Photos from 250+ Feet up COTA’s Petrolsaurus Rex

Standing 251 feet above Turns 16, 17, & 18, the COTA observation tower provides a bird’s eye view of just about every tun on the circuit, if you can stomach its subtle sway in the wind and clear-glass floor at the precipice. Officially called by COTA as the “Observation Tower” – it really needs a better name for casual conversation. We’ve heard COTA Cobra used a few times with some lovely alliteration, but the structure has always struck us as less snake-like, and more like a big dinosaur — we’re going to use the name “Petrolsaurus Rex” until I hear something better, or COTA sends me a cease and desist order. I climbed to the top of Petrolsaurus Rex (read: took the elevator) during the MotoGP Warm-Up session, and snapped a few photos in the process. Enjoy!

MV Agusta F3 800 Ago Now Officially Debuts

We already announced the bike last November, and brought you a bevy of hi-res images of the special edition machine. Although now that we think of it, MV Agusta never released anything on this Giacomo Agostini tribute motorcycle — better late than never, right? Back at the EICMA show launch, where the MV Agusta F3 800 Ago was first shown to the public (and Agostini himself), the Varese brand promised us two additional motorcycle launches in early 2014. MV Agsuta made good on half that promise with the Dragster 800 model, hopefully this Ago special edition isn’t the other half of that statement, and MV Agusta still has something waiting in the wings. That being said, the Tricolore & Gold paint scheme is gorgeous, and looks even better in person.

Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

Colin Edwards Will Retire from Racing after 2014 Season

Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle. Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP. Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.

MSF Updates Its Basic RiderCourse Curriculum

It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000. While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.

Yamaha Trademarks “R1S” & “R1M” at USPTO – “YZF-R1M” Trademarked Abroad – But Why?

Are new Yamaha YZF-R1 models coming down the pipe? That’s the question being asked after trademark filings in the US and abroad tipped off Yamaha Motor’s intention to use “R1S”, “R1M”, and “YZF-R1M” for motorcycle, scooter, and three-wheeled purposes. The filings are being taken as hints towards a possible multiple trim levels of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, with the “S” and “M” designations being different spec machines than the current base model. The “S” nomenclature is a popular one in the two and four-wheeled world, though “M” would certainly be a novel designation, outside of say…BMW.

Bell & COTA Create Texas-Themed Limited-Edition Helmet

Continuing its theme of making limited-edition helmets for premier-class US rounds, Bell Helmets has teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas and Chris Wood, of Airtrix, to create a Texas-themed Bell Star Carbon helmet, just in time for COTA’s MotoGP race next weekend. Available only until April 13th, the Bell/COTA helmet features a red, white, and blue flag motif on the front, with both the American and State of Texas flags visible, which then wrap around the rear to merge with a hardwood design, reminiscent of the floorboards in a Western saloon. The helmet is also crowned with a Longhorn cattle skull, which adds to the Texan motif. The specially designed helmet also features a horseshoe, the COTA logo, and the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas logo.

Aprilia Mounting a Return to MotoGP in 2016

Towards the end of the 800cc era, MotoGP looked to be in dire condition. Grids were dwindling, factories were reducing their participation, and teams were in difficult financial straits indeed. By the end of 2011, there were just 17 full time entries, Suzuki was down to a single rider, and were about to pull out entirely for 2012. How different the situation looks today. In a recent interview with the official MotoGP.com website, Aprilia Corse’s new boss Romano Albesiano gave a brief outline of their plans. The Italian factory will continue to work with the IODA Racing team for 2014 to collect data on the electronics and tires, which they will use as input on an entirely new project being worked on for 2016.

CDC Says $3 Billion Saved in 2010 Thanks to Helmet Laws

06/15/2012 @ 7:25 am, by Jensen Beeler24 COMMENTS

CDC Says $3 Billion Saved in 2010 Thanks to Helmet Laws top gun tom cruise no helmet 635x348

The US Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an interesting report regarding the economic impact of motorcycle helmet laws, based on data from 2008-2010. While the takeaway shouldn’t surprise anyone, as it doesn’t take a genius to understand that more riders helmeted means fewer fatal crashes from motorcycles, the figures coming from the CDC with that observation are a bit shocking.

