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Posts Tagged ‘motorcycle accidents’

Silver City New Mexico
Silver City, New Mexico

When I enlisted in the Marine Corps Infantry, I was surprised with the responses I received when others learned the news. Most, probably envisioning me marching away to war, expressed concern for my safety, a handful indicated they were proud of me, and the vast majority tried to relate: “hey, I have a cousin in the Army. He says he likes it, I guess.” A few, however, blurted that I was going to get myself killed. Thankfully, that reaction (a disconcerting one) was rare. But when I purchased a motorcycle, it was the norm.

 “So you just got a motorcycle, huh? Well, you’re gonna crash and die.”

 An incredible number also felt compelled to tell me about specific incidents where that had happened, too. It was always somebody distant to them, like the husband of a cousin’s neighbor’s niece. Invariably, something horrible had taken place. That, too, was disconcerting. It was always bad news…

  “You got a motorcycle? Yeah, I just had a patient who ground his entire lower body to a nub when he skidded off his bike doing 100mph on a back road. Have fun riding.”

 “You got a motorcycle? Our prayer requests in Bible study yesterday were for the surviving family of a man killed when he was riding his motorcycle on his farm.”

 “Motorcycle, huh…..you ever seen that video of Evil Knievel hitting the pavement after his jump? I think he broke every bone in his body – at least twice. It was heinous. He looked like a rag doll.”

 “Yeah, my cousin bought a bike, but he crashed it on his first ride and now he’s in a wheelchair.”

 “One of the neighbor’s kids used to ride, but then he wrapped himself around a tree and died. I think he was about 20.”

 “Well, bikes are neat, but I’m too afraid to ride. I’m terrified that somebody will open a car door and I’ll go flying off. Have you seen that movie where there’s this scene….the guy landed in an intersection and got run over. It was pretty cool. But I don’t want to ride a bike, though. Too risky.”

I even had one person offer to pay me NOT to purchase a motorcycle. Naturally, I declined.

 Yes, it may be dangerous, but so is life itself. Besides which, there are number of measures one can easily take to mitigate the risks – beginning with a motorcycle safety course, leathers, and a motorcycle helmet. Furthermore, most other risks can be drastically reduced if riders set aside their pride, ignore the compulsion to exceed the speed limit, and simply enjoy the road. That you have a bike – a sleek, powerful beast with lots of shiny parts – is showing off enough. Respect it, be hyper-vigilant, and you’ll be just fine. You have a greater risk of injury riding a horse (according to the Hughston Sports Medicine Foundation).

In looking back on the whole ordeal, I’ve reached the conclusion that the first thing that comes to mind with a non-rider is the dangers of motorcycling. Thus, that’s what comes out of their mouths. For a rider, however, is the freedom, the road, the roar of the pipes inside your helmet, and the known fact that people in their boring little cars are staring at you with envy. All their kids are waving, too, much to the horror of their mothers. Maybe everybody’s a killjoy because they’re jealous that I’m going to have a lot of fun and they’re not. 

And here’s the best part: Now only two years after purchasing my first motorcycle, nearly every person who said something negative about riding has since gone riding with me and thoroughly enjoyed it – to include the person who offered to pay me to not buy the bike. At least one has purchased a bike of his own, and several more have expressed interest in buying them in the future. I win, folks. Well, motorcycles win. (I will note that one passenger kept peering over my shoulder to monitor the speedometer, but I think she still had fun.)

 There’s something about a motorcycle that’s almost universally appealing. Something about the way it hugs the road in curves and bolts up the long inclines that cars struggle to climb. Or the deep rumble as you cut through tunnels and under overpasses. Maybe it’s the subtle statement that, “I can go fast if I want to, but I’m happy just relishing the ride.” All you naysayers, we’ll win you over yet. And then, we’ll see you out there on a bike of your own. You can’t help it; it’s just fun.
About Ben Shaw, the author

Motorcycle Trip Planning-To Plan or Not To

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Here’s an interesting point to think about: why do some bikers think it’s okay to ride uninsured? Is it possible they don’t realize there are heavy fines and penalties if they are caught–including losing their bike?

Hmmm…it does makes one wonder how they missed the memo on biker safety. Research studies show that uninsured automobile drivers tend to behave more recklessly: could the same be true for bikers? In addition when two cars are involved in an accident and either of them is uninsured, guess what? It affects the lives and premium rates of everyone.

It’s amazing to hear discussions offering workarounds that encourage bikers to flaunt the law. Yeah, we know the cost of living is high. But let me ask you this: have you checked the prices on funeral arrangements lately? Can you imagine being the uninsured biker in an accident? The first thought will be: “No insurance? That was stupid.”

Let’s not forget that bikers are already living on the fringe of legal roadrunners. Gas prices are making drivers look kindly at motorcycles, but there are still those who wouldn’t miss them. There have been some nasty encounters between drivers and riders on the road. So with that said…is YOUR bike legal?

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MAY IS MOTORCYCLE SAFETY AWARENESS MONTH

Has YOUR Representative Signed on to H. Res. 339
Supporting the Goals of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month?

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month officially got the green flag on May 1st in Washington, DC. This year Congress saddled up at the starting line to show their support by introducing H. Res. 339 which highlights the safety guidelines that all bikers should know by heart:

  • Have a legal license
  • Get motorcycle rider training
  • Always wear a good quality DOT approved helmet
  • Wear protective leather motorcycle riding gear, boots and gloves
  • NEVER drink and ride

But H. Res. 339 goes an extra mile: focusing on the need for automobile drivers to not only share the road but also to be on the alert for motorcycle riders. In too many motorcycle accidents involving automobiles, the drivers stated that they didn’t see the motorcycle.

Really? Okay bikers, how can we change that?

  • Use your headlights — even during daylight hours
  • Wear helmets and gear with reflective red and white markings

Why red and white? Because these are the colors used in railroad crossing signs: automobile drivers associate them with danger. Respect your life: make your presence on the road easy to recognize and hard to ignore.

LET’S BRING THE NUMBER OF MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS DOWN.

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JAFRUM serves the motorcycling community in North Carolina and has a passion for the safety of every biker. With regret we learned that Cameron Wagner, a 20 year old student at Western Carolina University died in a crash when he lost control of his bike last week.

Time and again we hear these stories: inability to maintain control of the bike is one of the significant factors in many motorcycle accidents and the other is insufficient training/experience. Unfortunately many bikers allow their ego to choose bikes that they ill-equipped to handle and overlook the need for continuous riding skills training.

First, get the right bike and riding gear. A new rider must have a bike that is easy to handle, for instance the Suzuki VanVan 125 or the Kawasaki Eliminator 125. Let the Harley-Davidson 600+lb. Fat Bob be your object of lust and dream of the day you can ride it. But this is definitely NOT the bike an inexperienced rider should buy. Wear a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218 helmet and bright reflective clothing to be as visible as possible.

Second, get the training. The 15 hour Basic Motorcycle Rider Courses is the mandatory starting point; then pump up your training with the techniques that the professionals use. Motorcycle Roadcraft: The Police Rider’s Handbook Politics aside, if you have ever seen a police motorcade on the move, you have witnessed the result of superior riding techniques that every biker can learn to use to steer clear of danger and stay alive.

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