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Posts Tagged ‘Team Oregon’

It’s official.  The Great American Solar Eclipse and the potential for catastrophic disaster has produced the first ever Oregon Motorcycle Solar Eclipse Advisory: AVOID RIDING MOTORCYCLES, August 18 — 22, 2017 is the stated recommendation.

Plan to have a good time watching the 2-minute daylight-to-twilight event (around 10:15 am), but just don’t travel anywhere by motorcycle for 5-days!

Huh?  How did we get to this place?

The “once-in-a-lifetime” excitement and buzz surrounding the eclipse is now at Defcon 1 with less than seven days before the interstellar event.  For months people have been on an obsessive pursuit of the perfect photo location.  Get outside advertisements and turn your Oregon journey into a legacy have been everywhere,  Eclipse 101 brochures, guide pamphlets, and preparedness articles are in overdrive across all forms of media.

Advisory: Avoid Motorcycle Riding August 18 – 22, 2017

But, there is this bazaar pre-cog of an impending apocalyptic doom that is permeating the eclipse narrative given that hundreds of thousand of people and their vehicles — perhaps millions — will converge on the already severely overcrowded highways.

Can you spell Oregon anxiety and fear?

Media ratings often drive the “never miss an opportunity to drum up catastrophic hysteria:”  Did you set up a generator ‘war room’ in your basement in case of a state-wide breakdown of electricity and communication?  Did you rent a satellite phone to update your social media channels from Steens Mountain?  Does your family have an evacuation route and disaster preparedness plan?  Did you stock up on SPAM and water?  Do you have a full tank of gas?  Did you buy extra coolant and oil for the engine?  Do you have jumper cables?  Did you purchase a spare tire for your spare tire in case it goes flat?  Did you drain your checking account and now walking around with thousands of dollars in your wallet?  Do you have paper maps in case the cell phone grid goes down?  Did you take a first aid course?  Do you have a roll of duct tape?  Did you buy a package of souvenir: “The Path Of Totality” toilet paper?

Seems silly, but maybe the media should ask us if we remembered to breath?

Is the sky truly falling or is the daily drum beat of “chicken little” prudent preparedness?

I don’t think we want the celestial spectacle any darker and will know soon enough.  Though we might make fun of them a little, looking back, we may also sympathize, but after a long season of eclipse anxiety and survival doomsaying, condensed with all the scientific history, phony viewing glasses and hype — we should all be so lucky as to have yet another boring Monday on August 21st.

TIME photo modified by author with original courtesy of TIME.  TEAM Oregon photo courtesy of web site.

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red-lightI’m talking about Senate Bill 5141 which was signed by Gov. Inslee and took effect on June 14th.

It states that if a motorcyclist approaches an intersection, including a left turn intersection, controlled by a triggered traffic control signal using a vehicle detection device, and that signal is inoperative due to the size of the motorcycle, the motorcyclist must come to a complete stop. If the signal fails to operate after one cycle, the motorcyclist may proceed through the intersection or turn left after exercising due care.

The Washington legislation provided a legal way for motorcyclists to get through a red light and according to the American Motorcyclist Association, 14 other states have passed similar legislation.

In Oregon, motorcycle detection issues remain a problem at traffic lights in both rural and urban areas.  If you’re like me you’ve experienced the frustration and/or jockeyed around so that the auto behind can trigger the light.  And when motorcyclists encounter devices that fail to notice their presence, most riders will proceed through the red light after taking “due caution.”

I’m wondering when the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon Governor’s Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety will take up the issue?

Many cagers and law makers believe that motorcyclists are at fault in triggering traffic lights so, in the spirit of reporting both sides… the Oregon Motorcycle Manual and the TEAM Oregon Motorcycle Safety Program offer advice on how to position a motorcycle correctly at traffic stops so signaling devices will hopefully register it.

Photo courtesy of the internet.

All Rights Reserved © 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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ART-MapChristianity talks about getting into Heaven; Islam focuses on Paradise; Buddism and Hinduism offer an ultimate reincarnation into blissful Nirvana — every major world religion offers its followers entrance into some sort of ‘Promised Land’.

Not to be overly dramatic, but I’m talking about Medford, Oregon, and a promise that if you attend the TEAM OREGON Advanced Rider Training (ART) in Medford on June 28-29th you’ll come away with increased motorcycle riding knowledge!

This is a rare opportunity for southern Oregon motorcyclists to attend a training course for experienced/expert level riders taught on the go-kart track at Jackson County Sports Park.   This is the same training that is also taught year round at Pat’s Acres in Canby, OR.

Feedback on the training is that it’s a great learning experience.  More info and video HERE. Cost is $150 per person.  I’ve been informed that there are currently 22 seats remaining: 7 in the Saturday a.m./p.m. course and 15 in the Friday p.m./Saturday a.m. course.  It’s anticipated they will all fill by mid-June.

Most important is to take note that the training will not return to Medford before 2014 so get enrolled now while you still can.

Photo courtesy of TEAM OREGON.  Full Disclosure: I’m not employed by or affiliated with TEAM OREGON.  I am an advocate for lifelong learning.

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I-5 (S) In Route To Team Oregon – ART

“June Gloom” – It’s a southern California term for a weather pattern that results in cloudy, overcast skies with cool temperatures during the late spring and early summer.

We should be so lucky in Oregon!

Our “May Grey” was followed by a full on rain storm today.  Surprise, the first week of June is heavy rain and to top it off there is the forecast of snow down to 3000 feet in the cascades.

It turns out that I took the day off work and planned to attend the Team Oregon Advanced Rider Training (ART) with some rider friends.  In the paperwork, Team Oregon made it very clear.  Regardless of the weather, rain or shine the one-day course would happen so come prepared.

You see ART is not a high speed, racing-oriented class, but it provides riders a chance to build skills on an enclosed track while getting feedback from expert instructors. It’s designed for the rider who has at least 12,000 miles of current, on-street riding experience and includes 4 hours of range (riding) instruction including cornering, braking, swerving and traction management.

Advanced Rider Training Is Cancelled

So, I put on the rain gear and departed the house in heavy rain to take on the morning rush hour traffic.  Merged onto I-5 with the visible oil sheen and “rooster tails” from semi-trucks while watching a couple of folks on their cell phones – I suppose they had to tell friends just how wet the roads were – to arrive 35 minutes later at the Pat’s Acres Racing Complex and learn that the instructors cancelled the class!  Huh?  And get this… because the track was too oily and wet.

Are you tracking with me here?  It’s Oregon!  Duh.  I just spent the morning on an oil slick I-5 corridor accelerating/braking in stop-n-go traffic, making lane-change transitions, passing semi-trucks while thinking about my traction judgment and then safely existing the freeway and smoothly cornering through the curves of the Canby ramp only to find out that Pat’s “little race track” has an oil sheen and the rain made it slippery when wet!  Are you kidding me?  Really.

Who are these people?!  Isn’t the idea of this course to help riders improve judgment and skills by linking turns and choosing better lines in the rain. To get better in the type of weather conditions that are fairly routine in the Northwest.  And to practice on a closed course vs. on the interstate, right?   So let me get this straight.  The weather is too challenging to learn, but it’s okay for riders to head back home in the very same conditions that required them to cancel?  Worse yet was the fact that several people had called 30 minutes prior to the start of the class and obtained confirmation that it was still on.

I’m sure the Team Oregon office in Corvallis didn’t appreciate my phone call.  But, they did hear my “pull your head out” message and where to send my refund!

Photo taken by author (GoPro Helmet Camera) 

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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.

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