Breaking Traction: Wheelies, Stoppies, Burnouts, motorcycles, crashing, crashes, crash

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Breaking Traction, Crashing and Trespassing on Private Property

Why some organizations want to outlaw motorcycling - Part 2

Last month we discussed why inane bills such as SB5544 get introduced into the House and Senate; bills designed to take away our rights as motorcyclists and riding areas we dearly love. The conclusion has been cited by key members in our industry that it is typically US, the motorcyclists, who bring these bills on and unless we change our own ways we’ll have the anti-associations continually breathing down our necks and looking for ways to shut down our sport.

Of course I’m not talking about regular riding practices like riding legally in general, which is why the point was made last month that probably the number one thing that grabs the attention of anti-motorcycle organizations are loud pipes; pipes that exceed the DOT level of a reasonable 96 decibels.

So what else grabs the attention of people who want to outlaw reasonable motorcycle activities?

BREAKING TRACTION ON PUBLIC ROADWAYS – This is probably the second most annoying occurrence next to loud pipes that gets everybody opposed to motorcycling and in an uproar. A wheelie down I-5, a burnout on the street and stoppies at red lights are dangerous and scare the hell out of everyone else around the area (including law abiding motorcyclists). Not to mention how dangerous these occurrences are to others when novices attempt them in public. The database at the morgue is filled with the names of riders who died while attempting to ride with one wheel off the ground.

What can be done?

1. If this type of activity disturbs you, steer clear of any clubs or groups of riders who participate in such.

2. Don’t feed the pockets of those directors and movie companies who produce movies and videos showcasing illegal stunting on public roadways.

3. Don’t fill the pockets of motorcycle magazine publishers who glorify stunting on public roadways. Not a year goes by where Cycle World does not show a bike on a public roadway with at least one wheel off the ground at high speed. There are many more responsible motorcycle magazines to subscribe to such as American Motorcyclist, Motorcycle Consumer News and Road Runner.

4. Take it to the track. If you feel the need to get your bike up on one wheel do it in a legal environment such as the race track.

5. Call it in. If you come upon stunters on public roadways, it’s in your best interest and the interest of all motorists in the area to be able to operate their vehicles safely. Stunters will ultimately impair their own or another motorists ability to operate their vehicle safely. Pull over, pull out your cell phone and call 911.

Which leads us to another attention getter – crashing in general.

STOP CRASHING! – The news media loves it when we crash on our motorcycles. They don’t want to show you having a great ride around the Cascades. Nobody wants to see that on TV. What they’re looking for are crash situations. The group who rode head on into the UPS truck, the kid who rode high speed into a car on I-90. Stupid stuff to be sure.

Every time you see a crash that leads to a death there’s probably a dozen or more behind that you’ll never hear about where the riders survived. But all the motorists who drove past the crash scene got one more bad taste in their mouth about how dangerous motorcycles are.

We can all get better at not crashing and we can all encourage other riders to do the same. Read the list below of 10 ways you can improve your skills, give yourself a point for each one you can answer yes to, see where you are on the scale and move up a notch or two by improving your skills. Encourage others to do the same.

We’ll start with the basics and move up to the advanced skill levels. Where do you fit in?

1. I know how to ride a motorcycle (I think).
2. I am legally endorsed to ride a motorcycle.
3. I’ve taken a State approved basic rider education course.
4. I understand concepts such as the delayed apex, push right to go right and braking and throttle control and I use them every time I ride.
5. I have several books on street riding skills at home and I refer back to them at least a half dozen times each year to sharpen my skills.
6. I know how to ride in a group.
7. I am a member of a club that puts a focus on safe riding.
8. I take a State approved intermediate rider class every two years whether I think I need to or not.
9. Some years I opt to take a class like the Sidecar/Trike Education Program or the MSF dirt bike school (where the bikes are provided to students for each of these classes) just to experience and understand alternate riding styles.
10. I have learned advanced riding skills through a quality track day organization, or a certified instruction school that teaches advanced street skills at a track.

And lastly we need to…
The Northwest is a great place to ride a motorcycle and there are thousands of miles of great pavement, gravel and single track trails that are open to us still. But when we get onto someone’s private property where we’re not invited to ride, the red flags go up, the voices roar and the next thing you know another inane bill is on the books designed to shut down our existing riding areas. Don’t let it happen.

1. Ride on public roadways and land, and only on private property if you’re welcomed there by the owner.
2. If you have kids who ride, advise them to do the same
3. Discourage others from breaking the law and trespassing on private property and reconsider your friendship with those who do.

In conclusion, if we get the volume of our bikes back to a manageable and legal level, put an end to stunt riding on public roadways, reduce the amount of crashing overall and , stay off private property where we don’t belong, there’s no doubt there will be far fewer bills anti-motorcycle organizations will try to run past us.

It’s a money and resources sucker every time bills like SB5544 get run up the flag pole. Hundreds of people have to get involved to knock these bills down. Dealers, motorcyclists in general and the members of motorcycle rights organizations all have to lay out blood, sweat and tears to make sure these kinds of bills don’t pass. Do what you can to make sure they don’t appear in the first place. SR!

TM/Spring 07


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