) and as I rode along the Inner City Bypass, I realised I had no idea where my house keys were. To make matters worse, they had on the same ring the key to the Cruze Diesel and SWMBO's BMW. A quick call to the boutique and Christina ran up the road and found them on our front lawn. Thank goodness for that.

We arrived at Geoff's place to find him pumping up his bike's tyres. Gregor decided to check his as well and another session of pumping began. No electric pumps for these tough guys. They used that Spanish Tennis player Manual Labour to do the job. A quick fuel up for me at BP Gap and then we headed up into the hills through light rain and mist.

(Note to Gregor.. Mate I LOVE my heated grips!)

Eventually we arrive at an almost deserted cafe for coffee and cake.

Gregor , Geoff and Fat Max on the mountain.

After a fabulous coffee and a "Mount Glorious Bush Walking" Biscuit.. we headed off down the other side to be greeted by wonderful sunshine and blue skies. Magic riding weather.

1/2 strength Cappuccino.. magic!

Eventually right on dusk, we arrive at this locked gate. Geoff produced a key (he is close friends with the owner) and we headed in about 1 kilometre along the slipperiest wet grass and mud one could imagine. A couple of times Max lost his footing but the magic of Traction Control saved the day.

The Slippery Track in. (From the Go Pro video)

If you want to see the video, click here!

The weekender/cabin in the woods sits on the edge of the hill with views back to the Darling Downs. Fabulous kitchen, wood fired heating and what a place to crash for the night.

Our digs for the weekend.

Even has a skid lid shelf!

Now I had volunteered to cook the first night; so while I whipped up the Spag Bol using the Chewing Gum Lady's Executive Chef's famous recipe, Gregor and Geoff did.. other things...

Work Place Health & Safety. In case you fall drinking wine.

Actually.. they were trying to pair their blue tooth headsets. The fact that Gregor is speaking like an Italian might indicate the state of success!

Saturday dawns fine and bright after heavy rain the night before... bloody hell; the track out! But first it is breakfast. Gregor and Geoff have cereal/porridge.. I enjoy a cup of tea and wait for the local cafe to open. Soon after negotiating the slippery track once more and avoiding the wallabies on it, I am tucking into Eggs Benedict with salmon to boot and enjoying a hot coffee. The guys look at my breakfast and they order too!

We'll just have coffee. Yeah.. right!

With the three musketeers fuelled up we head off for a ride. Eventually we arrive at Cumbia where a local bicycle race is on. The main street is reduced to 40 km/h and we spy 3 or 4 bikes acting as marshals on the route. From here we are off to explore the roads less travelled. But first some fuel for the bikes.

Geoff's BMW 650 is amazingly frugal on fuel.

Maximus Obesus drinks about 10% more fuel than Gregor's DR

There is some beautiful country out between Dalby and Kingaroy; we go in search of it....

A rest stop along the way. A magic day!

From  this point in the middle of nowhere we decide to go to Kingaroy.... don't you worry about that! Gregor has a mate in Kingaroy so he rings him up on his mobile. He answers.. but he is several thousand feet in the air in a glider some many miles away. Never mind.. we will go and have coffee with his good wife. We meet up at Gloria Jeans at Kingaroy and decide a chocolate milkshake would be a better choice than coffee. A small snack might be the order of the day. Geoff chooses a pie but I go for this.

Yummo.. notice the finger print on the foam plate :-(

Time seems to  fly while we chat and hear of Nerida's plans to fly to Paris next year. You'll have a ball girl! Time to go says Gregor... little did I know what lay in front of me before I finished riding.

Geoff finds a "different' way back to our digs that involves some minor roads. How about some mini minor roads? At one stage the road narrows and we appear to ride into a farm house; but no, it continues on. The farmer's dog runs to bark at us. But we ride on.

I know now that he was trying to warn us of the road conditions ahead. Sadly we have no pictures or video of this but it did test our abilities. We found ourselves on a wet black soil road that was muddy (very) and rutted.

It was a road condition that would test you on a 250 cc trail bike. The guys had 650s and I had 265 KG of 1200cc Fat Max. Should we go back? Well according to the GPS we were less than 3km from a main road. The mud gets wetter and  thicker. Feet out the sides like outriggers we carried on. Geoff had a whoopsie and nearly came off. Then the road went down into a dip and crossed a muddy creek/bog hole.

I whispered to Max (and myself) .. "Come on mate.. you can do it!" You see I had no idea how I could pick him up if we fell there because it was so slippery.

As I crossed out of the bog, I stood up and gave Max the beans. Leaning to one side and then the other to counter balance the bike we started to climb up the incline.. and then the back started to come around to meet the front.

Never a good sign!

But.. Max's traction control cut in, the bike straightened and upwards we went. Again the bike started to pivot around the front wheel and again the traction control cut in. It was an exhilarating moment to be able to wrestle a 1200 like a 250. Only possible because of modern on board electronics.

To any ADV riders who think that Super Teneres belong on bitumen roads only; well I have news for you. They are very capable bikes when the chips are down.

The three of us arrived at the junction of a major dirt road in one piece.

But the bikes were just filthy! Mud city.

So.. back to digs as Geoff is cooking a stew tonight.. and I need some Bourbon after that.

Gregor cleaning a very dirty DR!

Geoff cleaning his BMW while Gregor gives instructions

Seeing as I am supposed to be a Pro Photographer (that is what it says on my business card) I go looking for some pix. The camera I have taken is bloody useless. Some Nikon pocket thing with a zillion to one zoom that has a hard time focusing on anything. It can stay behind next trip. But still I manage to get a couple of gate shots. Just love gates.. I think it must be a case of.. "Where can I go once I am through that gate" or something like that.

The gate into the house yard.

Another gate.. lovely time of day.

So.. night falls.. Geoff decides he will stay Sunday night and Gregor and I decide to head home Sunday morning. After another great breakfast first. Geoff accompanies us along the way for some of the trip and then circuits back to the cabin in the woods.

A great weekend behind bars. A great stress buster; many thanks to my riding companions and especially to Geoff who organised the cabin in the woods.

Fat Max came home filthy.. I guess like a nuclear powered trail bike should. After a couple of hours work this morning he looks like  a new pin.

Until next time.. continue to enjoy... many good things!