May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
The MSF and the NHTSA are working together to raise cager awareness of their companions on US roads.
Excerpt from the MSF press release:
[T]he month of May is a Special Emphasis Period designated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). During this month, the focus is on highway and traffic safety issues concerning motorcyclists, providing motorists (other vehicle operators) an opportunity to become familiar with the motorcyclist's view of the highway as well as enhancing their awareness of the motorcyclists who share the road with them.
So, since we riders need all the help we can get on the mean streets, do us all a favor and spread the word. And, if you know anyone just starting out in our sport/hobby, point them to the MSF Basic Riders Course.
Motorcyle Helmet Standards
ABATE and other lobbying groups have won concessions in many states transportation safety laws over the last 10 years so that now many do not require motorcyclists to wear helmets or are considering dropping or amending their current helmet laws. While I applaud the quest for individual freedom, I personally prefer to wear a helmet 99.9% of the time that I am on a motorcycle.
So, for those of us who do wear helmets and/or are shopping for a new one, I thought it might be helpful to compile a nice list of links on motorcycle helmet safety specs and what they mean to the consumer.
Motorcycle USA has just published a helpful comparison of the DOT and Snell standards that bears reading as it highlights the most important difference between the two testing standards, that Snell is a more rigorous test and places a greater focus on production consistency.
And, since more and more Euro market helmets are being imported into the US and are gaining in popularity, it is also important to understand the ECE helmet safety specification. Though they may not have been submitted for DOT testing or be DOT certified, most experts agree that the ECE standards should provide a safer helmet than those that only meet DOT standards.
Finally, if you’re on the fence about whether or not you should be wearing a helmet when you ride, here’s some information from the NHTSA that may shed some light on their motives for encouraging helmet use.
Everyone was a beginner once
I passed the Pennsylvania MSF course last April, 4 months after purchasing my first bike, a Kawasaki Ninja 500R. If I hadn’t been lucky enough to find BeginnerBikes.com in a google search on learning how to ride I might not be riding today. With a great selection of articles, bike reviews and advice for folks who are new to our hobby, the site really shines because of its membership. The BeginnerBikes forum has over 2000 members who are ready to answer your questions about counter steering, choosing a first bike, safety and great learning and riding tips.
So, if you’re thinking of learning how to ride, take a look.
Partners for Safety
The AMA, Ride Straight, the Motorcycle Rider’s Association and the Motorsports Business Association have teamed up to offer state riders a great resource for safety information, ride suggestions and accident reports, Ride4Ever.org. It would be great to see more states follow this model and really promote safety in riding. Many states offer the MSF Basic Riders Course or a course of their own design, but very few provide such a great resource.