England: I am very distressed about the stories I see in the media about an epidemic of scooter thefts and assaults on the streets of London.
Scooter theft and street violence is causing a change to daily life for the city of London. These attacks have slowed due to winter weather, however I predict that scooter crime could reach epidemic levels come spring and summer. The stumbling Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Mayor Sadiq Khan have let this problem get out of hand.
My English brothers, you’ve got horse thieves!
In the American West, at the height of the Cowboy era (circa 1873), stealing a man’s horse was punishable by hanging, branding, or the lash. For a victim of theft, being left without a horse in the desert was certain death, as a town could easily be a day’s ride (50 to 100 kilometers) or more. This crime was taken so seriously in the United States that offenders were routinely dealt severe prison sentences. More recently, a woman from Arkansas who stole five horses and equestrian equipment in 2011 will spend 60 years in prison. Ouch!
I have a question for the Metropolitan Police and Mayor Sadiq Khan: why aren’t scooter criminals prosecuted more often and more severely? (Only 1.7% of scooter crimes are prosecuted.) One offender threw acid in the faces of unsuspecting victims. Isn’t throwing acid as serious as leaving a man to wander the desert without a horse? In October, a Moped gang robbed over 100 victims in five days. They got 4 years in prison total (2 week per-victim). Many of the offenders have 20-plus crimes to their name, and one 15-year-old was only jailed after being arrested 80 times. A knife-wielding suspect approached and attacked a Met officer’s motorcycle, disabling it. Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick & Mayor Khan: Blue lives matter!
“Many of the offenders have 20-plus crimes to their name, and one 15-year-old was only jailed after being arrested 80 times.” – Michael Minay
Commissioner Dick said she was “pretty confident” the force had a “good handle” on the problem. This issue could have a serious impact on national tourism, with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. I can already see the ad campaign to bring back the tourists: “Come Back to London, it’s Safe Again!” The soaring rate of scooter crime went from 8,000 to 24,000 to 50,000 leapfrogging itself in under 2 years. Summer’s coming; at this rate, will there be 100,000 new victims at the end of 2018, will you be a one of them?
The London Mayor recently called a council of scooter manufactures to scold them on their product’s lax security measures. Mayor Khan, the horse has left the barn! The Met’s solutions: two “pursuit” BMWs without panniers, some remote control stingers (spike strips), and secret “tracking” spray. While the Met prepared to fight these villains, the black clad criminals stole a BMW pursuit motorcycle right from the front of Metropolitan Police Headquarters. I would remind Mayor Khan and Commissioner Dick: security starts at home! They stole your horse!
WHO IS CRAZY ENOUGH TO STEAL A POLICE BIKE?
“We have brought all our tactics and specialists together to use every ethical option to put a stop to the rise of scooter crime,” the commissioner said. I do not know of anyone more motivated then a teen running from the law on a scooter. The pursued take greater and greater chances until they crash or escape. A high-speed chase could result in injury or death for either party, and the public is put at risk. However, the public is already at risk and your officers are demoralized. The Met seems to equate “ethical” with clean. We have moved far beyond clean. When not pursued, the criminals are emboldened to do whatever they want, anytime they want. Scooter criminals know, if I run = I get away.
The Met should change its pursuit policy to “pursue until captured,” and institute a form of the “broken windows” theory used so successfully to clean up New York City.
“You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don’t have time to think about how many’s with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that’s about to set down on him.”
Pull over scooter riders at any time and database all encounters. If a scooter is found to be stolen, detain the thief until the investigation is resolved. “Stop & Frisk” will enable your pursuit teams to know who is a daily commuter and who might be up to no good. Call it “proactive policing.” Use your CCTV system in real time to communicate to your pursuit teams who to follow and where “potential criminal suspects” might be.
Do you know what the Met needs? An all-electric motorcycle force.
The fleet will be expensive sure, but worth it compared to declining tourist dollars. The Met can’t be penny wise, pound foolish. At least 10 cells (3 riders in a cell) are all on Zero SR’s. Imagine that.
The 3 police riders stay together, taking down one rider as a unit. If that rider escapes, then let’s give our Zeros backup and send in a LIGHTNING LS218, with 200 horsepower.
Make it the “Mad Max Interceptor” of the Met. Seriously, look at that thing; you don’t even have to paint the motorcycle. I would soil myself it that popped up behind me. Silent and stealthy. No one gets away.
I also believe some community outreach would go a long way too.
Go to schools and show your potential adversaries what they are up against! If the average scooter criminal is between 14-19 years old, tell them, “we take your phone away for a year!”, maybe the threat of losing Snapchat privileges will rankle more than a couple of months in detention playing PlayStation?
Respect is the currency of youth, and right now the Met is flat broke. Throw those Day-Glo yellow jumpers in the trash. Dress like the enemy – they will never see you coming.
Now, let’s see you reach to steal my horse!
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All motorcycles have a singular beauty. However, if it is YOUR motorcycle, there is a deeper connection.
Your relationship is one of trust and respect that transcends time.
From the first time you meet, a connection is established. Your one love is hard to find. I have been out at the dealership and seen some hot Italian bikes but in the end, they are high maintenance, expensive to keep up, and they will not stand the test of time.
Looks are important, but a relationship is more than skin deep.
How does that bike make you feel? Every time you gaze upon your bike, you should smile; you have found the right bike. The worst thing you can do is settle for a bike you don’t truly feel a connection with.
I am a one-motorcycle guy – truly monogamous. Having two bikes is hard to juggle. I think a small, fast motorcycle that is good-looking, handles well, and has a classic appeal is what I always
wanted, and I think I have found it.
