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Posts Tagged ‘MSF’

Many automotive motorists simply are not taking their driving task seriously.

Distractions are everywhere and some seem to think cruising down a public road is a passive activity rather, it’s a complex task that involves concentration and more than just knowing how to use the accelerator, brakes, and steering.

Few automotive motorists will land on this blog post, but if they do here are some key messages for drivers:

  • Look For Motorcyclists — Use your eyes and mirrors to see what’s around, and check the blind spots when you’re changing lanes or turning at intersections. Look, and look again.
  • Focus on Driving — Don’t Text, hang up the phone, put down the eye lash liner brush, stop adjusting the sound system, ignore the navigation system, settle the passengers, and DRIVE.
  • Use Your Turn Signals — Signal your intentions for everyone’s safety.
  • Give Motorcycles Some Room — Don’t tailgate or pass too closely.
  • Take Your Time — Nothing is as important as the safety of your loved ones, yourself, and the others with whom you share the road.

Key messages for motorcycle enthusiasts?  Responsible riding habits are paramount and always worthy of special attention.

2017 Proclamation

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month and it’s time to remind everyone about driver safety.  Please keep your mind on the road!

NOTE:  As of the blog posting time stamp there’s been NO proclamation from Oregon’s 38th  Governor or the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety on the May 2017 Motorcycle Awareness Month.  Of course members are supportive of everyone being a responsible rider with efforts centered on training to improve rider skills and communicating the dangers of motorcycling, but a statement for this year has yet to be released.

UPDATED: May 4, 2017 — CORRECTION: Governor Brown did sign a 2017 proclamation in late April about May being Motorcycle Awareness Month.  See HERE.

Photo courtesy of Motorcycle Rider News.

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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The new Harley-Davidson™ Riding Academy

The new Harley-Davidson™ Riding Academy logo

Back in April, Harley-Davidson unveiled its new Riding Academy in the U.S., which is a program to help students take their first lessons in riding and they get to do it on a Harley-Davidson Street 500 motorcycle.

You might recall that the Harley-Davidson™  Riding Academy was previously called Rider’s Edge®.  In September 2012 the program celebrated a milestone of training 300,000 riders since starting in 2000.  At the time the Buell Blast, a motorcycle made by the Buell Motorcycle Company was used in the Rider’s Edge New Rider program.  In July 2009, prior to ceasing all motorcycle production, Buell ran an ad campaign stating that the Buell Blast would no longer appear in their line-up and the ad featured a Buell Blast being destroyed in an automobile crusher.

The new Harley-Davidson™ Riding Academy is a national rider training program and is likely to be hosted by Harley-Davidson dealerships across the country.

The old Rider's Edge® logo

The old Rider’s Edge® logo

It’s designed to get folks comfortable on a bike and give them the skills needed to ride with confidence.  The students are trained on the motorcycle that they will be riding and will also be taught the basics of rider safety. All the student needs to bring is the riding gear that consists of a long sleeves, jeans/pants, ankle length footwear, full gloves, eyewear and DOT standard helmet. The academy will provide a motorcycle and certified instructors from Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). The course features a minimum of 20 hours of classroom and range training with two instructors guiding 12 students at a time. The practice range is where students learn maneuvers such as turning, braking, going over obstacles and controlling skids.

Some thought the original Rider’s Edge Program was a pricey version of the MSF Basic Rider Course with four additional promotional/marketing hours added into the curriculum. Otherwise the curriculum of the two were nearly identical.  I have not been through the new Riding Academy, but would anticipate that it’s a Harley-Davidson branded version of the new 2014 MSF curriculum.

The motorcycle used in the new Harley-Davidson Riding Academy is the newly launched liquid-cooled Harley-Davidson Street 500.  I suspect the strategy of incorporating the Street 500 motorcycle is that students will want to keep riding after the class is over once they’ve learned on the motorcycle… maybe even consider a purchase.  The Street 500 is fitted with a vehicle protection kit that protects the motorcycle in case a student is not able to maintain balance and topples it. In addition, there is a first of its kind Power Limit Calibration system that is in place to restrict the bikes at low gear speeds allowing only the maximum speed needed for the course.  Or put another way, it modifies the fuel injection system and de-powers the bike.  If you’re looking for initial impressions of the bike for training check out this post HERE.

Once the training has been completed, the students will get an MSF Basic Rider Course completion card which may even exempt students from the state testing for a motorcycle endorsement, but this varies state to state. Harley states that this card may even help new riders in getting a discount on their motorcycle insurance.

TEAM OREGON Locations

TEAM OREGON Training Locations

But, what about the state of Oregon?

