Meeting Notes…

from June 15th Hap’s General Meeting
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
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).