Category Archives: Riding Safety

State Watch

Arizona
The state Senate will consider two bills that would make lane splitting legal for motorcyclist. S.B. 1007 was introduced by state Sen. David Farnsworth. This bill strikes the current language that prohibits lane splitting. S.B. 1015 introduced  by state Sen. John Kavanagh adds language permitting lane splitting and includes a requirement that motorcycle riders and passengers wear helmets.

Florida
H.B. 1283 would create a hit – and – run alert system using dynamic message signs, in the style of the Amber Alert system, to help law enforcement agencies find hit – and – run drivers. The bill was introduced by state Rep. John Cortes.

Maryland
H.B. 142 would provide enhanced penalties for drivers who collide with “vulnerable road users” while distracted.
The bill includes motorcycles in the list of vulnerable road users. A person convicted of a violation would face 30 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. The court also would be empowered to order participation in a motor vehicle safety course and up to 200 hours of community service. The bill was introduced by Delegate Stephen W. Lafferty.

Michigan
The state has officially recognized electric bicycles as legal for use on streets and some trails. No one younger than 14 may ride a electric bike on the streets. Riders between 14 and 18 are required to wear helmets. Michigan law does not classify the bikes as motor vehicles.

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

Crowning Achievement


Understanding the effects of crowned roads on riding technique.

Crowned road design helps to efficiently shed water from the pavement. But it also influences the way we ride right and left curves.

Roads are engineered to disperse rainwater and minimize pooling on the road surface. The way those civil engineers achieve that is by designing roads with a crowned profile. The surface is higher in the middle (where the double – yellow is) and slopes downward to each side of the road –a bit like a pitched roof on a house. The cross slope design does much to make wet – weather riding safer. But motorcyclist should also consider how a crowned road comes into play even when the road is dry. We travel on the right side of the road here in America. On a crowned road, that means the pavement slopes from its highest point at the left side of our lane down to its lowest point on the right edge of the lane. Have you ever noticed that the left side of your bike’s tires wear more than the right? It is because your bike travels along a slanted plane for miles on end.
But here is a new slant; Think about how the crown effect comes into play when the pavement turns. In the right-hand corners, the cross slop of the road creates a banked turn within our lane, providing slightly more traction, ground clearance and more responsive steering as we lean into the curve.
Conversely, a left-hand curve has a reverse chamber as the pavement slopes away from the rider, slightly reducing traction and ground clearance and contributing to less responsive steering. This is one reason many riders find left-hand curves to be more challenging. A more conservative entry speed, combined with positioning your head and upper body toward the inside of the curve will reduce the bike’s lean angle and more than compensate for any compromise in ground clearance and traction due to the crowned road.  With a little practice, those crowned left-hand curves may become your crowning achievement!

Always keep it between the lines
Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER

It’s the first place your mind goes. But it’s the last thing you should be thinking about.

I am approaching a blind left curve, as you see in the above picture. That there is a rock wall covered in green with tress on the outside edge of the road. This would attend to attract riders eyes. As you can see I set a slower entry speed into the curve with my eyes up and looking left through the curve toward the desired exit.
In this case the rock wall was like a guardrail.
I know you can’t help it. No matter how old you get, the moment your eyes spot an attractive,tight set of curves, your mind goes straight to the gutter. But be careful! There’s a good chance that’s going to get you in trouble one of these days.
I am talking about curving roads here. Left ones in particular. What is it about an obscured left – hand bend that makes it so intimidating? What is it that drawls a rider’s eyes to the edge of the road the gutter.
Often it is the concern we’ll inadvertently get our tires too close to the edge of the pavement and ride off onto the shoulder into the guardrail or wall. This is know as “edge fear”. It may may also be due to the sense we are carrying to much speed for a given corner and worrying that we will run wide off the outside of the curve. No matter the cause, the solution is the same; we must get our minds out of the gutter at the edge of the road and focus into the heart of the corner, gazing far through the curve to where the turn exit will ultimately reveal itself.
Having difficulty keeping your eyes trained on the exit? Try slowing more than usual for each corner. Don’t worry who is behind you. Entering a curve at a slower speed than you think the curve requires gives you more confidence and can remove the mid- corner anxiety common to left- hand bends.
The bottom line? Enter a corner at a conservative speed and focus your eyes and mind on where you want to go and not at the ditch where you fear you’ll go. Get your mind out of the gutter….and let pure thoughts of successfully executing that intimidating left – hander get you through safely.
Keep your contact patch between the ditches.

