Court Documentation

Bike Information

Officer statements and questions during stop:

Statement:

The nature of the stop leads me to believe the officer is unaware of core motorcycle issues, including at a minimum: proper technique, relative bike capabilities, and the size arrival effect.

The motorcycle I was cited on is a 'super light weight' classed bike. By most standards it is a traditionally tuned bike engine with sports aesthetics and does not have a power capability or behavior of a sports bike. Like other bikes of it's class (e.g. Honda Rebel) has a top speed around or below 70 MPH.

According to many motorcyclists, this class of engine is inadvisable for extended highway travel due to these power limitations. Many MSF instructors and riders advise avoiding the interstate on anything smaller than 400ccs of engine displacement in order to have the available speed and acceleration that may be required in an emergency. As an experienced rider, I have opted to take these risks for commuting in favor of the added fuel economy, reduced insurance costs, and gentle throttle controls.

As a motorcyclist, I attend regular safety events to keep up my skills for corner negotiation, low speed manuevers, emergency braking and swerving, etc. For example, I have been a regular attendee of "OPRT", a local 501c3 for motorcycle safety training.

The GPS data linked below should demonstrate that I was riding at approximately the same rate as traffic for most of my trip, with a brief increase in speed towards exit 9 in order to reach clear road, where I would be able to take my exit without being blown around or risking close contact with other vehicles, especially the busy and unpredictable exit 10 interchange with I405.

Engine Mechanical Limits:

DaVinci Dash

GPS Logging

Bike Power

  • Vespa Scooter: 21 HP
  • Ninja 250: 26.34 HP
  • KLR 250 Dualsport Dirtbike: 28 HP
  • KLR 650 Dualsport Dirtbike: 37 HP
  • Vulcan 750 Cruiser: 66 HP
  • Harley Davidson Super Glide & Roadster: 67 HP
  • SmartCar Fortwo: 70 HP
  • Honda Fit Sedan: 130 HP
  • ZX6R Sports bike: 135 HP
  • ZX12R Sports bike: 161 HP
  • Honda Civic Sport: 174 HP
  • BMW S1000RR Sports bike: 180 HP
  • Kawasaki H2 Supersport: 310 HP

Size Arrival Effect

The "Size Arrival Effect" is a psychological/optical-illusion effect where small objects, particularly narrow ones, are judged to be at an incorrect distance. For example, a driver approaching a motorcycle will mis-estimate their distance from the motorcycle as being farther than it is until the distance becomes extremely close - one of 3 common causes of cars hitting motorcycles (along with not noticing the motorcyclist due to background blending and unfamiliarity with motorcyclists leading to perception gaps since they are not being sought). In similar fashion, the effect is reversed when a motorcycle is moving away from an observer -- the motorcycle's size reduces faster than expected and can fool the observer into thinking a greater speed differential exists than in reality.

The smaller the motorcycle, the more pronounced the effect. It is also likely that a misestimation of the type of vehicle (e.g. supersport vs light weight) may compound this error, seeing as in the studies smaller motorcycles suffered worse judgement mistakes than larger ones; if a small bike is confused for a larger one this effect could be compounded.

Motorcycle Size Comparison

Kawasaki Ninja 250/300
Width:713mm (28.1 inches)
Weight:170kg (375lb)
BMW S1000RR
Width:826mm (32.5 inches)
Weight:207.7kg (458lb)
Delta
Width:15.8%
Weight:22.2%

Small bikes on freeways

As a general guideline I would say do not ride anything less than 400cc for commuting in a standard or sports motorcycle. while a 250cc can manage highway speeds, it's important to realize that not only the brakes can get you out of trouble - having more torque and horsepower can also get you out of trouble, and the way to get that is with higher displacement. Sometimes the best decision to avoid an accident is to accelerate hard. At highway speeds a small 250 can't do that. If you're an experienced rider I would ride something in the 600 cc range or higher. Like a Ninja 650, or my all time favourite highway motorcycle, the Honda Interceptor (VFR800). The Suzuki SV650 also makes an excellent highway commuter bike. The v engines in the VFR or suzuki give them a lot of torque and make them excellent highway machines. Any sport tourer of course is a good highway bike.
Highway CCs
[...] while not really designed as an Interstate cruiser, and being close to it's maximum speed, does just fine on the Interstate [...]
250cc unstable on highway

Lean Angle

It's [...] about safety. The reason GP riders hang off like this isn't to show off; it's to remove as much lean angle from the bike, at a given speed, as possible. Less lean angle means a larger tire contact patch, a greater margin for error
In order for your body weight to have the greatest possible influence on the bike's lean angle, you want as much of your body as possible to be between that line and the ground, on the inside of a corner. The further in that direction you go, the less the bike will need to lean at a given speed. Say, at 45 mph, you have to lean the bike at 45 degrees to take a certain corner while sitting bolt upright on top of it. Using body position, you can decrease that lean at 45 mph to (again, hypothetically) to 35 degrees. That's safer; you'll have more tire in contact with the road and more grip. If you suddenly have to alter your line, you can add that 10 degrees back in, no problem.
Hanging off with correct body position doesn't just help GP riders go faster around a track. It works in the city, on highway exit ramps, in the rain and pretty much anywhere that you want to be safer. By taking lean angle away from a given speed, it keeps the bike more upright and more of the tire on the road.

On Track Comparison

In the following video track you see the bike in question on a closed course being run up to maximum RPMs and speed. This is with OPRT, a local safety organization, where bikes of my type are only allowed to participate in the slowest classes due to their mechanical limits. You will see that even at the bikes absolute maximum it is trivially surpassed by non-sports bikes on the track.

Track Map
  • Straight length: 0.5 miles
  • Straight entry time: 6:39
  • Straight exit time: 7:07
  • 28 seconds, or approximately 64 MPH
  • Straight length: 0.5 miles
  • Straight entry time: 9:00
  • Straight exit time:9:27
  • 28 seconds, again approximately 64 MPH