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Author Topic: Fatalities in LSR  (Read 56139 times)

Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #250 on: October 09, 2017, 01:12:22 PM »
The season is almost over, and almost everybody remains safe and sound !

We attended the BARBER VINTAGE WEEKEND and found some folks
willing to discuss our safety problems.  Among those participating
 in those discussions was Leif Gustafsson, a past MotoGP winner,
and the owner of Gustafsson Plastics

https://bikescreen.com/

who have supplied small-production motorcycle fairing windscreens since 1968.

Between us (My first race win was in 1967), we have more than 100 years experience in the field.
When given the choice, I have ALWAYS specified GUSTAFSSON WINDSCREENS.

Here's one of the reasons:

Leif and I discussed the " windpipe" injury and "cutting" problems.
When I questioned Leif about the Mika Kallio situation, he immediately
responded in his still slightly accented Swedish voice:

"If the rider is going to contact any part of the bike with an unprotected
portion of his body, that that portion of the bike must be "softer" that that
 part of the rider's body.  The windscreen is a special case. 

We have always recommended that for racing the windscreen should be
 a "breakaway" part that will exit the bike before the rider's body is injured.
This is often accomplished with soft plastic fasteners.

 If the "breakaway" mounting style is NOT used, than a special plastic
 must be used that will not shatter and produce sharp edges that will cut the rider.
 It is VERY hard to find a suitable plastic formulation that will allow this.

An added concern is that the plastic not turn yellow when
 exposed to the strong UV light on racing days.

We have never found a plastic - regardless of cost - that can perform
ALL these jobs, so we have to prioritize the needs.

We prefer to never expose the rider to possible injury, but we cannot
control - once the screen leaves our shop - how the user installs the product."




 

Offline bowches

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #251 on: October 11, 2017, 03:11:06 PM »
It would be really amazing if someone were to develop a robot to do some high speed testing like Yamaha are doing with Motobot.....

You would be able to do plenty more runs without the risk of a human being injured, that would help alot to gather data right?

What do people think?

Offline speedduck

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #252 on: October 12, 2017, 09:07:13 AM »
Bad idea, the whole point in LSR is that there is some kind of danger factor present, otherwise my mrs would be running records and i would be at home watching Deadliest Catch on tv

Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #253 on: October 15, 2017, 07:03:14 AM »
... the whole point in LSR is that there is some kind of danger factor present,
otherwise my mrs would be running records and
i would be at home watching Deadliest Catch on tv...

And, thinking about risk, do try to watch
the last lap of the Japanese Grand Prix; a HUGE battle between
Marquez on the slipping 'n Sliding Honda (it was a rain  race)
 and the constantly wobbling Ducati of Dovizioso............

The point for us is that is is highly possible that the bike will
 want to pitch us off (Dovizioso) or jump out from under us (Marquez).

Risk is always with us.

Perhaps the point (for us) of the Dovizioso / Marquez battle
is that experience is such a factor.

We can be absolutely certain that neither rider experienced
these horrible (and potentially fatal) problems for the first time today. 

They were able to just continue with their jobs,
and make adjustments as they raced.

Inexperienced riders almost certainly would have been on the deck.

Facing these situations - and developing mind / body memories
of how to surmount them - allows riders to survive to race again.

Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #254 on: November 24, 2017, 01:40:32 PM »
As we drift toward the 2017 final Holidays, and a season of good cheer, it seems to be a good time to take stock, and review where we are on safety.

That I know of, we have not lost a single LSR motorcycle rider’s life in the 2017 season.  That is a great relief, and hopefully is the beginning of a trend to the better.

Speeds in LSR are increasing gradually, with records set higher.

Statistics are a little hard to come by in LSR, since most – virtually all – tracks do not report accidents, and do not analyze the causes.

This is in stark contrast to MotoGP.

MotoGP is probably the most exciting televised motorsport, and has many hundreds of millions of viewers world wide.  Crashes are very visible, constantly analyzed, rarely fatal, and most instructive.

I have been lucky to have lived through the entire history of MotoGP, which started in 1949.

In the 1950’s; the first full decade of MotoGP; there were 28 fatalities.  That’s a rate of one DEATH per every 2 or 3 races.  This was obviously unsustainable to the modern plan, but the men were quite brave and very unlucky.