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

State Watch

Texas
S.B. 288 would allow motorcyclist to split lanes when traffic is congested on limited-access or controlled-access highways.The motorcyclist would be limited to traveling no more than 5 mph faster than traffic. And splitting would be permitted only when traffic is moving at 20 mph or slower.

H.B.2 would allow motorcyclists to ride on the shoulder of highway for the sole purpose of getting to the next exit when traffic is moving at 25 mph or less. The law would apply only to limited access multilane divided highways with speed limits of 50 mph or more. And the motorcyclist may not exceed 45 mph while on the shoulder.

Oregon
Senate President Peter Courtney, a member of Oregon’s Distracted Driver Task Force, supports amending state laws to create harsher penalties for driving while texting, using social media or talking on the phone. Courtney favors a maximum penalty of one year in prison, a $6,250 fine or both for first time distracted driving offenders. Multiple violations with in 10 years would increase the penalty to five years in prison and a $125,000 fine.

Michigan
P.A. 318 signed into law by Gov. Rick Syder, increases the penalties for riding a motorcycle without the proper license endorsement. Under the law, violators are guilty of a misdemeanor. The penalty for a first time violation is up to 90 days in jail, a $500 fine or both. Subsequent violations carry up to a year in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.

Connecticut
H.B. 6048, H.B.6281 and H.B. 7055, introduced in the house of Representatives would require all riders in the state to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle or motor scooter. Current state law allows riders 18 and older to choose whether to wear a helmet. These bills would eliminate that choice.

Florida
Two bills would attempt to address distracted driving in the state. H.B. 69 would change the stat’s ban on texting while driving from secondary enforcement to primary enforcement for drivers 18 or younger. The bill also would require that fines be deposited into the states Emergency Medical Services Trust Fund. H.B. 47 would revise penalties for violations of the ban on texting while driving to provide enhanced penalties for violations that occur in a school zone or school crossing. The bill also removes the requirement that texting while driving be enforced as secondary action by law enforcement agencies.

Utah
S.B. 159 would raise the legal age for riding motorcycles without a helmet from 18 to 21.

Idaho
H.123 would prohibit motorcyclist profiling by state or local law enforcement agencies. The bill defines profiling as “the arbitrary use of the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related paraphernalia as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest or search a person or vehicle.”

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

YOUR VISION


The other day I went to see about getting  proscription sun glasses a little thinner style than my motorcycle mirrored polarized proscription riding glasses. My riding glasses are perfect when I use my shorty open face helmet or my 1/3 helmet. But not with my full face or my new modular touring helmet. The new sun glasses will now fit under my new helmet or my full face with out discomfort. Why am I tell you this. Well after I left the eye glass store I was reminded of a conversation I had with a gentleman a while back when he seen my mirrored face shield on my full face helmet.
The question he asked me was. What are the benefits, if any, of a colored mirrored face shields? And then he asked me is it good for night riding? I first answered him that there are colored goggles,glasses and lenses also.And that there are different tints for night riding and Polarized lenses and mirrored for sunny day rides.

For dusk,nighttime,fog,rain and any low – light conditions, clear, non – tinted eye wear (eyeglasses) and eye protection (goggles or face shields) are the best choices.

For sunny days, tint can reduce eye strain. Gray tints are best because they simpley reduce the amount of light reaching your eyes, without distorting color.
Other tints also reduce the amount of light reaching your eyes by varying degrees, but they can distort color. That said, a yellow or amber tint may be very useful in overcast conditions to increase contrast.

