Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The informal bike gathering at The Pizza Cottage had only a few riders last night, mostly due to the temps, I think. Even though the sun came out around noon the temperatures never got out of the 60s (f).

The topic of discussion for those in attendance was motorcycle safety and the weekend deer crash by Donna and Ron. After attending over a dozen of these gatherings, this is the first time anyone has discussed safety. Its too bad that something like this has to happen before we take the time to talk safety.

The consensus among the group of about 10 riders - half of which had ridden for more than 20 years - was this:

  1. Deer are unpredictable. Always be on the look out for them and during late afternoons and evenings, slow down in typical deer areas; 30 mph tops unless you're following car traffic.
  2. Deer whistles may or may not work. If you have an extra $5 for a non-electric model or an extra $75 - $100 for an electric one, put one on your bike. But follow point #1.
  3. Review the ride rules before each ride. Put your pride or your sensitivity away.
  4. If the ride is lengthy take frequent breaks. Fatigue leads to inattention.
There was some disagreement as to whether new riders should be near the front of the group or the back. The reasoning for putting them near the back was, if they crash, they won't take out other riders. I'm not convinced about that.

And, I found at least one other rider that doesn't like to ride with his high beams on during the day- says the high beams remove the motorcycle's silhouette and judging speed and distance is difficult for drivers. I tend to agree. Better to put additional or auxiliary lighting on a bike.

Got any other suggestions?


Earl Thomas said...

When I was a kid riding on the streets in the 80's, bright and loud colors were in, therefore all of my riding gear was suited for the current style right down to my very loud "Hunters Orange" Shoei helmet. Trouble was, styles change and what I wore in my teens, wasn't so cool during my twenties. I vowed to only by black and neutral colors from then on. Of course, I have learned that this too is a problem, safety wise. I'm currently going through a transition to the High-vis stuff, beginning with a new Aerostitch jacket this winter.

This evening, I'm pretty sure that I spied Irondad heading the opposite direction on I-90 as he traveled east on his way to Sandpoint Idaho, he didn't notice me traveling west, but I sure as heck noticed his high vis Aerostitch from a long way off, even in rush hour traffic.

You know what they say about loud pipes, loud colors are rather effective as well. (I don't know if the deer care much about that though).

Ride Well


Doug C said...

Good point about the the hi-viz. I'll need a winter jacket soon and am contemplating a day-glo color scheme.

Speaking of irondad, I was on my way home tonight and coming up behind me and 2 lanes over was a rider and his passenger dressed in a Hi-Viz "'stitch" suit.

At first I thought of irondad and Katie, then I remembered, wrong state. And the bike was a BMW GS series, so wrong bike, too. Must have been a long day...

RazorsEdge2112 said...

Too bad there isn't a whistle to help scare away stupid drivers.

Very, very good post Doug. Safety on bikes is something that should always be on peoples' minds. Unfortunately it seems we don't discuss it much until someone we know gets into an accident.

Loud colors or black. I must admit, I am torn. I like my black leather for winter riding but my silver and 'hurt your eyes red' mesh jacket just looks SO nice.

Oh, Doug. I noticed on your side menu, a slide show from a ride to Springfield. That covered bridge that people were walking through? I remember that from when I was a child! Well, maybe it is the same one. I remember as a young child, when we would drive downstate to visit my Dad's cousin (I think) and stop at this old covered bridge for picnic lunches.

Well, anyway, I would be lying if I said my eyes didn't get misty looking at those 'back home' pictures.

Conchscooter said...

High visibility is visible to people looking for motorcycles.You could ride in the company of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the oblivious wouldn't see you until you stuck your head in their windshield.
I worry that ATTGATT and HIGH VIZ as mantras envelope the unwary in cloaks of invulnerability. The best proection is being alert and knowing your limitations.Or driving a car yourself.

Doug C said...

Conch - An excellent point. Nothing but nothing takes the place of vigilance and awareness. Almost like the attitude that's so prevalent with air bags in autos.

That reminds me of an article from a Canadian paper I read and will try to post sometime...