Well, today is October 1st which in my mind marks the beginning of the Fall riding season. We will soon be turning our attention to seasonal holidays and more riding. From the looks of the weather forecast this week, mother nature also has a calendar as the forecast is calling for low 90's and even high 80's for the weekend coming in right on schedule. And with temps in the 80's, those with an aversion to triple digit riding will be taking the covers off their bikes and hitting the road. Some for maybe the first time in a few months. Which leads me to my editorial this week. It is a litlle long this week, but if you are an avid rider I would encourage you to read through it.
This week I will be following up on my article of motorcycle safety from last week. If you missed that letter, CLICK HERE to read and get caught up. In the letter last week I had mentioned that on my ride back from up North I saw a digital billboard on I-17 cycling through some ads and the one that particularly caught my attention was "Look Out For Motorcycles". I was really surprised to see this but I have to admit feeling a little sense of comfort seeing a huge billboard that was telling the cages around me to "Look Out For Motorcycles". As it cycled through again, it came up with this one, "Some Drivers Only See Us By Accident". After reading this, it really hit home as to why the first sign was telling everyone to Look Out For Motorcycles. The City of Glendale also started an awareness program on their city streets that look like this. Accidents are an all too real by product of riding a motorcycle. A lot of times cars just don't see us.
As I mentioned last week, the State of Arizona has a Governor's Office of Highway Safety (GOHS). Under that umbrella is the Arizona Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council that was created to advise the Director on the appropriations of the $1.00 fee that is added to every motorcycle registration. With a panel of 3 members including AMSAC Chairman P.J. Janik, Bobbi Hartman and Dave Novitt they have done an excellent job creating public awareness of sharing the road with motorcycles as well as alerting riders to be more safety conscious themselves. So far an excellent blend in both areas using the funds that are available. The program is off to a good start. In fact, Arizona had a 3% decrease in motorcycle crashes last year. But I believe there is so much more to be done to significantly lower injuries and deaths from motorcycle accidents.
The 3% drop that we had as a State last year is a start, but I would like to start with a goal of 50% reduction in motorcycle accidents and make that a model for the rest of the nation to follow. It's great to pick a number out of thin air and make that a goal, but it doesn't do much good unless you have some ideas on how to get there. And without participation from all of us that ride, that goal or any other one is going to be met anyway. So I asked all of you to give me 3 ideas on how we can making riding safer for everyone. I got some excellent and enthusiastic responses that I will share with you below. Thanks to all of you that replied with your excellent ideas.
I understand that not every single accident can be avoided. People make mistakes, both in cars and on motorcycles. Unfortunately, given the nature of our transportation, we are the ones that bear the worst end of the accident scenario. The word "accident" is used a lot, so I went to Wikipedia to see how they describe the word.
ACCIDENT: An accident is a specific, identifiable, unexpected, unusual and unintended external event which occurs in a particular time and place, without apparent or deliberate cause but with marked effects. It implies a generally negative outcome which may have been avoided or prevented had circumstances leading up to the accident been recognized, and acted upon, prior to its occurrence.
Wow! That is very profound and can obviously be applied to any activity. I particularly liked this part as it applies to riding: "which may have been avoided or prevented had circumstances leading up to the accident been recognized, and acted upon, prior to its occurrence". That line leads me to the number 1 thing that I think we can do to mitigate the amount of mishaps, TRAINING. Out of all riding fatalities reported approximately 50% of those are single vehicle accidents, meaning that there is a high probability that there was rider error involved. 50% of those accidents involved alcohol as a contributing factor to the accident.
If we were to take away 25% of the accidents caused by motorists with community awareness programs and reduce by 25% the accidents that we cause ourselves through continuing training, we would reach my goal of 50% reduction in accidents. So how can we do that?
Here are some ideas to reduce accidents and reach that goal from myself and Cyclerides.com readers.
1. BASIC RIDER TRAINING. There is only one thing that we can control when it comes to accidents, and that is the actions that we take. We can't control the decisions of the guy turning left, but we can be better prepared if someone else makes a bad decision. I believe that some sort of rider training is a must to get a motorcycle license. It is really hard to believe that we put new riders on the street in this State with no formal training. The 25 question test that you take to get your endorsement isn't training. If not hands on riding training, I would at least like to see some sort of practical book training with a test of 50 questions or so as it relates to actual riding, not just stop signs, speed limits and riding through some cones. Real "What If" training that would prepare you for these streets.
