Archive for the ‘motorcycle safety’ Category

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As I write this post Harley Davidson is recalling over 200,000 motorcycles worldwide for a brake issue, and that is on top a master cylinder issue a couple years ago.  What is the going on here?

It is not just Harley Davidson, over the last couple months there has been recall after recall of motorcycles for brake issue.  Here are just a few:

Aprilia (4 models) – US NHTSA Recall Campaign Number: 17V811000

Ducati (5 models) – US NHTSA Recall Campaign Number: 17V812000

Victory (26,182 motorcycles) – US NHTSA Recall Campaign Number: 17V64700

MV Agusta (2 models) – The US NHTSA Recall Campaign Number is 17V839000

Over the past 5 years there seems to have been an ongoing issue with motorcycle brakes.  I would hope the industry is not trying to kill us as we are their customers.

MY PRESPECTIVE (totally uninformed and completely speculative) is that it is a lack of quality control by the parts supplier.  Which is compounded by a lack of a good inspection process by the builder.  Brembo and Harley both had issues with parts in the master cylinder, did it result from buying from the lowest bidder?

I think there is a real story to be told by some real motorcycle journalist out there!

With the volume of recalls out there I cannot keep up and thus do not post about recalls.  But I do suggest that you follow this suggestion, create news alerts on the make/model of the motorcycles you own with the word recall.  That way when a recall, that affects you, occurs you will know about it pretty quick.

Also, if you are in the US you can go to Safercar.Gov, enter your VIN number and see if any recalls affect your motorcycle.

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There’s nothing like setting out for open road in search of a new locale, a different straight of pavement to travel down or a destination you’ve never been to before.  What’s exciting here is the opportunity that awaits in exploring something unique and not knowing exactly where the road might take you.

When preparing for adventure road trips, it’s important to keep a note of certain things. A simple to-do list would help.  From extra layers of clothing to a supply of snacks, there are a number of things that you’re going to need along for your journey.

You obviously not like to spoil the experience because you forgot to carry your riding jacket or stuck on the way for a toolkit. Isn’t it?
Swag for every season

Because there will be nothing between you and the elements, you’ll need to be prepared for every weather condition that strikes you on the way.

Instead of heavy items that will weigh you down and take up extra space, pack synthetic fabrics like polyester or items with wicking properties that will keep you warm and dry.

You’ll want some lightweight shirts, a fleece vest or jacket, a bandana, a set of gloves, and a pair of extra pants.

It’s also important to prepare for rain and cold weather. Pack a rain suit, neck warmer, a heated jacket and extra gloves.

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Toiletries, tools & accessories

Ensure you carry some basics with you. Your ID, insurance papers and phone charger are must. A map would help, if by chance you get off the grid. You must not forget camera and a torch (ed. a Flashlight for us Americans).

Directions would still be handy even when you are fairly aware of the track. You can even install a compass on your smartphone just in case.

Carry some cash but not much. Have your credit/debit cards ready.

Not every time you would find a motel down the highway. Take your kit with essential toiletries. Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, lotion, lip balm and sunscreens, these should all be there.

You cannot ride for hours at a stretch. Your motorbike also needs a bit of rest and maintenance.

Ensure the toolkit is there with all the tools properly greased and working. An adjustable wrench, hex key, screwdriver, and an air pump can be required any time.

Helmet is the first thing that you put on before pushing the ignition button.

Although the helmet visor works well most of the time but sunglasses and night goggles are always a good idea to carry. They are almost a necessity for less predictable journeys.

Motorcycle luggage and saddlebags are other essentials.

You’re almost all bases covered stowing away these items.

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Food, medicine & extras

Items that you’re not going to use will take needless space so carefully decide on what to take and what not.  Let me give you a tip – If you decide to leave something out at the last minute, you’re more likely to need it later. So it’s worth finding some room for it.

Carry a notepad and a couple of pens to note down important events. These will also come in handy when it comes to drawing directions.

Be prepared for any illnesses. It’s not easy to locate pharmacies when out in other places. You should always carry tablets and common medicines. Nausea and headaches are common on a road trip.

