Local Riders Share Insider Tips to Keep You Safe
Steve Hammer says, “ride educated! If you haven't taken some sort of riding class or have never taken a class you need to. If all you have ever had was the basic class and you have ridden 20 plus years perhaps it's time to refresh or expand your skill level.” No matter your skill level, it is imperative to practice, practice, practice!
For new riders, the Ohio Department of Public Safety offers a Basic Rider Skill (BRS) 16-hour course. The cost is only $50 and motorcycles and helmets are provided if you don’t have your own. No experience is needed. They also offer an 8-hour Basic Riding Skills course for returning riders (BRS-RR) for riders who already have basic riding skills and are confident with their motorcycle abilities. Locally, the courses are held at North Central State College and the three-day courses run from March 25 until November 13 on the NC campus. Even if you are an experienced rider, you can learn many helpful tips and safety practices in this class!
Even if you are an experienced rider with great riding skills, safety gear is still important.
Tanya Rishel-Myers has had her endorsement for nine years. She tells us that some people suggest that since she no longer a novice rider, she doesn’t need to wear a helmet. Tanya’s theory is, “I really like my head and brain intact, so I will wear my helmet.”
No matter how much experience you have, you can’t control other people’s action. Even the most alert and aggressive rider is at risk when riding. Tim Myers says, “protect yourself with a properly fitted helmet and a good riding jacket.” As Rebecca Shellenbarger-Smith tells us, “dress for the slide, not the ride!”
Jerry Beatty says, “we can try to protect ourselves with bright clothing and loud pipes, but we still have to fear people texting, going left of center, or running red lights and stop signs.”
Steve Hammer stresses the importance of maintaining your bike, saying “Do it! Don't let the machine fail you because of neglect—especially tire performance.”
Jesse Dickerson suggests checking the psi on your tires before every ride.
Take your bike for regular service, especially if it has been parked for the winter. When motorcycles are not used for extended periods, some components like brakes and suspension can be prone to seizing due to lack of use. Carburetors can get clogged or gummed up if proper additives are not put in with the fuel before being stored for the off-season.
Regularly check the battery, oil, tires, brakes, chain and sprocket, and fuel.
Orest Nydza says, “a lot of riders seem to forget you have a front brake. Use it. In the rain, not so good. But in dry conditions, it helps in some situations.”
Jesse Dickerson suggests using the front brakes to slow down at high speed by applying slight pressure to both brakes. “Never use the front brake to stop immediately though,” he tells us. “Peat gravel will put you down hard and fast!”
Watch, Look and Listen
We’ve all heard the expression “look twice, save a life.”
Mike Pigg says, “please look triple time. It won’t take long and you may save a life instead of ending one.” Let’s change the old adage to “look thrice, save a life!”
Staying Safe Now and for the Future!
Sherry Lyon-Edler has been teaching her grandchildren to look and listen for motorcycles since they were little (just like looking for slug bug). That way by the time they begin driving they will know what to look for and listen for.
Imagine if everyone taught their children to be aware of motorcycles like Sherry does. Make it a game or contest for your kids every time you get in the car!
Never Drink and Ride
Steve Hammer says, “Impaired: come on really?” Even one or two drinks can slow your reaction speed. “If Fido runs out in front of you, you need to be on top of your game.”