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N/A | National Are we getting it completely wrong?

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by PhilC, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. Like many here, I read the submissions made to government, I see the statistics and I see the dreadful adverts explaining what an awful burden we are on society.

    I see statistics quoted telling me that more than two thirds of motorcyclists support mandatory safety gear. That most of us don't think we'll get caught speeding. That 212% of us would like to ride padded Vespa's. (OK, I made up the last one)

    I've also seen the discussions here with the advice "Don't talk to them. Don't take part in their studies. Don't fill out the surveys."

    We know why this advice is given and it makes some sense. The questions are biased and leading, the tests are designed to yield a pre-determined conclusion, the pseudo science would make Adam and Jamie wince.

    But, I want to pose this question seriously. Are we getting it completely wrong?

    Are we the people that don't vote and then biatch about the politicians? Is it possible that in trying to take the high ground, we're condemning ourselves to be covered in mud by the only people slinging it?

    We know motorcyclists have many factions and sub-factions. I wonder if the biggest faction* is the one sitting silent. How many road-riding, 25 to 40 year old, moderately sane riders are being drowned out by those that have the time and inclination to talk to people like TAC?

    I know some of you will be sick of stating your case, cut & paste if you like, but I'd really like to see it given some thought and if worthy, debate; in the hope that whatever we feel the best course of action to be, more of us take it.

    * I'm not actually saying that statistically this is the largest group, or that this is the only group that should respond. Just making an un-verified observation about who a silent and significant number might be.
  2. You've posed a couple of really important questions Phil. I'll sit on my answers for a while as I've been done this path before. I'm curious to see what others have to say.
  3. Phil, that's a really good observation, and you may well be right. Unfortunately, there's history. The lesson is that the more people they can talk to, the greater legitimacy they can claim. The more data they can gather, the more they can cherry pick. The more opinions they have to work with, the more likely they are to find bits and pieces that support their agenda.

    A democracy can be run to give power over the people to the people, or, it can be run to give the appearence of that, while really being nothing but a veneer over dictatorship. If experience tells you the players can't be trusted and the system is broken, the only winning strategy is don't play.
  4. MUARC and the like produce papers with an agenda. If they have no data, or no input from riders, then at least the papers can be called unrepresentative or flawed.

    Giving them data when they have an agenda doesn't seem very smart?
  5. I guess the problem is that even if we answer surveys muarc and the tac are very good at misrepresenting stats to the suit their agenda. It's not science when you've come to a conclusion before doing research and you're cherry picking data.
  6. So, two thirds of motorcyclists support being pantsed by TAC/VicPol on the side of the road ... how else are they going to check if you're wearing kevlar longjohns under your jeans if that's what you choose?

    Pockets aren't deep enough. :-s Holeproof's echidna may have its work cut out, "Sic 'em Rex".
  7. Since I don't live in VIC and haven't really been riding that many years, I ask these questions in search of genuine answers, they're questions I'm asking of myself as I consider these issues.

    It appears to me that these organisations have little problem in claiming the legitimacy of their data at the moment, am I wrong? Are people currently able to discredit it based on sample size / bias?

    Would the information collected in any survey be available prior to spin under a freedom of information law?

    Are the only ones getting the message and refusing to play, the ones that could potentially add some sense and balance to these surveys?

    As a separate thought, how many people would respond to a survey that was put together by motorcyclists aimed at producing actual usable data?
  8. One of the critcisms of the muarc is that they don't release their raw data, so the legitimacy of the figures can't be questioned.

    For all we know they use a small sample size. For all we know they dismiss some of the data for illigitimate reasons.
  9. OK, it took me a while to understand your point, but I'm here now.

    No it doesn't work like that. There is more than enough evidence that MUARC/TAC start with a goal and then work backwards to create an shell of evidence to support it. Many of us have tried to turn them around over a long time (I participated in studies for a while, until I saw what was done with them) but it doesn't matter what you show them, all the stats get turned upside down to fit their agenda. They will twist the results no matter how many people participate.

    The only way forward is to work with non-hostile research organisations to provide an alternative source of data, and little by little encourage Vicroads and government to do the same.
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  10. As you know Phil I like to split things down into black and white to help bring them into better focus. So like your question above I consider things from the perspective of two sides, even the truth is more complex than that.

    So given that as a starting point I'll split the problem down like this...
    We have two teams playing on the field, motorcyclists verses the beige.

    Motorcyclists we know about. The beige are a different animal altogether.

    The beige feel they need saving from themselves. They believe the propaganda being spun out of places like Muarc and the TAC. The beige don't believe they THEMSELVES are the problem, but they believe those agencies must act to address the problem. The beige will happily sell off other people's freedoms without really understanding that in doing so theirs are lost as well.

    Before ten years ago their were only Motorcyclists. Our ranks have swelled and almost doubled since then, and we now have the beige within our ranks.

    The Us verses Them mentality was neatly defined in the past. Now it's turned in to Us verses Us and we're experiencing the problems this is causing.

    You're 100% correct, if Motorcyclists don't answer these surveys the beige will. But then we can't possibly answer these surveys without playing into their hands regardless. So the answer is the fight is to be fought somewhere else.

    Are we getting it completely wrong? We have been yes, and a lot of damage has been done because of it.

    Can we recover from past mistakes? Well that remains to be seen. That's going to take a lot of motorcyclists who are being bluffed into their game to come out and play. That's where our focus needs to be.
  11. The problem is over-simplicity. If a measure of success isn't a single value that represents that is easily consumed by the media then it's not going to get coverage. So pollies focus on the death toll as a measure of their success because it seems to represent how good they are/how bad the opposition are. Wanting to appease their overlords, the policy makers and government departments do their utmost to make this one statistic as good as possible. The fact that we over-contribute to this statistic makes us a target.

    It also mixes with the growth of the risk-adverse "nanny state" that seeks to remove personal responsibility by continuously tightening rules that target the lowest common denominator.

    Both of these are hard to fight against as they are very strongly embedded. The best we can do is clarify the facts (% of registered riders injured or killed has dropped significantly) into an equally consumable sound-bite and feed it to the media/pollies.
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  12. Indeed. But riders have given no resistance to the spin factory whatsoever to date.

    ...and they'll keep marching forward until they hit resistance. So the outcome still rests with the riders.
  13. I was going to produce a survey like that, and use the results to rebuff some of the other surveys I've seen. But a funny thing started to happen .... I started to reverse engineer the questions. Meaning, I would think about what results I wanted, then came up with the right question to ask.

    I stoped after that because it ceased to be a proper survey.