Nothing too surprising here. We've all commented on the large number of relatively unskilled middle aged people buying into the Harley, and Harley clone fad. Though I've never had any organized training, I've lived long enough to accumulate 3 grandchildren. I believe that the difference is that unlike many of those riders now having nasty accidents I started small and worked my way up the motorcycle learning curve. If any of you know someone new to motorcycling that is contemplating the purchase of more machine than they can probably handle, please strongly advise them against it. VWW
Boy, you got that right. Motorcycling is serious business, and if you aren't skilled and have your head screwed on straight before every ride, expect bad things to happen. Seen too many beginners on big machines that can't handle them worth a crap.
I've been riding since 1965. One road accident on my beautiful XS 11 touring, my stupid fault!! I had no formal training as there wasn't any then. Rode someones worked over X-6 Hustler with powerband like a lightswitch, man it was a real eye opener. Took three lanes to make a left hand turn, didn' t know countersteering then but I worked it out real fast. My first own bike was aCB450 Black Bomber and my first long ride of 4500 miles on that wonderful machine done on about $200 cash.and gas @ $.25 per gal.. First dirt bike was aDT1C learned by watching and talking with experienced riders here in Michigan [BEST TRAIL SYSTEM IN THE WORLD] . Some bruises and scrapes in trail riding, ice racing , and enduros, but I always tried to think that I had to work on Monday!! I wish there had been rider education at the start. but I did OK. Always encourage all beginning riders to take those courses from MSF. Always thought that one had to be good before you were fast, and just watch where that fast is being done.
I had the benefit of MSF training 8 years ago and know for a fact that it saved me from serious injury more than once. I don't think the course was long enough but it helped by setting out things I should practice and be watchful for. The best part was they had enough guts to actually fail people or recommend they take the course a second time before repeating the test and going out on public roads.
My first street bike was a 1987 Suzuki Intruder 750. No training whatsoever, just went down to the dealership, asked the salesman what all the levers did, and rode away. This was back in the pre-helmet law days mind you. Man, I just had NO clue!
Nowadays I tell anyone who asks me about getting a motorcycle that they need to watch "The Wild One" at least 3 or 4 times first and maybe follow up with "Easy Rider" after they've got about 6 months experience under their belts. If only someone would have taken me aside and gave me that advice when I was first starting I would have learned how to pose a LOT sooner! Thinking back on all of the hot chicks I missed out on due to lack of proper training still gives me nightmares to this day
I wonder what the stats look like for California. Out here, while car drivers still don't understand us (many would say they hate bikes), they're at least used to us.
I took MSF five years ago, but have taken a break from riding since. I plan on taking it again, not because I feel I need it, but it can't hurt. Will it be less interesting this time? Probably, but at the same time I know there will be things I've forgotten too. Besides, it reduces insurance costs.
As a Cycle Gear employee, I constantly see new riders. I am happy to report that almost all of those customers are wise enough to start on something new-rider-friendly (Hawk GT's, GS500's, etc.), and have passed (or at least scheduled) the MSF class.
If you look at the bikes these people are riding I think the reason is apparent. The bikes the baby boomers are riding for rebel mystic are the Harley's or Harley clones. What do all these bikes have in common: too heavy, handle extremely poorly, brake poorly and some have too much power (not all). Even a beginners bike can get you into trouble. However, at least they are easier to handle, lighter and brake better. As for choppers, they just shouldn't be aloud on the streets; they're too dangerous.
No formal training, but I've been on motorcycles since before I was born, rode in a sidecar when I was a baby and have been on and around motorcycles all my life.
I used to skip school and steal my dads bike when he was at work, when he got tired of that he bought me my Hodaka. We used to ride enduros and Motocross together till I went in the Nav., he continued riding and racing into his 60's till health issues sidelined him. While everyone don't have the advantages I've had if you can spend any time on the dirt it'll make a better street rider of you.
The other thing is to ride yer' bike. If you've got something to do think about whether you need your car or if you can go on your bike. The key is to spend as much time and miles on your bike in differant and varied situations. If all you do is shred canyons on the weekend, well you'll be a hell of a canyon rider.....or worse if you just plug away down to the tavern at the same slow speed on the same old roads with the same old guys you're not really learning anything.