When it comes to food, choose snacks that are healthy and keep you fit during the trip.

Dry organic foods can be a good option. Try and pick items that are non-greasy and spill-proof.

Keep some candies and chewing gums in your pocket. They are a great way to keep you alert. Prolonged highway riding can be monotonous. They can make you lethargic and sleepy.

It’s easy to think there will be places along the way to eat, but a few granola bars and some nuts can serve as a great option in quashing hunger.
Final items to check before you start

If you’ve got a heavy load, it’s a good idea to test it out on the road before your trip creeps up on you.

Instead of leaving it until the last minute, take a short ride with your bike packed up to determine if your luggage & racks feel right.

You may also want to give your tools a little bit of a test, especially when you have not used them in a while.

Check for air pressure, oil levels, coolant and also the brakes to avoid any malfunction on the way.

Last but not least, make sure to tightly secure and fasten your load before taking off.

So now, are we not better equipped for our next road trip? Or is there still anything missing?

Sure there would be a thing or two but what’s important is to decide whether it’s worth carrying its weight all the way.

When you’ve got the right gear and all the goods, you’ll be surprised at how limitless the road will seem.
Author Bio
Ashley is a former journalist who quit her job to pursue her wanderlust and meet new people around the globe. She always prioritize motorcycle trips. She tries to pen down her entire travelling experience and has been constant contributor to bboffroad.com.au.

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Victims of road rage know that it can be very worrying to get caught in a situation like this. You want it to be over – and you want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. How can you deal with road rage in a safe way and take action while on your motorbike if necessary? Follow the steps below. (Editor -While the post is geared for Australia, the spirt applies to anywhere you may ride – WSM)

1. Stay Calm and Don’t Engage – First off, don’t engage the person who may be yelling at you, approaching you, or even acting in a violent manner. When you stay calm and keep out of it, they have nothing to fuel their rage and it will die out. If you engage them, things may escalate, and you may even get into trouble for your own actions.

2. Find a Safe Place – You may not wish to continue riding while you are anxious and recovering from the situation, as you may be shaking or feeling distracted. However, if a motorist has stopped to shout at or threaten you, it may not be safe to stay there with them. Rather, calmly ride on until you can find a safe place to stop away from them.

3. Take Details – Take as many details as you can from the moment the incident begins. Deliberately look at and take in their face, their vehicle, what they are wearing, and their number plate if possible. This will be easier if you have a passenger seated behind you, since your attention may well be taken up with the task of driving, but notice what you can.

4. Let Them Go – Let the other motorist go by you if possible. You don’t want to have them driving alongside you or behind you for a long distance, so keep to a safe speed and let them go past. If they deliberately slow down to keep pace with you, then you should continue to drive in a manner which complies with the Australian laws of the road  (or the laws of your country/local) and also keeps you safe.

5. Make Detailed Notes – Once you are able to stop for a longer period of time, make sure that you write everything down. Make notes about what happened, including exactly what was said if you can remember it. The number plate, car make and model, and description of the other person are all very important. The quicker you get it on paper or typed into your phone, the less chance you will forget it.

6. Make a Report – If the incident was a serious one, call the police. If it was not as serious or you think you may be partly responsible for what happened, consider calling a lawyer first. They will be able to tell you whether you should make a police report and what kind of things to say if you do.

7. Seek Advice – Now, you should seek advice about what to do next. In some cases, you may be able to press charges against the other motorist, or seek damages for what they have done. In other cases, you might not be able to take it any further. Wait until you get the advice of an expert to see if there is anything you should be doing next. 

Road rage can be very serious, and even if you get away with nothing more than a shaken feeling, you should consider talking to someone in a legal capacity. Someone who gets away with road rage on a motorcyclist such as yourself may turn up the violence next time and end up seriously hurting someone.