It looks like the Oregon Harley-Davidson dealers get somewhat of a pass on managing the new Riding Academy logistics since the only approved training is provided by TEAM OREGON.

If you’ve been riding awhile you’ll recall that Oregon was the first state to break away from MSF and Idaho soon followed.  There is 40-years of history, but in 2003, the last time MSF released a new curriculum, TEAM OREGON decided the new product didn’t meet the riders of Oregon needs.  However, MSF would not support continued use of the old product so, TEAM OREGON designed their own curriculum to meet the needs of Oregon riders.  The prevailing viewpoint was the California-based MSF “one-size-fits-all curriculum” didn’t address local issues – for example, Florida’s riding environment is much different from Washington State’s, which is unlike Wisconsin’s or New York’s.  MSF sued TEAM OREGON in 2006 over the curriculum they developed which the Oregon Department of Justice and Oregon State University tenaciously defended and in December 2008 the MSF agreed to abandon its lawsuit without any monetary settlement.  More details on the lawsuit are located HERE.

Independent of where you live in the Northwest, this blog has promoted safe motorcycle operation and suggested many times that riders be life-long learners.  Take a training class.

More information can be found at: TEAM OREGON – Basic (BRT) and Intermediate (IRT) courses are available statewide and meet Oregon’s mandatory training requirement.  Idaho STAR Motorcycle Safety Program;  Advanced Street SkillsPuget Sound Safety

Photos courtesy H-D and TEAM OREGON.  Shout-out to Pat Hahn (TEAM OREGON Communications and Outreach Manager) who was consulted for accuracy in the writing of this article.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Graphic Display From Swedish Police

I couldn’t believe it when I read it!

Last Monday morning the Oregon State Police (OSP) news flash reported that Russell Mathews was seriously injured on Sunday when riding along Hwy 211 in the Eagle Creek area.  He was ejected from his motorcycle while trying to pass a vehicle preparing to turn onto Judd Road.  Mr. Mathews attempted to pass on the right side of the vehicle when the motorcycle front tire went off the abrupt pavement edge and the motorcycle went down a steep embankment and flipping.  Mr. Mathews was transported by LifeFlight to Legacy Emanuel Hospital.  All of us motorcyclists hope for Mr. Mathews quick recovery.

But, in the first paragraph of the news flash and I quote:

“This crash is a reminder during “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month” for all travelers and motorcycles operators to drive safely and remember the rules of the road.”

That’s it?!  This news flash and a link on the OSP web site demonstrates the full commitment or represents the exhaustive efforts of the Oregon State Police (OSP) to raise visibility on Motorcycle Safety?  I wouldn’t call this a bold move for a 2010 campaign!  It’s my understanding, that OSP has NO specific motorcycle safety awareness campaign this year.  On the surface the above news flash reminder looks like they decided to “pile on” the back of a motorcyclists misfortune.  This idea doesn’t feel like a winner to me.

Here’s a better idea… how about putting the above graphic motorcycle and auto on display at car shows? Or how about tying this to the already in place cell phone campaign to wake drivers up out of their cell phone induced coma’s with some shocking and dramatic displays?  The above display was actually placed at the Stockholm Motorcycle Fair by the Swedish Police.  More on the back story is HERE.

I’m trying not to jump to a negative conclusion as I’ve had my “day in the life” and appreciate OSP’s service, but last year 51 people lost their lives in motorcycle crashes in Oregon.  New motorcycle endorsements are on the rise (last 5 years from 98,000 to 134,000) and the lack of a major awareness campaign by this critical organization responsible for public safety is either a major policy shift or the agency has decided to place its limited resources on other higher priority programs.

Either way that’s a disappointment.  I’ve blogged previously about ODOT’s safety awareness activities during motorcycle awareness month, but as warmer temperatures arrive it means people are busting out their garage to get a little wind in the face and independent of your experience level please be careful out there.

And speaking of experience.  Looking for a MSF course? Or if you’re a veteran be a life-long learner and take a refresher course.  Team Oregon has consistently been rated very high in motorcycle training too.

Photo courtesy Drive and Stay Alive.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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davidsonsMen have dominated the world of motorcycles.  Sure women on Harley’s date back to the early 1900’s and the first women’s motorcycle group in America was Motor Maids, which started in the 1930’s.   However, in the past 10 years or so women riders have skyrocketed.  Women love motorcycles, it’s a fact! Women riders during the last 20 years have gone from 4% to 12% of all motorcycles registered in the US. Women represent 10% of the U.S. motorcycle population, and nearly 12% of new Harley-Davidson purchasers.  The Motorcycle Safety Foundation estimates that one-third of students in the rider safety courses are female.  Harley has clearly figured out women are a growth market for a number of reasons and in that process they also discovered that following the money trail in a household often leads to women.

