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14-Touring-RecallHarley-Davidson is recalling 66,421 Touring and CVO Touring motorcycles from the 2014 model year because their front wheels can lock up without warning.

The motor company says the front brake line can get pinched between the fuel tank and the frame which could cause front brake fluid pressure to increase, increasing the risk that the front wheel could lock up while riding. Motorcycles with anti-lock brakes built between July 1, 2013, and May 7, 2014, are included in the recall.

NHTSA Campaign Number: 14V-319

Components:
SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC

Potential Number of Units Affected: 66,421

Problem Description:
Harley-Davidson Motor Company is recalling certain model year 2014 ABS-equipped Touring and CVO Touring motorcycles, models FLHTK, FLHTKSE, FLHTKSHRINE, FLHTCU, FLHTCUTC, FLHTP, FLHX, FLHXS, FLHXSHRINE, FLHR, FLHRC, FLHP, and FLHRSE, manufactured July 1, 2013, through May 7, 2014. The affected motorcycles may have been assembled with the front brake line positioned so that it can be pinched between the fuel tank and frame causing the front brake fluid pressure to increase.

Consequence:
A pinched brake line will increase the front brake fluid pressure, possibly resulting in a front wheel lock-up, increasing the risk of a crash.

Remedy:
Harley-Davidson will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the motorcycles for brake line damage and replace the damaged lines as necessary. Dealers will also install one or two cable straps to properly prevent the line from being pinched in the future, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in July 2014. Owners may contact Harley-Davidson customer service at 1-800-258-2464.

The chronology of events leading up to the recall:  Harley began an investigation on September 11, 2013 after it was “advised of a pinched brake line under the rear fuel tank mounting bracket of a police motorcycle being set up for service.”

On October 8, 2013, H-D determined that “six warranty claims/consumer contacts” were potentially linked to the brake line issue. Among those six incidents were “one crash with no injuries.”

Within a week corrective action was taken on the final assembly line at the York facility, as on October 14 a cable strap was added to retain the brake lines from being pinched under the aforementioned fuel tank mounting bracket. H-D reports it then closed its investigation on November 11, 2013.

However, the investigation was reopened on May 7, 2014 when the York Final Vehicle Audit “reported a Touring bike with a brake line pinched in a different location, between the fuel tank and the frame several inches forward of the rear fuel tank mounting bracket.”

Harley-Davidson added another cable strap to the production process addressing the issue at the new suspect location. The company subsequently reanalyzed its warranty data on May 12, reporting “a cumulative total of 39 warranty claims potentially related to this issue, four of which reported crashes (with one reported minor injury).” On May 20, it determined another “customer complaint involving a reported crash with minor injuries” was related to the front brake line issue.

In total the company knows of five crashes and two minor injuries related to the defect.

Photo courtesy of H-D and NHTSA.

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LifeflightA while back and I don’t recall now how, but I subscribed to an Oregon State Police newsflash service.  I don’t forward OSP news, but this is rather significant and involves multiple motorcycles.

At 2:54 (Pacific) there was an OSP report of numerous motorcycles northbound on Interstate 5, near milepost 282 south of Wilsonville who were involved in a crash.  One lane northbound is now open following a multi-vehicle crash involving 26 motorcycles.  The accident was on I-5 near the Baldock Rest Area and involved two motorcyclists taken by LifeFlight with critical injuries and eight others transported by ground ambulance to area hospitals.

Preliminary information indicates a group of at least 26 motorcyclists were northbound in the left lane on I-5 following a passenger vehicle when traffic ahead began slowing.  The car and motorcyclists all tried to slow but collided with one another.  A vehicle in the middle northbound lane was reportedly struck by one of the motorcycles. All northbound lanes were closed until about 4:00 p.m.  Traffic is reported slow but getting through in one lane.  Southbound lanes are open but also very slow.

Let’s hope for only the best to those injured.  I’ll provide updates as I learn more.

Brothers Speed Motorcycle Club Accident on I-5

Brothers Speed Motorcycle Club Accident on I-5

UPDATE 1: Video and still shots taken by Sky8 indicate some of the motorcyclists were members of the Brothers Speed Motorcycle Club.  See HERE and HERE (Source: KGW News).

UPDATE 2: KATU and Jet Ranger 2 provide video coverage HERE and confirmed motorcyclists were BSMC members.

