Unless you’re comfortably wealthy, you’ve probably wished for more economical transportation after every recent refueling stop. The proprietor charged $4.twentysomething per gallon on my last trip to the Fountain of Petrol(for 93-octane, no-ethanol go-juice: moonshine is for drinking, not for rotting out every rubber seal and rusting every steel fitting in your fuel system).
But… I only spent $3.sixtysomething for 80% of a gallon, and I expect to go almost two hundred miles before I have to return to the well again, because I motor around on two wheels rather than four. My little motorcycle, a Chinese-made Pagsta, gets me to the grocery store, WalMars (you know, where WalMartians dwell), the Post Office, and most other places I want to go, weather permitting which, in my part of the Lower 48, it usually is.
My metal pony serves me well-it, or one like it, is the only thing that could on my budget!-with one vexing exception: flat-out, full-throttle, she’ll only do about 35 to 42 mph… the latter figure downhill or with a tailwind. Uphill, or with a headwind, I’m doing good to break 30. This is because the 49cc Honda-clone horizontal motor that powers her doesn’t have the horsepower for more speed. In traffic, even dense city traffic, 35 is asking to get run over or, at the very least, to learn a form of sign language not suitable to teach to your kids. Contrast that with the old Honda CL and CB 100s that, on just twice the cylinder volume, would easily break 70 mph. Indeed, the Chinese have several manufacturers who make the equivalent of that venerable old horizontal(using a CDI instead of points and condenser); you can find such motors for sale on the Internet or through dealers for about three Ben Franklin notes.
So why don’t I get one of these Oriental wonders? Aside from the necessity of saving my dead president engravings, there is a completely unnatural hindrance, an unlevitical offspring of Ninny State do-gooderism and Caesar’s hunger for increasing revenue, to my need for speed. It’s called the Motorcycle Endorsement, and it’s required in my state for anyone driving a motorcycle with an engine larger than 50cc. As near as I can determine, this pernicious law was cooked up by legislators eager to Do Something about the fact that people of limited intelligence were removing their souls from the earth and their genes from the species in spectacularly gory ways by mishandling motorcycles. That this is tragic for the decedents, their kin, and their beloved I do not doubt, but that it is the business of the legislature I dispute. Our legislati (a species of human insect related to cognoscenti and papperazzi, but more irritating and dangerous than either) found ready collusion with the insurance industry, which never met a restriction on the driving public it didn’t like(our mandatory seat-belt law comes to mind)… as long as same restriction drove down claims and thereby drove up profits.
So now I, who’ve ridden hydrocarbon-powered two-wheelers off and on since before some of our lawmakers were out of nappies, am forced to restrict myself to an underpowered vehicle… or pay out two more Ben Franklins and an Andrew Jackson or two to take a motorcycle safety course, all to generate a piece of paper that says to the DMV that I can operate a a steel stallion without turning it into scrap metal and/or myself into asphalt lasagna or into a poster boy for dain bramage. Cui bono? Not me; I’m out my time and money, or stuck at 35 mph. No, the beneficiaries are the state treasury, DMV workers, the insurance companies, and the folks who provide a service that would be in much less demand if the Ninny State hadn’t made it compulsory for those who want to ride an adequately powered bike.
Oh, and the Statehouse Critters who made it all possible by passing(as in what one does with flatus, feces, urine, or kidney stones) the excremental law in the first place… they benefit most of all by keeping their power.
I consider myself a reasonably responsible rider: I wear a helmet despite the discomfort-ever try to scratch your head in one?-and heat; I carry insurance, though it is not mandated for a 50cc ‘scooter;’ and I drive defensively to the point of paranoia. Yet because of this completely artificial bit of government diktat, I must either pay up or endanger myself on a perilously slow machine. My budgetary constraints-not the least of which being tag fees(my plate renewal ate the better part of $50!), sales taxes, title fees, and the cost of mandatory automobile insurance-prevent me from moving up to a car, an SUV, a pickup truck, or even a bigger motorcycle. Bicycles, motorized or conventional, pose as much of an injury risk if not more-and I’ve got the scars to prove my point!
What the sycophants, cheerleaders, apostles, benefactors, and beneficiaries of the Ninny/Nanny State don’t want you to figure out is this: the reasons they give for the perpetuation of their continuing assault on the freedoms we less enjoy every day are sophistries entire. It’s about power and money; money for those who would have to do something else if the state didn’t either employ them or create the artificial market that sustains their businesses, and both power and money for the politicians and administroids. The mercantilists in insurance and ‘safety education,’ the elected officials, and the bureaucrats all derive their raison-d’etre at the expense of the governed, or at least of the taxed.
That’s the same way hookworms, leeches, and mosquitos earn their living, only those parasites, incapable of thought or speech, can’t try to convince us they’re draining our blood for our own good. I’ve taken all reasonable precautions against accident and/or injury while trying to get myself to the various places I must visit to continue my daily life: I’m not part of the pretextural un-problem wherewith the political and mercantile parasites empowered themselves to drain a small part of my freedom and a larger part of my wealth in the furtherance of their unproductive or pseudoproductive(i.e., producing goods or services for which an unimpeded free market creates little or no demand) livelihoods.
If you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you’re not part of it either.
You may or may not ride a motorcycle, trike, scooter, or moped. However, if our Feral Gubbernmint continues the policies that have raised the pump price of moonshine-free gasoline to over $4 per gallon, you may have to ride in the near future-or bicycle, or walk, or take mass transit, or worse. So, you probably have at least some interest in convincing our Statehouse Critters to repeal the motorcycle endorsement, returning the law to what it was when I learned to ride the iron cayuse. The safety course providers and a certain number of license examiners will just have to find some other way to earn a living, and the insurers will make their own adjustments; mandatory insurance laws pretty much guarantee them them a captive market, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog entry.
Ich fahren frei; Tyrannen aufgepasst!