Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Ladies, are you ready for a garage party?

Motorcycles, News you can use

As an avid motorcycle enthusiast,
I am thrilled that Harley-Davidson has proclaimed March 2010 to be National Garage Party Month with special events planned all across the country especially for women. 

Click here to search the list for Wisconsin events.

Federal study to examine motorcycle crashes


Plymouth Ambulance personnel assist a motorist following an accident between a car and motorcycle Wednesday Sept. 9, 2009 at state Highway 67 and county Highway PP in Plymouth. Photo by Bruce Halmo/The Sheboygan Press

The good news is that over many years, the number of road fatalities has been consistently declining.

The bad news is the same can’t be said for motorcyclists. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) reports that approximately 5,300 motorcycle riders died in roadway crashes during 2008 accounting for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, with about 96,000 injured.

Nationwide from 1997 through 2008, motorcycle rider fatalities increased from 2,116 to 5,290, a 150 percent increase. Last year, as motorcycle fatalities increased, all other vehicle types saw reductions in fatalities.

For the first time in three decades, the FHA will conduct a major study to better understand the causes of motorcycle crashes. 

As a motorcycle enthusiast, I welcome this federal effort.

Numbers provided by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for state motorcycle crashes mirror what is happening at the national level. The DOT reports:

“Using a five-year rolling average, 87 people die and 638 people are seriously injured in motorcycle crashes in Wisconsin. In 2007, 773 persons were seriously injured and 106 were killed in 2,788 reported motorcycle crashes. If you were in a motorcycle crash in 2007, you were most likely injured – only 160 cycle crashes did not result in injury. The chart above shows that 67% of the motorcycle fatalities and incapacitating injuries occur to individuals between the ages of 35 and 54 years old.”

As mentioned above, in the United States, motorcycle riders account for 14 percent of all vehicle fatalities. The DOT reports, “Motorcycle fatalities accounted for 14% of total fatalities on Wisconsin roads in 2007.”

The federal study and its findings will surely bolster Wisconsin’s successful Motorcycle Rider Education Program. 

Women love motorcycles


Because I am a Harley-Davidson rider and enthusiast, I have blogged often about motorcycles.
 A beautiful summer day and leisurely riding the back roads of Wisconsin is something I enjoy more and more every time I ride.   This summer I had to cancel out of a planned one week organized ride to New Hampshire because of a change to the senate floor schedule, and I missed the Scott Walker ride because of the senate schedule.  However, family gatherings allowed a ride to Eagle River and a ride to Wautoma and the weather was excellent. 
Female riders are no longer a novelty.

Marc Lachapelle has written a piece for MSN Autos about the growing phenomenon of women and motorcycles. Lachapelle writes:

Women now own 12.3 percent of all motorcycles in the country, up from 9.6 percent in 2003. That’s a 28 percent increase in five years. To put these numbers in perspective, ownership levels were 8.2 percent in 1998 and 6.4 percent in 1990. Women also make up close to 23 percent of the entire population of motorcyclists, which was estimated at 25 million total riders nationwide for 2008. The proportion was 18 percent in 2003, for an impressive gain of about 27 percent in five years.”

Why the rise in popularity?

More than ever before, there is a wide range of motorcycles for women to choose from including various levels of size, comfort and luxury.

A greater availability of riding gear that looks and feels good is also creating a wider appeal.

Harley-Davidson has especially made an outreach to women with female-only events and workshops. The company devotes a website just for women. 

You can read more in Lachapelle’s article. Lachapelle has a keen interest in this topic.

UPDATE: Harley-Davidson rides out the tough times


Last week, I blogged about a New York Times article that said Harley-Davidson was having troubles because its baby boomer clientele was getting too old.  

My reaction was that the storied company has a history of resiliency and would rebound.

Harley-Davidson’s reaction? It responded by taking out a rather blunt, full two-page ad in Sunday’s edition of the New York Times in the form of the American flag:


Harley Davidson rides out the tough times


Read more