...from August 2017 - Bill Wren SAFETY CORNER
Interstate Riding Suggested by Larry Cochran
When riding on the interstate it might seem that doing the speed limit and staying in the right lane is the safest approach. But as Larry can attest, this can leave you vulnerable to attack from behind. A while ago he was riding to Saturday morning breakfast doing 70 in the right lane when he was hit from behind. He spent quite a long time (35 days) in the hospital and months going to rehab. We are lucky that he is healthy and still riding with us today.
In my opinion the safer option is to ride in the middle or left lane and at a speed that is a little faster than the general flow of traffic. Under normal circumstances, I favor 77 to 78 mph in a 70 mile an hour zone. I have ridden past countless police cars and never been stopped at that speed. Of course traffic and weather conditions must be factored in and your moment to moment awareness that you are the invisible gorilla still applies. Principally you need to continue to check for fast moving traffic coming up behind you. Try not to ride next to anyone if you can avoid it, especially large trucks, and never stay in anyone’s blind spot. If you are riding with a partner or group and are passing a car going near your speed, accelerate and pull up past the car far enough that you leave space for the bikes behind you to get in comfortably. It is a very bad feeling to be left hanging with no place to go.
In general, the effect is that going a little faster than the average speed of traffic will help to put a bit of a cushion between you and distracted drivers texting vitally important details about recently consumed hamburgers and beer to all of their friends.
Any comments or concerns, Bob Poneleit stated that your odometer can run anywhere between 5 to 10 miles slower than your actual speed. It’s also good to look at the wheels on the vehicle that you are attempting to pass that they are not going to be coming into your lane.
Janet Granger stated that almost all of her trip was Interstate riding, it’s very important to keep hydrated the camel pack was very helpful and take breaks; you need to take breaks to help you stay focused and alert. The highlights were the Barber Motor Sport Museum in Alabama, and the Harley Museum in Milwaukee.
...from June 15th Hap's General Meeting
SAFETY CORNER: by Phil Waguespack
Group Riding; A basic review:
1. Arrive early with a full tank on your bike and an empty bladder if possible. Carry a cell phone, a basic first aid kit, and a group riding mind set.
2. Attend and listen to the pre-ride meeting for general route information and instructions from the Ride Captain on how he wants to handle the group for that ride in particular. Now is the time to speak up to make requests for favorite rest stops or a particular position in the group.
3. Ride in a staggered formation with the Leader on the left. Keep about a 2 second gap between you and the bike directly in front of you and about a 1 second gap from the rider to your right front. When in congested areas with lots of lights, you can tighten the formation a little, and out in the country with little traffic loosen it up a bit. As always, twisty roads and turns require a single file. Phil has copies of MSF hand signals.
4. Now we come to the change in the MSF recommendations, regarding what to do if a rider drops out of the formation. Formerly the recommendation was for the rider directly behind to pull forward and take that slot, with each rider in that row moving up one position with no crisscrossing. If you found yourself with an open position beside you, you were to wave the next rider to come forward to fill the open position. The MSF now says that creates a hazard by having bikes passing too closely when one moves forward. They now recommend that the rider to the side and behind the leaving rider cross over to take that position with all riders behind crossing to fill the gaps. This seems to me to be more hazardous than simply moving ahead in the previous manner. This is an issue that should be addressed and made very clear at each pre-ride meeting to avoid potential accidents.
5. Don’t ride beyond your comfort level. Each rider should periodically check their mirrors to see if anyone has fallen behind. If so, slow down to let them catch up. If everyone does this the group will maintain a good pace without pressuring anyone to ride faster than their comfort level.
6. If you are separated from the group by a light or traffic, (and I recommend you let the car who is trying to cut into the group do so. They may not be courteous or right, but you will pay the price if they push you off the road.) don’t panic and speed up or take chances to catch up. The group will either slow down or wait for you along the roadside before the next turn.
...from May 18th Hap's General Meeting
SAFETY CORNER: by Phil Waguespack
CDC Motor Vehicle Safety - Motorcycle Safety 2013
Motorcycle crash deaths are costly, but preventable. The single most effective way for states to save lives and save money is a universal helmet law.
Helmets saved an estimated 1,630 lives and $2.8 billion in economic costs in 2013.
The United States could have saved an additional $1.1 billion in 2013 if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.
Helmets reduce the risk of death by 37%.
Helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69%.
“Our role is to identify ways to prevent injury and death and rigorously check what works and what does not work. For motorcycle safety, the research shows that universal helmet laws are the most effective way to reduce the number of deaths and traumatic brain injuries that result from crashes.”
Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC Director
Task Force Finding
The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends universal motorcycle helmet laws (laws that apply to all motorcycle operators and passengers) based on strong evidence of effectiveness. Evidence indicates that universal helmet laws increase helmet use; decrease motorcycle-related fatal and non-fatal injuries; and are substantially more effective than no law or than partial motorcycle helmet laws, which apply only to riders who are young, novices, or have medical insurance coverage below certain thresholds.
States in the U.S. that repealed universal helmet laws and replaced them with partial laws or no law consistently experienced substantial:
Decreases in helmet use, and
Increases in fatal and non-fatal injuries.
States that implemented universal helmet laws in place of partial laws or no law consistently experienced substantial:
Increases in helmet use, and
Decreases in fatal and non-fatal injuries.
These beneficial effects of universal helmet laws extended to riders of all ages, including younger operators and passengers who would have been covered by partial helmet laws.
Economic evidence shows that universal motorcycle helmet laws produce substantial economic benefits that greatly exceed costs. Most benefits come from averted healthcare and productivity losses.
Read the full Task Force Finding and Rationale Statement for more detailed information on the finding, including implementation issues, potential benefits and harms, and evidence gaps.
In the U.S., motorcycles account for about 3% of registered vehicles, 0.6% of vehicle miles traveled, and a disproportionate 14% of all road traffic fatalities (DOT, 2013).