Some riders prefer tinted or mirrored face shields to nonprescription sunglasses, because face shields provide more complete coverage, whereas sunlight can encroach around the frames of typical sunglasses. Some face shields automatically adjust their tint to ambient lighting conditions, and some helmets have an internal drop- down tinted visor. Without these features, you would need to carry a separated clear face shield if you’ll be riding into the evening. I have a mirrored full face helmet with a drop- down tinted visor ” see above picture” I use along with a full face modular with drop- down tinted visor I also use when riding. Along with a 1/3 helmet with drop – down helmet.

Polarized eyeglasses or goggles have benefits in most outdoor applications. Polarization allows light that comes straight toward the lens to pass though, while filtering light that comes from an angle. This reduces glare from road surfaces and other vehicles (especially chrome and glass surfaces) and minimizes the resulting distortion and “washing out” of the image-as well as potential damage to the eye. This is especially effective for wet roads, which are more reflective than dry roads. The downside is that polarized lenses can distort some of the light coming from or though instrument panel display or windshields.

Sunlight contains ultraviolet rays, which are as damaging to the eyes as they are to the skin. Generic sunglasses block varying amounts of UV rays. Prescription eyeglass lenses, whether clear,tinted, mirrored, or polarized, typically block most UV rays about 98%. Check with your optometrist to see if your lenses have this protection or if the protection can be added to your next prescription. My new pair of prescription sunglasses will be the same as my riding prescription glasses mirrored and polarized. You can also get prescription goggles to help protect against UV rays. If you don’t need prescription glasses and don’t want to use regular sunglasses a tinted or mirrored face shield will protect against UV rays.
Your eyes are the mind’s window to the traffic world. Your safety depends on the accuracy of that view.
Keep your contact patch between the lines

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

STATE WATCH

FLORIDA
S.B.346 would require motor scooter riders younger than 21 to wear helmets while on public roads. The bill applies to motorcycles and scooters of 50cc or less. Current law allows riders 16 and older to decide whether to wear a helmet on those bikes. The proposed legislation comes a year after a failed attempt to reinstate universal mandatory motorcycle helmet use.

MICHIGAN
A new state law allows anyone with a valid driver’s license to operate an auto cycle –a three-wheeled vehicle with side -by-side seating and steering wheel. No motorcycle endorsement is needed. Three – wheeled motorcycles still require a motorcycle license to operate.

MISSOURI
The city of Columbia is considering a ordinace banning all texting for drivers younger than 21 and for commercial truck drivers. Efforts to enact a statewide ban have proved unsuccessful. The Columbia effort is part of the city’s Vision Zero plan, intended to reduce traffic injuries and deaths.

Michael Theodore

National Road Captain

 

State Watch

STATE WATCH

Oregon
H.B. 2597 Oregon’s distracted-driving law, was signed by the governor and became effective on October 1. The new law defines the offense of driving a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device. Beginning Jan 1,2018 first offenders can be fined $130 to $1,000. Second offenses and first offenses that contributed to a crash are subject to a fine of $2220 to $2,500. A third offense with in 10 years carries a minimum fine of $2,000 and the possibility of six months in jail. First offenders can have their fines suspended if they complete a distracted driving avoidance course.

OHIO
H.B. 280 was introduced that would allow motorcyclist to wear earplugs to protect their hearing while riding. Ohio is one of only three states that prohibit using hearing protection while operating a motorcycle.

ARKANSAS
The state has reclassified its vehicle operator licensing requirement to allow those with a valid state driver’s license to drive three wheeled vehicles, such as the Polaris Slingshot, without a motorcycle endorsement. Arkansas is the 37th state to make this change to accommodate vehicles with side-by-side seating and steering wheels.

Indiana
AMA and the ABATE of Indiana is pressing state officials to find a better method of fixing cracks in paved roads than the patching material commonly known as tar snakes. They state that the tar snakes reduce traction and cause motorcycle tires to slide,especially on curves and in hot or wet weather. A letter from the Indiana Department of Transportation stated that officials will review the current patching method and consider alternatives.