Karen Davidson

Karen Davidson

One individual who has shaped and dramatically influenced women riders is Karen Davidson, the great-granddaughter of HD co-founder, William A. Davidson.  She is the daughter of Willie G. Davidson, yet doesn’t seem to get a lot of press unless it’s about participating in a charity event.  As the Creative Director for General Merchandise and responsible for Harley-Davidson MotorClothes I found that somewhat peculiar.

Karen is “4th Generation” and one of three children by Willie G.  She studied fine arts and fashion design in college and was employed in the NYC garment industry for a time.  She began a free-lance leather design business in 1985 and joined HD in 1989.  The company created a new, branded line of apparel and accessories for its customers at that time – MotorClothes.  She is involved in most everything from creative direction of the leather collections to design of diamond rings.  She is an active rider and involved in charity events from the Women’s Day Ride benefiting Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), Film contests to the Love Ride.  She has been a key company “booster” in support of women motorcycle riders.  Second only to Leslie Prevish (Women’s Outreach Mgr) who is also very involved with women in motorcycling.

Karen’s influence was noticeable in 1991 when the runways in Paris and New York looked like biker rallies.  Harley-inspired emblems were on everything and Bloomingdales had a “Bad and Beautiful” shop devoted to women’s motorcycle jackets.  That year the Council of Fashion Designers of America gave HD a special award for its influence on fashion.  In 1998 she was involved in a Patent and Trademark trial (and appeal) over the mark “BIKER BLUES” for clothing line which Harley ultimately prevailed.

Beside owning and riding motorcycles, women have formed a presence within the industry that has gone way beyond being umbrella girls or trade show booth babes.  And in no small part thanks to Karen Davidson’s continued efforts to promote women in motorcycling.  I prefer to think of it as a gender-neutral activity, but I get the marketing angle.

Avis and Effie Hotchkiss might have been the first women to ride across the U.S. in 1915, but I’m sure they’d be pleasantly surprised at how far women have come from the motorcycle race track to urban streets.

 

Photo’s courtesy of HD (Family Picture L to R: Karen, Michael, Bill and Willie G.)

 

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On occasion I’ve used this blog as a method of outreach to foster and/or promote motorcycle safety.  Full disclosure here — I don’t work for any motorcycle group, the MSF or a state agency, but I do try and represent concerns relating to motorcycle safety and help bring a “voice” to interested parties.

Did you know that motorcycle crashes in Oregon have risen from 443 in 2002 to 736 in 2006? There were 51 motorcyclist fatalities in 2007; 200 motorcyclists have died from 2002 to 2007. Oregon’s motorcycle fatalities are higher than they have been for 20 years.  I’ve written previously on motorcycle safety HEREHERE and on alcohol related accidents HERE

To help address motorcyclist fatalities the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety (GAC-MS) was commissioned and consists of members appointed by the Governor from throughout the state. This committee is charged with the responsibility to advise the Governor and the Transportation Safety Division of ODOT on motorcycle safety. They developed the 2008 Safety Strategic Plan which has the following 6 objectives along with a number of tactics to help decrease motorcycle fatalities:

  1. During 2008, the GAC-MS will hold public “listening” meetings not only in Salem but also around the state in the Portland, Ashland, Bend and Medford areas.
  2. Provide motorcycle operator training to all who need or seek it; increase motorcyclists’ knowledge of methods to increase their safety on the road, including awareness of hazards, motorcycle operating techniques, and conspicuity.
  3. Reduce crashes in which motorcyclists are impaired by alcohol or other drugs.
  4. Ensure that all motorcycle operators riding on public roads are properly licensed.
  5. Increase motorists’ awareness of the presence of motorcycles on the road.
  6. Education, Enforcement, Engineering and EMS issues pertaining to motorcycles will be identified.

View the full strategic plan is HERE (PDF file).

If you have an opinion or want to voice any concerns there are meetings planned on October 19th and November 21st.  The next two meetings are:

Sunday, October 19th at 4:00PM
7 Feathers Center, 146 Chief Miwaleta Lane, Canyonville, OR 97417

and

Friday, November 21st at 6:30PM 
Transportation Safety Division Office, 235 Union Street NE , OR 97301

If you can’t attend the meetings send written input to –

Michele O’Leary
ODOT Motorcycle Safety Program Manager
Governor’s Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety
235 Union Street NE
Salem, OR 97301-1054
Email

Image courtesy of Texas Department of Safety.

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Army Harley-Davidson

Army Harley-Davidson

Military life is a lot about adrenaline (shooting weapons, parachuting out of planes, repelling from Blackhawks, etc.), not to mention the amount of testosterone filled “hoorah” recruits go through during basic that gives many the feeling of invincibility.

