July 23, 2007 – Hot News

Industry to Commit $2.8 million in Support of New Crash Research
The new Motorcycle Crash Causation Study has sparked interest and assistance from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) — $2.8 million in funding, which will go to the Oklahoma Transportation Center.
The industry’s attention to motorcycle safety remains evident as its contribution represents 30 percent more than the dollar for dollar match of federal funding required by the Transportation Reauthorization bill (SAFETEAS-LU) enacted in 2005, according to a MSF press release.
“We hope that this new field research, the first definitive crash causation study to be done in the United States in almost 30 years, will shed new light on the causes of crashes on our nation’s highways,” said Motorcycle Safety Foundation President Tim Buche in the June 29 release. “Knowledge gained from this study might help all of us concerned with rider safety to develop even more effective countermeasures to enhance the safety of motorcyclists everywhere. We believe (Oklahoma State University) will provide the strong management and oversight needed for such an important study.”
“We are extremely pleased that the industry has provided such generous funding, which is beyond what was initially thought would be needed for the research,” said Samir Ahmed, professor of civil engineering and principal investigator for the study at Oklahoma State University. “We appreciate the leadership the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has shown in making this study possible.”
Honda Engineer Receives Safety Award
Honda’s Satoshi Iijima was recently recognized for his contributions to improving vehicle safety by being chosen as the recipient of a United States government award for Safety Engineering Excellence.
The award was presented at the 20th International Technical Conference on Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (ESV) held in Lyon, France on June 18.
Iijima, a development engineer, was honored for his extensive efforts of more than 30 years of research on motorcycle crash safety, and development of new motorcycle safety devices, highlighted by the launch of Honda’s specialized airbag system for motorcycles.
Iijima’s team began its research into motorcycle airbag systems in 1990. His research findings on motorcycle airbag technologies have been presented at international conferences on many occasions, and his dedicated efforts have made a large contribution to the enhancement and improvement of motorcycle technologies related to the crash safety field.
The motorcycle airbag system was introduced for the first time on a production motorcycle in 2006 when it was integrated into Honda’s flagship luxury touring model, the 2007 GL1800 GoldWing.
ESV is one of the world’s leading conferences for vehicle safety discussion. It is a forum that brings together researchers, engineers and government officials worldwide.
May a Down Month for JAMA Exports and Production
The Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association reported that motorcycle production and exports were down slightly in May among the big four: Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki.
The companies produced 124,641 units in May, down nearly 1,000 units, or 0.7 percent, from the same month of the previous year. It was the second consecutive month production numbers dropped.
Exports were recorded at 72,240 units for May, a decrease of 11 percent compared with the same month of the previous year. This is the first decrease of exports after four months of upturn.
Family PowerSports Acquires Fifth Store in Texas
Family PowerSports has expanded as Texas’ largest volume motorcycle/ATV group as it bought Longhorn PowerSports of Weatherford, Texas, on June 29, according to a Family PowerSports press release.
The new store will specialize in Yamaha and Suzuki motorcycles and ATVs. Family PowerSports Weatherford is among three stores that sell exclusively motorcycles and ATVs. The other two locations carry motorcycles, ATVs, personal watercraft and boats. Morris Baker, owner of Family PowerSports, started his business in 1996 with the acquisition of Honda Polaris of Lubbock. During the past 11 years, Baker has bought four more existing dealerships, renamed them Family PowerSports and has become the largest volume motorcycle dealer in Texas.
Polaris Makes Contribution to Military Families
Polaris Industries has come forward to assist families of those serving in the military.
Part of the proceeds Polaris makes from all ATV sales in June and July will be donated to the Armed Forces Foundation, which aids U.S. military families. Military personnel often use Polaris ATVs during their service, so the company wanted to help out military families as a thank you for their service.
The month-to-date and year-to-date graphics in the “Year 2007 vs. year 2006: Where are we sales-wise?” column in the July 2 edition were transposed. We regret the error. psb

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