According to the statistical analysis done by the CDC, riders wearing helmets during a motorcycle crash were 37% less likely to receive fatal injuries than riders that were not wearing a helmet. Additionally, states with universal helmet usage laws are estimated to have save 4x as much in economic costs associated with medical, productivity, insurance, legal, and other expenses. For 2010, the total economic impact of having helmeted riders topped $3 billion in savings. Chewy.

Another interesting finding to come out of the CDC’s research is the sweeping variation in the percentage of riders who choose to wear a helmet, in relation to the status of the helmet law in that rider’s jurisdiction. For instance, on average 12% of fatally injured motorcyclists were not wearing helmets in states with universal helmet laws (laws that require all riders to wear a helmet). Compare that figure to the 64%  found in states with a partial helmet law (only requires specific groups of riders to wear helmets), and the 79% of riders in states without any sort of  helmet mandate.

The CDC says that if there was a country-wide adoption of universal helmet laws, the United States could save an additional $1.4 billion to the $3 billion already being saved. To give an example regarding the disparity between helmet law states and non-helmet law states, the CDC says that the State of California (a mandatory helmet law state) saved $394 million, while the State of New Mexico saved only $2.6 million through helmet usage. However, the CDC fails to disclose that the general and motorcycle populations of these two states are widely dissimilar, and fails to normalize the dataset by comparing the figures with the average miles ridden.

To its defense though, the CDC’s editorial note brings up an interesting example with the State of Florida:

“In 2000, for example, Florida changed its universal helmet law to a partial helmet law that covered only riders aged <21 years and those with <$10,000 in medical insurance coverage. During the 2 years after the law was changed, the motorcyclist death rate per 10,000 registered motorcycles in Florida increased by 21%, deaths among motorcycle riders aged <21 years nearly tripled, and hospital admissions of motorcyclists with injuries to the head, brain, and skull increased by 82%. In addition, gross costs charged to hospital-admitted motorcyclists with head, brain, or skull injuries in Florida more than doubled, from $21 million to $50 million.”

In its conclusion, the CDC reports that helmets prevent 37% of fatalities amongst motorcyclists, and 41% amongst motorcycle passengers, CDC reported, and prevent 13 percent of serious injuries and 8 percent of minor injuries to riders and passengers. While more libertarian-oriented individuals might tout the personal freedoms argument that general is used in repealing motorcycle helmet laws, the CDC’s data shows an interesting shift in the economic burden that comes with that decision. The only thing left to debate is which is the greater personal freedom: riding without a helmet, or paying the cost for those who make that choice.

CDC Says $3 Billion Saved in 2010 Thanks to Helmet Laws CDC costs state graph

CDC Says $3 Billion Saved in 2010 Thanks to Helmet Laws CDC helmet laws state

Source: Center for Disease Control & Prevention

Comment:

  1. Keith says:

    I’ll support helmet laws if and ONLY if they are mandatory for auto and truck drivers also. That being said I supoprt everyones right to be a compleate and utter MORON when they choose to not wear a helmet.

  2. Keith says:

    it’s a flawed report anyway…especially when you consider that many (I don’t have the numbers and nobody is willing to report) of the fatalities from riding without a helmet in montana are tourists.

  3. Kevin says:

    I couldn’t read one sentence in that article without singing the chorus to “Danger Zone”

  4. Westward says:

    “I’ll support helmet laws if and ONLY if they are mandatory for auto and truck drivers also.”

    That logic is unrealistic, as the probability of a drivers head coming in contact with the asphalt is highly unlikely if they are wearing a seat belt. The combination of a seat, head rest, and the roof of a car is essentially the equivalent protection a helmet would provide in relationship to a motorcycle and its rider, though its far more effective.

