Ouch! Looks like the next 10 days is going to be a little on the warm side. Forecast is calling for over 110 every day for the next 10 days and as high as 115 next Tuesday. But the good news is that the evenings will still get down to the low 80's. One thing that concerns me on this forecast is the clouds that will be rolling in next week. This usually means humidity, followed by the rising dew point, followed by our yearly monsoons due to visit us historically beginning around July 7th. And if this forecast is correct, it looks to be right on time. So you might want to add your rain suits to your bags if you are going out of the area. Are you new to Arizona and want to know more about the Arizona monsoon season? Click Here.
The subject of riding safety is not one of my favorite subjects to talk about, because it usually involves some statistics about motorcycle fatalities. But it is also probably one of the most important subjects to touch on at least once per year. The news from the last couple of weeks about losing 3 riders and subsequent articles in the newspaper has prompted me to once again to try and make some sense out of what is happening to our pastime.
There are several reasons why you can be involved in a motorcycle accident. Many that are out of our control such as the car turning left in our lane, or a vehicle crossing the center line, etc. A lot of times there is not much we can do about that except grab a fist full of brakes, use whatever avoidance skills you have and get in a quick 1.5 second prayer before the caca hits the fan. But what really bothers me is reading about the accidents that are self-inflicted or could have been avoided by simply respecting the machine that we are riding and understanding the inherent risks of balancing 700 pounds of steel on 2 wheels at 70mph.
The 3 deaths last week were particularly sad for me because it appeared that they could have been easily avoided by just using some good judgment. One of the riders, a 31 year old man on a sport bike was doing over 115 miles per hour down the Loop 101, missed the curve and went into the cable barrier in the median. The speedometer on the motorcycle was stuck at 112 mph. This could have been avoided. But for a brief moment, there was bad judgment. The other 2 men, "Doc" Hepburn, 37 years old and "Joe" Smitherman, Jr., 50 years old were both killed when they collided with each other. It was reported in the news that they were drag racing and alcohol could have been involved. Doc had a 3 year old daughter and Joe was married with 3 kids. This too could have been avoided, but for a brief moment, there was bad judgment.
I have had my share of bad judgment on a motorcycle and have been lucky enough to live to tell about it. But the older I get the more respect I have for the bike and the dangers that it presents. No one is invincible, especially on a motorcycle. Here are a couple of statistics that I found particularly alarming. 66% of all motorcycle accidents are rider error (most of those involve curves and running off of the road). And 50% of all fatal accidents have alcohol involved. In memory of these three riders I would hope that everyone would use these deaths as a wake up call to ride within our own abilities, go around those curves at a speed that we can handle, to think about family and kids before pushing a motorcycle to the limits, and pause a minute before becoming involved in an instance of bad judgment. My heart goes out to all of these families.
Motorcycle registrations have soared in Arizona over the last 5 years to 125,000, up from 77,000 in 2001. So not only do we need to educate the automobile drivers to take that extra second to see that the oncoming lane is clear, new riders need to be educated in how to ride a motorcycle effectively in all situations. It is a bit of a scary proposition when you have a guy or girl that hasn't ridden for 20 years, or at all, walks into a dealership, buys a bike and is riding the next day with no motorcycle endorsement and no training. You have to watch this 30 second video. The guy is a poster boy for not having motorcycle training. Click Here to View.
As you can see by the above video, they are likely to be a liability to themselves and others riding around them. There is something wrong with this picture, especially when you look at this staggering statistic that says that more than 92% of all motorcycle accidents involve untrained riders. This should be pasted on the front door of every dealership in the Country. And if the dealerships really wanted to be proactive, they would include instruction with the purchase of a new bike.
Another statistic says that 50% of the motorcycle accident-involved riders had less than five months' riding experience or less than 500 miles on the motorcycle and that riders getting into accidents showed significant collision avoidance problems, such as over braking of the rear wheel and under braking of the front. The ability to countersteer and swerve was essentially absent. All things that basic and advanced rider training courses would teach you.
