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A Brief History of Motorcycling: Table of ContentHomenhtsa

1885 --- First motorcycle
1903 --- Harley-Davidson Motor Company founded
1912 --- First white lines on roads
1914 --- First stop signal
1928 --- First front-wheel brakes on Harley-Davidson motorcycles met with skepticism
1939 --- First flashing turn signals
1940 --- First sealed-beam headlights
1945 --- 198,000 motorcycles registered in the U.S.
1949 --- Harley-Davidson fits hydraulic front suspension
1949 --- Honda builds its first motorcycle
1952 --- First hydraulic brakes on motorcycles
1953 --- Patent for protective helmet issued to University of Southern California (USC) Professor C. F. “Red” Lombard for energy-absorbing liner separate from the comfort padding
1953 --- Movie The Wild One released
1955 --- 450,000 motorcycles registered in the U.S.
1957 --- Snell Memorial Foundation established to create helmet performance standards
1958 --- California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers begin using helmets
1958 --- Harley-Davidson introduces rear suspension
1958 --- Over 500,000 motorcycles registered in the U.S.
1959 --- First Japanese motorcycle manufacturer (Yamaha), enters U.S. market
1962 --- 646,000 motorcycles registered in the U.S.
1962 --- “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” campaign launched
1965 --- 1.4 million motorcycles registered in the U.S.
1966 --- First ANSI Z90.1 performance standard for motorcycle helmets
1966 --- Law directing the issuance of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) enacted
1967 --- Bell Helmets introduces the first full facial-coverage helmet
1969 --- 660,000 motorcycles sold in the U.S.
1969 --- Stock motorcycles run quarter-mile in less than 13 seconds
1970 --- Movie Easy Rider released
1970 --- 1.1 million motorcycles sold in the U.S.
1970 --- 2.8 million motorcycles registered in the U.S.
1972 --- FMVSS 123 standardizes motorcycle controls
1973 --- MSF created
1974 --- FMVSS 218, Motorcycle Helmets promulgated
1974 --- 55-mph speed limit established nationwide
1975 --- 5 million motorcycles registered in the U.S.
1975 --- U.S. traffic fatalities: motorcycle occupants–3,265; passenger car occupants–37,897
1976 --- Harry Hurt begins study of motorcycle crashes at USC with NHTSA funding
1977 --- NHTSA funds rear-wheel-steering motorcycle project
1978 --- Stock motorcycles run quarter-mile in less than 12 seconds
1980 --- U.S. traffic fatalities peak: motorcycle occupants–5,144; passenger car occupants–27,449
1980 --- First International Motorcycle Safety Conference sponsored by MSF
1981 --- Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures, (referred to as the Hurt Report) released
1983 --- Stock motorcycles run quarter-mile in less than 11 seconds
1985 --- U.S. traffic fatalities: motorcycle occupants–4,564; passenger car occupants–23,212
1985 --- 5.4 million motorcycles registered and 700,000 sold in the United States
1986 --- Superbike ban proposed and defeated
1990 --- U.S. traffic fatalities: motorcycle occupants–3,244; passenger car occupants–24,092
1990 --- Second International Motorcycle Safety Conference sponsored by MSF
1991 --- First antilock brakes on motorcycles
1995 --- U.S. traffic fatalities: motorcycle occupants–2,227; passenger car occupants–22,423
1997 --- USC Head Protection Research Laboratory conducts feasibility study of updating
FMVSS 218
1997 --- U.S. traffic fatalities: motorcycle occupants–2,116; passenger car occupants–22,199
1997 --- Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development/Road Safety Committee 9 (OECD/RS 9) Technical Experts Group formed to develop common international methodology for in-depth motorcycle crash investigation
1997 --- MSF and NHTSA sponsor development of the National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety
1998 --- Stock motorcycles run quarter-mile in less than 10 seconds
1998 --- OECD common methodology first used in Bangkok, Thailand
1999 --- U.S. traffic fatalities: motorcycle occupants–2,472; passenger car occupants–20,818

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