Tag Archives: Motorcycle safety

Helite Turtle Airbag Vest Hi-Viz

I’m no longer indestructible! Technically, I was never indestructible, but I was really proficient at bad judgement. I can remember back in the day when I used to ride my Harley-Davidson Sportster wearing my Van Halen T-shirt, and a pair of shorts, Ray-Ban sunglasses and a pair of gym shoes. Oh, let’s not forget I was wearing headphones connected to my Sony Walkman. A little history lesson here, a Sony Walkman was this gizmo that you put a cassette tape in it. This cassette tape had audible information on it to play through headphones. These were very dark days, way before iTunes showed up.

Back on track. Yup, nothing but safety first back in the day. Nowhere, in my motorcycling outfit collection, was a helmet, a leather coat, a pair of gloves, reinforce jeans or a pair of boots. I’m trying to remember, I think bought a helmet, but never used it. I think it was still in the box when I gave it away.

Of course, now, I’m at a different place in life. I am amazed every day that this biological machinery which enables my consciousness is still operating at my age. They’re very few things in my realm that are as old as I am. For example, we don’t own a sixty-year-old car. The useful life of my toothbrush, computer, motorcycles and so forth are fraction of my current age.

There are times when I look at my hand and move my fingers back and forth. During this little weird exercise. I can stop thinking about all of the biological systems that have been replaced, repaired and whatever else is going on in my body during my time on this planet.

My main goal when riding motorcycle now is to decrease chances of injury. Over the years I have slowly incorporated more and more motorcycle safety gear. 2005 was ground zero for my safety gear enhancement mode. I no longer just looked at the price of the equipment. Nor do I search out one particular brand. I actually spend a lot time research each piece of motorcycle safety equipment.

In 2008, I bought a Honda Goldwing with an air-bag. It made the cost of the motorcycle about $2,500 more, but I figured it added another level of safety. Of course, I caught a lot of shit from my motorcycle tribe for riding around on a motorcycle with an air-bag.  My Goldwing is almost ten years old now, so now that air-bag has cost me about $250 per year so far. Except, this year the air-bag was replaced under a massive recall by Honda. Ruh-Roh, more math, a new equation! It’s your turn to figure out the cost per year. Give it hell.

Motorcycling is high risk endeavor. It’s a risk-taking behavior. People who ride motorcycles are engaging in an activity that has the potential to be harmful. You may think you have the ability avoid the dangers through your motorcycle riding prowess. Or you might think, making the exhaust system on your motorcycle as loud as possible will fend off the “cagers.”  Well, I say good luck with that! Me, I’m going to pack on the safety gear.

I’ve decided to purchase a radical piece of motorcycle safety gear. The Turtle Airbag Vest is a relativity new product. Here’s a link to their website Helite, you can get all the nuts and bolts stuff from them. Yup, I’m one lazy-ass-blogger, back on track! I’ve been reading about this technology for two years. Read about all of the iterations before it was brought to market place. Collect as much data as I could about the effectiveness of the product. The data can from the manufacturers and not from any governing body.I’d better throw this out there before someone gets the wrong idea or tries to sue me. I do not believe that my safety gear will keep me from getting hurt. But, I do know the outcome will be much better than if I was wearing my long-gone trusty Van Halen T-shirt.

Turn the Throttle and Take Your Chances

Riding a motorcycle is a risky endeavor, that’s a fact, no getting around it. If you ride motorcycle, you’re a risk taker, period, that’s who you are. You’re gambling with your well-being when you choose to to ride a motorcycle. You would be much safer driving around in a car than riding a motorcycle. If you don’t understand that you’re taking risk when you ride your motorcycle you should sell your motorcycle.

But those of us who ride motorcycles are willing to take the risk. We’re willing to trade a risk for an experience. The actual experience could be different from person to person, or the same, I don’t know. I just know what I get from riding a motorcycle. This experience is powerful enough to make me take the same risks over and over again.

Motorcycle manufactures have spent millions of dollars trying to nail down the experience of riding a motorcycle to market their products. Trying to focus on your hot buttons to get you to take risks and purchase their products. One manufacturer has been very succesful creating a culture to get you to buy their products, all of their products. But, their vehicles are just as risky as the others.