    There could be an argument for those driving a convertible to wear a helmet, though they are more likely to be crushed by the car and asphalt away, to really make survival a moot point…

  5. Ton Up Jax says:

    There is no “right” to operate a vehicle on a public road. It is a privilege one must earn by exhibiting competence and obeying the rules. Incompetence and infractions earn you the loss of the privilege. The most basic safety rule for motorcycle operation is wearing protective equipment, of which the helmet is the most important. Ignoring the most basic safety rule shows lack of competence. Period. IT HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH “FREEDOM”. If you are unable or unwilling to grasp that wearing safety equipment while operating a motorcycle on public roads is the most basic form of competence, then maybe you should find an alternate mode of transportation.

    Anyone who claims to be a supporter of motorcycling while espousing an agenda that negates basic motorcyle safety- shame on you. This is about rider’s lives, and shunning safety under the deluded guise of “freedom” does a disservice to the entire motorcycling world. We must stop accepting the excuses and stand united- for our own sake.

  6. Damo says:

    Anyone that gets on a bike without wearing a helmet and a reasonable amount of safety gear is dumb.

    There, I said it.

  7. Campbell says:

    @Ton Up Jax – Operating a vehicle on a public road is a right. Just because someone tells you it isn’t doesn’t make it so. I cringe whenever I see people claim driving/riding/whatever on the public road system is a “privilege”. However, I digress…

    I would agree that wearing a helmet is a good idea (and I do, even in Indiana where it is not required by law), it should not be legislated to do so. Just as I think wearing a seat belt is a good idea, it should also not be compulsory. The only argument that most pro-helmet/seat belt law people can make to me is that injuries to those not wearing said equipment cost extra money driving their health insurance premiums up. Yes, that is the case. That is why such insurance/health systems should be fixed. Otherwise, dying due to a lack of wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle really only affects the person who chose not to wear the helmet in the first place.

  8. Keith says:

    @Westward, really? You want to go there? hmmm, there are more people suffering from debilitating head injuries involved than there are motorcyclists suffering from debilitating head injuries…period. Now if you can’t wrap your head around teh fact that you are more likely to suffer a head injury in a auto accident than a motorcycle accident…you’ve obviously not seen many auto-wrecks.
    like I said: “I supoprt everyones right to be a compleate and utter MORON when they choose to not wear a helmet”

    That also means all the other saftey gear. I support everyones right to be an utter MORON to NOT protect themselves. Their injuries aren’t my problem…as long as we don’t have that worthless USELESS unfundable healthcare bill. That’s a bigger fail than your ill-logic.

  9. WetMan says:

    Does the CDC report take the availability of transplant organs into account in their calculations? I know for a fact that people who desperarely need an organ transplant get their hopes up during the biking season. And it would stand to reason that more organs would be available in states without a universal helmet law. Just curious.
    A similar paradoxical situation exist around smokers in Europe. They pay taxes all their lives but on average live less long and so don’t collect as many state pension…

  10. Richard Gozinya says:

    Campbell, if it’s a right, and not a privilege, then why is it that if you get caught driving without a license you get into trouble? If it were a right, then no license would be required, you could just go ahead and do it. Further, your license can be suspended or revoked, if you get caught doing certain things you shouldn’t. There’s not one shred of legal precedence that states driving is a right.

  11. Gritboy says:

    My dad was a paraplegic from a car crash before seat belts were mandatory; popular opinion is that he wouldn’t be if he’d been wearing a seat belt. It’s conjecture of course, but I don’t want to end up a vegetable over something so simple as not wearing a helmet, when it greatly improves my chances of keeping my brain from becoming pudding. Thus, I support helmet laws, PERIOD.

    I’ve lived in both mandatory helmet and no helmets required states and I’ve seen people with head injuries in both states and those with helmets came out MUCH better, except for one head-on — nothing could have saved that couple. I’ve had a couple of serious crashes myself and I’d NEVER ride without a helmet, even when I’m on the ranch. I’m positive it’s saved me once for sure, as the helmet was decimated but I could walk, talk and ride away.

