From the Safety Officer-
This last month flew by, and I was unprepared for this month’s article. (John had to send me a reminder!) So
the first five tips are from the infamous Hells Angel, Ralph “Sonny” Barger. The rest are my random
thoughts that I am pulling out of my a**.
1) Wear proper riding gear- I value my freedom, just as most other people value theirs. So,
rather than tell you what to wear, I’ll tell you what I do. I always wear a DOT-approved full face helmet,
a leather jacket, jeans or leather chaps, boots, and gloves. You will never see me riding in
shorts and flip flops, or without a helmet, even if I’m just riding down to the corner and it’s 100 degrees
2) Don’t get complacent- Research shows the majority of motorcycle accidents take place
within a few miles of home. Take every ride seriously, even if you’re going only to the post office or
the neighborhood supermarket. (I can attest to that statement!)
3) Always be aware of your surroundings- When you ride a motorcycle, you must be conscious
of everything around you- the other traffic, the brush alongside the road that may hide a suicidal
deer or stray dog, the parked cars that may conceal a kid chasing a ball into the street. Be
aware of where you are in your lane, and look for the possible escape routes. If you see gravel or
other debris on the roadway, slow down before you reach it; never brake on the debris.
4) Don’t tailgate- Create as much safe space around you as you possibly can. The more space
between you and the other vehicle, the more time you have to react should something bad happen.
5) Don’t lose focus when traffic stops moving- Just because you’ve pulled up to a stop sign
and stopped moving doesn’t mean you’re out of danger. In fact, an all-too-common collision between
car and motorcycle involves the motorcyclist being struck from behind while sitting at a stoplight
or sign. Be aware of other vehicles even when you’re not moving, and be ready to get out of
harm’s way at all times.
6) Leave space between your bike and semi trucks- I have witnessed car tires blowing out on
the interstate, and also semi tires blowing out. NOT THE SAME! A semi blowout can launch a monster
piece of tread flying your way, easily knocking you down, or off your bike. When I lead a group,
I either try to make a lane change(put an extra lane between us), or throttle up and pass them
quickly. The force the tread comes off could easily kill you, even before you hit the ground.
7) Semi’s at intersections- If you are first in line as you approach an intersection for a left hand
turn and see a semi to your right wanting to make a left hand turn onto your street, stop well before
the white line. They may need the extra space to make the turn, and may not see the fact that their
rear trailer wheels are about to flatten you to a pancake. This is especially noticed while city driving.
8) Breaking in new tires- Many people know that new tires have a film on them from the factory
that helps the tire release from the mold. You must use caution when you start breaking in your
new tread. They will be slick, especially on wet pavement. Did you also know your tires grow during
their first 100 miles or so?! This is when the tires become tight and the bead becomes secure to the
rim. Hitting the twisties beforehand can result in massive air loss in a high speed lean-over turn. So
take those first 100+ miles easy and go for a nice country road ride.
Well, that is all I have for you folks, take heed to what I have said, or you will be the second winner,
of the first ever, “Crash Champion” trophy! (Although, I would like to get this off my workbench!)
Next month, I’ll throw you some tips on packing for that awesome road trip you want to take with
the club, with a few friends, or just solo. Ed Acree has addressed this a long time ago, plus, I have
learned a few things through trial and error.
Keep the shiny side up!