Responding to Peter Lenz’s death at the Indianapolis Grand Prix yesterday, America’s fair and balanced news source has rolled out a hateful talking head to condemn his parents and suggest that social services should investigate his family for neglect.
Wendy Murphy, a former lawyer, apparently has a hatred for motorcycles only matched by her love of straightening irons. Not only does she compare motorcycle racing to “going fast in a car” but she utterly dismisses the notion that racing small-capacity motorcycles in a controlled environment should be compared to popular children’s sports like football and snowboarding.
No statistics are available for the number of motorcycle racers killed annually, but it must pale in comparison to the numbers killed during recreational swimming or while snowboarding, activities Murphy refuses to discuss in relation motorcycle racing.
We understand that the image of motorcycling and its relative inaccessibility to stay-at-home moms make it seem sensationally dangerous, but the fact is, it isn’t. Racer’s deaths are rare enough that each and every one is a major news item and organizing bodies inevitably enact new regulations and safeguards in response. The last and only MotoGP racer to ever be killed in a crash was Daijiro Kato, who collided with a wall a Suzuka in 2003, a circuit that was immediately struck from the MotoGP calendar due to resulting safety concerns.
Lenz’s was the first GPRU death in nine years.
A quick Google News search for “beach drowning” reveals a 26-year old Georgia man who drowned on Saturday off Panama City Beach, the third drowning there in a four day period. Add “child” to that search term and you’ll find the story of a 12-year old who drowned in a shallow pond near Boston yesterday. Would Fox News have us stop our children from going to the beach or swimming in ponds?
Fox actually interviewed me for a related article, here’s the portion of the quote they used:
“Despite the high speeds, motorcycle racing is actually less dangerous than it looks. Statistically, people are far more likely to be killed while swimming (2,900 deaths in 2004), snowboarding (45 deaths in 2004) and participating in most other sports than they are while lapping a racetrack on two wheels.
“It was a freak accident. Peter was riding a motorcycle with limited performance and crashed during a warmup lap while riding relatively slowly.”
But reason hasn’t stopped Fox from running a reader poll with a leading question: “Should Kids Be Allowed to Participate In High-Speed Extreme Sports?”
So far, 49.6 percent of 2,539 respondents have answered “no.” Let’s see if we can strike a blow for freedom and shift the balance back to “yes” by voting here.