    I know there are people who are diehards against any form of government mandate and believe it’s an individual right choose, and I know helmets are confining and get warm, but despite conspiracy theories, I really don’t think helmets are there to ruin our American sense of freedom. Besides, IMHO a good looking helmet with a tinted visor is sufficiently intimidating to scare off most cagers and make them behave a bit better.

  12. Campisi says:

    As a young guy, why on Earth would anyone want to ride a motorcycle without a helmet? All the dead bugs and rocks that hit my helmet on even a short ride would be hitting my face otherwise. Besides, it seems like all that wind above twenty five miles per hour or so would blind me, even around sunglasses or whatnot. I suppose I could wear goggles or something, but at that point why not just put a helmet on?

  13. Michael Gallagher says:

    Well Written!

    “Ton Up Jax says:
    June 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM
    There is no “right” to operate a vehicle on a public road. It is a privilege one must earn by exhibiting competence and obeying the rules. Incompetence and infractions earn you the loss of the privilege. The most basic safety rule for motorcycle operation is wearing protective equipment, of which the helmet is the most important. Ignoring the most basic safety rule shows lack of competence. Period. IT HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH “FREEDOM”. If you are unable or unwilling to grasp that wearing safety equipment while operating a motorcycle on public roads is the most basic form of competence, then maybe you should find an alternate mode of transportation.

    Anyone who claims to be a supporter of motorcycling while espousing an agenda that negates basic motorcyle safety- shame on you. This is about rider’s lives, and shunning safety under the deluded guise of “freedom” does a disservice to the entire motorcycling world. We must stop accepting the excuses and stand united- for our own sake.”
    Mike Gallagher

  14. MotoBloke says:

    Westward, automobile drivers heads come in contact with the roof, A and B pillars and or door frame, with or without airbags and more inside if not wearing a seatbelt and in a pre-airbag vehicle. A light bicycle/skater helmet is sufficient.

  15. spamtasticus says:

    @Ton Up Jax
    “There is no “right” to operate a vehicle on a public road. It is a privilege one must earn by exhibiting competence and obeying the rules.”

    Please present evidence of this fictitious privilege of driving you espoused. Who grants you this privilege? Your mommy? The City? The County? The State? An invisible man in the sky? What you say? You have no proof? What a shock. Shocked I tell you that someone on the inter web would just blurt shit out because they heard it somewhere else without any basis in reality or fact.

    @Michael Gallagher
    “Anyone who claims to be a supporter of motorcycling while espousing an agenda that negates basic motorcyle safety- shame on you. This is about rider’s lives, and shunning safety under the deluded guise of “freedom” does a disservice to the entire motorcycling world. We must stop accepting the excuses and stand united- for our own sake.”

    I agree Michael. Ridding a motorcycle without a helmet is a freedom not worth protecting because it is so much more dangerous than riding with a helmet. Riding motorcycles with helmets, however is way way more dangerous than driving in a car. I therefore propose that we pass a nationwide MOTORCYCLE law wherein it is illegal to ride motorcycles based on the previous facts and logic. What you say? That is just Crazy? you are a sharp one…. it’s called snarky sarcasm.

    Riding a motorcycle without a helmet is a very dangerous thing to do relative to riding with a helmet.
    Riding a motorcycle is a very dangerous thing to do relative to driving a car.
    Driving a car is a very dangerous thing to do relative to walking.
    Walking is a very dangerous thing to do relative to staying home and knitting a sweater.

    The point is that an adult should be able to choose their level of risk vs reward for themselves. For me, riding a motorcycle with a helmet is the level of choice. For most of the people I know that do not ride motorcycles I am a raving lunatic for doing so, even with a helmet. As far as this biased “study” is concerned it fails to take into account some massive points. Starting with the fact that a dead helmet less motorcyclist draws no medicare, medicaid or social security for the rest of his or her non existent life.