Stay with a motorcycle that has stood the test of time. A bike that’s made you smile, given you a thrill, and stuck with you through thick and thin. A solid, well-built motorcycle is a thing of beauty.
Be smart, and cover that motorcycle so no one steals it at night. Buy your motorcycle expensive accessories, and take it on trips to exotic lands. Up or down, thin or flush, treat your motorcycle well.
Respect it, and it will return to you amazing experiences, expand your world and open your eyes.
Understand that this is a partnership. From the first ride to every terrible bump in the road, stay with that reliable bike and remember she is your one LOVE.
Happy Valentines Day, Mrs. Sterling.
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History is littered with esoteric three-wheelers, but is now their time to shine?
Motorcycles enjoy an elegant relationship with the laws of physics.
To stay upright they depend on the gyroscopic effects of wheels in motion and constant corrective steering inputs which when put together result in an elegant balancing of forces. But once the wheels stop turning, they will fall.
There is however, another solution.
One of the most unusual threads to emerge over the past decade of motorcycle design has been the return of the three-wheeler. A strange and unnatural looking vehicle at first glance, the three-wheeled motorized cycle has been with us almost from the beginning. The first car, Karl Benz’ Patent Motorwagen, was a three-wheeler. Bicycles in 1880’s Paris were fitted with two rear wheels to make them practical delivery vehicles for postal and grocery delivery. Motorcycles evolved from bicycles, starting about the same time, so people experimented with tricycle layouts right away.
Throughout most of the 20th century, three-wheeled motorcycles remained a curio
Over the past century, the motorized tricycle has seen some modest success, largely as a low-speed, light commercial transport. Notable in the genus’ family history is the 1966 Ariel 3, a scooter fitted with two rear wheels that hinged with the rest of the chassis, allowing the scooter to lean in corners like a regular bike while the rear wheels remained horizontal. The Ariel 3 was a failure but Honda bought a licence for the patented layout, beginning a leaning three wheel dynasty that continues to this day with the Honda Gyro, Japan’s takeout delivery vehicle of choice.
Throughout most of the 20th century, three-wheeled motorcycles remained a curio, typically nothing more than home-brewed or limited-production aftermarket conversion kits for conventional motorcycles by small companies, often using car parts on the rear end. In the late 1970’s, the All Terrain Cycle (ATC) hit the dirt with the promise of making the exploding motocross market safe for kids and grandpa, only to end with nearly 1,000 deaths , and the voluntary ban on ATC production by the major manufacturers.
The scandal of the ATC hinged on one inconvenient fact: three-wheeled vehicles are inherently unstable in parabolic (turning) motion. While the unassisted single-track motorcycle flops on its ear at a standstill, the laws of physics turn decidedly in their favour once they roll along, transforming the motorcycle into a paragon of predictable handling at virtually any speed. By contrast, vehicles with three points of contact are balanced at rest and low-speed, but become prone to tipping when loads change suddenly, such as high-speed cornering, especially downhill.
A three-wheeler in parabolic motion produces an undesirable combination of high torque forces on both the roll and yaw axis that are only too happy to overcome gravity and toss you into a ditch. Sidecar riders know this, which is why they have to adopt counterbalancing body postures when cornering to prevent a roll over, particularly on inclines. Even still, it takes little force for the inside wheel to “unstick”, or lose contact with the ground, which causes the center of the vehicles’ roll axis to move further to the outside of the turn, overloading the remaining two wheels.
Presented in 2007, Canada’s Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) launched the Can-Am Spyder reverse tricycle. It looked a lot like the snowmobiles that the company was famous for it did not lean when cornering. The rider sits astride the Spyder and operates handlebars as on a motorcycle, but all of the wheels are always perpendicular to the ground.
A three-wheeler in parabolic motion produces an undesirable combination of high torque forces on both the roll and yaw axis that are only too happy to overcome gravity and toss you into a ditch.
Reverse trikes such as the Can-Am Spyder and Polaris Slingshot have some significant handling advantages over their ATC predecessors. Because they have two wheels up front, they generate substantially more grip when it is needed most, such as during changes in direction and under braking.
However, the sole rear wheel travels along the centre of the roll axis, and so can act as a pivot point during high energy turns, levering the inside wheel off the ground and flipping the vehicle . This is all mathematically predictable, so has been engineered out by using sophisticated electronic counter-measures, without which high-powered three-wheeler are incapable of executing predictable, safe, high-speed turns without flipping. It is a reality of the laws of physics.
The three wheel space is getting lots of attention of late. In 2015 Honda presented the Neowing concept, a leaning three wheeler powered by a hybrid system including an inline four cylinder gasoline engine and a battery powered electric motor. Yamaha upped the game with the Niken, another leaning three wheeler billed as a “corning master”, powered by the triple from the best-selling MT-09.
With these products it seems highly likely that the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturers will pursue this esoteric corner of the market. It makes sense, and suggests that the holy grail of motorcycling sensation and added safety have been discovered.
According to BRP, the company has sold over 100,000 Spyders. When asked if new entrants from Honda and Yamaha might inspire BRP to try to lean in, Can-Am’s Brian Manning responded “We are pleased with the platform as it is. Those are different products.”
Motorcyclists looking for thrills without spills may find the leaning three-wheelers attractive. Perhaps smaller and less expensive variants may even bring in newcomers to the sport who have stayed away because of fear. With constant talk of autonomy and the ever-present threat that governments may legislate mandatory occupant safety requirements on motorcycles, the leaning three-wheeler may provide an outlet.
Evidence suggests that, for now at least, leaning is not what the marketplace is asking for.
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