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UPDATE September 10, 2020:
Scrutiny, then disagreement of methodology and then harsh criticism of the academic modelers from San Diego State University’s Center for Health Economics & Policy Studies arrived quickly after they published their findings in a 63-page report. The researchers sought to quantify the Sturgis Rally COVID-19 impact in South Dakota and nationwide by analyzing the (anonymous) cell-phone data of attendees.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said the study was “fiction,” and criticized journalists who reported on it.  “Under the guise of academic research, this report is nothing short of an attack on those who exercised their personal freedom to attend Sturgis,” Noem said in the statement. “Predictably, some in the media breathlessly report on this non-peer reviewed model, built on incredibly faulty assumptions that do not reflect the actual facts and data here in South Dakota.”

Media References:
USA Today
WSJ (paywall)

The Associated Press as of last week identified 290 cases from 12 states tied to the rally. Instead of looking at contact tracing and trying to identify specific people who had the disease and passed it onto others, the San Diego researchers looked at the areas that sent the most people to the rally and how case trends changed after the event.

*****

A scientific “Discussion Paper” (dp13670) was recently released referencing preliminary work, which documents the spread of COVID-19 due to a mass gathering conducted during a pandemic against the guidance of the CDC.

The document explicitly refers to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and how a single superspreading event can be leveraged to impose restrictions on future mass gatherings.

Discussion Paper Highlights:

  • The per 1,000 case rate increased by 10.7 percent after 24 days following the onset of Sturgis Pre-Rally Events.
  • A total of 263,708 additional cases due to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
    These cases represent a cost of over $12.2 billion, based on the statistical cost of a COVID-19 case of $46,000 estimated by Kniesner and Sullivan (2020).
  • The cost is enough to have paid each of the estimated 462,182 rally attendees $26,553.64 not to attend.

The document concludes that the spread of the virus due to the Sturgis Rally was large. The authors provide descriptive evidence and suggest stricter mitigation policies to limit exposure due to the behavior of non-compliant events and those who travel to them.

Photo courtesy of IZA Institute of Labor Economics Document.

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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ODOT Traffic Volume Report

Did I shower today or was that yesterday?

When did this all start? February? That feels like ancient history.

March ended without March Madness. April started with Arizona Bike Week and the Laughlin River Run being canceled.  May graduations were canceled.  Friday happy hours have been called off indefinitely.  For those who still remain employed, but working from home, daily cues like commuting, rush hour traffic and socializing after work have disappeared

Workdays blur together, and weekends are just weekdays with fewer obligations. I know I’m not going out today so, it’s just, every day is today.

The good news…

On all major interstates in the Portland metro area, traffic is down 46% from levels last year, according to a report compiled by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Interstates 5, 405, 84 and 205 are all seeing significant traffic declines. For example, average speeds on I-5 northbound during what used to be the afternoon rush hour were up to 60 miles per hour in the most recent week of figures. Back during the week of March 1, the average rush hour speed there was 33 mph.

I-5, in particular, is seeing the most significant declines of metro-area freeways. The average weekend traffic was down 64% for the most recent full week of data available (March 30-April 5). State officials compiled the data from 38 traffic monitoring locations across 13 freeways and highways in Oregon.

The number of car crashes has plummeted due to lower traffic volumes.  However, evidence is beginning to emerge that absent traffic jams during the coronavirus crisis, many drivers are getting more reckless.

Speaking of reckless…

Pavel Vasilyevich Krechko

The latest example in Portland, Oregon happened on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 at 3:34 p.m., East Precinct officers responded to the intersection of Southeast 148th Avenue / Southeast Powell Boulevard on a report of a traffic crash involving a motorcyclist.

Investigators learned that the suspect, Pavel Vasilyevich Krechko (19-year-old), was involved in a minor traffic crash on Southeast Powell Boulevard just west of Southeast 148th Avenue and was fleeing from that traffic crash when he then crashed into a motorcycle head-on killing Brandon Cody Reid (32-year-old).

Krechko, fled the scene immediately (a 2nd time!) after the crash and abandoned his vehicle.  Investigators responded to Krechko’s residence in Troudale, Oregon where he was taken into custody about an hour later. Krechko initially denied being involved in either crash, and said his car had been stolen a few hours earlier. But, police said he eventually confessed to crashing and fleeing both scenes.