  16. Richard Gozinya says:

    @spamtasticus

    You claim that an adult should be able to choose their level of risk, yet earlier you claim that driving on public roads is a right. How can any adult who has passed driver’s ed not know that it is a privilege? That’s day one. You are required to earn a license, by passing the appropriate tests. If you do not have a license, and are caught driving on public roads, you can go to jail. If you fail to abide by certain rules, that license (privilege) can be revoked.

    So, you’re either too young to have taken driver’s ed, or you consider it to be a communist plot. Either way, you may want to drop the smug.

  17. Campbell says:

    @Richard Gozinya: Driving on public roads IS a right. Sure, the state governments will try to sell you that it is a privilege, just as you stated about Drivers Ed. However, do you really think that makes it so? It’s in the state governments’ best interest to convince you it is merely a privilege. It is my opinion that travel by the standard means of the time (i.e. by automobile over public roads that we’ve all pooled together to create) is a right. Just because it is not enumerated, specifically, in the Constitution does not render it a privilege. The 9th Amendment even states there are other rights and they are not to be denied the people simply for the reason of not being specifically listed. Furthermore, the status of driving as a right would not, alone, place it above licensing. There are limits placed upon our rights – we all have a right to keep and bear firearms, yet we are not permitted to carry a gun into a school (even with a license; “the man” excepted, of course :D); we all have the freedom of speech, yet we cannot idly threaten others without consequence.

    There is some legal precedence to this argument. I do believe there is some the other direction as well, and that the Supreme Court has not ever heard any of these arguments (and my confidence that they would rule correctly is quite low, as the court has shown over the years it is quite reluctant to reduce the governments’ power and authority). Just a quick Google search turned up this page with some quotes from cases seen by various courts throughout the country: http://www.apfn.org/apfn/travel.htm.

    This whole discussion is a bit off topic, but I just wanted to make the point that just because some government officials claim driving is a privilege doesn’t make it so.

  18. Estimated economic cost savings as a result of motorcycle helmet use, per registered motorcycle, by state… http://t.co/oaka1E3h

  19. Percentage of #motorcycle fatalities in which riders were not wearing #helmets, by state -… http://t.co/QQGo0dDR

  20. This just wears me out.

    How can any thinking person with an IQ above oatmeal think you don’t need a helmet on a motorcycle? Just what am I missing here? If you want to rail at the dumb things the government does, mandates, or legislates, this would have to be WAY down the list for me. If these NFL guys are concussing themselves into a lifetime of problems running into each other, why on Earth would you think your head will stand up to concrete or sheet metal or telehone poles at even 20mph from a powered vehicle, much less from a high speed impact when you fall off you ‘Busa doing wheelies down the Interstate?

    Whatever some of you are drinking, I don’t want any !

  21. Jake says:

    The whole “right” vs. “privilege” argument is moot because at the end of the day, they are one and the same. Rights are no more real or illusory than privileges. Both are entirely political constructions designed to regulate the behavior of a society. There is no such thing as a “God-given right.” All rights have been created by men and all rights can be taken away by men, just like privileges.

    As far as the whole helmet law thing goes, I could care less. Tax and insurance dollars will always be wasted on those who make poor decisions. I’ll continue wearing a lid because I value my life and my health. Those who don’t, won’t.

  22. justadude says:

    @Jake,

    Well said. You got it exactly right.

  23. spamtasticus says:

    I choose to ride with a helmet. The law or lack thereof is not a factor in my decision. As stated above, Right/Privilage, call it what you will. I think for myself and don’t depend on government bureaucrats to do the thinking for me. Something, I’m afraid, is more and more lacking in our world’s societies. Most are becoming more and more like children who never grow up and simply look to see who the next mommy/daddy is to tell them how to live their lives.

    /steps off soapbox

  24. Keith says:

    @spamtasticus: