NEW YORK (Fortune) — According to aftermost Friday’s New York Times, Honda is aiming to be accepted as the assurance company. Honda, says the Times,”is announcement assurance as an capital allotment of its accessible image” and “wants to accompany Volvo as an automaker best accepted for safety.”
If cars abandoned are the criteria, Honda (Charts) absolutely qualifies. It endless up its cartage with airbags and antilock brakes, and wins aerial marks from government and absolute appraisement agencies for blast protection.
But Honda doesn’t accomplish aloof cars. It additionally produces backyard mowers, outboard motors, jet skis, and on-road and off-road motorcycles.
Sales of off-road motorcycles – added bargain accepted as clay bikes or aisle bikes – are soaring, added than acceleration back 1999 to 318,000 in 2005. Among the above players, alone Honda is a big agency in autos. The others – Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki – are primarily motorcycle manufacturers.
Honda makes eight dirt-bike models alignment in admeasurement from 50 cc to 450 and absolutely markets them to children. It abstracts that “the youngest riders in the family, those about 6 years old” are aloof the appropriate age to cut their teeth on a 50 cc bike. Their anxiety can blow the arena back they are built-in and they are accommodating abundant to accomplish the automated clutch. Riders “a year or two older” are accounted ideal barter for the 70 cc bike. The 80 cc adaptation “is advised accurately for adolescent learners” and “offers the aing analytic footfall up.” And so on.
Put a adolescent or adolescent boyhood on a motorbike and assumption what happens? The aforementioned affair that is consistently accident to accouchement and teenagers: They accept accidents. Thousands of them. The Consumer Product Assurance Commission, which collects abstracts on emergency allowance visits by off-road bikers, counted 67,609 in 2005. Nearly bisected of the visits – 27,525 – were by accouchement 16 years and younger. These were added than bumps and bruises. Added than one-third of the cases absorb fractures and centralized injuries.
Deaths are attenuate but they can occur. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 13 off-road motorcycle riders beneath the age of 20 died in off-road accidents in 2003. Is it any admiration that the CDC says “Motorcycle crashes are a abundant accessible bloom botheration for accouchement and teens.”
What’s Honda accomplishing about this? It publishes brochures on safe riding, urges bikers to booty lessons, and encourages the cutting of careful gear, including helmets, goggles, boots, and bend and knee pads. How able all this is unclear. Off-road riders are not accountant so there is no claim that they comply. And accustomed the cardinal of helmetless developed riders apparent in non-helmet states like Connecticut, it isn’t adamantine to brainstorm adolescent off-roaders afterward their archetype by activity helmetless too.
Honda positions dirt-bikes as a fun-for-the-whole-family sport. It pictures adolescent bikers benumbed abaft their parents in accurate curve at apathetic speeds. But accepting Mom and Dad forth for the ride gets old afterwards awhile, and parents aren’t consistently accessible back Junior wants to saddle up. Besides, they would apparently frown on efforts to imitate the motocross racers on TV by aerial off of all-overs and rounding corners with one bottom skidding on the dirt.
So what’s activity to accumulate adolescent motorbike riders out of the ER? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents not acquiesce accouchement to ride motorcycles until they ability the age of 16 and that all riders abrasion helmets. That would be a start. A added bashful admeasurement would be for Honda and added manufacturers to stop business motorcycles for accouchement by attached the admeasurement of the bikes they advertise to over 250 cc.
There is a antecedent for manufacturers to exercise restraint. In 1987 Honda and added makers accomplished a accord decree with the Consumer Product Assurance Commission to stop affairs little three-wheel all-terrain cartage accepted as ATVs, which are alike added alarming than clay bikes. If Honda absolutely wants to be accepted as the assurance company, it should do article like that with its adolescent motorcycles too.
10 Green Giants: Honda
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