2. ADVANCED RIDER TRAINING. This is something that will never be mandated, but is a good idea for everyone. You need to keep your mind and muscle memory sharp by simulating emergency situations in training. When you get into those tough positions where you have to make a quick decision, you will be more prepared to deal successfully with a given situation if you have experienced it or practiced it in a controlled environment. For example, if you entered a left corner too fast, you started to lose it to the outside and there was a 20 foot drop-off on your right, what would you do?? If you didn't immediately have the answer to that question before you were finished reading it, you should consider an advanced rider training class. With training, you would instinctively know exactly what action to take. We need continuing training on all types of things that we do in life, be it work, sports or hobbies. If you are a golfer, I would guess that you go to the driving range from time to time to hone your skills. To keep from getting complacent, motorcycle riding should be no different. And once you get the training, stay sharp by practicing on your own. There might be a time when you are glad you did.
One thing I noticed with pilot training is that we are always practicing emergency situations. Engine out, stalls, etc. I will never forget the first time my instructor pulled the throttle on me after takeoff and said you just lost an engine! What will you do? I will remember the answer to that question forever. This is all so that if the real thing occurred, we would not have to think about or figure out what we need to do, it would be instinctive. Another thing in aviation is that every 2 years you have to go be checked out with an instructor to stay current. While riding a motorcycle is not flying, the point is that emergency situations will be presented to us at some point in our riding careers and Advanced Rider Training will ultimately help us protect ourselves and our passengers. This program alone would save several lives and accidents.
3. MOTORCYCLE ENDORSEMENTS. I know there are a lot of riders out there right now that don't have their motorcycle endorsement. That is your choice, but if you have an accident and don't have your endorsement, your insurance company would likely not pay for any damage that you did to yourself or others due to illegally operating the bike. It is easy to get. Just 25 lame questions and a short skill session. If you still don't have one, protect yourself and others. Go get it. You know who you are.
4. LARGER FINES FOR RIGHT OF WAY VIOLATIONS. This violation is enemy #1 for riders. Cars turning left in front of bikes is by far the scariest proposition of riding through a busy intersection. I guess you could compare this one to the price of gas. The higher the price of gas, the less we drove. If turning left in front of a car or motorcycle would cost you a $1000 fine, even if it didn't cause an accident that time, and this fine was well publicized by the media like the cameras on the 101, I think people would Think Twice about "Looking Twice". It has to hurt the wallet before it makes an impression. The additional press of this type of fine would then translate into more awareness to "Look out for Motorcycles".
5. MORE RED LIGHT CAMERAS. If right of way violations are our # 1 enemy, and red light cameras stop this incursion, why not more red light cameras? I believe Red Light Cameras are doing a good job of keeping drivers from making stupid decisions with left turns. The fines are huge and people are starting to get it. Goes along with my comments above on right of way incursions. I have one that I go through every day and never had my picture taken. It's easy, you just don't make a turn on red. Easy as that.
6. EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL AND RIDING. Like I mentioned above. Over the limit alcohol consumption accounts for half of the single vehicle fatalities on motorcycles. It is hard enough to out guess what the cages are going to do when you are completely sober. I'm not saying you can't have a beer or two over time, but know your own limits and adhere to that. It is not un-cool to drink bottled water or soda in between drinks if it is going to keep you and your passenger safe. If you see your buddy is at his limits, do him or her a favor and bring them a bottled water.
7. RIDE WITHIN YOUR ABILITY. Don't try and keep up with the rest of the pack through corners, etc. Know your own ability and ride within those parameters. Ride at your own pass, you will soon catch up with the group if you fall behind.
8. SIGNAGE ON FREEWAYS. Utilize the digital ADOT sign boards to remind drivers to "Look Out For Motorcycles". Utilize the large green and white freeway signs to say the same every few miles. I think this would be particularly useful in education of drivers as they spend so much time on the freeways in traffic.