If you have no motorcycle endorsement on your drivers license, you are not alone. (Even the Governor of California seemed to have forgotten to get his endorsement.) I talked to a Lieutenant on the Peoria Police Department about this issue. He said that approximately 20% of the motorcycle riders stopped for traffic violations do not have a valid motorcycle license. He said that if you are stopped without the "M" on your drivers license, there is a fine of $100. But worse than that, you will be required to leave your bike parked where it is, have a licensed rider come ride it home or trailer it home. For City liability reasons, YOU will not be allowed to ride the bike. Hmmm...think about that one for a while. It would probably be less effort to just get your license. If you choose not to go to a formal training school, all you have to do is go to the MVD, take a 25 question test and then go to the MVD testing area and do some basic maneuvers on your bike. So there really is no excuse to not have a license.
Here are some more interesting statistics:
* Five crash types account for 86% of fatal motorcycle crashes:Motorcycle runs-off-road 41%, Motorcycle or other vehicle runs traffic control 18%, Head-on collision 11%, Car turns in front of cycle 8% and Motorcycle goes down in roadway 7%.
* Almost 50% of the fatal accidents show alcohol involvement
* Injury severity increases with speed, alcohol involvement and motorcycle size.
* The typical motorcycle accident allows the motorcyclist just less than 2 seconds to complete all collision avoidance action.
* Almost two thirds of the fatalities were associated with speeding as an operator contributing factor in the crash
* Almost one third of the fatally injured operators did not have a proper license
* Braking and steering maneuvers possibly contribute for almost 25 percent of the fatalities
* Almost 60 percent of motorcyclist fatalities occur at night
* 50% of the fatalities are related to negotiating a curve prior to the crash* In single vehicle crashes, 52 per­cent are alcohol related compared with 28 percent of multi-vehicle crashes.
* The use of the safety helmet is the single-most critical factor in the prevention or reduction of head injuries.
* Severe brain injury was found to be 600% higher for unhelmeted riders based on an Oregon Study.
The reason I am bringing this to your attention is that it really pains me when I hear a news report of an downed rider. I just want to encourage you to continue to brush up on your riding skills, keep them sharp and keep you safe. Very soon we will be taking our longer Summer trips and we need to be on our game. The statistics that I have presented are very compelling to show that motorcycle training is extremely important to keeping us safe on the roadways. We can't control the actions of others, but we can hopefully help ourselves stay out of the statistic that says that 46% of all fatal motorcycle accidents are single vehicle related.
I am not a fan of the government telling us what to do, but I would like to see them encourage us in areas such as motorcycle training. How about if the State would give us a one time tax credit toward the registration of our motorcycles if we presented a receipt that we took a training class? Any politicians reading this?? If you are not completely comfortable with your riding skills, I would suggest looking into one of the rider training courses here in the Valley. The only one that I am personally familiar with is the T.E.A.M. Arizona Motorcycle Training Class that both Mrs. C. and Lil Ms. C. went to. I have heard nothing but good things about the advanced rider training course and I plan to take this myself.
Become a defensive rider, ride within your limits and BE SAFE!
Highlights This Week
Saturday, June 30th
Buddy Stubbs Hogs and Subs. The party at the end of the month is always at Buddy Stubbs.
Stay out of the heat and party inside.
This Week's Bike Night Events
Chesterís Harley Davidson Biker Night at the Tilted Kilt in Tempe! If you are looking for some fun on a Tuesday night, With 2 outdoor patios and plenty of excitement, This place is a good time! The Tilted Kilt is home to the best Scotch-Irish experience in Arizona, with an award-winning menu, classic pub fare, and signature Kilt items sure to please any palate, not to mention twenty four globe-spanning beers on tap! Biker Night Tuesdays also mean $3 Jack Daniels and half-price appetizers. And, with a Tilted Kilt Biker Night Card, you receive 15% OFF your total bill. So what are you waiting for? Come on down and have a craic with Chesterís Harley-Davidson! The Tilted Kilt is located at 660 W. Warner Rd. in Tempe, AZ. Just 1.5 miles East of I-10 on Warner Rd. 480-592-0102. Click Here for Map.