 Sarah Kearns is a hard working mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb, BizDb.co.nz and Bizset.com, an online resources with information about businesses. She loves cooking, reading history books and writing about green living.  Her dad was a motorcyclist and he passed that passion on to her. Sarah loves to travel the world on her motorcycle and she hopes that one of her daughters will become her partner in the near future. Sarah has published other articles on IJustWant2Ride: 

Travelling Australia By Motorcycle. Guest Post By Sarah Kearns

9 Things to Consider Before Starting a Motorcycle Business Guest post by Sarah Kearns

 

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Royal Enfield has 2 new Motorcycles

Royal Enfield launches two new 650cc motorcycles, the upgraded Continental GT 650 and the Inceptor 650.  Both are using the new Royal Enfield parallel twin power plant producing 47HP.  The Continental GT continues the café racer look while the Interceptor looks more like a normal cruiser.  To me the Interceptor looks a lot like an older Honda CB.   Watch a video on the launch at EICMA, Milan.   OH, why has the Royal Enfield Himalayan not yet been released into the US?

A sad account of the human commuter.

A mini-van pulls out in front of a motorcyclist, an accident occurs and no one stops!

A Star Wars Land Speeder Cruises Manhattanz1

A ran across a cool video of a couple riding a land speeder in downtown Manhattan.  Using some well-placed mirrors they really, kinda, pull off the effect.  There is a second video that discusses how they pulled off the land speeder/motorcycle.

Motorcycle Safety Foundation Tip Sheet

Nice little article from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation on “Pretending Your Invisible”.

10 Best Harley Davidson Motorcycles of All Time

While I don’t agree with all the Harley Davidson motorcycles on this list, it is a good effort.  The site is a bit “click-baity” but that seems to be the norm with a lot of sites anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

win 8

Why 9 things on winter motorcycle storage? Because everyone has lists of 10 and 11 is too much work! Hah!  (This post first appeared in November 2014)

Anyway, here in northern hemisphere winters cold fingers are starting to grip and the polar vortexes appear ready to freeze us off our motorcycles. In fact the first snow of the season is right around the corner!

Riding season, depending on what you are willing to put up with, is either over or nearly so. There are thousands of suggestions and tips out there on winterizing your motorcycle, such as putting a teaspoon of oil in your cylinders and filling the tires with nitrogen, so do your own research to find out what works for you with manner and place you store your bike. If it is time for you to store your bike until the spring thaw here are some of the things you need to consider AND an interesting info-graphic from Allstate Insurance.

1. Stabilize the fuel or drain the tank. Almost all gas, especially the ethanol “enhanced” stuff, has a short shelf life. While many believe that draining the tank (and carb system if equipped) is all that is needed to prevent the gasoline from turning to muck, I am not one of them. I just don’t think it is possible to burn all the fuel in the system, small despots will always remain. I prefer to fill the tank and add fuel stabilizer, I then run the engine for at least 15 minutes to work the stabilized fuel through the entire fuel system. After the short ride to get the stabilizer through the system I then refill the tank as much as possible to limit the amount of air in the tank.

2. Change your oil.   Do this as close to your final days of riding as reasonably possible. If you are a do-it-yourself guy consider doing the oil change right after you complete the ride to mix in the fuel stabilizer. Why change the oil before storage? Because changing the oil now removes the sludge, dirt and residual contaminants in the oil that could oxidize during storage. Make sure to run the engine a few minutes to disburse the new oil throughout the engine.

3. Prepare and Protect the Battery. Most motorcycle batteries are lead-acid and should be

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One of the tenders I have used.

kept under a constant charge in order to maintain their life. Be aware there is a difference between a battery tender and a tickle charger. A battery tender is specialized charger that has special circuits to prevent overcharging your battery. You can use a trickle charger but check the instructions carefully; many cannot be used on your battery for more than 30 minutes each day. If your motorcycle will be stored where freezing temperatures will likely occur often, consider removing the battery and place it in a warm dry place. You will still need to keep it charged but he cold will have less effect on the life of the battery.

4. Check your anti-freeze. Harley Davidson riders this now includes a lot of you too. Make sure you have the proper amount and type of anti-freeze in your bike. Depending on what type of coolant your manufacture uses it could be one of several colors. Rules of thumb, if it a light color or clear you need to change the fluid. If you are a do-it-yourself kind of person remember to “bleed” the system to get all the air out. If would be a bad thing if on your first spring ride your bike overheats.

