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Posts Tagged ‘motorcycle safety training’

Motorcycle helmets have become a necessity, often a legal requirement when riding a motorcycle or scooter. But not only do helmets come in all shapes and sizes, and more importantly, in good or poor quality, helmets have a reasonably predefined shelf life.

How long do you keep a helmet? A lot depends on the materials used inside the helmet, and the way you treat them. The older helmets used polycarbonate as base material inside the helmet. They were subject to ultraviolet light (UV) and deteriorated quite quickly, so you will not see many of these in circulation anymore. Nowadays, an anti-UV material is used to protect the helmets, but more importantly, helmets are mostly made out of fibers, which are highly resistant to UV light.

Insides of a motorcycle helmet

Insides of a motorcycle helmet

The inside of the helmet is made in great parts out of polystyrene which is a great material to reduce the impact your head will receive in case of an accident. But the material reduces effectiveness over time.

Research has shown that polystyrene loses 2% per year in its effectiveness due to simple evaporation. So with basic mathematics, in 5 years, you’ve lost 10% of your protection, and in 10 year, you’ve lost 20%.

The reduction of the helmet’s effectiveness due to evaporation is a simple rule of thumb. More importantly is how do you treat your helmet, and how often do you use it. If the helmet is used daily, it will deteriorate more quickly then if you leave your helmet in your cupboard for days on end. Not only is there a reduction in the protection, but also the mechanisms deteriorate due to wear & tear, like for flip-up helmets. Leaving your helmet on your motorcycle fuel tank as many people do, will reduce its effectiveness more quickly thanks to the fuel evaporation. The fuel vapors that evaporate attack the materials inside your helmet, and the inside starts shrinking.

Cleaning your helmet is good, but if water gets inside the helmet, specially water with soap mixed in (never ever use anything but water and soap to clean the outside), it will again reduce your protection effectiveness. If you can, get a helmet with a removable liner. That’s easier to wash. Applying a hair dryer to the inside is nice & easy to clean and dry the helmet, but any temperature over 140° F ( 60°C) will deteriorate the helmet.

As you can see, helmets deteriorate by themselves even without using them, but taking care of the helmets will go a long way.

Helmet manufacturers used to state that you needed to change your helmet every five years. But if you treat your helmet carefully and with respect, you can always use your helmet for longer periods. Or if your head is precious to you, get a 2nd helmet and alternate. A 10% loss of protection is survivable, but 20% is not.

To look after your helmet, here are some easy tips:

  1. When not in use, place your helmet inside a dark and dry place (a cupboard for example)
  2. Never place your helmet on your fuel tank, preferably as far away as possible from the tank
  3. Clean the outside with water & soap, taking care that water does not enter the inside of the helmet
  4. If you drop your helmet hard on the floor, seriously consider replacing it

Remember that all helmets are not equal. An expensive helmet is not necessarily better than a cheaper one. One of the main sources for the quality of a helmet is maintained by the British government. The SHARP database is the reference for most helmets. Thanks to a rigorous testing protocol, a comprehensive listing of helmets and their associated quality, is maintained on the site for all to see. And best of all, it’s a free access to all.

So before you splurge on a new helmet, check SHARP to see how good the helmet is. And treat your helmet nicely. This way your helmet will save your life.

Click here to check out the SHARP listing.

 

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About the time the warm spring winds finish the job of blowing out the rest of the winter chill, restlessness takes root in the heart of every motorcycle rider. Spring has sprung; it’s time to ride.

Typically, enthusiasts tend to focus on the driver enjoying the thrill of curve hugging rides through open country. The feel of raw power in the throttle hypnotizes motorcyclists across the globe. But, there is one point of view not often written about. It is the view from the rear seat.

True enough, there is a scintillating thrill that shoots up the spine when that V-twin roars to life. For the rider, the experience allows for a unique view of the road. Settled comfortably against the sissy bar, feet planted securely on the foot pegs, the sky looms wide and unrestrained. The rider is free take in the beauty of the ride with a freedom not afforded the motorcycle driver.
As with any aspect of motorcycle riding, safety is the number one consideration for the driver and rider as well. How does the back seat motorcycle rider contribute to the safety of the ride? The following tips are a good place to begin..