Bike Night at Buffalo Wild Wings Mesa-Falcon Field. This is a great new stop for riders on the East Side. Enjoy GREAT FOOD and Live Music every Wednesday night with Soul Catcher, featuring acoustic blues and classic rock from 7pm - 10pm every Wednesday Night at Buffalo Wild Wings located at 4425 E. McKellips Rd. in Mesa, AZ, just across from Falcon Field. Special motorcycle parking in front of the patio. Choose from the extensive new menu including Wings, Chicken Tenders, Huge selection of salads, Wraps, Sandwiches, Ribs & Combos, Burgers, Desserts and Beverages. Click Here for complete menu. Bike Night specials are 50 Cent Legs all day, $2.50 Coronas & Pacificos, $2.00 Well Rum and Coke, $2.00 Well Vodka Tonics, $1.75 Bud Light Pints, $1.75 Miller Light Pints. Sit inside and watch your favorite sporting events on over 50 TV's and 5 Giant Screen TV's or sit outside on the huge patio where there are more TV's and enjoy the evening air. Wherever you find to relax, you will be sure to have a good time, good food and good entertainment at the Buffalo Wings Wednesday Bike Night. 480-218-9464. Click Here to take a look at Buffalo Wild Wings.
Arrowhead Harley-Davidson Thursday Bike Night at Gordon Biersch Brewery at Westgate. Live Music on the patio this week 6:30 - 9:30pm!! You can also sign up for the Gordon Biersch Passport card. Get your GB Passport. Pay $20 for the card, and you will get a $20 gift certificate to redeem for food and drink. On Bike Nights you will receive double rewards to build points for free food and drink. Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant in Glendale features the best Beer Garden you will find in this State, an impressive bar area equipped with TVs and speaker system, great food, and a large outdoor patio seating. Bike night specials include: Extended Happy Hour for Riders to 8:00pm
Happy Hour includes:
$1.00 off Gordon Biersch Lagers
$2.00 off all Wines by the Glass
$5.00 Martinis, Margaritas and Mojitos
4.95 Appetizer Specials: Southwest Egg rolls, Tapas, Chicken Wings, Bruschetta, Crispy Artichoke Hearts, Garlic Fries, Mini Pizza's Cheese or Pepperoni.
Try my favorite, the Gordon Biersch "Golden Export" or a sampler
of all 5 of their beers brewed on site. Plenty of motorcycle only parking. Gordon Biersch is located
at 6915 N. 95th Ave. at Westgate City Center, Loop 101 and Glendale next to the Cardinals Stadium. An easy ride
from anywhere in the Valley. 623-877-4300
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.
Every Saturday and Sunday
Cave Creek Corral Bike Weekends. This
is the patio that we have all been waiting for in Cave Creek. The
new 4000 Sq. Ft. patio at Harold's is finally finished complete with misters, TV's and an outdoor bar. There is plenty of room to put some tables
together and hang out with your riding group for breakfast, lunch or the cold beverage of your choice. Live Music from Noon to 4pm every Saturday with Bob Bouchard, the man who plays at Greasewood every weekend. Enjoy TV's all around the patio with
a walk up bar. Ride out on Sunday's and enjoy the All You
Can Eat breakfast buffet for $8.99 on Sundays from 8am - Noon. Or
grab one of Harold's fantastic hamburgers and watch the bikes roll by on Cave Creek Rd. from the patio. 50% Off
Appetizers and $2.00 Bud/Bud Light bottles. You can also choose from their full breakfast, lunch and dinner
menu every day of the week. Plenty of new motorcycle parking right in front of the patio. A great destination
patio for your weekend rides. Harold's is located at 6895 E. Cave Creek Rd., in Cave Creek. 480-488-1906. There are still no tickets being given for DB violations. Just continue to keep the
noise down as much as possible when riding through Carefree.
Western Trails Ranch Bike Weekend. The Ranch is now closed for the Summer. Look forward to the October 13th Rally at the Ranch featuring Foghat.