NEW YORK
State officials are researching a device called a “textalyzer” that allows law enforcement to check whether a cell phone was in use just before or during a crash.The governments Traffic Safety Committee is to examine the technology as well as the questions about privacy and civil liberties its use would raise, according to the Associated Press report when plugged into a phone for about a minute can tell law enforcement agencies whether the phone’s user was texting,emailing,surfing the web or otherwise using the phone before a crash. Law Enforcement agencies like this device because they would not have to obtain a search warrent for the phone.

Ten Steps to Winterize your Motorcycle

If your idea of storing your bike for winter is just throwing a cover over it, you may be in for some nasty surprises come spring time. The last thing you want to find out when riding season starts is that your bike won’t, so use these tips to make sure your bike is as ready as you are when it’s time to ride!

We may not want to admit it, but winter is just around the corner. And as the air cools off and the snow starts falling, most of us begrudgingly store our bikes and impatiently wait for spring to ride again. I try to ride in the winter if conditions are good for riding.

But storing your bike in the winter isn’t as simple and just throwing a cover over it and hopping in the car. In order to keep your motorcycle in top running condition, there is some work that needs to be done before storing it for several months (talk about adding insult to the injury of not being able to ride!)

However, if you properly get your bike ready for winter storage, it’ll make getting it running again when the riding season begins a whole lot easier, and prevent any unwanted surprises such as dead batteries, corrosion, and rust spots (or worse.)

Depending on what kind of motorcycle you ride there may be different things that will need to be addressed, but there is some general wisdom on how to get it ready to be stored for the winter. Your main enemy during winter storage is damage from moisture, so most of our winterizing efforts will be aimed at keeping that away from your bike. In addition, well give some love to your fuel system, battery, tires, and all your moving parts as well.

With just a little prep work using these ten simple steps, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and hassle come spring time, and your bike will be ready to hit the road as soon as you are!

1) Surface Prep

Washing your bike when nobody will see it for a few months anyway can be a drag, but giving your bike a thorough cleaning before storage is important; letting bug guts or water spots sit on your paint can corrode the finish permanently. Wash your bike and dry it completely to get all the moisture off the surfaces (an electric leaf blower is a great way to get all the nooks and crannies really dry.)

Add a coat of wax, which will act as a barrier against moisture and rust. Finally, spray exposed metal surface with WD-40 to displace all moisture (fun fact: the WD in “WD-40” stands for water displacement) and to give them a protective coating against corrosion.

2) Change Oil and Filter

Change your oil and filter. It’s better for your lubrication system to have fresh oil sitting in it for several months than to have used, broken down oil in it, not to mention the last thing you’ll want to do when riding season begins is change the oil before you can go ride. Using a winter weight oil like 5W30 can help it start up easier come spring time as well.

If you’re going to be storing your bike for a long time (4-6 months or more) you will want to protect your engine’s internals against moisture by coating them lightly with oil. You may not be able to see it with your naked eye, but the cold winter air is perfect for moisture to gather in your engine and cause rust to form on your pistons and cylinder walls.

In order to do this, remove the spark plugs and put a little squirt (about a tablespoon) of engine oil into the holes, then turn your engine over a few times to coat the cylinder walls by spinning the rear wheel with the bike in gear. Once everything is coated, replace the spark plugs.

3) Lube Moving Parts

Keeping moving parts lubed during the winter will help keep moisture from building up on them and causing any rusting or binding. Any part of your motorcycle that needs to be lubed at any point should be lubed again before storage. Some parts to check are: chain drive, cables, controls, fork surfaces, and any other pivot points.

4) Prep Fuel System

Gas tanks have a tendency to rust when not in use, and untreated pump gas breaks down and becomes gummy over time. To prevent rusting and make sure your fuel is ready to run after a few months in storage, you’ll want to fill your tank completely with fuel treated with a product like Sta-Bil Fuel Stabilizer.

On your last ride of the season, stop in at the gas station nearest to where you will be storing your bike and add the proper amount of fuel stabilizer, then top off the tank. A full tank will keep moisture from building up on the tank walls, and adding the stabilizer before the short ride home will help mix the gas and stabilizer together and run it through your fuel system before storage.

