Be Careful Out There –
Here are some very sobering statistics regarding motorcycle deaths in America in 2009. The data is from a report titled "National
Statistics, Deaths" based on information from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System.
There were 4,281 deaths due to motorcycle accidents in 2009; 1,913 of the accidents were with cycles only, no cars were involved;
1,640 of the riders were not wearing a helmet; 980 of the riders were in their 40’s; 1,333 of the riders were 50 or
older; 90% of the deaths were men; 65% of female deaths were as passengers; 29% of bikes were 1,400cc bikes or big twins;
and 55% occurred on major roads off freeways. Safety Officer – April 9, 2011.
Filling the Gap
– As I mentioned at last month's meeting, the default
DRA riding formation is staggered with alternating riders. You can think of it as a right and left track with staggered bikes all holding their relative two second positions. That works great most
of the time, but what happens if a bike drops out? First the pack will continue along as a group with the sweep stopping to
check on the rider that had to pull over. If this ever happens to you, don't forget to signal first! Now here’s the
important part, and how we fill the gap at the DRA, RIDERS IN THE TRACK DIRECTLY BEHIND THE GAP SIMPLY MOVE FORWARD ONE SPACE.
The riders in the other track stay put. DO NOT CHANGE TRACKS. Always check your mirrors and watch your blind spots whenever
a rider drops out of formation. Also, if you have a problem and have to pull over to the side of the road, don’t forget
to tie a bandana on your mirror as a sign of distress to other cars and bikes. Safety Officer – March 5, 2011.
Riding in a Pack – The default DRA formation is staggered with alternating riders. On
curvy roads and hairpins we switch to single file. We do not ride dual or side-by-side at DRA, but if you ever do, be sure
to work it out with your partner first. In a staggered formation I recommend the two second rule, that is keep a time gap
of two seconds between your bike and the bike directly in front of you. Keep the bike immediately off to your right
or left at a one second time gap. If you can’t see this rider’s face in the mirror, HE CANT SEE YOU EITHER! Staggered
riding is the safest way to ride and helps diminish accordion and whiplash effects in the group. Always pick a spot in the
pack and stay there – no passing and no falling back. Always watch the road ahead as far as you can see. Judge your
speed based on the third bike ahead and ALWAYS PASS SIGNALS BACK TO THE RIDERS BEHIND YOU. See link to MSF Group Riding Guidelines
& Hand Signals below. Safety Officer – February 12, 2011
Air Pressure – The #1 safety concern
I see in my shop is LOW AIR PRESSURE IN TIRES! Tires with low air pressure can wash out in corners and slide right off the
road! They can also overheat and possibly come apart! For each pound of air pressure below the recommended level your tire
will run 10 degrees hotter than normal, and I have seen many tires with less than 10 pounds pressure! On a 130 degree
highway with 38 pounds recommended pressure that translates to a 410 degree tire temperature! The tire will come apart! Checking
air pressure is PARAMOUNT to your safety and those you ride with. When your tires are at the correct pressure they will last
longer and your bike will handle much better. The recommended pressure is on every tire, so look it up. Checking your tire
pressure when the seasons change is not enough, CHECK TIRES BEFORE EVERY RIDE! Don't put yourself or your fellow riders in
danger! Safety Officer - January 8, 2011.