Saturday, June 30th
Buddy Stubbs Hogs and Subs. The party at the end of the month is always at Buddy Stubbs. Stay out of the heat and party inside. This month drop by from 11am - 3pm for Free Food, Live Music, Free Pool Tournaments starting at Noon, Museum Tour at 12:30pm, Phoenix H.O.G. Charities walking Poker Run, and much more. Lots of covered bike parking. Not only that, there will be a huge sidewalk sale. 1 DAY ONLY! Check out the great savings on leather jackets, boots, mens & women's MotorClothes apparel. Extra 10% off on all sale MotorClothes items discounted at cash register. Buddy Stubbs is located at 13850 N. Cave Creek Rd. in Phoenix, AZ. 602-971-3400.
Saturday, June 30th
Christmas In June - Andrea's Closet Toy Run. A toy is only a small gift, but it can go a long way to help a sick child get through a painful medical procedure.That's why Andrea's Closet was created. When children face frightening medical treatments, such as procedures to treat cancer, burns or other life threatening illnesses, Andrea's Closet brings them comfort and distraction from their pain by allowing them to choose a special gift from a toy-filled closet. This toy run needs your help we are in need of event sponsors , raffle sponsors , raffle prizes and help promoting this event to be a great success. This is a new venture for us and are hopes are that you will jump aboard and help us reach all the children of Arizona who are sick, hurting or have terminal illnesses. The simplest things can go a long way our hope is to collect enough toys on this toy run to provide for one closet for one full year thatís 2400 toys.
Sign in June 30th at 8:am. Meet at the Underground Clothing Company located at 42407 N. Vision Way in Anthem, AZ and ride from there to St. Josephs Hospital to meet the kids who are in the hospital that day. All the kids that are able will be brought down to meet the riders, take pictures and then we will hand out toys. This is going to be a great event and a awesome day for these kids. Come help. Click Here for Andrea's Closet Web Site.
Click Here for Video about Andrea's Closet.
Friday, July 6th
Harley's Heroes Phoenix Tour. Harley's Heroes Tour arrives in Phoenix July 6th at Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson from 10am - 6pm. The tour features a Disabled American Veterans Mobile Service Office to provide free benefits counseling to our nation's heroes. Military Veterans in the Phoenix area can receive free counseling and assistance with their government benefits when a Disabled American Veterans Mobile Service Office rolls into Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson. The Harley-Davidson foundation, Inc. has awarded a $1 Million grant to DAV to provide in-community benefits counseling to our Nation's Heroes. Buddy Stubbs HD is located at 13850 North Cave Creek Road, Phoenix, AZ. Phone: 602-971-3400.
Saturday, July 7th
Operation America Rising. Largest Rally in History "Operation America Rising" Will take place on 7-7-07 in every capital city in America at the same time. There will be prominent speakers and entertainers. Children and adults will be gathered together saluting America's finest. This national salute to our troops will be a gleaming observance of America's patriotism. People of all ages will show our troops that we are behind them and their mission and that we are not the silent majority any more. The media, government leaders, and United States military will hear our voice on that bright July day. We need all of the support we can get. God bless you and we will see you on 7-7-07! Local Country artist NICK NICHOLSON will be headlining the event at the Venue in Scottsdale located at 7117 3rd Ave. in Scottsdale, AZ. from 5-7pm.
Last week I mentioned that I had left a Cyclerides.com T-Shirt in a bag and gave
some GPS Coordinates for it. The shirt was found on Friday by John Karnes.
he is holding the shirt where he found it. It was located
next to a tree at the 7100 foot level as you crest Mingus Mountain. I will be doing this everytime I go for a ride
to give you guys with GPS's something to do. But next time, I will ask you to leave something else in the bag for
the next guy that finds it. Congratulations John.
We've seen the Women make fools of themselves, now it is the Men's turn. Click Here to View.
Here is one for you animal lovers. It is not what you will think at first. Click Here to View.
I had this one up above in the editorial as part of the story. But anyone this stupid deserves to be in the letter twice. Click Here to View.
I have saved the best for last. Jay Leno has been at the editing booth again. I don't know how he gets away with this. It is hilarious. Click Here to View.