Note: Another method that some advocate is to drain the tank and fuel system completely. This is more troublesome to do, and requires that you treat the inside of the tank with fogging oil to prevent rusting. This method may be preferred for very long-term storage (6 months or more), but for winter storage, a full tank of treated fuel is easier and completely safe to do for both carbureted and fuel-injected bikes.

5) Safeguard Battery

Batteries have a tendency to self-discharge when sitting over time, especially when they remain hooked up to the bike. The easiest way to combat this is to hook up a battery tender like the Battery Tender Super Smart Junior which uses smart technology to monitor the charge and keep the battery topped off without overcharging. Normally you should pull the battery from the bike for storage, but with a smart tender you can also connect the tender with the battery left in the bike. Before doing this, make sure the electrodes are clean and corrosion free; if necessary, clean them off and give them a light coating of grease.

6) Protect Tires

If your tires are left to sit in the same position all winter long, they could develop flat spots. Keeping the tires off of the ground will prevent this, so if you have Motorcycle Stands, put the bike up on them for storage. If you don’t have stands, try to get at least the rear tire off the ground, or you can rotate your tires by rolling your motorcycle slightly every few weeks. If you need to leave your tires down on concrete, put a piece of carpet or plywood under them to keep any moisture from seeping into them.

7) Check Coolant/Anti-freeze

If you’ll be storing your bike somewhere that gets below freezing, make sure you have adequate levels of anti-freeze in your coolant system. This is very important; if you run straight water in your coolant system and it freezes, you could come back to a cracked head in the spring!

8) Plug Out Pests

Mice and other rodents are notorious for hiding from the cold inside exhaust pipes and making homes out of air filters. If order to avoid any furry surprises when it’s time to ride again, plug up your pipes. You can also simply stuff your air intake and the ends of your exhaust with some plastic bags – but do use bright colored bags or tie something to them so you don’t forget take them out when you fire up the bike!

9) Keep it Covered

With your motorcycle fully prepped for winter, invest in a proper motorcycle cover. A quality motorcycle cover will not only keep dust off the bike, but will keep the moisture out so it doesn’t get trapped underneath it, and create corrosion or rust. If you’re storing it outside, be sure to get a cover with tie downs to prevent it from blowing loose in wind. If you’re storing it inside you’re in much better shape, but you should still use a cover to prevent dust from building up on it.

10) Theft Protection

If you’re storing your bike outside, bear in mind that being parked unattended for months at a time makes it an easy target for theft. In addition to protecting your bike from weather, using a cover will conceal it from view, and securing it with a heavy lock and chain can give you some peace of mind. If youll be storing your bike anywhere it can be accessed by others, consider investing in some security measures.

With your bike fully prepared for a few months of hibernation, you’ll find that the winter is the perfect time to get done any maintenance or upgrade projects that you’ve had on your mind.

Now There is an 11th step here.

This isn’t what  I meant by “winterizing your bike”  (but hey, This can work)

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain
 

 

Coping With a Skid

A skid – that’s when your heart leaps
up to your throat because your
tires have lost traction!
You might hit a patch of sand on a
mountain curve, or a puddle of oil as
you’re slowing for a stoplight. It’s a
frightening experience on a
motorcycle, but you can handle it.
In a highway-speed, sand-in-the corner
skid, steer slightly in the
direction of the skid. (If you’re leaned
to the left and skidding to the right,
turn those handlebars a bit towards the
right.) Chances are you will clear the
patch of sand, the tires will grip the
pavement again, the bike will stand up,
and you’ll continue on your way.
Should you hit a slippery bit while
you’re braking for a stop sign, and one
or both wheels lock up, you want to
get those wheels rolling right away.
Release the brakes for an instant, then
reapply a little more gently. You want
those tires to have traction.
At higher speeds, when traction is
good and the rear wheel skids when
braking hard, do not release the rear
brake.
If your back end is skidding sideways
because the tire is on a slick spot
and simply spinning, ease off on the
throttle. A spinning wheel provides no
more control than a locked wheel.
You might be in one of those two mile-
per-hour parking lot scenarios, a
mild, low-speed skid when your front
wheel starts to go out from under you.
A foot on the ground may keep the
bike upright and the rubber side down.
This is not an easy thing to do, and
should only be done if all else fails.
Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