5. Clean your bike. Whether you kept your bike clean all riding season or you only give it a bath once a year now is the time to do it (again). All that evil road krap (dirt/sand/salt/oils/road kill) attaches to your motorcycle’s metal surfaces and will begin to corrode those parts. A good cleaning before storage will make that much harder for the forces of evil to work their powers on your bike. If you bike uses a chain, now is the time to clean it as well.

6. Wax, polish and Lubricate. After the good cleaning I think it is important to put a nice coat of polish on the paint and chrome. This will help protect the surfaces from any condensation that might occur during storage. Lubricate the chain as described in your owner’s manual. Lube all moving parts such as cables and your side stand pivot. Use a metal protectant spray on the underside of the frame and drivetrain, I prefer to spray it on a rag and wipe it on that way I can also get some of the dirt I missed while cleaning the bike. These actions will help you combat rust on any areas exposed from pitting or scratches.

7. Put a sock in it. When I was a kid I was helping a friend start his bike in the spring and shortly after starting we heard a lot of rattling in the exhaust. A few moment later out shot a handful of lightly roosted acorns that some chipmunk had hidden there. Depending on the area you are storing the bike cover your exhausts or insert exhaust plugs to protect yourself from critters.

8. Check your Tires. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Now I am not sure about this step but, many folks recommend that you let some of the air out of the tires, to allow any condensation to escape. Of course you need to add more air to the tires after you bleed them. Also many folks think you need to get the tires off the ground if you are going to be letting them sit for long periods to avoid “flat spots”. I am not sure I concur with this thinking and I have read in several places that Harley Davidson does not recommend this as it places stress on the front suspension. Check with your manufacture if this is something you are not sure about.

9. Cover your motorcycle. Even when stored inside, your bike should be covered while stored. Use a cover that can breathe don’t use a plastic tarp. Moisture should not be allowed to become trapped under the cover on your bike’s metal surfaces.

That’s the bare basics to storing your bike. Remember winter is also a good time to take care of those bike projects you have been thinking about… for me it will be installing a removable tour pack.

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A mashup of GTA and some home footage!  Made me smile!  Make sure to watch to the end…the giraffe seems to be sad that the ride was over.

 

 

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Fern Pass (elevation 1212 m) is a mountain pass in the Tyrolean Alps in Austria – Just a neat video of a Motorcycle riding through the Alps

42DFE03400000578-4750914-image-a-22_1501610476940Instagram biker Olga Pronina dies in crash in Russia – Olga Pronina was a 40-year-old Instagram star who went by ‘Monika9422’ online with over 160,000 followers died in a terrible motorcycle crash.  Olga was “internet famous” due to her pictures and videos riding/stunting on her motorcycle while wearing skimpy clothing.

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Guy on a scooter breaks the wheelie distance record – Masaru Abe rode over 500KM on a Yamaha Jog scooter, taking 13 hours to accomplish the record. The previous record was 331KM.

Ducati developing jet technology for motorcycles! – We are not talking jet engines but jet exhausts!1486066461417Driver gets 6 years for Motorcyclist’s Death – Motorist Darla Jackson has been sentenced to six years in prison for the 2015 killing of a motorcyclist Zach Buob in a road rage incident.

 

 

custom dynamics logo

Well, I don’t normally do this but, I like their products so much I thought I would pass this along.  Custom Dynamics has a new and much easier to use website.  Something that was long overdue.

If you are not familiar with Custom Dynamics they create lighting replacement and accessories for nearly all cruisers.  I have purchased two of their products so far and I am very happy with both.  I first purchased their LED Turn Signal Inserts (5 Stars from me) and then their Magic Strobe Brake Light Flasher (5 Stars from me) for the tour pak.  I wrote a blog review of the flasher not sure way I did not do one for the turn signals.  You can read my post on the flasher here 

The new Custom Dynamics site is a vast improvement over their old site. Now you can more easily search for products by brand.  I particularly liked their “new products” section and because of that I am now interested in their vent lighting.  SIGH… will this bike ever be finished?!?!

safety

Spring has sprung across the world (in the northern hemisphere), and riders are starting to come back out in force.  Despite my near-debilitating seasonal allergies this is one of my favorite times of year!  Nothing gets me psyched up like the first Sunday that it’s warm enough to ride after winter where I’m pretty sure every person that owns a motorcycle where I live is out!  (Side note:  motorcycles are out in much greater numbers on Sunday compared to Saturday around me, is that true for anyone else?)  The strong sense of community, camaraderie, and kinship I feel on a warm (or at least not cold!) spring day is part of why I love riding so much.

