Safe Riding

Safe Riding

When Enough is Enough

May 31, 2009
Whether its beer, wine or “hard liquor,” there is one truth that applies to all: When we drink, we are affected. No one can take a drink without being affected. What’s intriguing about alcohol is how people of the same gender are affected differently depending on their body weight. Men and women are affected differently, of course. But even within their respective genders, body weight is a tremendous variable in how much (or little) someone can drink before impairment begins and eventually legal impairment. In Canada, bartenders are trained to make an estimate of a person’s body weight so that…

Your Riding Temperature

April 30, 2009
Ever wonder what the temperature of your ride really feels like? As soon as you start moving through the air on a motorcycle, the temperature you experience and what you see on a thermometer are different. So different, that once you hit 30 mph, the temperature you’re experiencing is a full 12 degrees less than what you see on the bank clock. After 30 mph, your riding temperature continues to decrease 2 degrees for every 10 mph. So, by the time you reach 70 mph, your riding temperature is a full 20 degrees less than what you’ll see on the…

Accident Insurance for Motorcyclists – Are You Covered?

April 30, 2009
It happens frequently throughout the year and the effects range from minor to devastating. I am talking about accidents. Because of the inherent dangers associated with riding a motorcycle, riders tend to be much more aware of what is going on around them than the average driver. Therein lies the issue. Too often a good rider goes down to an oblivious driver blowing through a stop sign, impulsively changing lanes, or turning onto the street into the path of a motorcycle. If you have ridden for any period of time, you know someone who has been a victim of a…

No Lies

March 31, 2009
There are no lies on a motorcycle. It’s one of the most honest places in the world. It’s totally vulnerable—visually and physically—and a place where people act on a sort of referendum about humanity. Riding is the unspoken assertion that life and its elements should be embraced and not shielded by the container of a four-wheeled vehicle. What maintains us when we ride is balance. Physically, of course, but the greatest balance we exercise comes when our emotions are invoked. For example, when someone wants to race, a tailgater appears, a car darts into our lane or even when we…

Buzz Without the Beer

February 28, 2009
It’s the buzz without a beer, and a motorcyclist’s number one cause for fear. Studies as early as 2006 have consistently shown that automobile drivers talking on a cell phone are as “impaired” as someone driving with a blood alcohol content level of .08—the legal limit for intoxication. Hands-free headsets don’t reduce the danger, either. The reason cell phone drivers are the equivalent of legally drunk drivers occurs for one obvious and one subtle reason. The obvious reason is that a cell-phone driver is simply distracted, and an estimated 25% of all police-reported accidents are due to in-car distractions. The…

Taking a Crash Course - Accident Scene Management

January 31, 2009
Motorcycle accidents happen. It’s an unfortunate fact of life. When someone goes down, it makes a huge difference if there is someone on the scene who is qualified to take charge and manage the situation until Emergency Medical Services (EMS) help arrives. Quick response by trained bystanders can help keep a bad situation from becoming a tragic one by effectively dealing with accident victims’ injuries and preventing further injury to victims and rescuers.Inspired by a program presented by Dick “Slider” Gilmore, Vicki Roberts-Sanfelipo, RN/EMT, established Accident Scene Management, Inc. (ASMI) in 1996 to provide Bystander Assistance Community Education to motorcyclists.…

When Riding, Watch Your Step

October 31, 2008
Following open-heart surgery to replace my defective aortic valve, I was advised that I should put motorcycle riding on hold for a period of at least three months. The concern was that if my bike started to fall while stopped, I would instinctively try to hold it up and could re-split my breastbone that was being held together by wires during the healing process. When I resumed riding, I became ultra-aware of any circumstances that might result in the bike falling. It occurred to me that such situations are common and present a risk to any rider, not just one…

Safety in Numbers-Group Riding Part 2

April 30, 2008
In last month’s Cycle Connections Safe Riding column, I shared some group riding tips that were presented at a seminar I attended at Gail's Harley-Davidson in Grandview, Missouri. The session was presented by former chapter Head Road Captain Bob Rippy and featured a 15-minute video produced by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. A 10-minute excerpt from the video can be viewed on You Tube . The focus of last month’s column was pre-ride preparations. This month, we’ll cover a few ideas to make your ride safer as the group hits the road.Riding FormationRather than riding side by side, it is much…

Safety in Numbers - Group Riding Tips

March 31, 2008
It’s often said there is safety in numbers, and it’s an indisputable fact that a group of motorcycles has much greater visibility than an individual bike. However, there is a different set of risks inherent in group riding that must be addressed in order to maximize safety for every member of the group.The staff and management of Gail's Harley-Davidson in Grandview, Missouri, are strong believers in motorcycle safety through education. In association with the American Heartland Chapter of the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.), the dealership regularly hosts seminars that are open to the public and cover a broad range of…

MSF Basic RiderCourse – A Student’s Perspective

April 30, 2007
To get a student’s perspective on what it’s like to take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic RiderCourse (BRC), I decided to interview a student who had recently completed the course. Terry completed her BRC on Sunday, April 29, and I conducted the following interview with her later that same day. CC: Did you have any riding experience prior to taking the Basic RiderCourse (BRC)? Terry:Yes, I rode dirt bikes, three-wheelers and ATVs when I was younger, but it’s been at least 20 years since I last rode. CC: Had you taken any rider training courses prior to the BRC?…