Learn the Moves
Learn to lean with the driver on corners. If the driver veers left, the rider should veer left as well, matching the movement of the driver. Basically, the rider’s actions ought to mirror that of the driver. A sudden shift in weight throws off the balance of the bike causing the driver to struggle to keep it on the road. At a high rate of speed, a shift could be devastating.

Distractions
Keep distractions to a minimum. Riding is a solitary event. Unless there is something pressing that cannot wait, resist the urge to tap the driver on the shoulder. Chances are he will not be able to hear anyway. The tap may be distracting and cause an unfortunate jerk on the steering. It is a good idea to discuss pit stops before climbing on the back of the bike.

Group Etiquette
There is an unwritten code among bikers to keep an eye out for other riders. When riding in groups, the lead bike has a responsibility to keep an extra watch for debris and other hazards in the road. When he spots something, the universal sign for danger consists of pointing a free hand down at the road, signaling the object. As a passenger, mirror this move. This will give the riders bringing up the rear an added indication to watch out for the danger on the road.

Dig out the helmets; dust off the leather. A long ride down the open road is the perfect initiation rite to usher in the springtime. For some, the seat behind the driver is the best seat in the house.

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A motorcycle trike is exactly what it sounds like: a three wheeled motorcycle. These new forms of motorcycles are really starting to gain in popularity, what used to be novelty is becoming common place. 

There are many reasons for the increased popularity of these machines. For many people the added size and stability gives them an increased feeling of safety. For others the bigger size provides a more comfortable ride and additional storage. For some people they simply want to be able to continue to enjoy the ‘wind in your hair’ feeling of a motorcycle but have some physical limitations that prevent them from riding a two wheeled motorcycle. 

Because of the added stability of having three wheels a trike is easier to learn how to ride. Many people can be intimidated learning on a two wheeled motorcycle. Riding a trike is different from a two wheeled motorcycle since you don’t lean in corners, you just steer, more like a car. 

Any motorcycle can be converted to a trike, Honda and Harley-Davidson are two of the most common conversion packages. The price to convert your motorcycle to a trike will vary depending on the type of bike you currently have as well as the particular conversion kit you choose. 

There are different finish levels available which will determine the final price. Just ask your favorite motorcycle dealer or accessories shop for a referral. 

For the 2010 model year, Harley-Davidson has two styles of 3 wheelers available. They are introducing these models because they are seeing an increased demand for the 3 wheelers. 

For licensing and insurance purposes trikes are classified as a motorcycle and all state and federal laws, such as helmet laws, still apply. You aren’t as exposed as you are on a motorcycle, but you still are exposed, that’s why you have to wear all the same safety apparel that you would wear when riding a motorcycle. 

So if you’ve thought about either getting your own trike or converting your existing motorcycle to a trike with a conversion kit, you’ll gain a lot of stability and storage without losing any of the joy of riding a motorcycle.

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Unfortunately, for many, when they think of riding their motorcycle they are thinking of being free and looking sexy and not about their own safety, which is why so many motorcyclists end up severely injured every year.
You can’t control what the other drivers on the road will do, but you can take some simple precautions to make sure you have a good shot at walking away if you are in an accident. 


Motorcyclists rarely come out on top when in a collision with a automobile so it’s essential that you protect yourself by using motorcycle protective gear whenever you ride.
Just stop and think for a minute what it would feel like to slide across a roadway at 55 MPH without adequate protection for your head and body. Not good. 

Whether you’re riding across town or across the county always wear protective gear, that’s the best way to insure you will be riding for many more years to come.
Here is a brief list of some of the absolute essentials in motorcycle protective gear , and don’t worry, a lot of it looks cool too:

Motorcycle Helmet – When buying a helmet you have a lot of choices in style and price, just make sure the helmet you choose has DOT certification. This means your helmet has passed strict safety tests. You also want to make sure you have the right fit. You want your helmet to be snug on your head, it shouldn’t slide back and forth. You also don’t want it to be too tight or have uncomfortable pressure points. 

