Motorcycle diaries – Part II

Friday (cont.)

The evening passed quickly as we worked our way through the Rider Handbook developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). The curriculum was well written and the DVDs were well done to reiterate and compliment the lecture.

A few of the more interesting facts that I learned include:

• A person who has several close calls or near misses when driving a car may be prone to similar behavior when operating a motorcycle. (If you’ve ever seen me drive my Torrent or any other four-wheeled vehicle, you understand why this is so fascinating to me. My life somewhat flashed before my eyes!).
• To SEE is to Search for factors that might lead to risky situations; to Evaluate how the factors might interact to create risk, and to Execute an action to maintain a margin of safety.
• Head injuries account for the majority of motorcycle fatalities; helmets reduce the risk of brain injury by 67%.
• A procedure called FINE-C is used to start the engine. It stands for Fuel, Ignition, Neutral, Engine cut-off switch and Choke/Clutch. (Why didn’t anyone teach me this in high school? This would have made learning to drive a clutch so much easier!)
• Crash studies show that running off the road, usually on a curve, accounts for more than 50% of total motorcycle fatalities.
• Never kick at a dog when you’re on a motorcycle. Instead, upset the animal’s timing. Once an approaching dog is spotted, slow down and downshift. Then accelerate past the point of interception.
• Almost 50% of all riders killed have been drinking. The primary effects of alcohol are to diminish visual capabilities and alter good judgment.