Archive for the ‘motorcycle safety’ Category

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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!

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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.

 

safety

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.  

 

As we all know all the safety gear we wear and all the safety tech on our motorcycles are just not enough at times.  Awareness of motorcycles by drivers of cars and trucks is as important as everything we do. 

 

So to help improve the awareness of others (and therefore ourselves) we need to start teaching children to watch for motorcycles.  That is why the idea of teaching kids to count motorcycles instead of “punch bugs” is so important.  If they are watching for motorcycles as kids they will have an easier time seeing them when they start to drive.  Thus our safety as motorcyclist is improved.  The payoff is in the future but let’s invest now. 

 

Make a game that has a small reward when they spot “X” number of motorcycles. Ask your non-riding friends to do this with their children.  Mention it at events and gatherings, just get the word out.  You know when a 6 year old yells “motorcycle” that their parent is going to see it to!!

 

motorcycle-helmet-after-accident

Here in North America and in many other parts of the world, our motorcycles are coming out of their winter hibernation.  Along with the all of our riding accessories including helmets.

So what does that mean to you and me, the average motorcycle rider?

It means that you need to perform the safety checks for your motorcycle (tires, brakes, etc.).  You also need to check the condition of your helmets.  Some ideas on checking your motorcycle helmet:

  • Is the shell all in one piece? No cracks or splits?
  • Are the straps and connectors in good shape, no adverse wear or tear?
  • The internal padding is connected and stays in place?
  • Does the rest of the internals look in good operating condition?
  • Make sure that insects/creatures are not living in your helmet, see the photos below!

While your helmet might look clean and shiny it does not mean that it not ready for replacement. Worse yet, a single drop to the ground might be enough to cause you to consider replacement, according to the manufactures.

Here are some industry guidelines regarding your helmet:

  • Helmet manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet every 3 to 5 years, depending on use, to ensure optimal protection.
  • Over time, UV rays, internal adhesive and component aging can deteriorate a helmet’s protective qualities by degrading the interior protection layer.
  • Exposure to gasoline, insect repellent, cleaning fluids, exhaust fumes and excessive heat can degrade helmet materials.
  • If a helmet has been dropped or suffered an impact, it should be replaced immediately.
  • A helmet is designed for only one impact, even a small one. An impact may fracture its outer shell as well as compress the inner liner, neither of which may be visible.

Now it is your head so you need to make the decision, but you should at least check out your lid to make sure there are no major issues.

You can also go to HelmetCheck.Org to get some additional information.

 

 

An advertisement for the Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle, an Indian brand.  But, wow, what an advert!   Who would have EVER though I would say sumo and motorcycle in the same sentence.

 

 

ijustwant2ride.com

The DawgHouse Motorcycle Radio…The #1 Motorcycle Show in the US

This week another interesting motorcycle podcast/show.

Dateline Kenya: What do you do if your motorcycle is stolen in Kenya?  Call the local witch doctor!  In this case the guys discuss a recent event where the witch doctor actually comes though and finds the stolen bike…. Or does he?

Dateline Electric Bikes (kind of): It seems we are talking about a new electric vehicle every third show or so, this time Morgan Motors is the latest to offer an electric motorcycle.  Well motorcycle or trike or autocycle, the Morgan 1909 falls in that weird category that that the T-Rex or SlingShot also fills.  One thing for sure is that the Ken and Phil have no love for the appearance of the electric version of the classic motorcycle.

Dateline The Space Age: Graphene is one of the newest “space-age” materials.  Strong, light, heat resistant and able to leap tall building in a single bound, graphene has made it to the world of motorcycles.  The guys talk about MOMO’s attempt to integrate graphene into helmets that are reasonably priced.

Dateline Stupid Rules: In the racing segment Phil brings up the topic of the new rules for World SuperBike motorcycle racing.  It seems that the “participation trophy” generation has come to WBSK.  No one on the show how the lack of achievement will now be rewarded.

In fact we think that there could be fight between the 3rd 4th and 5th place riders to finish 4th….don’t understand?  Listen to the show.


World Superbike rule changes….participation trophies for all!!

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Motorcycles are one of the most sought after vehicles, not only for those great people that want to purchase one of their own to ride and enjoy, but also for those that lean towards the darker side of life and seek bikes out to steal. Yes, motorcycles are a huge commodity for thieves and other unscrupulous souls who enjoy taking what they can get and making a profit off it even when it does not belong to them. As a legal bike owner, there are a few things you may want to consider to keep your bike safe from thieves and ready for you to ride when you need to unwind with a little solitude down a long and winding road.