UPDATE: September 19, 2009 — The official report is that ten were injured, two critically.  Several others involved in the crash were attended too on site by medical personnel, but declined transport to a local hospital.  Herbert Sinclair, age 48 (Heyburn, ID) and David Bowyer, age 44 (Coeur d’Alene, ID) were transported by LifeFlight to OHSU and Emanuel Hospital respectively.  Names of three others injured in the crash were identified as Jaun Ramon Mata, age 60, Christian J. Gankema, age 40 and Gary Pawson, age 38 all from Idaho.   Cause of the accident: was reported as a group of 26 BSMC motorcyclists traveling in a formation of two columns on the inside left hand lane (I-5 North) came upon slowing or stopping traffic.  The two front motorcycles maneuvered to avoid a collision with the stopped vehicle, but the rest of the group did not react in time and crashed into the vehicle and into each other.  The total number of motorcycles that actually crashed was not confirmed.  On scene photos provided by OSP HERE, HERE, and HERE.  The group was heading north to take part in the Portland Chapter annual birthday bash and weekend demolition derby.

UPDATE: October 5, 2009 — Sadly it was reported today that David “Detroit Dave” Bowyer from Coeur d’Alene, ID passed away at Legacy Emanuel Hospital where he was being treated since the crash on September 18th.

UPDATE: October 8, 2009 — Detroit Dave’s sister set up a memorial site HERE with information on the funeral services.  The BSMC have been posting updates HERE along with information about how you can contribute to a crash fund.  The AgingRebel blog has comments posted by “Not Surprised” which provides more detail on the SUV drivers (Leslie D. Schultz — Toyota 4 Runner and Kayla D. Knight — Nissan Pathfinder) which has not been previously released by the media to the public.  There were rumors circulating about ATF personnel in the SUV’s, but this was not the case and although the accident continues to be investigated at first glance nothing sinister jumps out about this accident.

Photos courtesy of Lifeflight.org and OSP.

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black bike hearstRecently my post on motorcycle fatalities received a comment from the Black Velvet Hearse Company.  It’s the brainchild of motorcycle enthusiasts who wanted to give other riders the opportunity to enjoy their last ride the way they would want to. The Black Velvet Hearse is a desire to provide a unique, memorable, and remarkable service to the biker community.  

The “Til Death Do We Ride” slogan caught my attention and the service is provided for motorcycle riders by motorcycle riders.  They have an interesting web site and it’s a unique product that I wanted to pass along.  

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custer gravesI like spirited debate and don’t shy away from conflict and this is a bit longer than many of my posts so, I apologize up front for those of you looking for instant gratification.

One topic where the “elephant” in the room needs to be introduced and brought out into the light of day is the issue of motorcycle fatalities.

I dislike being morbid, but there are motorcycle trends that we should stop and take notice of:

  • Motorcycles represent 2.5% of all registered vehicles but 11.3% of traffic deaths.Motorcyclists ages 50 and older who die in wrecks has grown from 14% to 24% since 1997.
  • Motorcycle ownership among riders aged 40 and over has increased dramatically, from 15.1% in 1980 to 43.7% in 1998.45% of motorcycle drivers killed in traffic crashes were not wearing helmets.
  • Engine displacement of motorcycles involved in fatal crashes have increased, from ave. engine size of 769cc in 1990 to 959cc in 2001.In 2005, the motorcycle fatality rate was 73 per 100K registered motorcycles compared with 13.7 per 100K passenger vehicles.
  • Speeding are bigger factors in fatal crashes of Supersport and Sport bikes compared with other classes of motorcycles – 4X higher.

This data connects with the Harley buying demographic and rider assumptions of the boomer generation. Houston we have a problem! From celeb wrecks to average Joes getting older the incidents have jumped, even if little noticed in the media especially here in Oregon. For the last 3+ years all the articles written about motorcycle accidents include some type of statement to the effect of “financially secure baby boomers looking for adventure” are the main cause of serious accidents resulting from inexperienced riders combined with more powerful motorcycles. Blah, blah, blah…

This type of reporting is boring and somewhat irresponsible! There is little to connect the two unless you compare Sport Bikes which attract the below 30 something demographic. And if older people have decreased motor skills then why aren’t there increases in automobiles accidents due to increasing horse power? Yet many media outlets claim riders are killing themselves due to rookie inexperience. Yet the accidents continue

The latest internet searches provided the following:

  • On Friday, October 26th, there was a fatal crash on Oregon 217. It was the middle of the day, clear skies, dry road and in the mid-60’s (which in itself is unusual for a Northwest winter!) when Craig E. Lewis (Camas, WA), 61, motorcyclist rear-ended a car in the south bound lane. The Tigard police (Jim Wolf , spokesperson) stated that the motorcyclist was making a lane change and didn’t notice that traffic had stopped.
  • Then early October an organized “ride” to a biker funeral from Medford to Portland turned deadly when three people were injured North of Salem in a motorcycle crash. The large group of motorcyclists were northbound on Interstate 5 as part of an organized ride. Near milepost 265 northbound, 37-year old Patrick H. Lucas of Molalla, was on the northbound shoulder on his motorcycle, waiting to join the ride. According to witnesses, the group slowed down to allow Lucas to fall in the back of the pack, but he instead attempted to merge into the middle of the group. He hit 69-year old Jerry W. Worthington of Butte Falls, Montana and they both went down. A third motorcycle ridden by 60-year old John H. Jensen of Wilderville, Oregon collided with the first two and a fourth motorcycle driven by 56-year old Patrick A Treece of Coos Bay, ran over the wreckage.
  • And back in September, a lady died and the passenger was injured on Oregon 219 south of Newberg. Carolyn Caylor, 51, of Okanogan, Wash., was killed and Shel Rae Claddagh, 38, of Canby was injured. The two were found by Caylor’s husband and stepson, who were on other motorcycles in the three-cycle tour, about six miles north of Newberg. The cycles were about a quarter-mile apart and the relatives went back to look for the women when their three-wheel 1994 Honda Goldwing disappeared. They were found down a 40-foot embankment after the motorcycle missed a sharp left curve.

I feel very sorry for all these families. I truly do. I don’t know the situation for sure, but nationally the accident data tells a story that judgement errors are making it more and more deadly to be a motorcyclist. This is alarming to me as I like the open road and it might be something our posse will want to get involved or address?

The Oregonian recently reported that the number of registered motorcycles rose 61 percent from 1995 to 2005, from 3.8 million to 6.1 million. The number increased 83 percent in Oregon during the same period, from 59,468 to 108,958.

This is a useless statistic. More bikes on the roads, more accidents – duh! Stats are a tricky thing. To understand the fatalities there would need to be collision reconstruction to identify crash causation (cause analysis) and recognition experts to help identify if alcohol and/or drug impaired the driver etc., for every motorcycle accident. Things like speed, road conditions, urban vs. rural setting etc. are needed to assess trends. And if the stats are higher for those riding high-performance sport bikes vs. cruisers. The reports don’t do this, rather they measure the broad fatality rates, as measured by deaths per 10,000 registered motorcycles and per million vehicle miles traveled. This number has steadily climbed while at the same time the overall motor vehicle fatality rate has fallen. Troy Costales, administrator of ODOT’S Traffic Safety Division, said there are about three motorcycle fatalities in rural Oregon for every one in an urban setting. The No. 1 cause, he said, was excessive speed going into corners.

It’s not just Oregon. In Montana more motorcycles are on the roads too. There are now about 80,000 bikes, which is compared to about 50,000 in 2005. This year in Montana 34 people have died in motorcycle crashes which compares to 27 last year. If you look outside the region in Iowa the upturn in Deer movements accounted for 10 deaths in Iowa – 9 of the 10 were not wearing helmets. And in South Carolina they are on a pace to exceed the 106 fatalities of last year. Even Michele Obama (wife of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) campaign van collided with a motorcycle on a two-lane country road in central Iowa on October 9th. Fortunately it only sent the motorcyclist to the hospital.

One notable exception is in Washington State. Motorcycle fatality collisions have decreased as a result of troopers focused attention on motorcyclists who were driving under the influence, speeding and driving negligently. As of August 31, there were 43 deaths resulting from collisions involving motorcyclists. For the same time period last year, there were 61 deaths. From April 2007 to July 2007 (peak riding in the NW), Washington troopers doubled the amount of arrests of motorcyclists who were driving under and influence and increased the amount of citations issued to those riders who exceed the posted speed limit by two-thirds.

There is no easy explanation why the motorcycle death toll continues to increase, but ABATE (A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments) the motorcycle advocacy group believes better training for bikers and educating other motorists will decrease motorcycle deaths. I have to agree. I’m not trying to mandate helmut laws so, save your clicks. You do what you think as I’ve only presented some stats.

Just be very careful out there!

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