9. RIDING GEAR. Utilize all available riding gear including gloves, jackets and helmets. Wearing bright colors are also very useful. Black seems to be the popular color to wear because it does not show road dirt, but bright colors are safer for sure. The Dept. of Hwy. Safety in Florida are launching a "Motorcycle Conspicuity Campaign" called "Ride Proud. Dress Loud." It is aimed to save lives by increasing motorcycle visibility on roadways. Check out their website at http://www.rideprouddressloud.com/.
10. CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP AND GRASSROOTS EDUCATION. We need to get all dealerships and industry related companies to get on board the "Look Out For Motorcycles" campaign started by the Arizona Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council by tagging current print ads in magazines and newspapers with the slogan and incorporating the same into commercials on TV and Radio. These are the businesses that depend on us most and should be the first to step up to make the industry safer by educating the general public. This slogan should be plastered everywhere it can possibly be.
As you can see from these 10 ideas above, there are many possible ways to make this a safer sport but it comes down to a very clear division in how we can reach the goal in lowering accidents by 50%.
1. We need to first take care of what we have control of and that is our own actions. Start by taking a begginner or advanced rider course to learn the counter moves that you would need in an emergency. Learn how to counter steer or lay the bike down if need be. Even if you have been riding for years, it is almost guaranteed that you will learn something new in these classes that could save your life or serious injury. Advanced rider courses are usually only one day long. Second thing is practice critical moves before you need to use them.
2. We need a massive education of the public to the point that we don't have to remind them to look out for motorcycles, it will be so ingrained in them from every angle from drivers tests, billboards, TV and newspapers that it will an automatic response. The more funding that we can get to kick off this program, the faster it will develop. Watch these 2 Videos that the AMSAC has done. One is for riders, the other for automobile drivers. Video 1 - Riders, Video 2 - Drivers.
For more information on the Arizona Motorcycle Safety and Advisory Council go to http://www.azgohs.gov/motorcycle_safety.asp.
Advanced Motorcycle Training: T.E.A.M. Arizona Motorcycle Training experienced rider courses are priced at $100 and can be taken at any of 7 locations in the State. 480-998-9888. Skilled Rider courses are also available from the Rider's Edge Courses at these Harley Dealerships including Chester's Harley-Davidson, Chandler Harley-Davidson and Arrowhead Harley-Davidson
Beginner Rider Courses: These can also be taken at T.E.A.M. as well as Rider's Edge Courses from the Harley Dealerships.
Bike Nights This Week
Starting Up Again!
Vito & Nick's II Thursday Bike Night. Starting Again in the SOUTHEAST VALLEY. After a long hot summer, Vito & Nick's II is putting their great outdoor patio to good use on Thursday nights with an all new bike night. This is a brand new location that features an outdoor patio, a comfortable dining area and bar. Bike night specials include $1.00 Off All Beer, $2.00 Off All Appetizers, $2.00 Off All Shots, $2.00 Off All Large Pizzas, Raffle Prizes. Get your raffle ticket when you ride in. Plenty of outside seating and dining inside. Stop by this Thursday for some Great Food and Fun! Vito & Nick's is located at 3321 E. Queen Creek Rd. (SE Corner of Queen Creek and Higley Rd.) 480-279-4482. Click Here to see Vito & Nicks.
Harley-Davidson Bike Night at Tilted Kilt Mesa. Stop by the brand new Tilted
Kilt in Mesa for Thursday Bike Night sponsored by Chandler Harley-Davidson. Sit
out on the spacious patio or the cool inside. No matter where you are there will be the Tilted Kilt girls there
to wait on you. Enjoy great food and drink, Door Prize Drawings, Music and 15% off your entire ticket on Bike Night.
The NEW Tilted Kilt is located at 1910 S. Gilbert Rd. in Mesa. 480-507-5458.
Chester's Harley-Davidson Bike Night at Dos Gringos Mesa. Ride by the New Dos Gringos Mesa located on the northwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline in Mesa. Dos is sure to make an impact and add some flare to the east valley. Enormous patio, complete with its own outdoor bar and separate dining areas on each side. Dos is a casual neighborhood hangout with great food and cold cervezas. Feel free to dine at one of our four tops, relax at one of the booths lining the edge or just belly up to the bar. Click Here to View. There will be drink and food specials and Raffles and Fun from Chester's Harley-Davidson. Ride with Chester's from the dealership at 5:30pm every Thursday located at 922 S. Country Club Dr. in Mesa. 480-894-0404.
