In 2018 Harvey Davidson announced its commitment to electric vehicles, and almost a year later the company has publicly revealed the first prototypes of its electric bicycles, giving us a glimpse into its future. In contrast to Harley Davidson’s typical market, these are, in fact, bicycles with an electric pedal-assist. The description on the company website does not reveal many more details regarding pricing or when they might be on the market for purchase.
Harley Davidson’s prototype electric bicycles are svelte, sophisticated, and urban, deviating from the brand’s signature style. Instead of taking the traditional route of making ebikes look as similar to traditional bikes as possible, Harley Davidson makes it clear that the vehicles are electric machines. The bicycles can be seen as being the antithesis of Harley’s brand to their core fan base, but it is best to think of them as a reflection of a changing market.
As Harley Davidson’s fortunes and stocks have dropped, the company needed to branch out beyond its current audience. In an economy where wages have not kept up with the growth of expenses, Harley is faced with the reality that many potential customers simply couldn’t afford its product. Older riders are aging out of the market, and young people are beginning to look at cars, and especially motorcycles, as expensive luxuries.
Harley’s vision is broadening to keep up with the evolving transportation sector. Ebikes are rising in popularity, and more people are ridesharing, riding bicycles, and scooters. Since these are future concepts, it’s uncertain how the bicycles will actually fare in the market.
Self-driving cars are one thing, but a motorcycle capable of the same thing? If freedom and the open road are two of the feelings that forged your motorcycle enthusiast identity, then you’re probably not a fan of the idea that these machines could one day drive without any assistance from the actual rider. However, BMW has come out with the first driverless motorcycle and it could offer more insightful knowledge of driver dynamics.
Last Fall, at a French testing ground circuit the German automaker introduced its first autonomous motorcycle. The driverless motorcycle accelerated and circled a track before slowing down and coming to a stop, independently.
However, BMW has announced that no where in the near future do they have plans to release a completely self-driving motorcycle. Instead they are looking forward to using the new technology to “develop future systems and functions to make motorcycling safer and more comfortable.” Surely, safety is something all riders can agree can always be built upon. A large part of the riding experience is in the inherent danger that motorcycling involves.
It’s essential for anyone on a motorcycle to possess the skills and knowledge to ensure their own safety on the road as well has to not be a danger to any other drivers. On top of that, a good bit of luck and chance goes into each ride, especially around cars. The type of knowledge and insight BMW is hoping to gain creating this new technology is centered on safety. Gaining information on how to detect danger while turning at an intersection or braking in traffic could be immensely helpful for anyone on a bike.
There have been many technological leaps made in this field, just none quite as ambitious. In 2017 Honda revealed it’s ‘self-balancing’ motorcycle and in 2015 Yamaha created a ‘autonomous motorcycle-riding humanoid’, which is probably the closest thing to BMW’S newest creation.
One thing is for sure, the future of innovation in the realm of motorcycles is broad and sure to be a thrilling ride.
It is vitally important to wear a motorcycle helmet at all times when you ride. Motorcycles do not have the same protection that other vehicles have to offer around the individual. Regular vehicles have an amount of protection to the driver because of the hard framework around them that gives some space from the individual and the direct damage. Motorcycles have no framework around the individual at all.
Less Protective Than Cars
Regular vehicles usually offer airbags in the front of the vehicle giving the occupant cushion to lessen the severity upon the impact of an accident. Motorcycles do not have the protection of an airbag. In the event of an accident the driver could potentially be hit directly by another vehicle, fly off or fall into the road or an object at a great speed and be severely injured, possibly causing their death.
Importance of Protecting One’s Head
Having a helmet offers a shield around the motorist’s head. Many Motorcycle accidents end up being fatal due to a head injury, by 70%. You can see that the head is the most important part of the body to protect. Even if a driver wasn’t going very fast and still ended up in an accident without a helmet, they could still end up with brain injuries that would affect their personal lives, negatively, forever.
Greater Chances of an Accident
Motorcycles are smaller than regular vehicles and therefore end up in the blind spots of other drivers of regular vehicles more easily. The chances of getting into an accident in a motorcycle are greater than driving other vehicles, making the importance of helmet wearing that much more crucial.
No one can determine what the future holds and is not guaranteed tomorrow. No one ever plans to end up in an accident but the best way to lessen the possibility of being involved in a fatal accident is to always wear a helmet before going on that ride. It may seem like such a small accessory to wear, but wearing a helmet when riding could mean a life saved! There should never be any hesitation on wearing one. It is just too big of a chance to take! Please remind your fellow riders if they aren’t wearing one and remember to wear it, and to never forget it.
About Graham Zahoruiko
As Director of Organizational Effectiveness, Public Benefit Corporation, Graham Zahoruiko is leading greater corporate shareholder wealth, public benefit, and social responsibility. Graham gets to exercise a level of independence that is rare in the business world. He needs to rely on himself to deliver on what he has been hired to do. There are no shortcuts, only hard work, and self-reliance. These are qualities intrinsic to Graham Zahoruiko, so it is no wonder that they permeate through his personal life as well. Graham is a motorcycle enthusiast. His most peaceful moments are when he is astride his Harley-Davidson and on the open road. Again, independence is the key. The iconic images of the lone rider tearing across the pavement are certainly romantic, but there is an undeniable beauty to it as well. It is a part of American culture – the independent traveler forging across the country à la the pioneers during westward expansion. The public’s understanding of motorcycle culture is also influenced by popular films – Easy Rider, the Wild Ones, Mad Max. Biker gangs are often a popular trope in these films, echoed by real-world incidences. For instance, the Hell’s Angels at the Altamont Free Concert in 1969 and the violence that ensued.
Graham Zahoruiko was introduced to motorcycle riding as a child when his uncle would give him rides in the front yard. In those days, helmets were optional and Graham and his uncle found themselves on the ground from unsuccessful wheelies. These early experiences manifested themselves into a lifestyle on the bike. Riding has always been a thrill that Graham has enjoyed as it compliments his spontaneous personality. Graham Zahoruiko averages about 5,000 to 7,500 miles during the riding season — April through October — on his black 2013 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softtail Classic.
For Graham and motorcycle riders alike, the open ride provides an immense sense of freedom in the open air. Sometimes with no destination in mind, the motorcycle is the ultimate escape. The open road and the motorcycle community provides the opportunity to meet some of the kindest and most patriotic people. Whether it is a motorcycle rally, event or ride, you always have the chance to meet and learn from interesting people all over the country.
Motorcycle enthusiasts like Graham Zahoruiko have to fight against those negative connotations. To that end, Graham has been able to combine is the love of riding with another one of his passions – philanthropy. Graham regularly participates in fundraising events focusing on motorcycle riding. For example, the 9/11 Ride. The event is organized by America’s 911 Foundation, Inc., and is purposed to remember the heroes, volunteers and victims of September 11th, 2001. Preserving the memories of all those who answered the call on that horrible day is the charge of the ride, and for the best 13 years, they have been very successful. The Ride is an annual event where 100s of riders travel together en mass. For a thousand miles, the caravan rides in formation, visiting each of the three major 9/11 crash sites. The event has grown tremendously, where now major highway interstates are shut down entirely and thousands of spectators line the streets to cheer on the bikers and honor the fallen.