Look, I'm all for safety. I'd rather not see anyone hurt in a car or motorcycle accident. But there are times when our state and federal governments miss the forest for the trees in terms of new laws.

Good intentions, bad implementation. 

Case in point, California's House just recently passed a bill that would require all new cars sold by 2032 to come from the factory with "passive speed limiters." The Bill—Senate Bill 961—was introduced by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), and sponsored by the organizations CalBike, Streets For All, Streets are for Everyone, KidSafe SF, and Walk SF, as well as supported by the National Transportation Safety Board, American Academy of Pediatrics, and AAA. These are well-intentioned folks. 

And as for the language, the Bill states, "This bill would require 50% of certain vehicles, commencing with the 2029 model year, to be equipped with a passive intelligent speed assistance system, as specified, that would utilize a brief, one-time, visual and audio signal to alert the driver each time the speed of the vehicle is more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. The bill would require all specified vehicles, commencing with the 2032 model year, to be equipped in the above-described manner."

There's no mention of motorcycles in the text, however. I know, I checked twice

Traffic rules exist merely as suggestions

Now, the Bill's advocates rightly point out that speeding is a serious issue. A lot of good people are hurt or killed each year because drivers are going faster than ever before. And the Bill, as written now, won't impact your ability to speed, as it requires tech to "warn drivers with audible and visual signals when they exceed the speed limit by greater than ten miles per hour." There's no changing to what your inputs are, which follows the recent push for these passive speed limiters in Europe, too

Speaking on the passing of the Bill in the House, Senator Wiener stated, “California, like the nation as a whole, is seeing a horrifying spike in traffic deaths, with thousands of drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians dying each year on our roads. These deaths are preventable, and they’re occurring because of policy choices to tolerate dangerous roads. The evidence is clear: Rising levels of dangerous speeding are placing all Californians in danger, and by taking prudent steps to improve safety, we can save lives. I thank my colleagues for their support.”

Again, he makes a lot of good points. But for me—and this is a personal opinion—I feel like we're just putting a band-aid on an open gash while annoying a whole sect of your electorate. 

What's the actual point?

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I ask that question, as yes, installing some sort of tech to help remind folks to stop speeding is a simple and easy potential solution. But the underlying issues of why people speed, and the dangers of modern automobiles, as well as driver inattention, aren't being addressed by this bill. Nor is the lack of driver training here in the U.S.

See, I've been driving cars since I was well under the legal age to operate a motor vehicle...allegedly. And I've been riding motorcycles nearly as long. I've driven in large cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and European cities, as well as small towns. And through it all, I've watched people's ability to operate these increasingly heavier and heavier vehicles drastically diminish over time. People aren't as good at driving as they once were, and while the cars have gotten safer for those within them, they've gotten heavier, faster and fuller of tech that distracts us from the act of driving.

Hello, Hummer EV. 

ADAS Can't See Motorcycles

Speeding, however, is just a symptom of one of the problems we face as motorists, one that also includes a lack of sufficient self-care time so we're left always rushing. Yes, this Bill might reduce traffic deaths, but we already have Blind-Spot Monitoring, Automatic Emergency Braking, as well as a suite of collision alarms in our new cars, and accidents still happen. Fatalities still occur. Cars still can't see motorcyclists, either. And an alarm isn't going to matter much in reducing the overall accident and fatality statistics. 

Passing this band-aid of a bill, however, would be much easier to campaign on. At least, that's what I'd say as a political cynic. 

What is good for the time being is that this proposed Bill hasn't been made into law yet, nor would it impact your ability to drive faster than the posted speed limit. It also doesn't affect motorcycles as written. Again, I checked. Twice. 

But even this type of proposed legal language can impact everyone later on and our ability to drive our machines how we want. Now I'm not advocating for everyone to start speeding. And I think more folks should pay attention to posted speed limits, especially given so few new and current drivers are properly trained to handle the sort of power their modern cars or motorcycles are putting down.

There's a whole separate blog I could write about our extremely lackluster licensing system, too. 

Yet, passing this Bill into law won't solve anything except for pissing a lot of people off. It's basic voter lip service when these same politicians could be advocating for better driver training, better road conditions, better working conditions for the average worker, and more.

But hey, I don't have to get re-elected to keep my power.  

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