Motorcycle News, More COVID Cases, and the Death of a Record Holder

Today AMERiders brings you great news for the US about the decline in motorcycle theft, information about Sturgis and the amount of its COVID cases, and the sad news of the death of the Land Speed Record Holder Ralph Hudson.

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Motorcycle Theft is on the decline in the US

But Don’t let your guard down! It is one of the worst things any motorcyclist can have happen to them, walk out to get on your bike for a ride, to go to work, or to go anywhere and bam!…. No bike. Ten-to-one, either you or someone you know, or you have read about it happening. It may be closer to home than you think…. Like the person writing this article, yes that is right my husband and I had a motorcycle stolen from us, and it was in a trailer, they took the whole trailer!

What hurt us the most with the theft is that he had inherited the bike from his brother who had just passed away. Well, there are many sneaky and scheming motorcycle thieves that figure out any way they can to get our beloved steeds. Unlike our four-wheeled brothers and sisters, whose vehicle of choice includes a plethora of anti-theft security features, motorcycles are pretty much left at the mercy of the elements, not to mention, the dirty work of motorcycle thieves. Now, we’ve highlighted some ways to prevent motorcycle theft before, and it would appear that a lot of riders have become more vigilant in securing their beloved bikes.

It would come as good news to all of us that the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has reported that motorcycle theft appears to be at an all-time low over the past four years. The report states that in 2019, a total of 40,380 motorcycles were stolen, as compared to the rather alarming 46,467 bikes which were poached in 2016. To add to this, out of all the bikes stolen in 2019, nearly half of them were recovered. 

It’s pretty interesting to note that the most popular make of motorcycle to fall victim to theft comes from Honda, with a total of 8,122 bikes stolen in 2019. Yamaha comes in second place with 6,495 bikes poached, while Harley-Davidson sits in third with 4,737 bikes lost to theft. Suzuki and Kawasaki follow shortly after. This figure suggests that perhaps, thieves target these bikes because they’re either left unsecured, or it would be easier to part these bikes out as opposed to flipping the bike itself. Interestingly, premium brands like Ducati, KTM, and BMW aren’t as frequently stolen. This is probably attributed to the fact that owners of these bikes take extra precautions in ensuring their high-end steeds are kept away from prying eyes. 

Although this comes as good news to the general American riding public, this doesn’t mean that we should let our guard down. No matter how cheap or unattractive you think your bike is, chances are there will always be someone out there eager to make a quick buck out of someone else’s possessions. Make sure to tell your friends the good news, but also make sure to keep diligent yourselves.

There could be as many as 260k COVID Cases related to Sturgis

Remember how Sturgis was last month, and how the residents were worried about COVID and it spreading, etc, etc. Welllllll…

With an attendance of close to half a million people, the 2020 Sturgis Rally has become the most infamous motorcycle event of the year. It’s the one event media all over the world pointed fingers at for being an overall terrible idea and the most concrete example of selfish hedonism in the name of personal freedom.   

Whether you agree or disagree with our stand on the matter, you might remember a few weeks ago when the first few cases of Sturgis-related COVID-19 started sprouting in the news. Pro-rated to the number of daily cases in the U.S. at the time, our initial estimate was that we were aiming for at least 4,000 to 5,000 cases related to the event out of the 460k attendees. According to a group of Californian researchers, our prediction was off by, oh, some 255,000 cases or so.  

A report by the Center for Health Economics and Policy Studies at San Diego State University suggests that the gathering could be responsible for over 260,000 of the cases reported between August 2 and September 2, 2020. That’s almost 20 percent of the total number of cases reported in the country during that period which qualifies the rally as a superspreader event.   

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According to the study, the rally was a melting pot of “worst-case scenarios” that included a prolonged gathering of a large out-of-town population and low compliance with recommended infection countermeasures (masks, social distancing, etc.) The same study suggests that the estimated number of event-related cases could have resulted in health spendings of approximately $12.2 billion.   

The researchers describe the methodology as follows: “First, using anonymized cell phone data from SafeGraph, Inc., we document that smartphone pings from non-residents and foot traffic at restaurants and bars, retail establishments, entertainment venues, hotels, and campgrounds each rose substantially in the census block groups hosting Sturgis rally events. Second, using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a synthetic control approach, we show that by September 2, a month following the onset of the Rally, COVID-19 cases increased by approximately 6 to 7 cases per 1,000 population in its home county of Meade. Finally, difference-in-differences (dose-response) estimates show that following the Sturgis event, counties that contributed the highest inflows of rally attendees experienced a 7.0 to 12.5 percent increase in COVID-19 cases relative to counties that did not contribute inflows.”  

Simply put, they decided to look at other data than the usual contact tracing and confirmed cases. Based on those two sources, the most recent reports confirm that up to 290 cases in 12 states are linked to the event.

The underlying problem with that number is that it cannot possibly take into account asymptomatic visitors who have contracted the virus but showed no signs of infection and have therefore not been tested. It also doesn’t take into account “chain infection” between visitors infected and all the people they have been in contact with. These people who might have contracted the virus and might or might not have been tested aren’t necessarily aware of the source of their infection and could have in turn infected people in their vicinity.   

While the San Diego State University’s estimates seem bloated and exaggerated due to the nature of the data analyzed, if we’re going to be honest, the states’ health departments’ methodology is equally flawed. Realistically, it’s impossible to efficiently track all the cases linked to the rally.   

That being said, whether that real number is 290 or 260,000, it’s still too many new cases on the board in a country struggling to get the situation under control. That may or may not be something that is news to anyone really.   

World Land Speed Record Holder Ralph Hudson Dead At 69

Our last piece of news which is a sad one indeed is that Ralph Hudson, land speed racer and world record holder, passed away on September 6, 2020, at the age of 69. Hudson had been in the hospital for three weeks after getting into a high-speed crash during the Bonneville Speed Week as he was attempting to set yet another land speed record.   

The Quiet Giant was competing in a Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) record attempt on August 14, 2020, when a wind gust caused him to lose control of his motorcycle at over 250 mph and crash. He was cared for at the Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City where his condition was initially stabilized. He, however, sadly succumbed to his injuries.   

Ralph Hudson remains to this day the FIM World Record holder for the fastest run on a non-streamliner motorcycle. In July 2018, he was clocked reaching the speed of 297 miles per hour on the Salar de Uyuni, in Bolivia—a mere three mph short of his life-long goal of 300-mph.

“It’s great to have gone 300 and to have it officially recognized, but I didn’t do two runs with an average over 300 and get an FIM World Record,” Hudson said following the 2018 Bolivia event. “To know that I have a bike that was capable of doing that but not putting the two runs together is very disappointing. You know, you set your goals and it’s disappointing if you don’t reach them.”  

Hudson managed to reach 304 mph on one of his runs but was unable to bust the 300-mark on the second one—required to be eligible for a world record title. He had plans to return to Bolivia to make another attempt at a 300-mph speed record.   

He is fondly remembered by members of the land speed racing community as an ambitious go-getter but also as someone who always had time for the others. He leaves his son David, girlfriend Leslie Murray, and countless friends and family members behind.   

“Information regarding a celebration of life and a memorial scholarship in Ralph’s name will follow when available. We sincerely thank everyone for their kind words, prayers and support during this very difficult time. Ralph would want everyone to stay strong and keep going fast,” Murray commented on social media.   

As you see we have our ups and downs in this article. I am confident that things will level out sometime soon. At least I really hope so because I am so tired of wearing those blasted masks.

~And as always…

~Live Free Ride Hard~

~AMERiders

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