Commentary provided by Joe Dickey
Past State Coordinator, ABATE of PA
||90% of riders involved in motorcycle crashes have not taken any motorcycle safety training course.
||33% of riders killed in motorcycle crashes are not properly licensed.
||60% of fatal motorcycle crashes occur on curvy rural roads.
||Alcohol use is involved in a majority of single vehicle motorcycle crashes.
It makes no difference how long you've been riding or what you think you know about operating a motorcycle. If you haven't taken a motorcycle safety course, learned the right way to ride and the reasoning behind the skills required, the odds are against you.
Take a look at the first statistic again - only 10% of those who have had formal training are involved in a motorcycle crash.
Are you one of those people who keeps renewing your Motorcycle Learner's Permit year after year and never takes the test to get your Class M endorsement? If so, why is that? You've already passed the written test. Are you worried you can't pass the riding test? If that's it, then why would you think you can ride well enough to avoid being involved in a crash? Riding on a Learner's Permit forever makes you a safety hazard both to yourself and the people you ride with.
Why do you suppose so many crashes take place on curvy rural roads? Most of the time it's because riders cannot control their motorcycles properly. The newspapers are filled with reports of riders who have either crossed the center line and been hit by an on-coming vehicle or have run off the road for an "unexplained" reason.
RiderCoaches know what the "unexplained" reasons really are:
The operator did not know how to counter-steer.
The operator did not know proper braking when entering a turn.
The operator was traveling faster than the conditions allowed.
The operator was unaware of proper cornering techniques.
Any of these, or a combination of them, will result in leaving your side of the road. The lucky ones only end up in a cornfield with scratches, bruises and a busted motorcycle. The others end up in the hands of the coroner.
Drinking alcohol and riding a motorcycle does not mix, period! The safe operation of a motorcycle requires a lot of skill, attention and quick reflexes. Over 50% of all two-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle are the fault of the other vehicle driver. A well trained rider knows how to avoid dangerous situations and can most often get out of the way of trouble...... unless he or she has been drinking.
Impairment begins with the first drink and riding ability goes downhill from there. Drinking and riding is nothing more than a game of vehicular Russian Roulette. Want to have a couple of beers with your buddies? Stay home!
There is something to be said about age when it comes to the safe operation of a motorcycle. Youthful hormones and powerful motorcycles can be a deadly combination.
Manufacturers have made it relatively inexpensive to acquire a motorcycle capable of speeds in excess of 140 m.p.h. That, along with the racy image of today's sport bikes, have made this the largest single category of bikes sold to young riders. The speed and power of these bikes, combined with the inexperience of many young riders, puts them high on the list of motorcycles involved in fatal crashes.
Taking a motorcycle safety course should be considered imperative by anyone who owns, or is considering purchasing, any motorcycle which has been designed to emulate a racing bike. Regardless of where one might go in this country, there are no roads designed for the speeds these motorcycles are capable of achieving. And there are few untrained riders with the raw skill to pilot one safely at the speeds these machines are capable of attaining.