So with that said, take the time to manage your risks when riding your motorcycle. Don’t leave anything that you can control to chance. Do everything, and I mean everything, you can to put the odds in your favor. Insurance companies are always managing their risks to make sure they’re positioned correctly in the event there’s problem. Why shouldn’t you be doing the same?

How do you reduce your risk when you ride a motorcycle? Safety equipment, going through a motorcycle riding course, maintaining your motorcycle and thinking ahead comes to mind. One of the unseen expenses of owning a motorcycle is all of the safety equipment. From now on in motorcycle ads they should have the motorcycle and pile of safety equipment right next to it. Maybe spread the safety equipment all over the floor like the motorcycle had its own bedroom.

Take a motorcycle riding course. Sometimes they’re free! State grant monies are sometimes used to promote motorcycle rider safety. In some cases if you complete the course, insurance companies will give you a discount on your premium. Read a couple of books on riding and maintaining your motorcycle, it couldn’t hurt. Watch videos on YouTube, they’re free.

Maintaining your motorcycle is very important to your safety. Change the tries when they’re showing signs of wear. Don’t be the first person to try to put a 100,000 miles on a set. Make sure there’s brake fluid in reservoir. Imagine your surprise when pull the brake lever and nothing happens. Surprise, surprise, surprise! Check the brake lights to make sure they work when you operate the brakes.

Thinking ahead is your best tool to put the odds in your favor. It’s like having five aces, I meant four aces. When riding your motorcycle, continually scan your riding landscape. Run the different scenarios in your mind that could happen in front, along side or behind you. Never assume some sees you, even if you think they’re looking right at you. Stay out of the blind spots of an automobile drivers. You need to understand the mindset of someone doesn’t drive a motorcycle. They’re looking for other cars when they’re driving, not motorcycles. So even though they see you, your not registering to them as a car and their not looking for motorcycles. Again, you need to think ahead.

The most important factor for your well-being when riding a motorcycle is to continue to read my blogs. These blogs will enlighten, entertain and educate you. That’s right, shameless promotion. Be thankful it’s at the end.

Aggressive Vehicles?

I’m currently reading the Proficient Motorcycling book. After four decades of riding a motorcycle, I thought it was about time to read this book. I might learn something, which would be a good thing. It seems like a pretty good book, color pictures, tables and a CD. What more could you want? On Amazon.com 244 people have written comments about the book, which is pretty good. Considering it’s not on Oprah’s booklist that’s really a lot of feedback.

No sense in starting from the beginning, so I jumped right into a certain section and started reading. Everything was going along just fine until I read the buzzword “Aggressive Vehicles.” Okay, maybe I need to go back and reread that section again. Could it have been that I read it wrong, maybe it said aggressive drivers? Maybe our new dog Bailey distracted me while I was reading the section. He runs around the house like he’s high on speed or something. No, I didn’t misread the section, it said “Aggressive Vehicles.”

Okay, go along with program, new term to learn, “Aggressive Vehicles.” As I read the section, I learned that when a larger vehicle hits a smaller vehicle, the small vehicle takes most of the damage. Good thing I read that because I would never figure that out.

There’s even a table with a list of aggressive vehicles on it. This list came from NHTSA that collected the data. So someone didn’t just make up this list. The most aggressive vehicle according to the table is a Dodge B series van. When I see Dodge B series van I’m going to get the hell out of the way.

The section goes on to talk about when a motorcycle hits an automobile, the motorcycle driver flies over the automobile and hits the ground. When a motorcycle driver hits an aggressive vehicle, he or she will do a body slam into the side of that vehicle. I think all of these things any motorcycle rider can understand.

Riding a motorcycle is a risk-taking event. You can take classes on motorcycle safety, read books and wear safety gear. Every time you get on a motorcycle,  you’re taking a risk. That’s a fact. So when someone gives a vehicle a rating of “Aggressive” that’s stupid talk to me.

I would want to know why motorcycles are involved in accidents with these vehicles at a higher percentage than other vehicles. Maybe they’re design flaws in these vehicles that create blind spots for the driver. Who knows?