Our Safety Officer
Katie Ratterman - STC-HOG Safety Officer
Summer Riding Tips Safe Riding Tips
Rider Perception Test Street Survival 101
New Riding Season Hot! - Hot! - Hot!
Be Seen At Night Staggered Riding
Pot Holes A Stormy Ride - Lightning
Winter Tips None for the Road
What's your Brain Worth?

A motorcycle crash is a complex event involving the interaction of human, vehicle, and environmental factors. While there is no “typical” motorcycle crash, what is “typical” is that a motorcycle crash is a violent event. More than 80 % of all reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death to the motorcyclist. The motorcycle itself provides no head injury protection to the rider or passenger. Ejection from the motorcycle is a common injury pathway. If a motorcycle comes to a sudden stop and the rider is ejected from the motorcycle, the rider will forcibly strike objects in the path as well as the ground.

There are many different types of head injuries observed in motorcycle crashes, but the most serious involve the central nervous system, the brain and the spinal cord. If your skull is fractured, your brain may be torn by penetrating objects and bone fragments. However, your brain may also be injured by violent impacts that leave your skull essentially undamaged. Most brain injuries are irreversible. When your head makes sudden violent impact with something unyielding, the small part of your head that is hit stops moving immediately. But the rest of your head remains in motion. As a result, your brain and skull may break and tear before they too can stop moving.

So, what is your brain worth?

Remember the pavement is just as hard in non-helmet-states as it is in helmet-states. Always wear a good helmet that protects your head, all of your head, not just that little round dome on top.

Go drag the bike out from under the porch or out of the basement or even unchain it from the big tree in the back yard - it's riding season again!

We take a lot of pride in keeping our bikes in good mechanical condition, and that is reflected in the way they perform. In fact they will do all we ask of them and then some.

But what about us as riders, what shape are we in? Some of us have had about three months off dreaming about dry streets and warm weather, with just an occasional ride. Are our riding skills as sharp as they were when we put our bikes up for the winter - or have we become a little rusty or slower on our reflexes and reaction times? It might be a good idea to brush up on our riding skills! Today's greatest sport requires constant practice to hone and improve skills especially after a layoff or a break in performance.

No matter how long we may have ridden or how much experience we may have, a little practice will always improve and sharpen our riding skills. Let's make this another safe and enjoyable riding season.

The spring rains are about over, summer is just a week or so away, the days are longer, more riding time. It all sounds good but has any consideration been given to the sun shine and heat? Riding in shorts, tee shirts and tank tops may appear to be a way to beat the heat; well it's not. The more skin exposed to the elements the greater chance for sun burn, heat related illnesses and dehydration.

Sun screens with a SPF of 30 and above may help a little to avoid skin damage but a lightly colored long sleeved cotton shirt or other type top will provide much more protection from the suns rays and you can always take it off when you stop or complete the ride. This type of cover will also help keep the hot wind from whisking away moisture from your exposed skin thereby keeping you cooler as you ride. And don't forget to take along plenty of liquids to drink and drink often, even if you are not thirsty.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine, all they do is dehydrate you. Dehydration will effect you with out giving you a hint of what is happening to your judgment and reaction time, so why chance it. Riding and looking cool is ok but riding and keeping cool is a lot more enjoyable. 50% of all motorcycle fatalities are alcohol related!

Some times it is just too hot to enjoy a day time ride. But after the sun goes down and the temperature drops a little an evening ride can be great. Darkness brings out the hazards of night riding. What we wear can hide us in the darkness or make us stand out. The most popular color, or lack of, for riding a motorcycle is BLACK; Black has no reflective properties therefore is very difficult to be seen in the dark even when head lights are shining on it.

A retro-reflective vest, tape, or even decals will reflect the light of headlights therefore making other drivers aware of your presents. Usually the first words out of the driver who hit a motorcyclist is "I didn't see them". If you are going to ride at night BE SEEN. Wear a jacket or vest with retro-reflective properties (50% of all motorcycle fatalities are alcohol related)!