Rolling Wheels Training Center - Kansas City, Missouri

April 30, 2007
Clarence and Pat Wildes and their team of MSF RiderCoaches have been teaching students to ride since November 2003. I had the opportunity to visit Rolling Wheels Training Center on two separate occasions and observed students completing the riding portion of their Basic RiderCourse (BRC). Rolling Wheels is located in a strip center at Noland Road and 40 Highway, and a large section of the parking lot is blocked off to create the riding range where students get to practice what they learned in the classroom. Their facility has two classrooms, which enables them to train up to 24 students…

Midwest Motorcycle Training Center (MMTC) - Olathe, Kansas

April 30, 2007
I recently had an opportunity to visit with Stan and Elaine Rogers, owners of Midwest Motorcycle Training Center (MMTC) in Olathe, Kansas. Their classroom is located inside the Great Mall of the Great Plains, and their riding range is located in the parking lot behind the mall. During my initial visit I went inside the mall to check out their classroom. I’d never been inside the Great Mall of the Great Plains before, but this has to be one of the nicest malls in the Kansas City area. As you stroll past the movie theater and food court, this seems…

Maple Woods MSF RiderCourses - Kansas City, Missouri

April 30, 2007
According to Michelle Sprague, Community Education Coordinator, Metropolitan Community College – Maple Woods, has been providing Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) classes for more than 15 years, and was the first permanent MSF training site in the state of Missouri. They currently have 20 RiderCoaches who teach on a regular basis. Michelle told me they train approximately 375 students each year, and over the past three years, the male/female student ratio is 37% female and 63% male with a success rate of approximately 98%. The maximum class size for their Basic RiderCourse (BRC) and Experienced RiderCourse (ERC) is 12 students. To…

Learning to Ride - The Right Way

March 31, 2007
Do you remember the first time you rode a motorcycle on your own? Were you a kid, adolescent, adult? Were you excited, scared, or maybe a little of both? Did you take a rider training course or did a friend or family member show you the basics and then turn you loose? I remember the first time I rode a motorcycle, or I guess I should say a mini bike. It was the summer of 1969, and I was 8 years old. I can still remember the excitement as my dad lifted the shiny blue Honda Mini Trail 50 out…

Road Rage - Don't Let Your Anger Put You at Risk

February 28, 2007
If you frequently or even occasionally ride in traffic, it is a safe bet that there has been a time when another motorist has done something that made you angry. Maybe you were being followed too closely. Perhaps you were forced into another lane or even onto the shoulder of the highway. The natural reaction in such situations is to instantly become very angry at the person who seems to have so little regard for your well-being. The way you deal with your anger could become a matter of life or death.Several years ago, I was riding with a small…

Country Riding

August 31, 2006
In a lot of ways fall is my favorite riding season. The summer heat is a memory and crisp morning rides on rural roads are now on the menu. Stephanie and I live in the far northern reaches of Platte County near Edgerton, Missouri. Edgerton is the home of Harmers Café, a favorite meeting spot for riders travelling our scenic two-lane blacktops. On any given weekend morning there are plenty of riders on our roads yet when autumn gets here, the numbers increase dramatically. I grew up in a rural area and have logged tens of thousands of miles on…

Share the Road - A View of Iowa's Program

July 31, 2006
While attending the Freedom Rally at Algona, Iowa, I had the opportunity to meet and interview Mr. Wayne Wierson, Share the Road Coordinator for A.B.A.T.E. of Iowa. CC: Wayne, please talk about what the Share the Road Program is and what you do.Wayne: Share the Road is a program aimed at drivers and future drivers about being aware of motorcycles. We talk to drivers’ education students about watching out for motorcycles, why we ride in the portions of the lanes that we do, the differences between cars and motorcycles, the reason we wear certain types of clothing. We basically want…

Live to Ride, Ride to Live...Tomorrow

July 31, 2006
Welcome back everybody. I mentioned last month that a column on drinking and riding was coming your way, so, here it is. I will start out with a little disclaimer. When I am out riding I usually have a few beers. Sometimes I get flat hammered. The bottom line is I don’t get back on the scooter until I know I am OK to ride. I know, I know—you’re thinking I am full of crap. Well, you are wrong. My lovely wife Stephanie bought us a slick little piece of equipment last year off eBay that I highly recommend. I…

Group Riding Etiquette

June 30, 2006
This month I am going to touch on the subject of group rides. I have to admit, for the last several years I have made it a point on most group rides, to ride in a small group of people I know. The comfort of knowing how others around you will react in certain situations is something I have taken for granted until last weekend. As some of you know, the Adrenaline Extreme Combat Fight For Kids ride was held last weekend. I was nominated to be road captain without my knowledge, however, since I have led rides before so…

Reader Feedback on 2006 Daytona Bike Week Fatalities

May 31, 2006
Welcome back to those of you who I didn’t piss off last month. I was gonna talk about drinking and riding this month, along with all the little things you may not know about the DWI/DUI laws, but that is going to have to wait until next time. For those of you who may not have read last month’s Behind Bars column, I discussed the large number of fatalities at Daytona Bike Week this year. I received an e-mail from the daughter of one of the men who lost their life in Daytona whose name was mentioned in the list…
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