Hooter's Thursday Bike at Peoria location. The parking lot will be blocked off and it will be a night for MOTORCYCLES. Ride by Hooters in Peoria every Thursday night for Prizes, Giveaways every 1/2 Hour, Specials and of course great service by the Hooter's Girls. Enjoy $2.00 Bud and Bud Light Pints and $5.00 Bombers as well as those tasty Hooter's Wings. Sit on the huge outdoor patio and watch your favorite sporting event or inside with TV's every where you look. Enjoy this perfect riding weather with a ride to Hooter's this Thursday. Plan to check out the first night. 16550 N. 83rd Ave. just South of Bell Rd. 623-776-0123.
The Bike Night At The Billet Bar. Voted "BEST BIKER BAR IN PHOENIX" by New Times. There is no better place to watch all the Bikes ride down Scottsdale road than from The Billet Bar Patio. The Billet is ALWAYS packed with bikes Every Day. Stop by and take a look at the New Flamed Booths on the Paradise Patio. The new bars front and rear provide spacious seating, fresh air atmosphere, perfect temperature and courteous staff. The food is amazing and always the latest in cold libations await. You can sit at the back bar and watch your favorite TV on any of the seven big inch televisions. Play pool, listen to the latest music and socialize. The front patio seats over 75 people and is perfect for people watching on Scottsdale Rd. The Billet Bar is located on 3752 N. Scottsdale Rd. Check it out this Thursday night and all weekend long. Info: at 480-941-1876. Click Here for the New Billet Bar Page with pictures.
Saturday and Sunday
Western Trails Ranch Biker Weekend. The Ranch - One of the largest Biker Venue's in the country. A 12 acre biker venue that's a Biker Haven. Sit on our extra large patio and watch the bikes roll in and out. We have a fully stocked bar and weekly drink specials. This week we are introducing the Western Trails Ranch Saloon Girls on Saturday night. We will have 2 cocktail waitresses and 2 bartenders. Come check out their uniforms. We are open Friday's 10am to Midnight, Saturday's 10am to Midnight, and Sunday's 10am to 8pm. Friday afternoons we have "The Ranch Game Club" from 12 to 4 in the afternoon, horseshoes, card playing, chess and checkers, everyone is welcome. Friday Nights are Game Night - Blackjack from 7 to 9 pm, then Roulette 9 to 11 pm, door prizes will be awarded, no money involved, this started last week and we all had a really great time. Saturday Night's LIVE MUSIC, check website calendar for particulars. Westerntrailsranch.com or (623) 521-0367 for more information.
Saturday, October 4th
Bikers for the Cure Poker Run. Hosted by The American Legion Riders Post 107. Bikers Supporting the Cure. Proceeds to Breast Cancer 3 Day benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Ride begins at American Legion Post 107 located at 20001 N. Cave Creek Rd. Registration from 7:30am - 9:00am. Free T-Shirt to first 100 registrants. Breakfast buffet available starting at 7:30 for $5.00. $20 per person poker run. Includes "Wings and Things" Lunch, ride patch, prizes for high/low hands. 50/50, door prizes. KSU at 9am. Blessing of the Bikes and Survivor Recognition.
