If you enjoy maintaining full control of your motorcycle while riding down the road-- throttle, brakes, steering and all-- you might want to be sitting down for this piece of news: the Department of Transportation issued a joint statement today with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that a bill will be passed that requires all motorcycles to have "fully autonomous, self-piloting capabilities" as early as 2018.
"The goal is not to remove the freedom or adventure of riding a motorcycle," DOT spokesperson Melvin P. Meyers insisted, "but rather to create harmony on the roads between two and four-wheeled vehicles, and avoid the sorts of accidents that claim many lives every year."
Meyers outlined an easily retrofittable suite of electronics that mimic the technologies currently found in some automobiles. "By using a combination of GPS trackers, sonar and laser waves, lean angle sensors, and electronic throttle and gyroscopic turn instigators linked to a single decision-making ECU, we will be able to overcome the multi-level risks of riding and create crashproof motorcycles that promise to make two-wheeled transportation virtually 100 percent risk free."
DOT and NHTSA documents totalling 831 pages outline plans for the unprecedented enforcement of two-wheeled autopilot systems, and cite extensive government trials using rhesus monkeys on miniaturized motorcycles that have already proven the system is all but failsafe. Nonetheless, the government statements were rapidly met by opposition from the Motorcycle Industry Council, the American Motorcyclist Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP, and the Humane Society of the United States.
Meyers, a controversial figure who has stood behind movements ranging from a ban on potentially distracting chrome trim to the incorporation of mandatory gyroscopic stabilizers on all production motorcycles, could not be reached for a statement. However, it is possible that a grassroots movement led by passionate riders interested in preserving their right to take full control of their bikes might be able to kill this government mandate, and bring control back to where it belongs: in their right hand throttle grip.*
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* Especially given today's date: April 1.
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