When riding in a group (two or more bikes) a staggered formation is the safest. The perfect formation, when the road and traffic conditions permit, is to have the lead bike in the left of the lane then two seconds behind the bike directly in front of you and one second behind the bike staggered to your right or left. Tight turns or curves are negotiated best in single file. This formation allows you to see farther ahead and gives you an escape route to the right or left when needed to avoid a hazard on the roadway. It also makes the group more visible to oncoming or other approaching traffic.

Even though spring is a month away there are some things that have already started to grow. They come in all shapes, sizes and depths and are not choosy about where they grow; concrete, asphalt, even gravel are choice environments. Their prime growing season is late winter through spring, and they lay in waiting - ready to damage any thing that happens to come into contact with them. Darkness is their prime feeding time. They like to prey on tires, rims or wheels of motorcycles and can cause severe damage. They can even cause injury to people.

They enjoy being looked at - Even stared at:

  • See pot hole.
  • Stare at pot hole.
  • Hit pot hole.

There is a way to avoid them. As soon as you see one immediately look for a safe way around it, because if you keep looking at it --- it will get you!

It starts out as a nice day - then the low dark clouds roll your way, the wind picks up and the temperature drops. It's April, storm time.

Your first and safest option is to stop and find shelter, a store, gas station, or restaurant. If you are caught out in the open with no buildings close by, hiding under a highway overpass can help.

Stay away from trees. They can actually increase your chances of attracting lighting. No buildings or overpasses, find a low spot. Park off the road and get at least 20 yards away from your bike. Crouch down to get as low as possible while keeping only the balls of your feet in contact with the ground, that way your bike may be a more attractive target (It can be replaced - you can't)! If you are in a group stop and spread out, with a minimum of about 20 yards between each person, so that a single lightning strike doesn't hit all of you.

Lighting can travel seven miles or more before striking the ground. Sound takes almost five seconds to travel a mile. That means if the time between the flash and bang is less than 35 seconds, the lightning is close enough to hit you.

** Wind Chill **

Too cold to ride?? Walk out side, temperature about 40F and the sun is shining; feels pretty good, lets go for a ride. Feels warm enough for just chaps and jacket. Just putting along enjoying the ride but as speed increases it seems to get colder and the longer the speed is maintained or increased the colder it gets. It's called Wind Chill Factor. At just 20mph an actual temperature of 40F will feel like 30F and at 60mph the same temperature of 40F will feel like 20F. When the temperature drops to 20F and your putting along at 30mph the temperature feels like 1F and at 50mph it's a bone chilling -3F. To stay warm, dress warm! To entrap insulating air warmed by body heat dress in loose fitting, light weight, warm clothing in several layers with your leathers being the top layer. In extreme cold rain gear as the outer garment will keep wind from passing through and help keep heat in. Remember - 50% of all motorcycle fatalities are alcohol related. Check your tire pressure often! Cold weather can cause a loss of tire pressure.

If you have a garage and a cover for your bike place a drop cord with a protected 60 to 100 watt bulb on a piece of aluminum foil under your bike. This will help keep out moisture and supply enough heat to keep the battery from freezing.

It is NOT a good idea to start your bike once in a while. Let it run for a short time and then shut it down! A moderately driven engine, making only short runs and seldom getting thoroughly warmed up, is likely to accumulate an increasing amount of water in the oil tank. In freezing weather this water will become slush or ice and if allowed to accumulate too long, may block the oil lines and cause damage to the engine.

If the engine is driven enough to get the crankcase thoroughly warmed up frequently, most of this water is again vaporized and blown out through the breather.

Water mixed with oil for some time, forms sludge that is harmful to the engine and causes undue wear of various working parts.

Be sure and check your Owners Manual if you plan to winterize.

Now for the year end safety tip - - For those of you that just may winterize your bike and head south to sunny Florida; if you plan on staying “Where The Sun Don't Shine Nudist Camp”, don't volunteer to help pick black berries.

Riding Safe: Half of all motorcycle fatalities are alcohol related. On an annual basis this adds up to about 2,500 motorcyclists killed and 50,000 seriously injured in crashes involving drinking and riding. If you consume alcohol and ride, you too could eventually become a statistic.

So - RIDE SOBER!  We would all like to see you at the next Chapter event rather than read about you in the newspaper.

Polar Bear Ride