May 2003 Safety Thoughts

Group Riding & Some Food For Thought

by Dave Hansen, Safety Officer

This month I'd like to cover several topics:

First, this year's Chapter-sponsored MSF Class; 

While the early morning ride to the class was "brisk" the weather during the range work was, for a change, terrific. Best weather we've ever had for this program that I can remember. Thank you Mother Nature!

This year's class was a first-ever for the Chapter - we did a Performance Based Class as opposed to the usual Experienced Rider Class. We had 49 participants this year. We had a 100% success rate for participant learning. Congratulations to all our participating members! 

The second topic is group riding formations.;

In order to ride as safely as possible as a group, each individual member needs to understand and practice the group riding techniques used by this Chapter. 

If you haven't reviewed your Group Riding Techniques book this season, dig it out & read it. It contains lots of captioned diagrams, so the reading isn't that tough. 

Our main formation is a 2-second, 1-second stagger. Two seconds behind the rider directly in front of you (same side of the lane). One second behind the rider to your stagger (opposite side of the lane). 

The space cushion is needed to allow reaction time for unseen hazards. Remember, each rider has the whole width of the lane they can & should be able to use to avoid road hazards. Proper spacing allows this to be done safely. Riding too close could bring bikes in contact during an emergency maneuver, with really bad consequences.

My last topic is a news release that should be of interest to everyone; 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows that, in 2002 motorcycle fatalities increased for the fifth year in a row following years of steady improvement. A total of 3,276 riders died, up three percent from 2001. Deaths among riders 50 and over increased 24 percent. 

While not necessarily related, traffic fatalities where alcohol was involved also increased in 2002.

Some food for thought. Ride Sober.

Ride Safe!

Words of Safety