Motorcycles will be banned in the United States, well at least gasoline-powered ones.
I know it sounds like a huge claim considering new motorcycle sales in the US have risen to around 780,000 in 2020 from about 400,000 from 2010-2019.
Initial sales data from the first half of 2021 show they are already at 580,000 which is on pace to be the highest sales numbers in the past 20 years.
Interest in motorcycles has never been higher and not just in the US either, other countries are showing similar numbers.
So how can I claim motorcycles will be banned in the US? Well if you asked me this question 2 years ago my answer would have been very different.
Such talk back then would have been written off as the musings of people with tinfoil hats or an alarmist conspiracy theory.
However, after watching unquestioned, all-encompassing health policies enacted all over the world with little to no discussion about whether or not they should even be put into place is unsettling, to say the least.
I believe we live in a world where even people are being banned in the interest of public safety.
Combine that with the reluctance to roll back any of these measures with the argument that if it saves a life it is worth it.
We can see this already in certain counties in the United Kingdom trying to ban motorcycles to save motorcyclist lives.
This comes off the heels of report after report that motorcyclists make up a large portion of motor vehicle fatalities.
Have a look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) page about motorcyclist safety, which declares “motorcycle riders are still over-represented in traffic fatalities.”
The UK Government is to change Highway Code advice to favor people walking and cyclists as part of a £338 million (almost $400 million USD) package to boost the boom in active travel.
Secretary of State Grant Shapps when interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today program said “The more vulnerable you are as a road user, the more priority you will have on the road system”
These changes see the ‘hierarchy of road users’ classed according to the damage they can do to others with pedestrians are at the top, followed by cyclists, and horse riders.
There was, however, little mention made of motorcycle and scooter riders, despite this group being more vulnerable road users than those who operate cars, vans, and trucks.
The National Motorcyclist Council said “The NMC is disappointed that once again the Government launches a major announcement on transport policy, which ignores motorcycling. The new Highway Code seems set to focus on cycling and walking doing little to address motorcyclists’ vulnerability.”
Still not convinced this could happen here in the United States? Well, I would like to bring climate change into the picture.
By now I’m sure you have heard about the elimination of the internal combustion engine (ICE) especially when it comes to automobiles.
Our neighbor to the north, Canada recently released plans for 100% of car and passenger truck sales to be zero-emission by 2035.
In other countries like Singapore, as of April 6, 2023, any motorcycle, even if just passing through will have to pass the emission test or face fines.
They also plan on a ban on motorcycles older than 2003, by June 30, 2028.
This might seem harsh considering our zero-emission goal is for 2050, but even in states like California the plan is the same as in Canada.
Governor Newsom of California has declared new gas-powered vehicles will be banned from his state in just 15 years.
Are you getting worried yet? I would like to draw your attention to the ever-growing phenomenon of zero-emission zones popping up in metropolitan areas around the world.
For example in China, almost all large metropolitan areas are zero-emission zones essentially banning motorcycles from large cities.
I find this truly shocking seeing as many new motorcycles easily meet future emission standards, are easier to maneuver, and take up less space.
However, with the introduction of the electric motorcycle and to a lesser extent electric scooters that take up even less space than their gasoline counterparts the less space argument doesn’t hold up.
No matter which way you look at the issue it seems that in urban areas motorcycles are no longer welcome.
There is 1 last point we haven’t discussed yet either and that is the amount of horsepower in some of the larger motorcycles.
A new wave of banning dangerous vehicles has been in the mix as well.
Consider the question that Moto1 and others have suggested if the Dodge Demon should be legal to drive on public streets. Their concerns aren’t that outrageous either.
Large sport and touring motorcycles for example can easily reach speeds in excess of 300 miles per hour easily putting them into this dangerous vehicle category.
Now the type of banning I am talking about here won’t come in the form of radicle and sweeping legislation that bans all motorcycles.
It will come down to a subtle, gradual thing where motorcycles are shunned and ostracised from certain areas in many different cities and counties.
Similar to the way anti-vaxers are being essentially phased out of society in countries all over the world not by physical force but by limiting where they are allowed to go.
Make no mistake as public opinion turns against the perceived dangers of motorcycles this anti-motorcycle bias will bring the end of motorcycles in the United States.
How long this will take is anybody’s guess but if you look at how quickly anti-vaxers have been turned into the lepers of our society, all it takes is 1 incident for alarm bells to sound, opinions to be formed, and legislation to come rolling in.