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Riding from the Three Rivers to the Four Winds...


Reprinted with permission from BMW Motorcycle Club of Colorado

Rider Safety

Included in this area will be items of interest to members regarding the SAFE operation of their motorbike. Subjects will include articles and references to safe riding techniques and tips, group riding, mountain riding hazards, city riding hazards, personal medical suggestions, and everything about the gear you may want, and why.

We urge you to submit items of interest that may benefit club members. For the most part, we will point to some of the many excellent sources of information on the internet, but with the experienced riders we have in the club (several RTW riders, international tour leaders, multi-continent riders, and Iron Butt Association members) there is no reason we should not have a top notch safety section on our top notch club web site. Won't you help build it? Thanks!

Urban Commuting Safety2

Read some Riding Tips for Commuting - Urban Guerrilla

The Pace

The BMW Motorcycle Club of Colorado rides this way. Everyone rides at their own pace and still arrives in time to uberstuff themselves at lunch. This article has been used and reused and ignored and then ignored again since 1991 when it was first published by Motorcyclist Magazine. The author, Nick Ienatsch, has gained motorcycle community icon status with this tome, and went on to author two excellent riding instruction books that should be on every motorbiker's table top, and commited to memory for use on the street, on the track, and on your neighbor's cow path. They are very good. Please read and take this article to heart. It is a recipe for enjoying your bike here in Colorado and with your fellow club members. Ride on....

Group Riding Hand Signals Chart

Protecting Your Ears

Protecting your ears is as important as any other safety item on your checklist. Hearing damage is real and it is insidious. It is cummulative. It is time-weighted, as the higher the noise, the less time it takes to cause hearing damage. Once damage has occured, it is irreversible. Here is an article that gives good insight to why ear protection is so important while riding your motorcycle.

Here is some good reading . . . . Wear your earplugs!!

This article is a good read and refers to a Windjammer helmet air curtain, and other resources.

A good one page document.

Riding Two-up

Safety3When someone rides in your car as a passenger, you may have to tell them to buckle up, but not much more than that. However, when you're about to take someone for a ride on your bike, someone who's never ridden as a passenger before, they will need considerably more instruction.

Why the difference? Because the passenger becomes part of the motorcycle's geometry. We've seen too

many back-seat occupants leaning in the opposite direction as the rider through a sweeping turn. They appear to be trying to keep the motorcycle riding at a 90-degree angle to the road. We've also seen too many passengers bang their heads against the riders when the brakes are applied. And we've seen all too many passengers put their feet down when the bike stops in traffic.

 So how do you instruct a new passenger? First, tell them to keep their feet on the pegs at all times until you signal them by turning off the engine. Next, tell them that if you're going to make a left-hand sweeping turn they should look over your left shoulder; right turn, right shoulder. This will bring their weight mass in line with yours and allow you to lean the bike with considerably less resistance. As for braking, or warning the rider of bumps or potholes, we suggest a set of signals. For example, if you see you're about to hit a speed bump, tap the passenger's left knee once. You might tap their knee twice if you want to call attention to something on the road or something you'd like them to see.

 When riding in heavy traffic where breaking and accelerating occur often, it's best to have the passenger sit more upright, and if you have a "grab bar" on behind them, ask them to hold onto that. Tell your passenger to tap you on the shoulder once if they need you to stop, twice if they feel you're going too fast, three times if they wants to call your attention to something.

Riding is an adventure and is even more of an adventure when you can share it with someone else, especially when that someone else is right there behind you.

Courtesy Chicago BMW

Motorcycle Safety Resource Guide

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs placed the need for safety on a high level. For sure, the need for man’s safety and physiological well-being are essential for his existence. Yet, today, newspaper headlines splashed gory accounts of people dying or being injured in motorcycle road accidents.

There are many reasons why people use motorcycles. In 2006, the sales of motorcycles rated 1.1 million. But reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that the rate of motorcycle accident is going up in the USA today. Knowledge of the Motorcycle Safety Resource Guide may have prevented most motorcycle road mishaps.

Reasons why people ride a motorcycle – There are many reasons why motorcycles are fast becoming the favorite transport of many people.

How to Buy a Motorcycle – Buying the right kind of motorcycle will guarantee the joy and safety of riding.


Motorcycle Safety Resource Guide includes the following:


1. Awareness of the importance of proper training. Training is the best way to minimize these threats. There are many organizations throughout the U.S. offering United States Motorcycle Safety Safety4Education. These groups ranked from state agencies to non-profit orgαnisαtions to corporations. Designed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), the courses covered Basic Rider Course, an Intermediate Rider Course and an Advanced Rider Course.

Advanced Rider Training  - Eric Trow's "Stayin' Safe" on-road courses pioneered by Larry Grodsky,, aka "Mr. Safety", based on extensive data, research and field tests.

Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program – Free state MSF courses near you – earn insurance discounts.

Motor Safety Foundation – The purpose of motorcycle rider education is to insure their safety on the road.