However, military personnel and motorcycles are a lethal combination as the News Observer reports that since 9/11, more American troops have died in off-duty motorcycle accidents than fighting in Afghanistan.

I’m not going to debate if the military personnel buy high-powered motorcycles and hit the streets to burn off adrenaline, testosterone or boredom.  Or if it’s due to a lack of maturity, a lack of training or inexperience riding powerful sport bikes.  Or if it’s due to psychological stress that lingers returning home from combat.  I’m interested, but will leave that to the experts to determine.

I want to talk about motorcycle accidents and Dealer responsibility.  But, first a couple of background facts:

  1. All military branches of the armed forces have seen significant increases in motorcycle fatalities.
  2. As of October 1st, 24 deaths have occurred in the Marine Corp which breaks the previous record of 19 fatalities set the year before. Nine of the 24 were from Camp Pendleton. In 2000, when the Marine Corps started keeping track of motorcycle fatalities, seven riders died.
  3. The Marines have had a higher fatality rate than the civilian population, according to Peter Hill, head of engineering with the safety division at Marine Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C.
  4. A survey of motorcycle use in the Marines, has so far counted 17,348 riders nationwide, 56 percent of them on fast sport bikes, and the count is projected to reach about 25,000.
  5. Military personnel are required to take a three-day basic rider course or a one-day experienced rider course before they are allowed to ride on/off base. However, most know how to get around the requirement by storing motorcycles off-base either at dealers or friends home.
  6. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are about 7.5 fatalities per 10,000 civilian riders. In the Marine Corps, the rate was about 9.5 per 10,000 riders this year, according to Marine Corps statistics.
  7. For every mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 32 times as likely to be killed as someone in a car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  8. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, sport motorcycles generally weigh half as much as a cruiser-style motorcycle and have about twice the horsepower.
  9. In the civilian population, the fatality rate is four times higher on a sport bikes than on a cruiser.
Marines Walk By Sportbikes

Marines Walk By Sportbikes

I’ve written previously on motorcycle safety HERE, HERE and on alcohol related accidents HERE.  I’m sadden by the above statistics and especially dislike reading about our young veterans getting injured or killed on motorcycles.  Many AFTER they’ve returned from the Gulf.  My efforts here are to bring visibility of a growing problem and maybe in some small way help reduce motorcycle fatalities.

But, let’s return to the role of the motorcycle dealer and their prevention responsibility, if any.  First, I fully believe they have a lot of responsibility as the first line of “defense” so-to-speak and doing a good job of “fitting” motorcycle to customer, but unfortunately know they are also simply a corporation that makes money selling motorcycles and motorcycle accessories. The owners of these dealers and the manufactures they represent want you to believe they are biker’s best friend, but at the end of the day it’s all about business and what will bring them the most sales volume and the best return on their investment.  I’m not arbitrarily discounting their genuine desire to avoid or prevent motorcycle accidents, but most all dealer’s have many more requirements to rent/ride a motorcycle from their business than they do to purchase one!  Some dealers pass out vouchers for customers to attend local safety classes, but do you think a sales person would ever say… “You are just not ready for that 175mph super bike, let’s put you in a big scooter” or “Sorry, but that chrome laden Ultra Glide is just too heavy a motorcycle for you and might I suggest that you step into a Sporty”.  Yeah right like that would ever happen!  

Yet another example of the great lengths that dealers/manufactures will go to catch the military personnel attention is the rising popularity of motorcycle sales at overseas military exchanges, which offer two American makes, Harley-Davidson and Buell, at bargain prices. After the Afghanistan war started, sales jumped nearly 50 percent, to more than 4,000 a year thru this channel, and have held steady, according to figures provided by the different services’ exchanges. At exchanges in the two combat zones alone, troops bought more than 1,500 motorcycles in 2005 (last year of stats) and took delivery of them on their return to the U.S.

I know it’s crucial to draw a line between courage and recklessness.   Knowing your limits, respecting others on the road, proper training, and being completely aware of what’s going on around you are all factors in why people stay alive on a motorcycle.  Now if we could recalibrate the mentality of the dealer network from the operator assumes all responsibility mind-set to more along the lines of it being critical to reducing fatalities and maintain your customer base.  If you’re in the “channel” I welcome your comments or ideas…

Want more training info?  Look at a MSF course which is an intensive two or three day classroom and riding course supervised by expert riders. Or if you’re a veteran be a life-long learner and take a refresher course.  Team Oregon has consistently been rated very high in motorcycle training too.

Marine photo courtsey of North County Times and Hayne Palmour IV – Staff Photographer

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