Friday, April 19, 2013

Thoughts for the riding season

Well April is here and all around me I smell waterless cleaner, wax, chrome polish, and salt air. I feel the breeze in my face, I hear the rumble of bike pipes, and I see and feel passengers pulling themselves closer to those in charge of the handlebars (my favourite part by the way), and it is the combination of all of these that leads me to belive that motorcycle season is upon us. FINALLY.
Last month I had the opportunity to spend a week in Florida with my partner and my two sons, and it was there I realized that Floridians have no idea how good they've got it.But really, who in their right mind wants to ride twelve months a year? I mean honestly, if it wasn't for the break we Northerners get from winter, would we really appreciate the joy we get from our rides? HELL YEAH we would!!!
Anyway, our riding season has begun, and sadly, today I found myself reading about yet another motorcycle tragedy on NS highways, and I have to wonder why does it seem this year there are so many motor vehicle incidents of significance for a season that is just beginning? Why in mid April have I already read about several motorcycle crashes that have resulted in Lifeflight responses and fatalities?
I started my Paramedic career in 1989 and in the years since I have been to more than a few motorcycle crashes; some worse than others, and I know there are myraid reasons why motorcycle riders find themselves the victim of a motorcycle crash, including speed, driver inattention, driver distraction, impairment from drugs or alcohol, wildlife, other road hazards, and any combination of the above.
Most motorcycle riders are like me: before the first ride of the season they go over their machines from top to bottom and front to back. The fluids get changed, tire pressures are checked, attachments get tightened, dust gets removed, and chrome gets polished. Once all is good in the world, the first ride of the season becomes a reality; slowly at first and with tentative steps towards a full riding experience. The brakes get tested at low speed; attention is paid to subtle noises and changes in sound; and the rider is like a one eyed cat in a fish store throughout the ride.
After that first ride the rider goes over the bike again to see what might have been missed, or to investigate the cause of an errant sound or vibration, or just to make certain all is good in the world. And all for one reason; to make it home safely after the next ride.
I've had several successful rides in the past week, and will do my part to make certain all of my rides this season and for every season to come end in success. The following are my guidelines for a safe season;

I will not drive without checking out my bike.
I will not drive while impaired
I will not drive distracted
I will not drive at unsafe speeds
I will not drive recklessly
I will drive defensively
I will be an advocate for safe and responsible motorcycle riding
I will not be a statistic

Do me a favour, and join me.

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