Safe and in good keeping an article by Steve Stokey

as published in the January 2013 Road Hawg’ssteve stokey E-Newsletter, available via our membership
A good many of us have more than a few years of riding under our belts. And for some of us our motorcycle passions started years ago when buying a car was not an option due to money, so for some of us we started out on motorcycles because of financial issues more than anything else. There are other reasons we started but almost all of us [regardless of why] have come to some conclusions about what to do to continue not only ridding but continue our ability to live a life without carrying an injury because of the way and style of which we ride. If you have decided to try to work with in a structure of friends or join one of the many groups of motorcycle enthusiasts there should be a concerted effort or some type of discussion regarding protocol in ridding with as little as 1 other person or as many as over 100 persons on motorcycles. To make our lives easier in motorcycle land we usually decide a type of behavior that will allow us all to be our own persons but also allow for the minimal level of safety to the other riders around us. Now this is not to mean that we should not act on safe issues when riding alone, we should always do just that. But when with a friend or associate there is a shared responsibility that goes along with riding. Simple but true facts of safe riding motorcycles, regardless of your group or style are as follows; 1.     Without ability judgment and a clear head you have no business on a motorcycle. 2.     There is no middle ground on the road, you are either in control or you are not. 3.     On the road deadly consequences are just one misjudged move away, or a split second lapse in concentration. 4.     Operating a motorcycle is all about control of yourself. Alcohol, Smoking, drinking coffee or cell phone use all eliminate control.

Operating a motorcycle is all about control:

Using items such as Alcohol, smoking, drinking coffee, cell phones all eliminate that control causing  reduced inhibitions, decreased reaction time,  inability to gauge speed,  impaired muscle control,  blurred vision,  loss of reflexes, reduced attention spans, deferred ability to focus on items or situations on the roads. If you are planning on drinking alcohol: 1.     Leave the bike at home. . You won’t be tempted to take it out when alcohol impairs your judgments. 2.     Get a ride with a non-drinking friend in a car. You could be just as dangerous on the back of a bike as you would be driving one. 3.     There are older drivers and also drunk drivers, but there are no old drunk drivers.

When you are riding: 

If you are lighting cigarettes and smoking….. 1.     In a pack you are risking persons behind you difficulty if an ash or loss of a cigarette in the wind hitting them causing them to defer their attention. 2.     The very act of procuring a smoke and getting it light detracts from our ability to focus on what is changing around us. Cell phones & blue tooth etc. If you are talking on blue tooth or cell type equipment. Just remember how much you hate it when cage drivers do it. Just remember the last close call you had while trying to enter a lane and the driver was busy on the phone. There is countless documentation of motorcycles being hit by persons not paying attention while in cars and on the phones let’s not add to that number our motorcycling.

Quietism:

A few years back someone put together a bikers 10 commandments of which I kept and would like to share with you. 1.     Every ride is optional. Every parking job is mandatory. 2.     If you push the bars to the left, the bike goes left, if you push the bars to the right, the bike goes right.  That is unless you continue to pushing the bars all the way, Then the bike goes down. 3.     Riding is not dangerous, Crashing is. 4.     The only time you have too much fuel is when you’re on fire. 5.     When in doubt slow down; No one ever hit anything going too slow. 6.     A good ride is one from which you can walk away from.  A great ride is one after which you can use the bike again. 7.     Learn from the mistakes of others. You won’t live long enough to make them all yourself. 8.     Never let a motorcycle take you somewhere your brain did not get to three seconds earlier. 9.     There are two simple rules for riding smooth and fast in snow and ice, unfortunately no one knows what they are. 10.  Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately, the experience usually comes from bad judgment.  

“Let’s make some plans for this next year’s rides.  See ya later.”

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