Better to get out and explore and just ride around, you'll learn to handle your bike in differant situations and gain confidance in what you and your bike can do. Then when the inevitable situation pops up, you can just ride your way around it instead of into it and go on your merry way.
Don't mean to get long winded, but motorcycles are my life.....Triumphs I do for fun.
Been riding daily for almost two years: to and from work, multiple-day trips with luggage, touring with my girlfriend, ferry trips to other countries, etc. I ride in snow, rain, fog and below freezing temperatures, as well as in the more pleasant spring, summer and fall.
Bought my second motorcycle in April 2003. It's a Hyosung GV250 (sold as some sort of "Alpha cruiser" in the States). It has about 23 horse power. That's MORE than enough for any human need.
Never taken an MSF course. Plan to, though, if I ever move back to North America.
First step I took was to read David Hough's "Proficient Motorcycling". I re-read the book monthly. I keep it in the bathroom for easy access. I take it with me on road trips. I followed his advice. I practice emergency stops in large parking lots on weekends. I also practice figure-8 maneuvers. Practice helps a lot.
Second step was to always wear a bright orange reflective vest. I look like a dork, but that's normal for me. Frontal visibility is key, and the reflective vest has saved me on occasion; It helps to be seen. I recommend a reflective vest to everybody. I ride for convenience, economics and fun, and a reflective vest helps in all those regards.
Third was to try to always wear a bulky protective Kevlar armor jacket. Uncomfortable and hot as hell in the summer, but makes me feel safe. Otherwise, denim jacket. Never filter between mirrors without armor.
Fourth is to only rarely ride drunk, and then, only when BARELY inebriated.
Following these simple rules, I have yet to have a serious motorcycle crash.
Is this really a surprise to anyone? MSF courses should be mandatory, and I am a big fan of tiered licensing. Why on earth are people allowed to register a motorcycle without a motorcycle license?
In a perfect world, we would require a year of dirt riding before allowing anyone on the street. It doesn't help with traffic awareness and other street skills, but it does tell the rider where his limitations are, and also the limitations of the machine. It also teaches basic handling techniques like countersteering and clutch/throttle control.
To answer your question, I have taken the two courses offered in VA, basic and advanced, and I was an instructor in the Army's motorcycle training program before it was integrated with the MSF and formalized.
Does NH have a helmet law??? From the pictures in the story I say no.... Shame on you longride for not running my post about the new comphrensive European motorcycle safety study. By the way full-face helmets saves lives in that one. Yes MSF training is good and I am a graduate but its only part of the picture. Sorry GPTBs I caught you on this one...Wear a full-face helmet and take MSF training
Don't forget all the young studs buying that spiffy, new GSX-R1000, just because it's what all their friends tell them is the fastest. I just bought a brand new GSX-R600 a month ago, after riding a Bandit 600 for two years, and if it weren't for the time on the Bandit, I'm pretty sure I would have wrecked the new bike very quickly. It may have awesome handling, brakes, and power, but if you don't know how to handle the awesome handling, brakes and power, you're no better off than an old guy buying a big Harley.
As long as that "about almost a year of experience" has been riding in mommy's big, gargantuan, lumbering, 3-ton turd of an SUV, you should be fine with the GSX-R1000.
In all seriousness, the GSX-R600 is the first bike that I've ever wheelied without clutching it up. Granted, I had to let the power pull my own weight back, which in turn pulled on the bars, right where the torque curve really starts pointing up; and it was only a little one, but it still woke me up pretty well.
No, NH does not require helmets. Funny thing is that stupid mentality permeates certain riders' complete lifestyle. I'm one of those dorks that has specific helmets for street riding, dirt-biking, skiing, karate, hockey, street-hockey, bicycling, and even roller-blading.
Last year while skiing (with a friend that also happens to own 2 harleys) he took a pretty good fall and cut his head open. When I suggested that he wear a helmet he said "I don't wear one on my bike, how can I wear one skiing." I tried to confuse him with the facts, and of course none of his harley buddies ski, but the peer pressure to comply with the image of the modern rugged idividualist iron cowboy is too strong.
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