Motor Safety Site – This site offers the best information to safeguard your motorcycle ride.  

Total Control - Lee Park's Advanced Riding Clinic for experienced riders "caught in thee middle" between Advanced MSF training and Racetrack schools.

2. Awareness of the proper equipment. You need this essential and proper equipment.

(1) Helmet: By law, you must wear a safety helmet when riding a motorcycle on the road must fit properly and adhere to the DOT standards – be full face, ¾ or ½ in design. Defective helmets, as those with no lining or defective thin straps are disallowed.

Safety5Types of Helmets – There are basic styles of motorcycle helmets. This link will give you their descriptions.

What you should know about Helmets – Wearing or not wearing a helmet might mean life or death for a motorcycle rider.

(2) Visors and goggles: You need this important eye-protection from wind, rain, insects and road dirt.

(3) Protective clothing: For motorcycle riders, clothing is made from man-made material or leather. Choose clothing that gives additional protection for the shoulders, elbows and knees. The legs of your pants should cover the top of your shoe, preferable made from denim or leather. If you wear long-shirt sleeve in lieu of a jacket, it must be made of durable materials and cover the shoulders.

Motorcycle Riding Gear – This link contains information of proper motorcycle gear and equipment.

(4) Gloves and gauntlets: These are important in a motorcycle ride. Always wear gloves as it is a protection if you fall off. Full-fingered leather gloves are good choices.

(5) Motorcycle boots Boots are perfect protection for riding a motorcycle. Sandals offer little protection. Shoes material must be made of leather covering the ankle bone. You may also wear high top athletics shoes that meet the standards.

Rock The Gear – "Road Rash Queen" Brittany Morrow becomes "Guru of Safety" ATTGATT crusader. 



3. Awareness of drivers on the road. It is an acronym of a driver’s common response which means: Sorry mate, I didn’t see you. Most road accidents&nbsp are due to the drives that are not able to see an oncoming motorcycle or insufficient time to avoid the mishap.

Most often drivers fail to see an approaching motorcyclist for the following reasons:

      (1) The tendency of drivers to watch for oncoming cars not motorcycle.

      (2)The size of a motorcycle is much smaller than that of larger vehicles. It makes estimating the distance between them difficult.

      (3)Motorcyclists performed frequent land movements due to changing road conditions

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Planner – The purpose of this planner is to provide riders all the materials and tools for safe driving.

4. Awareness of unsafe roads/weather conditions can be major causes of motorcycle accidents.
There are dangerous road conditions and road obstructions. Many mishaps occur due to potholes, fallen tree limbs, rocks & gravel, small animals, standing water or railroad tracks may be minor problems. It is wise for motorcyclist to decrease speed or change lanes to avoid these obstacles. The weather condition is a touchy factor for wet or icy roads may impair motorcyclists' braking and handling abilities. Strong gusty winds can lift a motorcycle if the rider isn't prepared for it. 

Motorcycles and Weather Condition – These are tips to help motor riders deal with weather conditions in their trip.


5. Awareness that your equipment is well-maintained so it will be given the highest pleasure from your motorcycle. A&nbspcertain amount of maintenance helps to keep it running in tip top condition and plays a big role in the longevity of your ride.

Basic tips:

       (1) Checking your fuses and bolts.
1-BMW Hi Viz License

       (2) Keeping up with oil changes on a schedule.

       (3) Cleaning or changing your air filter about once a month.

       (4) Checking your battery terminal and wires.

       (5) Making sure all of your cables are well lubricated to ensure a smoother drive.

       (6) Checking your tire pressure and add air as needed. 

You might think your motorcycle does not yet need servicing but it will save money on repairs to check if your bike is in good running condition.

T-CLOCKS - Pre-ride checklist.


6Deer, Oh Dear!   Strategy for animals is hard. Animals are unpredictable, often well camauflaged, and don't know the rules of the road.

  Safety Deer Chasing Rider pictEvery biker knows someone who has had a large herbivore crash, or has had close calls. We think this is a bigger issue than many allow for. We can't prevent or control animal interactions, and a deer impact can be fatal. Our best bet with animals is to be aware of the sorts of places and times animals are more likely to be found, to be extra vigilant for animals, to slow down and maybe cover the brakes.  A great article by David L. Hough covering all wildlife.  Bike Safer's deer strategies with links. Local Pittsburgh PA and WV deer news articles.



7. Awareness of laws affecting motorcycles which are applicable to those who are granted license to drive a motorcycle. In the United States, there are motorcycle laws but basically laws differ from state to state.

The motorcycle helmet laws require all riders to wear a helmet however only 27 states agreed to legislate this law. The rest do not have this requirement.

Current Motorcycle Laws by State – get an overview of current motorcycle laws by viewing this site.

Accident Scene Management

Accident Scene Management - "A Crash Course for the Motorcyclist, videos, schedule training sessions by medical profession riders at your location."

The Right Way to Pick Up a Motorcycle YouTube video

Safety6Safety Links