Motorcycle Jacket and Long Pants
– We all love long hot summer days but riding a motorcycle is not the time for shorts and tank tops. Cover up. Keep your skin where it belongs, not on the pavement. 
A thick, well made jacket (textile motorcycle jacket/ leather motorcycle
jacket) can help protect you from abrasions and ‘road rash’. And don’t forget about your legs, always wear long pants, preferably leather, to protect yourself from head to toe.

Motorcycle Boots – Always wear heavy, over the ankle, boots or shoes. Do not even think about wearing open toed sandals or flip flops. 

Motorcycle
Goggles
– Bugs, dirt, dust, road debris – this is just a short list of some of the things that can cause severe eye damage when riding your motorcycle. Don’t risk your eyesight. Buy and wear full coverage, impact resistant eye protection whenever you ride. 

Motorcycle Gloves – Again leather is the preferred choice. But anything is better than leaving your skin exposed. 


High Visibility Indicators – It doesn’t matter if you wear a neon vest or a brightly colored helmet do everything you can to make sure other motorists can see you. This is the time you want to draw attention to yourself. 

For anyone who has ever ridden a motorcycle on the open road you know what a fantastic feeling of freedom it can bring, but you also know that since we are sharing the roadway with other much larger and heavier vehicles it can also be dangerous.
There is no reason to take unnecessary risks. Enjoy the freedom of biking but protect yourself at the same time. Use motorcycle protective gear every single time you ride. Don’t take foolish chances with your safety. Protect yourself. And hey, leather pants can be pretty hot, too!

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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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Thanks to our loyal Jafrum customers who said: “Bring back the Blog!” It’s dedicated to everyone who loves motorcycles and the biker lifestyle.

So what can you expect to see when you drop by to take a read? Jafrum is located in North Carolina so of course we want to let you know about the events coming up in our part of the world. Folks that love their hogs like to know how to take good care of them and we will feature new stuff that will help you.

Bikers are a brave, independent crew; our view of the road, our lifestyle and all the stuff that goes with it will be discussed here. In a car-dominated world there’s a lot you need to know to stay on top of your game safely. We’ll pass along information on how to handle things when a problem rears its ugly head.

It’s all about lovin’ the ride and how to make the most of your time on the road. Reviews of bikes new and old, cool gear, safety tips, events of interest with the focus on you the biker are up next: let us hear from you.

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For a new rider or an experienced rider who is replacing the old helmet, choosing a helmet may be more confusing than buying a bike. Finding the right helmet may be time-consuming, but it can be a rewarding experience.Studies have shown and riders have reported that helmets not only save lives but can drastically reduce the amount of injuries suffered to the face, head and neck.Some people claim that helmets restrict your vision, it’s not true. Manufacturers design helmets to not obscure or block peripheral (side to side) vision. Others claim it reduces your hearing, it actually helps you hear over the engine.

StandardsDOT is the Federal Government’s Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT sets minimum standards that all helmets sold for motorcycling on public streets must meet. The standard is Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 (FMVSS 218) and is known commonly as the DOT standard. The division of the Department responsible for such things periodically buys helmets and sends them to independent labs for testing to assure that they actually do meet the standard. A helmet that meets the DOT standard offers significant protection if you crash.The Snell Memorial Foundation is a private not-for-profit organization that sets voluntary standards used primarily in the US for motorcycle helmets, bicycle helmets and auto racing helmets, as well as other kinds of protective headgear. Snell standards are the world’s toughest and demand quite a bit more protective capability in helmets than anybody else on the planet.

Each organization has rigid procedures for testing:

  • Impact – the shock-absorbing capacity of the helmet.
  • Penetration – the helmet’s ability to withstand a blow from a sharp object.
  • Retention – the chin strap’s ability to stay fastened without stretching or breaking.
  • Peripheral vision – the helmet must provide a minimum vision of 105 degrees to each side. (Most people’s usable
    peripheral vision is only about 90 degrees to each side.)