 

State Watch Motorcycle Legation

 

I am going to be posting something new in the rumblings newsletter each month which has to do with motorcycle laws and bills. I will be posting a few states every month. If your like me a motorcyclist you want to know what your state or other states are doing to help with motorcycle safety and motorcycle riders.

Did you know that some state’s have motorcycle -only checkpoints?
Hawaii
Bill HB 727 is in legalization that would authorize the state department of transportation to allow motorcycles and motor scooters the use of shoulder lanes when congested.
Massachusetts
Bill H 1917 flied by state Rep .Timothy Whelan (R-Brewster), would allow motorcyclist to proceed through red lights after stopping and “exercising due care,” if the signal is controlled by a vehicle detection device that is not triggered by the motorcycle.
Massachusetts
Motorcyclist are attempting to get the state’s mandatory helmet law repealed again this year, with S.1923 would do just that. The bill was introduced bt state Sen. Anne Gobi There was about 175 riders showed up at the state capital to lobby in favor of this bill.
Michigan
The state Senate voted to raise registration and training fees for motorcyclist. The annual registration fee goes from $23 to $25. Initial endorsement fees go from $13.50 to $16,and renewals from $5 to $7. The additional registration fee revenue will go to the motorcycle safety education program, while some of the endorsement fee revenue will fund a new program promoting motorcycle awareness.
Oregon
The Governor signed into law H.B 2598, which extends the offense of vehicular assault to include contact with a motorcycle operator or motorcycle passenger.
Pennsylvania
The state’s House Consumer Affairs Committee approved a measure that would cover motorcycles under Pennsylvania’s Automobile Lemon Law. H.B. 74, introduced by state Rep Pam Snyder would include motorcycles in the law’s definition of a “new motor vehicle” and require manufacturers to correct any defects that impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle and occurs within one year following delivery, within the first 12,000 miles of use or during the term of the warranty, whichever comes first.
Pennsylvania
The state House passed H.B.831 which gives motorcycles processions the same rights as funeral processions. State Rep Mark Keller, the bill’s sponsor, said, “As an avid motorcycle rider who has taken part in many large group rides, said his legislation would bring group riders into compliance with the state vehicle code and make them safer for both the participants and other motorists.” If passed by the state Senate and signed into law, the bill would allow motorcycle processions to proceed through red lights and stop signs, control and direct traffic and bypass motorcycle-only checkpoints.
Minnesota
S.F.2405 would permit motorcyclists to split lanes on public roads within the state if the rider does not exceed 40 mph and travels no more than 15 mph faster than surrounding traffic.The bill was referred to the Transportation Finance and Policy committee.
Louisiana
Lawmakers have passed H.B.161, which provides exceptions to Louisiana’s anti-masking law, and sent the bill to the governor for signing. The bill exempts motorcyclist from the state law that prohibits the wearing of masks in public, except on holidays, such as Halloween. Motorcyclist in Louisiana said some overly zealous law enforcement officers have been using the anti-mask law to stop and cite bikers who were using face shields on their helmets.
Washington
A state law that bans the use of hand-held devices while driving a car took effect on July 23. Under the new law, anyone older than 18 may no longer hold a phone while driving,except to call 911 for emergencies or to activate or deactivate a call or select GPS navigation. Those younger than 18 already fell under those restrictions.
Nebraska
Nebraska  officials deployed eight trucks featuring safety messaging around the state as part of a 10-week program to promote motorcycle safety. The campaign by Nebraska Highway Safety Council was promoted by a spate of fatal motorcycle crashes this past summer. The state Department of Transportation, law enforcement agencies and motorcycle safety groups help with the campaign.
Michael Theodore
National Road Captain