But motorcycling isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.  As we all come out of our winter cocoons to spread our wings on the road, it is important to remember that motorcycling is not without its fair share of danger.  In many parts of the world, four-wheeled motorists still are not properly trained to accommodate us on the road.

TIPS FOR YOU TO KEEP YOURSELF SAFE

Make Sure Your Bike is Properly Maintained

I will probably do a whole post just on this in the future, but motorcycle maintenance is much more frequent than cars and very, very important.  I’m only going to touch on two items today as I feel they are the most overlooked maintenance tasks, and they both pertain to your chain.

Maintain your chain!  That’s a refrain I’ve heard across the internet in regards to proper bike maintenance.  Chain-driven bikes are the single most common type of bike, and the chain is pivotal in making everything work, yet so many people neglect to take care of it.  If you don’t properly care for your chain you could one day find yourself riding down the road on a sunny afternoon one minute and on the ground the next because your chain jumped off the rear sprocket and locked up the bike.  This is a worst-case scenario, but it does happen.  Here are two simple tasks you can perform to help prevent that:

Regularly monitor your chain’s slack.  Slack allows your motorcycle’s chain to adjust as your back wheel bounces up and down on the road.  Every motorcycle has a recommended chain slack, and it’s usually even printed on the bike’s swing arm (if you have a swing arm bike) or somewhere else near the chain.  You want to keep your bike’s chain slack within the manufacturer recommended specifications so your chain has enough slack to adjust as needed, but not so much that it can fly off the sprocket.

Lube your chain.  I’ve heard many people say “I lube my chain and change my oil at the start of every season” not realizing that while that’s fine for your oil, chains need to be lubed much more frequently.  Most manufacturers I’ve seen recommend lubing your chain every 500 miles, but the usual common accepted practice among owners is about 500-1000 miles.  I commute 450 miles a week for work, so I just lube my chain every weekend regardless.  It takes 5 minutes and could save your life.  Finally, lube your chain EVERY TIME after you ride in the rain.  That’s right, every time, even if you just lubed it before riding that day.  Rain cleans your bike, but it also washes all of that sweet, sweet lube right off the chain!

Wear A Helmet

I personally am an ATGATT type of guy, but I get that some people don’t want to go through the trouble of putting on special pants, boots, gloves, and a jacket every time they go out to ride.  Motorcycling is about managing acceptable risk after all.  One thing that I try my hardest to convince every rider that I meet to do, though, is wear a helmet.  Broken limbs can heal, shorn skin can grow back, but a crushed skull is often motorcycle-helmet-after-accidentpretty permanent.  Once again, I intend to do a whole post on the topic of helmets, but for now I want to leave you with this one thought:

A friend once told me “You buy a $40 helmet for a $40 head, and a $400 helmet for a $400 head.”  I really like this, it makes a lot of sense.  What’s not said is you’re unique and regardless of what you think your head is worth, it’s worth so much more to someone else out there somewhere that cares about you.  Every head is at least a $400 head, please protect it.

Pretend You’re Invisible

I feel this too has been said a lot, but it cannot be stressed enough.  In a fight between a bike and a car / truck / whatever, the bike will lose.  Every time.  While it’s important for other motorists to look out for us, we also need to be looking out for ourselves.  Be proactive, before passing someone consider the likelihood of them wanting to get into your lane assafety you pass.  Assume that they won’t see you when they consider their lane switch.  And in this specific example, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about passing other motorists, do it QUICKLY.  Motorcycles are in part about speed.  Speed is fun.  Speed can also be a lifesaving tool if used appropriately.

