Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A chance to help out

I am a long time AMA member. Just to make sure we're on the same page, that's the American Motorcyclist Association. This organization is providing an opportunity for riders to further the cause of motorcycle safety training. Each individual contribution is relatively small. Collectively, though, we can make a huge difference in keeping riders alive and well on the streets.

The last major study of motorcycle crashes was released in 1981. It was called the "Motorcycle Accidents: Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures" study. Otherwise known as the Hurt Report. Not because people got hurt, ( although they did ) but after the lead researcher, Dr. Harry Hurt.

From this study we learned that motorcyclists are more vulnerable, less visible, and that making good decisions is critical for a rider. We saw how vital it was to be able to provide rider education. Most of what is being taught even today is based upon the results of that study. Mental strategies to deal with "blind" motorists and other hazards were developed and taught. The study exposed what physical skills were lacking in accident involved riders. These skills are now being taught as "accident avoidance skills". Most riders take up learning these when they're avoiding an accident. That's a bummer of a time to start. Rider education gives us a chance to be prepared ahead of time.

It's all good but we live in a world that's vastly different today. Things exist now that didn't back then. Some examples are the myriad of drivers distracted by cell phones, SUV's, anti-lock and linked brakes, sport bikes that are ungodly fast, the proliferation of scooters, and the sheer volume of traffic, to name but a few. It's time for a new study.

The good news is that the federal government has funded just such a project. The AMA was heavily involved in this effort. A transportation bill was passed in 2005 that allocated almost $3 million dollars to a new study. Sounds great, right? Ah, but there's a condition attached to the money. Motorcyclists are required to match the funds before the government releases theirs.

The motorcycle industry is putting up a significant chunk of it. The AMA is also committed to funding a large share. Even with that, there's a need for additional funds. That's where the individual riders come in. This study will benefit us as well as future riders. If the collective motorcycle world doesn't come up with the funds to match, who knows how long it will be before the government decides to offer it again. As you can imagine, as a motorcycle training professional, this kind of study is dear to my heart. It's something that we sorely need.

The AMA is asking individual motorcyclists ( that would be us ) to get involved. It's an effort called "Fueling the Fund. They are asking that riders contribute what they can. A suggested amount is the price of a single fillup ( hence the "fueling" part of the name ). The AMA has made it easy to participate. Clicking on this link will take you to a secure website where riders can donate online.

http://www.amadirectlink.com/study/

Those who prefer the postal system can send a donation to:

Fueling the Fund
c/o AMA
13515 Yarmouth Drive
Pickerington, OH 43147

If you feel so moved, your help will keep us moving in the right direction. Please mention it to those you know that ride. This is an excellent cause.
Miles and smiles,
Dan


4 comments:

Eric Link said...

Cool I just donated '1 fillup' - not too painful to do and this is a great thing to get done.

Dan said...

We are certainly overdue for another "Hurt" study.

http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycle-training/msf/experienced-rider-course/

There's a lot of reading/comments on this site, but being an instructor yourself I thought I'd share the link to the review above.

--Dan

Dick Aal said...

Good Idea, member of AMA also. I just finished a 6000+ mile trip through Western Canada and U.S. One of the best safety items I took was modulators for the headlight and tail light on my Roadking. It REALLY made a difference on left turn Larry and those coming out from the side in front of me. People NOTICED me and would stop even when they could have advanced with little danger to me. I am really sold on these items. A recent quote in "Friction Zone" magazine said that almost 50% of accidents since the early 70's were caused by "Left Turn Larry". Or someone who turns left in front of you with little option for the rider.

irondad said...

Eric,
Thank you for the support!

Dan,
I've read the review. In Oregon we don't teach the MSF curriculum. We felt that the riders of Oregon would not be well served by doing so. As a result, we developed our own training. Experienced riders have a couple of options to be more challenged.

Check out the link on my site to TEAM Oregon and look at the RSP and ART classes. Our programs were recently rated number one in the nation by the NTSHA.

The MSF is not happy with us and has filed a lawsuit trying to stop us from using our own programs.

You can look at Wendy Moon's blog for information. Just remember that a lot of it is her intrepretation. Here is the link:

http://moonrider.journalspace.com

Dick,
We still see that in 75% of the accidents where a vehicle impacts a motorcycle, the other vehicle came from between 10 and 2 o'clock to the rider.

It shows that riders need to have great scanning skills and not make assumptions.


Modulators do seem to work well but I always worry that they cause target fixation!