Saturday, October 4th
Free The Border Patrol. Ramos/Compean Benefit Fundraiser. RAIA Southwest will be sponsoring a benefit rally for wrongfully imprisoned border agents Ramos and Compean. In 2005, during a failed drug smuggling attempt these men were involved in a shooting resulting in the wounding of an admitted drug runner from Mexico. For doing their jobs, defending our border, and capturing a van loaded with over 700 pounds of marijuana these agents were sent to federal prison for 11 and 12 years. Join us in assisting their families. Registration for the run is from 7 to 10am at Tosos sports bar and grill, 2401 W. Union Hills Drive. Admission is free, but we are asking for donations to help the Ramos and Compean families. There will be breakfast provided at no charge. The run will leave promptly at 10am. We will ride to the state capitol at 17th Ave and Jefferson for surprise guest speakers. Once the speakers have finished there will be a road march of bikes and cars heading up I-17. We will ride past the federal prison at the Pioneer Rd exit where Nacho Ramos is currently being held. The ride will end at the Roadrunner Saloon in New River. Live music, raffles, vendors,and discounted food will be provided. More information will be released soon. Everyone is welcome to attend. Contact: email@example.com
Saturday, October 4th
The 1st Annual Run To The Races supporting OUR troops. Poker Run to benefit Operation Homefront, supporting our troops and their families. Traveling between 4 NAPA Auto Parts stores. Starts about 1:00pm at the Napa Store at 51st Ave. just south of Bell Rd. and end up for the evening at Manzanita Speedway, 35th Ave. and W. Broadway. The run will be led by Fire Up Freedom (see their website: FireUpFreedom.com) after the run they will be serving Hot Dogs and Brats from the truck. Parking at Manzy for over 300 cars and Bikes. Full security and extra lighting provided during the races. The cost of registering will include a t-shirt, meal and admission to the races. Manzanita Raceway is rolling out the red carpet, lots of prizes and giveaways. They have made this night, FREE military night. All Military with ID will get into the races free. Lots of Raffle Prizes and Giveaways.Not an event to miss.For more information visit RunToTheRaces.com. Registration $25.00, Includes Event T-shirt, meal, race admission.
Saturday, October 4th
1st Annual Bikers for Ta-Tas Ride. To Benefit the Susan G. Komen - for the Cure Breast Cancer research and Team WISH. Ride begins at Hooters on 83rd Ave and Bell and will end at Harold's Corral in Cave Creek. Cost is $25 for rider and $10 for passenger. Cost Includes ride pin and lunch at Harold's. Check-in starts at 7:45, we roll out at 9:15 to arrive at Harold's around 10:45ish. At Harold's, there will be raffle items to try for, a 50/50 drawing, music and good eats!!
Saturday and Sunday
October 4th and 5th
Ride for the Heart Southwest 1000. Southwest 1000. Ride for the Heart Foundation charity ride, with multiple start and end locations. The ride format is based on our highly successful Iron Butt charity rides. Start and end locations are located in Apache Junction and Tucson, AZ along with Las Cruces and Socorro, NM. Check the website for a specific location near you. Donations are garnered through rider's pledges similar to the American Heart Association's Heart Walk. Your $125.00 registration fee includes IBA Certification, tee shirt, pin, patch and refreshments along the route. The Ride for the Heart Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for both national and local heart-related charities. One hundred percent of all rider-generated donations will go to a national or local heart-related charity. If you have ever thought about riding an Iron Butt ride, our ride is about the best one to cut your teeth on. If you have ridden them before you will appreciate the organization of the ride. For more information contact Bill at 760-644-2118 or go to www.ridefortheheart.com to register.
Saturday, October 4th
12th Annual C.U.F.F.S. Run. Register at Chester's Harley Davidson - 922 S Country Club Dr., Mesa. This is always a good run. Choir Boys are a Law Enforcement organization committed to assisting the survivors of fallen law enforcement officers with immediate needs. This is a great cause to help families of the Civil Servants the help us every day. Net proceeds go to the families of officers killed or injured in the line of duty. Registration starts from 1pm - 3pm. Donation: Rider - $20.00, Passenger - $5.00. Final Destination is Boston's Gourmet Pizza. Raffles, Door Prizes, VENDORS, Live Bands Metalhead and Dagger. Free Ride Pin to first 250 registered. Sponsored by Chester's Harley-Davidson. FMI call 480-894-0404.
Sunday, October 5th
The Lost Dutchman Road Rally. If you are looking for a ride with a new twist, this might be it. Chester's Harley-Davidson and the East Valley HOG Chapter invite you to this great road rally! This is a precisely timed Road Rally. It isn't a speed race, it's all about timing and strategy. The Lost Dutchman Road Rally is a precisely timed riding event that will start at Chester’s Harley-Davidson in Mesa and finish at Arizona Joe’s in Apache Junction. Each rider will be given a timecard and a map with the event route. The rider’s start time will be marked at Chester’s Harley-Davidson at the beginning of the ride, and when they reach Arizona Joe’s they’ll receive an ending time. The rider who comes in with a total time closest to the Secret Rally Time will win the Grand Prize!. Route is about 100 miles long. Starting at Chester's Harley Davidson and ending up at Arizona Joe's, this charity event benefits East Valley children charities. Registration begins at 7am to 10am with a continental breakfast then the rally ends with a great time at Arizona Joe's. There will be Bike Games, Live Band With Jack The Ripper And Roxster, Food, Raffles, Silent Auction, And A Bike Show! This is a great time and a great cause. $30 per rider, $20 per passenger. Save $5 by registering early. FMI call 480-894-0404. For more details about the ride, Click Here.
