Safe Riding

Safe Riding

2006 Daytona Bike Week Fatalities

April 30, 2006
Welcome to “Behind Bars.” Catchy name, huh? Contrary to what you might think or may have heard, this doesn’t mean I’ve been in the joint. I picked the name to signify the fact that the views expressed in this column are from the perspective of someone who rides. These views are all mine. You may agree or disagree; that is what letters to the editor are for. Mostly the content of this column will convey what has been on my mind recently regarding motorcycles. As anyone who knows me can tell you, much to our Editor-in-Chief Mike’s chagrin, I am…

I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get up - How to Lift a Fallen Motorcycle

April 30, 2006
So you’ve dumped your bike and the only thing hurt is your pride. This usually happens only when there are at least a dozen or more other riders standing right there watching you...right? Your first thought may be to let out a hearty laugh and muscle your bike up as quickly as possible so you can ride off into the sunset, never be seen again. This may seem like the best thing to do at the time to save face, however, picking up your bike the wrong way can cause serious injury and put an end to your pain-free riding…

Avoiding the NO ZONE

February 28, 2006
What’s the NO ZONE? Is it the set of one of those ridiculous Capital One commercials with David Spade? How about the area around the loan officer's desk at the bank? Or is it the bar at McKeever’s when none of my pickup lines are working? Maybe, but for the purpose of this safety tip the NO ZONE is a blind spot around another vehicle where you and your motorcycle cannot be seen by its driver. There are NO ZONES around every vehicle, large or small, but the biggest NO ZONES are those around large trucks, buses, and motor homes.…

Motorcycle Police Training - How Tough is Tough?

December 31, 2005
Tuesday, October 25, 2005, I was cordially invited to attend the annual police motorcycle training for Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri officers. Jay Doleshal, training officer, and Lt. John Birkett gave me the exclusive of fighting the cold air that day to come out just west of Kansas Speedway to watch all of the riders who had just one week to obtain all of the points in this rigorous training class. When I arrived I went straight to the trailer to make my appearance and to get hot coffee and donuts. I was greeted by Jay and police…

Braking in a Corner - Is it Safe?

September 30, 2005
So…is it OK to brake when entering a corner? The technical term for this is called “trail breaking,” but unless you’re an MSF instructor you’ve probably never heard this term before. Common sense tells us that it’s better to stay off the brakes while leaning, because apply too much front brake can make the front end want to tuck, resulting in a lowside (your bike sliding out from under you) or if you apply too much rear brake, the bike will tend to upright itself and go straight, or depending on your lean angle could result in a highside (you…

Motorcycle Parking 101

August 31, 2005
Yeah, I know…you’re probably thinking, “What could be so hard about parking a motorcycle that could possibly warrant an entire article?” If you’ve been riding for years and years and have never:Tipped over while backing your bike into a parking spot.Laid your bike over because you forgot to take that pesky disc lock off your front brake or because your foot slipped on loose debris or a wet surface.Needed a little push into or out of a parking space. Had your kickstand sink into the ground or asphalt. Had your bike tampered with or stolen.…then you should probably count your…

Lane Splitting – Is it Legal, Is it Safe?

June 30, 2005
The other day, one of our readers suggested that we add lane splitting information to our Motorcycle Laws by State page. This seemed like a reasonable request, especially since I’ve been known to get stuck in rush hour traffic while on a road trip. I decided to do a little research and was a bit surprised by what I found. From what I can tell, the only state in the US that allows lane splitting is California. Why is it legal in California you may ask? Because it’s not illegal! Texas seems to be tinkering with the idea and Washington…

10 Simple Tips for Your Next Road Trip

May 31, 2005
Are you getting ready to take that big cross-country road trip to your favorite rally; or maybe you have a few weeks of vacation to burn and plan to hit the road to wherever it may take you? If so, there are a few things to keep in mind that might help make your trip even more enjoyable. Taking a long trip places different demands on you than putting around town to your favorite bike night hangouts. I’m no expert, however, I thought I’d share a few things with you that I've picked up over the past 35 years in…

LoJack Your Bike?

April 30, 2005
Fortunately, I have never had one of my motorcycles stolen (knock on chrome), but if it ever was, I would love to be able to track down the filthy scumbag who stole it before he stripped it down and sold off all the parts...wouldn't you? Well, now you can! At least in select areas of the country. After more than 17 years of tracking and recovering cars and trucks, LoJack Corporation, Westwood, Massachusetts, is entering the motorcycle market. LoJack's Stolen Vehicle Recovery System is integrated with law enforcement agencies in 22 states and more than 25 countries throughout Africa, Asia,…

Five Simple Tips for Safe Spring Riding

March 31, 2005
Now that it's springtime, and you're ready to hit the streets again, are you really ready? Just because your battery tender has kept your bike charged up all winter and the fuel stabilizer you poured in your tank shortly after that last ride has kept your gas and carburetor in good shape, doesn't mean you're mentally prepared to ride. As I'm writing this article, a report on the ten o'clock news caught my attention about a 21-year-old rider who was killed in a motorcycle accident in Independence, Missouri this morning. I missed the details, however, it's most likely the same…

Are Baby Boomer Motorcyclists Out of Control?

