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Safe Motorcycling Tips

Posted on Thursday, November 27th, 2008 at 11:26 am    

For us midwesterners, motorcycle season is upon us. For those in climates conducive to year-round riding, spring may not hold out this special joy for you. As we hit the highways, it is important to keep in mind safe riding principles.

Here’s a telling statistic: roughly 90% of all motorcyclists involved in crashes were self-taught or taught by friends. The lesson here is obvious – if you’re considering taking up motorcycling, find a motorcycle riding course. Chances are, you can find a motorcycle riding course for beginning or experienced riders in your community or nearby. A couple examples of motorcycle rider training readily available are courses sponsored by Harley-Davidson and ABATE of Iowa. The relatively small amount of time and money are a wise investment.

Once you have the necessary skill package and are ready to hit the road, it is important to become properly outfitted. I often say that buying a Harley was my excuse to buy lots of black leather, but the reality is that the leathers or other protective gear may at some point be the only thing between you and the pavement. There are any number of outlets for purchasing the gear you need.

I like to start my gear-shopping missions by seeing what’s available on ebay. I never cease to be amazed at the availability of what I want on ebay, and most importantly, by how much money I can save. If it’s the latest and greatest riding apparel you have in mind, an excellent place to start is Harley-Davidson. Another great option is J&P Cycles, where you can find excellent gear and usually save yourself some serious bucks.

While it would seem to be a no-brainer (no pun intended), one important decision every motorcyclist must make, at least in states like Iowa with no helmet laws, is whether to wear a helmet. When I bought my first bike, I fully intended to wear a helmet at all times. Over time, however, I found myself making excuses for not wearing my helmet. That is, until this past winter, when a new client involved in a motorcycle crash detailed how thankful he was that he had a helmet on at the time a car turned in front of him, sending him head-first into the pavement.

I stand by every person’s right to make their own decision whether to wear a helmet while motorcycling. Telling statistics, however are that helmets are estimated to be 29 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries, and 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries for motorcyclists. If you decide to opt for a helmet, the above sources I mentioned for gear are all excellent. With my new resolve to wear a helmet at all times came a new helmet to encourage me. I picked this one up online from Head Trip Helmets, a nice-looking lid that minimizes the “mushroom head” look most motorcyclists detest. If you need more convincing, check out the testimonials on the Head Trip Helmets site.

Damn, just writing this is getting me jacked up to do some riding! I see the unseasonal snow we received yesterday is just about gone. Tomorrow, I don my leathers and helmet, and hit the road. Be safe!

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