The summer months between July and September are the months with the highest risk for bike theft while the months between November and March have the least risk. This means that right now is the perfect time of year to get your bike geared up for the upcoming spring and summertime. If you live in states including California, Texas or Florida, you may benefit from knowing that these states have the highest risk of theft in the U.S. for motorcycles and being diligent when it comes to security is a wise decision to make. When you own a great motorcycle, keeping it safe should be a top priority.

Averting Bike Theft

There are numerous ways to avert bike theft and help keep your motorcycle safe and sound from thieves. A few of these ideas for security include:

  • Install an alarm
  • Lock the ignition
  • Lock the motorcycle to a building
  • Keep the bike in a locked garage
  • Install a remote engine kill switch

Something that many bikers try is to have large chains to hold the bike in place securely. While this is something that may cause thieves think twice before they approach a bike they may be attempting to steal, it also makes it a bit arduous for the bike owner to have to carry around a large, and usually heavy, chain or to find somewhere to store it when parking in public. Another drawback to a large chain is that on many bikes, chains simply will not fit on a modern bike in any area that would prevent theft. So, if a bulky chain is out of the question, what type of locks work the best when trying to prevent motorcycle theft?

Locks That Work

Bulky chains aside, there are a few great locks that work well when you need to keep the bike safe whether it is parked at home or in the middle of a crowded parking lot. Here are just a few of the better locks available on the market today:

Ground Anchors with Locks

The Immobiliser Self Fit Defiant Ground Anchor, made in Britain by Almax Security Chains, attaches into concrete or brick and has a 15 ton pull resistance. It is a very solid anchor system and with its roller construction it is impenetrable to hacksaws and other common tools that thieves will try to use.

Disc Locks

Disc Locks have been found to be an exceptional way to keep a bike locked safely to prevent theft. One great disc lock, the Xena XX15 Disc Lock produced by Revzilla, includes a maximum security barrel and key, a double locking system and an alarm that is triggered by motion and shock to produce a very loud, piercing squeal that is sure to garner a great deal of attention.

Standard Locks

While large, bulky chains may be out of the but Kryptonite, an action sports security supplier, manufactures locks and chains that are secure, simple to use and easy to carry when riding. With a simple lock and key, you can chain your bike to a post or wall with an anchor where the bike will be safe while you are away.

Home Security for Bikes

A great deal of bikers think about keeping their bikes safe when they are traveling or when they need to park for an extended time, but some fail to consider the one place that needs to be secure. Your home. Whether your motorcycle is parked in the driveway, on the street in front of the house or even safely tucked away in the garage, security should be a top concern, especially at home.

Thieves will watch a home to see what your habits are. They will learn when you leave the house, when you return and even what time the lights go out which signals to them that you have retired for the night. Hiring a top notch security firm to come out and install security cameras on your property is the perfect way to deter a thief because when they see a camera, they know they will risk being caught by the police if they steal the bike. If the bike is garaged, having an alarm installed is a good idea to prevent break-ins and to keep the bike safe while indoors. Having adequate home security when you own a motorcycle, whether the bike is valued at $5000 or $50,000, is the best way to keep your bike as well as you and your family, safe from thieves and other crime.

*** Neither Jason or IJUSTWANT2RIDE are endorsing any of the mentioned products.  The intent of this article is to give you ideas on products that you should research for yourself. ***

Jason Mueller is an entrepreneur living in Costa Rica with family from Canada.  After graduating from high school and getting his pilot’s licence he lived to travel the world looking for adventure.  He is currently working with A-1 Auto and is the owner of Jaco Ropes.

Jason has also provided two additional guest posts to this blog.  Shipping Your Bike Overseas? Things to consider!  and Motorcycle Riding in Paradise; Costa Rica.  Check them out when you have some time!

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Hey DawgHouse Motorcycle News, Rants & Racing listeners (and IJUSTWANT2RIDE blog folks)  K&N Filters has a special offer for you!
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Go to… www.KNFilters.com/podcast … and get a great deal on a K&N replacement air filter with free shipping & as a bonus you will also get a free K&N hat.

So make your next air filter a K&N Filter & improve your motorcycles performance while supporting the DawgHouse at the same time

ijustwant2ride.com

Viking Enforcer Motorcycle Jacket by MotorcycleHouse.com

MotorcycleHouse.com  has asked me to review one of their jackets, the Viking Cycle Enforcer Jacket.  Below is the unboxing and first impressions video.  Over the next few weeks I will be wearing the Cycle Enforcer jacket and will provide a full review in the near future.