Back it Up …or Not

When parking a motorcycle with a group we do what the riders ahead of us do because normally the riders ahead are following the directions of the Road Captains. Most of the time the Road Captains will have pre-planned the parking situation and will work with event coordinators for the best place and safest way to park a large group of bikes for an event. Pre-planning a parking spot for a large group will help determine if the bikes should be pulled in fender to fender, or parked side by side, backed into a curb, or even pulled forward into the curb if it’s uphill.

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Get Over It

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The Ride of Your Life

38 years ago on a group ride one of the Riders I was riding with forgot about the face in the mirror rule and fell back creating a large space in the group. An impatient driver waiting to cross the highway decided the gap in the group was his chance to cross and he nailed it. The problem was that the cage was sitting on gravel when he gassed it.

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Three Skills

There are three techniques taught in a parking lot class that a good rider will use and incorporate into their riding skills on the street. Each technique has its own relationship with the bike and all three are needed to gain a real feel of control of your machine. When all three skill sets become part of your daily riding you will have reached a level of riding skill you can be proud of.

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Who’s Your Buddy?

Riding with a friend, or many friends is a gas when everyone is on the same page. We create friendships and bonds with strangers on rides and we meet up with old friends we haven’t seen in a while. Most of us have a favorite group of friends we like to ride with. Some of us consider ourselves a lone wolf, but we still end up in parades and funerals and fundraisers where other Riders are present, so everyone at one time or another will be riding with other bikes.

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One Powerful Finger

One of the most important things we can do as Riders is communication. In a group, or solo, when we straddle that bike it is the riders responsibility to convey any movement
other than straight to those around you. We do turn signals and brake lights automatically, but there are many signals that have no lights or buttons, but they do
have fingers. The left handed one-finger signal used in a group is to move everyone into a single line and comes from the front and is passed back by the riders. This one signal,

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Evasive Moves

When faced with a charging Elephant, or a driver full of rage just because you look like you’re having fun, you may need to use some of those slow speed skills I’m always
talking about. Of course, looking 12 seconds ahead will give you a fuller vision of what’s to come and knowing what’s up will prepare you, but this is in a perfect world where
there are no homeless vets, or abused kids. In our world stuff happens, in our world of riding motorcycles among four wheelers we are subject to situations that will require
either speeding up, swerving, or slowing down.

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Enlightment and Fear

There are many factors that have sent us in the direction of riding a motorcycle, such as the love of motorcycles, and the urge we have to just get away with the wind in our hair. Maybe your buddy has a scooter, or maybe you admire others that have mastered the beast.

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Is Enough Enough

In my right mirror I saw a motorcycle come flying out of the ditch and into the air without a rider, crashing into the trees along the highway. Then, I saw the gleam of chrome moving on the highway behind me as a second scooter slid on its side down the road along with the rider. This highway was a very nice straight slab of cement. The warm Sun was shining, the groups speed was at an even pace, and the traffic was light … so what happened?

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Changes …#29

The NHTA says 49% of motorcycle accidents were single vehicle accidents indicating rider error. I used to think it was the young studs on their powerful rice rockets that were
stacking the fatality statistics for motorcycle riders, but no… The over 40 motorcycle crowd was 46% of motorcycle fatalities in 2013, that’s a 39% increase in that age group
since 2004. Most riders start their riding career at a young age, so if the average rider started riding in their twenties and the numbers say older riders are the majority

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The Eyes Have It

One of the most important factors of being a good motorcycle rider is knowing how important it is to use your head and eyes, and I’m not only talking about looking at pretty girls, I’m talking about PRECEPTION also. We take for granted that sight is part of riding, but while you are riding what are you seeing?

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Sharing the Road

Sharing the Road was written after the recent tragedy in the Bill Henry escort where another rider was killed escorting Bill’s remains westbound on I-80 near Atlantic, Iowa. We were in the left lane running about 75 mph (125 bikes), and an 81 year old driver tried to get over from the right lane because of a horse trailer on the shoulder, but no one let him in so he came over anyway.

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The Trafficator Arm

Signals are funny, there are many ways to signal and many signals to signal. Some are easy and used worldwide like a left or right turn, some are isolated and only used by certain riding groups. Driving a four wheeler our signals are limited to backup / brake / left / right and four way hazard lights. Sticking your arm out the window of a car anymore could send the wrong signal and confuse other drivers. Are you waving? Are you mad? Are you pointing? On a scooter we can safely use electrical and manual. Both should be used together. Why?

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Going in Circles

Anyone that has been at a motorcycle event with me and those that have rode with me on a run will tell you I’m a big show off. When everyone is parking and there is room, I’m over somewhere in the corner of the parking lot doing circles and figure eights. Why? Why because it’s fun, and at the same time I am honing my motorcycle skills hoping to be ready if I encounter one of those “but officer, I didn’t see him” kind of drivers.

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Bike of Choice

She’s sure pretty sitting there in the garage. It’s so fast, she runs like a top and handles the road like the fast road racer she is. “So why aren’t you out riding today.” was my question to my friend. His answer was anticipated by me to be the standard “I gotta’ clean the yard today.” …It was, instead of being honest with me and with himself. I could tell this machine scares the hell outta him and he limits his riding because of it.
“Very low miles I see, you must have a very nice yard.” I said.

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The Ostrich Concept

 Though they cannot fly, ostriches are fleet, strong runners. They can sprint up to 43 miles (70 kilometers) an hour and can run over distance of 31 miles if needed. Do they really try to hide by putting their head in a hole or corner somewhere to feel safe from danger? I'm not sure, but what a weak concept, outta site, outta mind. I know a few motorcycle riders that operate their scooters with this mentality. Let's face it, motorcycles are cool.

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What's Your Line?

Do you know where you should be riding when riding with a group in a staggered formation? Yeah, yeah, I know, most of you will say left or right tire track because it depends on how you fall in together, and as a general rule this is true, but it does change from mile to mile. When riding a motorcycle we have three lines with-in our lane, the left line, the center strip, and the right tire track.

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The Hurt Study

At the Capitol building I watched from the bleachers above the Legislative body as a proposed Helmet Law amendment was defeated once again. I wondered how lawmakers decide laws pertaining to motorcycle riding and riders without being a rider themselves. How do motorcycle training instructors know what skills to teach new and old riders riding on today’s streets? My answer was "The Hurt Study." Although somewhat dated when compared to today’s motorcycle accident data, the Hurt Study still stands tall.

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