Sunday, October 12th
1st Annual Zoo Ride. Rev up your engines and join us for the 1st ZooRide, presented by the Wildest Club in Town. This inaugural "wild ride" poker run begins Sunday, October 12, 2008, at 9 a.m., and all proceeds benefit the Bornean Orangutans at the Phoenix Zoo. Join in on the fun for only $25 per individual or $40 per couple with pre-registration. Day of ride is $30/$45. Riders with all types of two wheelers are welcome! Pre-registration will begin on the Phoenix Zoo's website, and walk-ins the day of are also welcome! End your ride at the wildest place in town – the Phoenix Zoo, where you can enjoy a special lunch, live entertainment, raffle and much more! Please note: The ZooRide Poker Run does NOT begin at the Zoo. Choose from one of the following start locations: Arrowhead Harley Davidson, 16130 N. Arrowhead Fountain Center Drive, Peoria, 623.247.5542 or Chandler Harley Davidson, 6895 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler, AZ. 480.496.6800. Click Here to Register Online.
It is no secret that I love bringing you new riding ideas and places to stop. About a month ago coming into Skull Valley, I noticed a little restaurant on my right named Skull Valley Cafe. It is a really quaint little building decorated in a railroad theme that seemed like a good motorcycle stop for breakfast or lunch. So we did a U-Turn back to the place to check it out. As it turns out it is a very cool little place that would make an excellent destination for a breakfast stop while enjoying a beautiful ride to get there. Seating is available at the counter as well as a few tables inside. The good news is that there is also an outdoor patio to enjoy the great weather while you have breakfast or lunch. They are biker friendly and would love to have riders there on weekends for breakfast. In fact, for you to try them out, they are offering Cyclerides.com readers a special buy one meal at regular price get the second one half off. Just mention the Cyclerides.com ad and the discount is yours. My recommendation is the Chicken Fried Steak,Scrambled Eggs and Hash Browns. Wow, is that good! Give them a try over the next couple of weeks. Skull Valley is just 23 miles North of Yarnell and 11 miles N. of Kirkland Junction and 20 miles West of Prescott. (3045 S. Iron Springs Rd., Skull Valley, AZ) This is a really nice ride for breakfast or lunch that is only 96 miles from I-17 and Loop 101. You could then make the loop around to Prescott and back home for a nice little 200 mile breakfast or lunch ride. Click Here for information page and map.
Readers Rides 2008 Photo Gallery: I know
there are several of you that have taken trips this Summer and would like to share your photo. I would like to see pictures with you and/or your bike next to a Sign, a well known part of
Americana or a Famous Landscape of where you have ridden. Be sure and tell where the photo was taken. I will add
them to the Readers Rides 2008 Photo Gallery. Just email me a picture of you or your bike next to a sign or landmark
to share with everyone. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Click Here to View photos already sent in.
Women Who Ride Photo Gallery. Ladies! Send in your photos on your bike to be added to the Women Who Ride Gallery. Click Here to View photos already submitted.
Cyclerides.com Classifieds are now FREE! List your Motorcycles, ATV's, Parts, etc. Just put 1234 in the credit card blanks and add your Bikes or Parts today. Click Here to add or view the current list of items for sale.
I love these E-Trade commercials with the talking baby making stock trades. Someone used this baby and made their own Air Force commercial. Very funny and creative.
Here to View.
Here is a cool video of an F-35 flight. One of those planes that needs no runway. Click Here to View.
Another creative commercial. This time for a bottled water company. Click Here to View.
Here is an animal video that you might have seen before but will still put a smile on your face. Click Here to View.