The 1960’s, with 25 deaths and the 1970’s were not much improved, with 24 fatalities.  Those decades showed fewer deaths PER RACE, simply because there were more races.

In the 1980’s, with the power of Kenny Roberts focused on safety, the toll reduced to only 14.  With many more races on the schedule, that represents a large improvement in overall odds of survival.

In the 1990’s, there were only two (2) lives lost, and from 2000 to 2009, there was only one (1) rider lost.

For sure that is an almost inconceivable improvement.  When one considers that there were more races, more racers, and tighter competition, MotoGP suddenly changed from a killing field to something reasonable.

How did MotoGP do this ?

Better track safety ( think:  Gravel traps instead of Armco, run-off instead of walls, better helmets and leathers – now with airbags) better rider training ( virtually all modern MotoGP riders are graduate of Moto2 and Moto3, and many raced as youths in national series.) but most importantly, MotoGP has the power, budget and desire to investigate analyze and publish the findings of EVERY SINGLE CRASH.  In 2017, that was almost 1,200 crashes with Moto2 and Moto3 included – with no fatalities ! 

What are the special risks of motorcycle LSR that help produce a fatality rate that is so much higher than MotoGP ?

Certainly experience is a factor – this for the most part an amateur sport.

Run-off room at Bonneville is unlimited, and generous at most paved LSR tracks.

Protective gear for riders is certainly much better than in the 1950’s, but few riders compete with “air bag” leathers, in spite of their relatively low cost…….

Most MotoGP riders regularly use air bag leathers and both back AND chest protectors.

In MotoGP, there is – relative to LSR – an infinitely higher chance of multiple riders – and bikes – coming in contact with each other.  It may be much easier to protect the rider who falls to the track as opposed to protecting the rider whose 300 or more pound motorcycle catches up with him and jumps up and down on him for a while…..

It may be impossible to isolate a single cause of our problems, and we make no real progress until we do our investigative homework…………

Offline bowches

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #255 on: November 25, 2017, 02:37:49 AM »
Hi Scott,

That was a very nice read, what you wrote....but surely the LSR Speeds are much higher than motogp and thus that is where the risk increases. The fastest speed a rider has fallen of in MotoGp is 200mph and it was Shinya Nakano in 2004. He was fine and was wearing a Shoe helmet. But 200mph is slow in LSR right?

There has got to be some sort of protective gear that gives you that protection when you fall off you know....we got to have room for error....

 

Online Oz Booster

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #256 on: November 25, 2017, 12:26:06 PM »
There are a few differences to gp that will influence the outcome   ,
As Scott said the weight of the bike
We are older (although some of us may be younger than Rossi ;)  ), in the most part less fit , and carry more weight
The airfield have some objects like nearby tree lines or landing lights that could possibly be safer with an airfence
chances of low side to highside i think currently in GP favor the lowside and for us probably highside

After my off this season i am looking a lot closer at my gear and setup, currently comparing airbag suits for fit , function as well as being able to conform to the current regulations , its  sort of like the fast , reliable ,cheap thing so far i can only align 2 at any time   
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Online RansomT

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #257 on: November 26, 2017, 12:01:52 PM »
Well for starters:  Considering just at the last MotorGP event, Valencia, they had 71 crashes total. And with the "mountain" of crash analysis information that MotoGP has that the riders can draw from, it is if the MotoGP riders "practice" crashing.  IIRC, a couple months back I watched the qualifying rounds (Phillip Island?).  Watched a rider do a high speed lowside. While sliding, he hopped up, ran, then jumped over the fence, grabbed a photographer's scooter, raced it back to the pits, jumped on his back-up bike to try and do a qualifying lap with it.  All without taking his helmet off.
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Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #258 on: November 26, 2017, 03:47:30 PM »
Absolutely right, Ransom !

One of the foundations of education,
as articulated by Johnan "Bubba"Pestalozzi,
was Learn by doing, and that certainly applies to crashing !

These MotoGP guys crash a lot, because they are on the edge.

 They are on the edge because they can be.

They can be on the edge because, for the most part,
they do what Dave Aldana once said:
"You don't know how hard you can go until you crash."

When Aldana said that in the 1970's, he was criticized
for being so cavalier about crashing, but he was right.