January 31, 2005
You may have seen the newspaper headlines and promos on TV reporting that older motorcyclists are out there riding into things and getting killed in epidemic numbers. Just search the Internet, and you’ll likely find several sites in which “safety experts” suspect inexperienced baby boomers with plenty of disposable income are buying bigger and more powerful motorcycles than they can handle. These facts seem to be backed up by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) that shows between 2002 and 2003: Motorcyclist fatalities increased from 3,270 to 3,661, a 12 percent rise. Notably, the…

Proper Body Positioning

December 31, 2004
I’m sure you’ve seen extreme racing either on TV or at the track. You know the ones I’m talking about, with the riders hanging off their machines like monkeys and dragging their knees in the corners. Although this may help riders corner on the racetrack, it's not necessarily the best body position for street riding. A more centered riding stance may not look as cool, but it will give you more confidence and control in a variety of situations. Besides, if you ride a cruiser, you can lean only so far anyway before dragging your footboard or peg. For most…

Group Riding

October 31, 2004
Few things are more impressive than a large group of motorcycles cruising down the road in formation. On the flipside, few things are as unimpressive as seeing a group of motorcycles heading down the road with no clue what they are doing. You know the ones I’m talking about; the leader is often in the right-hand side of the lane, everyone is riding side-by-side, or there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for their formation.For many riders, including yours truly, motorcycling is a social activity, and riding with friends in a group can be one of the most…

Target Fixation

September 30, 2004
Where did we leave off? Oh yeah, so you want to be a good rider? Well, let's discuss a few things that I highlighted in the last issue. We talked about the press theory, remember? This was the correct way to turn your motorcycle under speed. It's all coming back, isn't it? Good. Let's move on to another very basic theory I like to call, "Please look where you are going for heaven's sake!" OK, so you remember how to press on the bar in your direction of travel, now we need to add some head turn. Remember this; if…

Safe Riding Tips

August 31, 2004
So, you want to be a good rider, huh? Let’s drop the “Sermon on the Mount” preaching that you normally get from this type of article and be a little more realistic. I’m a young feller and not much into preaching. I'm also not going to tell you what to wear or get into some helmet debate on right to decide, or help you find 'Zen' when you’re out there riding. I want to talk about how you ride, and give some helpful tips along the way. Hopefully something will interest you, and may help save your life someday. First…

Motorcycle Safety Tips

July 31, 2004
Proper Riding Gear - Whenever you ride always wear your proper riding gear which includes a helmet (DOT approved or better), eye protection (face shield, goggles or shatter resistant full coverage glasses), long sleeved shirt or jacket, full fingered gloves, long pants (denim or leather), and over the ankle boots or sturdy shoes with non skid soles. You'll be more comfortable, safer and ultimately enjoy riding even more.Pre-Inspection & Maintenance - In addition to the pre-ride inspection you should know how to do minor maintenance and service on your motorcycle, especially important on long rides and trips. Be sure to…

Motorcycle Safety Checklist

June 30, 2004
The following are general recommendations and guidelines. For specific information, refer to your owner's manual or ask your dealer or a qualified mechanic.__Make sure your headlights, taillights, turn signals, horn and brake lights are working properly. __Check all fluid levels (fuel, oil, hydraulic, coolant) and make sure they are at the proper levels or adequate for the ride. __Inspect for loose spokes, if applicable, wheel alignment and play, and your tires for wear and proper inflation. __If your bike is chain driven, check it for proper tension. Rule of thumb is about 3/4 inch of free play. __Make sure your…

Keeping it Safe – An Interview with Traffic Officer Ken Buck of the Gladstone P.D.

April 30, 2004
Have you ever dreamed of a job that paid you for riding a motorcycle? I recently had a chat with someone who has such a job. His ride is a beautiful blue Harley-Davidson Road King with lots of extra lights and special radio equipment. He’s Traffic Officer Ken Buck, and he’s been with the Gladstone Police Department for 25 years. One of his chief concerns is to make the streets safer for all of us whether we are riding or driving, and he takes that responsibility very seriously. Obedience to traffic laws will have the double benefit of increasing our…

Be Safe, Be Insured!

March 31, 2004
Doesn’t it seem odd to pay for something you hope you never have to use? With the price of today’s motorcycles and the increased cost in medical care, although many view insurance as a necessary evil, when you need it, you’re really glad you have it! Most riders don’t think about insurance until after they’ve had an accident or their bike has been stolen, however, nothing gives you more peace of mind than knowing you, your passenger, and your bike are fully covered in case something happens. Therefore one of the first things you do when you buy a new…
Page 3 of 4