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Gas Tank Locks
Subtle safety feature

By: James R. Davis

It's clear that the lock on your gas tank serves to prevent anyone from adulterating or from siphoning out its contents. But how do you explain the fact that many systems are designed such that you cannot remove the key from that lock while the gas cap is open?

There are two fundamental reasons:
  1. The key in this kind of system cannot be dropped into the tank
  2. The key in this kind of system cannot be inserted into the ignition switch while the tank is open

Of course we don't want to drop a key into the tank, but why should we be concerned about the ignition switch?
  1. It prevents you from leaving the gas cap back at the service station
  2. It prevents you from turning on the electronics while the tank is open

Of course we don't want to leave the gas cap behind, but what's wrong with listening to some tunes while we add gas to the bikes?

The subtle safety feature I'm reaching for is that this kind of system keeps you from doing something stupid like using your CB radio while sitting in the middle of a cloud of gasoline vapor. Gasoline vapor is explosive!

It is at least curious to me that you can spend $20,000 for a motorcycle that does not include a gas tank lock designed to hold onto the key until you are finished adding that gasoline while many (most?) less expensive bikes do.

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(James R. Davis is a recognized expert witness in the fields of Motorcycle Safety/Dynamics.)

A plea for your help