SO: The MotoGP guys go out, go as fast as they can,
sometimes crash, and learn from it.

We can suspect they do other things, like find out
how quickly they can accelerate without throwing too big a wheelie.

Or if they can ride out a big weave from the rear tire. 
Maybe what causes a wobble, and how to get  out of it.

The fact they can do this with relative impunity does
not mean that we in LSR can't practice,
it;'s just harder to get the track time.

You ( or I) could practice what happens when
you lose forward vision (Think: oil all over the
windshield and helmet shield),
by closing your eyes for 1,2 maybe 5 seconds.

I do it......................

Offline MJ Williams

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #259 on: November 26, 2017, 06:22:42 PM »
I've thrown several bikes (and myself) down the road in my road racing days and have only had to visit the ER twice over a 10 year career. Once was after my first high speed crash because I didn't have the knowledge of what to do. It made me seem "not quite" right in the head when I said the more I crashed, the better I got at not getting hurt but it is true. You learn to slow your mind down, spread out, not tumble, steer/slid and ride the crash out.
 
When Greg pitched his bike at Colorado (and slid 1001 feet) he told me that he slid and when it got hot on one side he rolled to the other side until it got warm and switched back until he stopped. That is not generally knowledge you are born with, that is hard won experience.

Don't know how one is going to practice crashing and don't really advise it but there is validity in the, having previous crashing experience, argument as one reason that serious injuries per crash are less in professional motorsports. 
Have a Harley, spent lots of money on it, thought I had a fast motorcycle, bought a Busa, realized all I had was a fast Harley, not a fast motorcycle!

Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #260 on: December 30, 2017, 10:00:41 AM »
MJ:

You are so right on this..........

You may recall that, for more than 36 years,
my day job was investigating motorcycle accidents,
and testifying to a jury about my findings.

One of the things I frequently heard from riders
was; "I laid it down to avoid an accident."

I even remember a "reputable" motorcycle magazine
 publishing an article - with pictures - on how to do that.

The problem it that - If you lay it down -
you are already HAVING an accident !

However, that was for sure a way to learn "how to crash."
Just no feedback on what you did right or wrong,
and no repetition to get better over time.....

I suspect for us, the better thing might be
learning to avoid the crash in the first place.

BUT, if you have to crash, then yes, it's better to know how......

Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #261 on: December 30, 2017, 10:57:30 AM »
It would be really amazing if someone were to develop a robot to do some high speed testing like Yamaha are doing with Motobot.....

You would be able to do plenty more runs without the risk of a human being injured, that would help alot to gather data right?

What do people think?

Actually, that has been done in the distant past - like to 1970's

Arthur Ezra and Harry Peterson, in conjunction with our (USA)
national government,  did a BUNCH of crash tests 
(Think: "crash test dummies" ) and filmed the Dummies
riders falling and hitting various objects. 

The tests were fully documented, and many safety
improvements fo bike and rider safety resulted.

We may get the benefit of the MotoGP "Crash Test Dummies" in our future......

Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #262 on: December 30, 2017, 11:11:53 AM »
Hi Scott,

That was a very nice read, what you wrote....but surely the LSR Speeds are much higher than motogp and thus that is where the risk increases. The fastest speed a rider has fallen of in MotoGp is 200mph and it was Shinya Nakano in 2004. He was fine and was wearing a Shoe helmet. But 200mph is slow in LSR right?

There has got to be some sort of protective gear that gives you that protection when you fall off you know....we got to have room for error....

Thank you Bow !

Current general-use motorcycle helmets are generally
thought to protect the rider's head WELL at up to 20 mph. 
I know that seems low, but that's the current thinking.

I had a friend in San Diego that was a motorcycle safety expert
(Yes, I know that "motorcycle safety" is an oxymoron )
who designed motorcycle safety helmets.

I saw his presentation to a national safety conference in which
he demonstrated (with instrumented crash testing!)a bike helmet
that completely protected the rider's head at up to 100 mph.

The conference was buzzing with questions about how that could
be the done, when the expectable level was only 20 mph !

Well, as it turned out, the helmet was an all-new design,
that was about 24 inches (2 feet !) in diameter, and quite heavy......

Yes it would protect the rider's BRAIN, but the extra weight
(and momentum) would strongly contribute to breaking the rider's neck,
and causing either paralysis or death through spinal injury.

