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Ride to Work Day, Monday, June 20

by Richard Backus

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Ride to Work Day 2011 

Motorcycle Classics encourages all motorcyclists to support Ride to Work Day, Monday, June 20, 2011, by – what else – riding to work! As riders, we appreciate the difference motorcycles make in easing congestion and decreasing our use of fuel. Three to five motorcycles can fit in the average auto parking spot, and compared to the average motorcycle, each lumbering SUV you take off the road can save a couple hundred gallons of gas annually. Multiply that by a few hundred thousand and the numbers really mean something. That’s why we want everyone to join in this year for Ride to Work Day.

Even if you’re not worried about fuel, road congestion and rider safety should be at the top of every motorcyclist’s list of concerns, and the current ratio of cars to motorcycles on the road doesn’t work in our favor. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, compared to cars, motorcycles currently cover only 1 to 2 percent of the total distances traveled by road. If only 2 percent of car commuters switched to motorcycles or scooters, the level of motorcycle utility would effectively double. More motorcycles would increase our visibility, and fewer cars would decrease our exposure.

Ride to Work Day exists to make this happen. Inspired by Aero Design’s Andy Goldfine – maker of Aerostich riding gear, the gold standard for hardcore riders everywhere – Ride to Work Day attempts to get as many riders out on the road as possible. According to statistics on the official Ride to Work Day website, Ride to Work Day motivates an additional 150,000 riders to take to the road, which, assuming all those riders are otherwise driving alone, means 150,000 fewer cars and trucks clogging the streets and a potential 60,000 fewer gallons of gas consumed on that one day alone. If those savings could be achieved daily, it would mean up 15 million fewer gallons of gas consumed every year.

Further, tests comparing car and motorcycle performance in real life driving, e.g., commuting and general errand running, show that traveling by motorcycle can shorten journey times by as much as 50 percent in city center driving and 30 percent in outlying urban areas. In 2003, there were 6,567,197 registered motorcycles in the U.S., yet only 4.3 percent of those, or 282,389, were being used as primary transportation. On the one hand, that makes perfect sense; it’s hard to get the groceries on a bike. Yet with a little planning and forethought, you could easily quadruple your motorcycle use, saving time, energy and hassle. Saddle up now, and whatever you do, make sure to join us June 20, 2011, for Ride to Work Day. See you on the road! – Richard Backus