Collision Avoidance Techniques By Larry Scalzitti Senior Road Captain When was the last time you practiced your collision avoidance techniques? If you’re like too many riders it’s when they took a licensing class a very long time ago! As you know I’m a big rider safety advocate and part of that includes preaching that practice makes perfect. We all need to work on the skills that we need to avoid danger and we especially need to practice them early in the riding season and often throughout the year. Have you made time to do that? If not, I would highly encourage you to start. The next time you have to use one of the collision avoidance techniques, that I’ll address in this article, should not be when you have to use those skills in a real life scenario. Hardly worth gambling your life on whether you’ve “still got it.” Let’s start by reviewing what exactly makes up our short list of collision avoidance techniques. Then we’ll talk about when and where you can practice those skills. As motorcyclists we can avoid danger by moving our bikes in basically two ways. The first way is by either moving faster or slower along our path of travel. By doing that we alter our rate of travel by speeding up or slowing down; rolling on or off the throttle or braking. For most of us that’s something that we do naturally as we ride. We continually adjust our speed as we travel along any road. The heavier the traffic, the more we adjust. When we have to react suddenly to danger, this change in speed can be viewed as an evasive maneuver or collision avoidance. The other way we can avoid danger is by moving from side to side. Again something we normally do in small increments, as we routinely avoid objects that we anticipate, since we can see those hazards from a long way down the roadway. When we have to react much more quickly to danger, we again fall into the realm of evasive maneuvering or collision avoidance.
Close Encounters of the Nature Kind By Dennis P. (Wombat) Dougherty Senior Road Captain It’s that time of year again. Winter is officially over, Spring has sprung and a young (and old) person’s fancy turns to thoughts of love… of all things motorcyclin’. As we pull the cover off our iron steeds, unhook our trickle chargers, run the StaBil treated gas out of the tank and knock the dust off our rides, we need to be thinking about lots of things as we gear up for another fun and adventurous riding season. I’ll let others write about the mental preparation and polishing up on our own riding skills. I want to focus this article on the other entities that share our riding environment that are either waking hungry from a winter’s slumber or who also have thoughts of fancy with their own species…namely the critters.
BRING A “JUST IN CASE” KIT What’s the best use for your saddle bags? For packing things you never want to be without when on the road 30 minutes from home or 300 miles from nowhere? Clothes? Food, Beer? Although all of these things are needed when 300 miles from home, you can divide them into two categories: 1.Things you need to access quickly, while riding. 2.Things you will need, but can wait until you’re off the road for the day and settling in for the evening. For category #2, use your tour pack or waterproof duffel bag, or strap on luggage. That’s easy… now for the rest: Let’s look at what you should put in your saddle bags. As you look at what you are packing, saddle bags should be packed with the critical items you’ll need on the road, to get you going again quickly, or to tend to your personal needs when necessary as you ride. You may also want to include your tool kit, your rain gears, gloves and a “just in case” kit. This kit can be assembled into one zippered soft bag and can include any or all of the following:
Getting Ready for Spring Riding?By Senior Road Captain, Greg Smith Good news! The motorcycle season is just around the corner and you’ll soon be hitting the open roads on your favorite two-wheeler. After a long winter in storage and depending on how well it was winterized, your bike will likely need some attention. Get an early start and start the riding season right with the T-CLOCS inspection check-list, created by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Find the information at:http://msfusa.org/index_new.cfm?spl=2&action=display&pagename=Library The following is a brief summary of that checklist to help get your bike ready to ride after its long winter nap.T = Tires & WheelsCheck tires’ overall condition for things such as air pres-sure, tread wear, dry rot, and bulges.Check wheels for bent broken or loose spokes, cracked or dented rims, and leaking seals.C = ControlsCheck the condition of all controls, pivot points and cables for freedom of movement and properly lubrication.Check handlebar and handgrip condition for straightness, turning freely, and being secure.Check condition of hoses for dry rot, cracks, leaks, and chafing.
A Short Trip to a Lot of Damage By Richard Flynn Did you know that most motorcycle accidents involve a short trip? You could be going to go shopping or run errands and bang you find yourself in accident. A lot of our trips this time of year tend to short and we need to be especially careful. Why do more accidents happen close to home? The answer is simple, almost 72 per cent of respondents in an insurance survey admitted to paying less attention on local roads and 60 per cent said that they become lazy when nearing their home.
Winter Storage By: Ric Case Senior Road Captain Things to consider: ¨ If your motorcycle is water cooled make sure you have a sufficient level of protection so that the coolant does not freeze. ¨ When storing your motorcycle near other vehicles that collect snow, make none of that melted stuff gets on your motorcycle. Salt can do serious damage. ¨ Cover the motorcycle with a breathable cover so that moisture does not accumulate and cause rust. ¨ Use a battery tender if you have one available. If not disconnect the battery unless you ride it more than once a month. If you do start it up, make sure to move it around or take a short ride to make sure that you evaporate all the moisture. Side bar: I keep my tender hooked all year round when not using it and I’ve managed to get six years of use out of each battery. ¨ Fill the fuel tank completely and add ethanol safe stabilizer or c-foam. Again, a partially tank will collect moisture. ¨ Operate the controls every once in a while to keep them freed up.
Riding in the Cold? Consider this… By: Ric Case Senior Road Captain Cold tires are slippery. Cold road surfaces are slippery. Combine the two and you need to be extra cautious. Solution: let the tires warm up and the road surfaces temperature increase for at least fifteen minutes before making any aggressive moves. Remember: A burn out only warms the tires not the road surface. The air temperature maybe be warm but are the road surfaces? Is there still frost or moisture in the shadows? We always avoid leaves, but it’s especially important when the cold sets in. Leaves can be even more dangerous with frost on the underneath side of them. Riding at night in the cold complicates things because of all the additional conditions you need to observe. Because of limited visibility, you increase your risk, so slow down and continue to use aggressive scanning techniques. Hypothermia can set in at 72 degrees, let alone when it is in the 30s or even 40s so dress warm and with extra and additional layers. Don’t allow any of your skin to be exposed to the cold air, as frostbite can become a concern. Symptoms of frostbite include numbness, pain, or itching of exposed skin, yellow or pale coloring of skin, and eventually even blistering of the skin. If you begin to feel any of these symptoms stop and warm up as soon as you can and as often as possible.
Autumn Leaves: The Beauty & The Beast by Greg Smith Fall has arrived and will soon award us with its beautiful colors. There may be no better way to experience these colors than riding a motorcycle on the open roads. Fall also starts the winding down of our riding season and at the same time, gives us some of our best and most colorful scenic rides. As the leaves start showing there vibrant colors they also start to fall, blow around, and pile up. This piling up of leaves happens not only on our lawns and driveways, but also on the roads causing multiple road hazards. This is the Beast side of fall that we must endure. We may assume that wet leaves offer less traction than dry leaves; this might be true. The real question is how dry are the leaves. Leaves hold moisture and as they start to decay they generate more moisture. The leaves on the top of a patch or pile may appear to be dry and blowing around. However the leaves underneath, on the road surface, may be wet and starting to decay causing very slippery oil like conditions. This condition can be very dangerous especially when stopping, accelerating and cornering. When riding you would always do your best to avoid oil on the road. Likewise, you should do your best to avoid leaves.