There is the European standard, called ECE 22-05, accepted by more than 50 countries. There’s the BSI 6658 Type A standard from Britain. Just by looking at the published requirements for each standard, you would guess a DOT helmet would be designed to be the softest, with an ECE helmet very close, then a BSI helmet, and then a Snell helmet.Novelty helmets may offer you the best comfort but it is not DOT or Snell approved and will not protect your head.There are so many makes, models and styles. But which one?

Of course each type of helmet has it’s benefits and disadvantages. It also has to do with the bike you ride and the type of person you are.

  • Half Helmets: They are also known as Shorty/Beanie helmets and are the simplest form of a helmet. There is no side and chin protection. They look best when riding a cruiser or custom bike. Easy to put on and take off and can leave the helmet on in many cases.
  • ¾ or Open-Face Helmet: Protects the head, neck, ears, and eyes. If you use an open-face helmet, you should have a snap-on face shield in place when you ride, or buy a pair of goggles that can withstand the impact of a stone or other debris. Offers the third most protection over any other type of helmet (other than full face and flip-up full face). Lifting off the face shield for a photo or taking off the helmet for a snack or drink is easier and more convenient. These helmets are aimed to protect the ears and the side of the face. However this kind of helmet doesn’t have any chin protection.
  • Full Face helmet: Protects the entire head, neck, ears, eyes, face and chin. Offers the most in protection over any other type of helmet. Also aids in keeping the rain, wind, bugs, rocks, dust and cold out due to its wrap around design. By cutting down ambient wind noise, helmets can actually help you hear other sounds better. By reducing fatigue from the wind, they keep you more alert. By protecting your eyes from the wind, they allow you to see better.
  • Flip-Up helmet (modular): Protects the entire head, neck, ears, eyes, and face. Offers the most in protection over any other type of helmet. Also aids in keeping the rain, wind, bugs, rocks, dust and cold out due to its wrap around design. Eliminates many of the negatives that normal full face helmets have such as removal, taking it off to drink/eat and to put on/off glasses. May not be as good in a crash as a full face helmet because the chin can come open on impact.
  • Motor Cross helmets: These off-road helmets include a sun visor, an area to strap on your goggles, and graphics that give you some style.

Getting the right fit

A helmet that is too loose may come off in a crash, and one that is too tight will be uncomfortable. Slightly snug is better than too loose, since the interior will tend to settle and compress a bit, molding to your head.Determine the circumference of the widest part of your head by wrapping a flexible tape measure around it. Generally, the widest part of a person’s head is the area one-inch above the eyes and ears. Retention: An essential test before buying or using a helmet, is the roll-off test. With the strap securely fastened, grab the rear lip of the helmet and try to roll it forward off your head. Don’t stop just because it hurts a bit. If it comes off, you need a different helmet.Tips The fact that you wear a Medium in one brand and model does not mean that another model will fit you best in the same size.

An extra faceshield (a tinted one to complement the standard clear) is a nice feature. You might want to buy one if it is not included. An extra shield and a quick-change faceshield mechanism are the best convenience features. A yellow tinted faceshield for cloudy and rainy days is also a good option.If your helmet is a bright-colored visible one, you will be more conspicuous in traffic, making it easier for other motorists to see and avoid you.Depending on the helmet manufacturer, it is recommended to replacing your helmet every 2-4 years. If your helmet is damaged or showing extreme wear it should be replaced. Replacing your helmet every few years is a good idea as its protection may deteriorate with time and wear. Also as newer materials and helmet designs become available, helmets become stronger, lighter, and more comfortable.

Never hang your helmet on the motorcycle’s mirrors, turn signals, or backrest. The inner liner can easily be damaged from such handling.

Jafrum helmets available online are light enough that they do not bother your neck. But, the helmets constructed with Kevlar and/or carbon fiber are ultra light and feel extra comfortable on your head.

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