A note specific to intersections:  intersections are the most deadly place for motorcyclists.  That person in the SUV crossing the other way may have looked you dead in the eye from your perspective, but odds are good they didn’t even see you.  They’re not trained to.  Proceed into intersections with the utmost caution; make sure you are aware of every car within visible distance of the intersection.  And only proceed through once you’re 100% sure no one is going to cut you off, and do it QUICKLY (see the theme here?)

So those are just a few quick tips to stay safe throughout the riding season, but wait I thought this post was about Motorcycle Awareness Month?  That is a very astute observation, and absolutely correct!  Which brings me to the second part of this post…

Put a “WATCH FOR MOTORCYCLES” Decal on Your Car

Bumper stickers and decals are annoying, I get it, but how many random things have you gotten stuck in your head because you were stuck behind someone with one at a stop light?  If you ride a motorcycle you owe it to yourself to put one of these on your car.  This is one decal that could actually save a life.  In the United States, the MSF gives out these stickers pretty often at the end of their courses, (that’s how I got mine) but if you don’t want to go through that, and don’t want to go through the hassle of looking up where to find one, here’s a couple direct Amazon links to both a high-visibility one depicting a cruiser and a standard black and white one featuring a sport bike.  I recommend getting the high-vis, but if you are the type of person who absolutely can’t stand the idea of having a cruiser stuck on your car, I understand.

Talk to Non-Riders About Riding

Depending on who you are this may either be a no-brainer or easier said than done.  Motorcycle awareness starts with you and the people around you.  For some non-riders talking about riding could be difficult as the fact that you ride worries them, and thinking about it makes it worse.  I am writing this tip for those types of people in your life.  Do your best to let them know that if they truly worry, then the best thing they can do is talk with you about it, and learn better how to share the road with motorcyclists.  Every non-rider that listens and learns is a step toward a safer world for motorcyclists.  With any luck that one person will then educate other people when the topic inevitably comes up among four-wheel motorists every Spring.

This second part is specifically for those of you with kids.  I used to always play a game with my friends called “Yellow Car”, which, as you might expect, is played by saying, “yellow car!” before anyone else when you see a yellow-colored car.  As a kid on long trips, my family would try to find as many different states’ license plates as we could before getting to our destination.  These games are silly, but they also teach very important observation skills.  For example, I can spot yellow cars in my sleep now.  So when you’re on the road with kids, play “Motorcycle” where the first person to yell (or say, but it usually turns into excited yelling) “Motorcycle!” as one goes by gets a point!  This will not only keep them entertained, but will teach them a very important skill once they grow up and become licensed drivers:  they’ll be able to spot a motorcycle from a mile away.

Join SyncRIDE

SyncRIDE is actually the inspiration for this whole article!  EatSleepRIDE is hosting SyncRIDE on May 27th to raise motorcycle awareness.  It’s a worldwide synchronized ride. No matter where you are at 10 AM EDT, just turn on your EatSleepRIDE app, (if you have a smartphone) and go for a ride with thousands of other riders!  As long as they continue it next year, I foresee SyncRIDE becoming a annual event for riders with the ability to create some real awareness.

And if you live in the Lancaster, PA area, hit me up at readysetmoto@gmail.com!  I’m trying to coordinate a group ride around here for the event as well!

What other things do you think we as riders can do to raise awareness and create safer motorways?  Let me know in the comments!

 

Michael Morris is a motorcycle enthusiast living in the middle of Amish Country Pennsylvania.  He runs and owns the motorcycle blog and news site www.ReadySetMoto.com.  When not working on his blog, he loves to interact with fellow motorcyclists on Twitter (@ReadySetMoto) and Facebook (facebook.com/Ready-Set-Moto) as well so drop him a line!

ShareTheRoad-pr  

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month.  It is important to get the word out to your non-riding friends and family! 

I don’t own any of these photos about motorcycle safety but I have gathered them from across the internet.  I think “Fair Use” is in full operation in regards to their use.   

So copy and paste these motorcycle safety pictures &, memes.  Post them up to all your favorite sites.  Point them out to non-riders, we already get it! 

Ride safe.