Krechko was arrested and booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on one count of Manslaughter in the Second Degree, one count of Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver (felony), one count of reckless driving, and one count of Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver (misdemeanor).

Now for the MOST important part of this post, which should wipe away that stupid smile on Mr. Krechko’s booking photo!

Senate Bill 810 became effective January 1, 2020.  It was signed into law back in June, 2019, and modifies the definition of “vulnerable user of a public way” to include persons operating or riding on a moped or motorcycle.  The law (801.608, “Vulnerable user of a public way”) enhances penalties for motorists who kill or injure motorcyclists, as well as other vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, highway workers or bicyclists.

It is very distressing to write about this type of idiotic negligence.  My hope is that Oregon taking this important step to protect motorcycle riders by significantly enhancing the penalties against careless and criminally negligent drivers will slow down people making bad choices.

Photos courtesy of ODOT and Portland Police Bureau

Oregon Crash Statistics & Reports    |    Invest in yourself and Stay Sharp HERE!

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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Is Harley-Davidson committed to lending a hand?

It’s not obvious that Harley-Davidson execs realized their normal marketing plans will no longer cut it as COVID-19 overtakes nearly every facet of American life!

I’m not talking about an empty kumbaya ‘Let’s Ride’ sentiment.  Clearly, the typical messaging in the motorcycle marketplace isn’t going to work the same way as prior to the WW coronavirus pandemic.

Stating the obvious, one would think that Harley-Davidson would play into the motor company’s more than 116-year history and remind consumers how the company has responded during world wars and during previous disasters in America.  While buying or servicing your motorcycle may not be top-of-mind at the moment, offering up some type of payment relief program to consumers affected by this disaster would not only provide some peace of mind to customers, it would reaffirm that the motor company is really focusing on the consumer health situation vs. self-serving attention in suspending U.S. production to disinfect manufacturing equipment and pulling financial guidance for wall street.

Digital Advert — ‘Breathe’ by Droga5

The last significant digital advert (‘Breathe‘ — February 10, 2020), by Droga5, was a message of the outdoors and the experience of riding in a world that is humdrum.

In case you missed it, the world is no longer humdrum…  Droga5 should waive client fees for ‘pivoting’ H-D creative and media to be more reflective of the current situation.

Where is Harley-Davidson marketing?  Not only to pivot the current creative, but how about immediately trying to get a little bit of free publicity via “specially curated images” for video conference backdrops. Spitballing here… It’s important to be reassuring right now and not try to say to people ‘Rush into your Harley dealership for a sales event.

Where is the Harley-Davidson Foundation, the philanthropic organization of Harley-Davidson Inc.?  Where is Harley-Davidson Credit?  How about offering a program giving new motorcycle buyers very low-to-zero percent financing and the option to delay their first payment for 90 days?  Where is Harley-Davidson Service?  Maybe provide free service or reduced costs for people who only have a motorcycle for transportation?  And lastly, where is the “We’re With You Every Step” inspirational statement from the United Steelworkers and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers’?

The COVID-19 pandemic is producing economic and social disruptions not seen before, and major industries have already felt the impact. People aren’t buying as much stuff. People are getting laid off. Despite government reassurances, the anxiety of closed businesses and lost employment and wages weigh heavy on people.

But, lets bring it back to the local situation in the northwest.

As of this morning, March 30th, the Coronavirus situation is:
Oregon: 13 deaths, 548 cases — Oregon numbers
Washington: 195 deaths, 4,896 cases — Washington numbers
United States: 2,600 deaths, 143,532 cases — U.S. numbers

While not essential for health, sustenance, shelter, and hygiene—it’s time for Harley-Davidson to step up and find a way to exist, operate, and communicate in ways that offer one of some combination of help, hope, and entertainment.

To Be Fair:  It is important to note that Harley-Davidson, it’s dealership network and the Harley-Davidson Foundation have made significant charitable contributions over the years.  From donating motorcycles to the Haitian Earthquake to funding Red Cross for the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and to natural disasters in the U.S. like hurricane Florence.

Photos courtesy of Harley-Davidson

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