His main point was :
"I can design a helmet that can protect any rider in any impact;
I just have to know ahead (no pun intended) of time WHAT that crash will be...."

Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #263 on: December 30, 2017, 11:21:23 AM »
Bad idea, the whole point in LSR is that there is some kind of danger factor present, otherwise my mrs would be running records and i would be at home watching Deadliest Catch on tv

I think that risk is part of the allure of our sport:
"You go HOW FAST on a motorcycle ?..........."

At the same time, we might all hope that the
result of a small mistake would not result in death !

NASCAR, MotoGP - and F1 - know that the most valuable
items on the track are not the cars, but the riders and drivers.

Until recently, many promoters assumed that people would
come - and pay - to watch racing either in person or on Television,
no matter who was in the car or on the bike.

Current thinking is that most fans identify with the Brand
and the Vehicle, but the most powerful attachment is to
the person behind the bars - or the steering wheel.

That makes the "talent" the object most needing protection.

Manufacturers, teams sand vehicles come and go.

The most talent endures, and is a marketable quantity.

It's the PEOPLE that are important !

Online FlaminRoo

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #264 on: December 30, 2017, 02:50:45 PM »
Interesting topic,, one can draw the conclusion that all studies held into motorcycle safety have been conducted with regard to the general road (street, highway) or enclosed race track enviorment, with riders exposed to the elements (no fully streamlined machines),,

On observation, LandSpeed presents two distinct enviorments, both with their distinct safety history,,



First Australian to ride a motorcycle 200mph at Bonneville,,

Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #265 on: December 30, 2017, 03:46:56 PM »
Interesting topic,, one can draw the conclusion that all studies held into motorcycle safety have been conducted with regard to the general road (street, highway) or enclosed race track enviorment, with riders exposed to the elements (no fully streamlined machines),,

On observation, LandSpeed presents two distinct enviorments, both with their distinct safety history,,

Very good points, all !

The great, wide and enduring studies done in the USA
and Europe are primarily funded by the national governments.
 (I know of studies done in the UK, USA and Germany.
 I think there have also been studies in OZ and Canada.)

Since the big governments have little professional interest in racing,
that leaves the street bikes to be studied; in all their variety
and the riders, in all their many forms.  The vehicles they
 interact with, bicycles, cars, SUV's, vans, trucks and Semi's -
even other motorcycles, are part of the STREET equations.

Racing organizations are mostly left to themselves; largely
since 50 racing deaths draw less official notice than 4,500 street deaths. 

That and racing guarantees a larger
portion of "assumed risk" by participation.

In the USA, the LSR organizations are often surprisingly well equipped
to handle tragedy........Until recently, the SCTA had a staff of
professionally-trained accident investigators, and made a
habit of impounding involved vehicles,
for examination post-accident.

The ECTA had racers similarly trained,
and willing to help with investigations.

The Loring police department has had
special motorcycle crash investigation training too.

The "track day" contingent of Texas,
Arizona, Mojave etc. I don't know about.

The results of the investigations - industry
wide - are rarely published to the interested public.


Hard to learn from that...............

Offline scott g

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Re: Fatalities in LSR
« Reply #266 on: January 05, 2018, 11:02:38 AM »
Just read a wonderful phrase
in a Tom Clancy novel..........

"Do you know that ?"

"No, I don't, but I don't know
it with great authority !
"


One of the good points of experience
is supposed to be that we learn from our mistakes,
 and improve our performance over time.

That is not always the case.

Some 40 years ago, my wife and I took
the Harley out for a weekend “poker run”
with a local bike club.  At one of the stops,
a Honda Gold Wing rider was remarking about how
he had “20 years experience riding bikes.”

My wife Ellen had been watching this guy as we rode. 

She remarked quietly to me going down the road:
“He doesn’t have 20 years riding experience……
he has one year of experience, repeated 20 times.”

If we do not learn from experience,
than what good is it ?

This year, a well-known LSR motorcycle competitor
competitor crashed within sight of the start line, o
n a fresh course on his first run of the day.

This rider, otherwise well known and respected had run
 over 250mph at that track on a number of occasions. 

In fact, he had been over 250 mph on at least two(2)
other tracks, and had crashed at both of those tracks too !

Maybe experience is more than repetition………….