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Pennsylvania does motorcycle safety right

Pennsylvania offers free motorcycle rider courses.

With spring’s arrival, PennDOT reminds motorcyclists of all skill levels that Pennsylvania residents with a motorcycle license or permit can enroll in a free course to enhance their riding skills through the 2012 Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program (PAMSP).

All PAMSP courses are free to Pennsylvania residents who have a motorcycle learner’s permit or motorcycle license. All training courses are conducted on a riding range, under the management of certified rider coaches.

Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program

How to Pick up your bike

How to pick up a motorcycle from UltimateMotorCycling.com on Vimeo.

First, make sure you are out of harms way. Take a few minutes to calm down. Turn off the engine and fuel line. Then follow the simple steps in this video. Picking up a dropped motorcycle is all about working smarter, not harder as motorcycles can weigh between 500 and 800-pounds.

ATGATT – Happy New Year – Be safe out there!

Be safe riding out there this year, hope it’s happy and healthy. Stay safe on the roads! Keep your eyes peeled, the below video shows even while you might be on your game, others aren’t.

Safety Tip – Braking

Braking during a turn is a big no no. If you are leaned over in a corner the first thing that is going to happen is the bike will start to straighten up immediately. If you are past the apex of the turn then you might be able to save it if the road happens to straighten up pretty quick, but if you hit the brakes before the apex…Bad news. The ideal way to take a turn is to brake BEFORE you even get there at all, then once you are leaned over you roll on the throttle and accelerate through the turn.

Courtesy of Motorcycle Training Academy

Semper Ride

Semper Ride is a partnership of the United States Marine Corps, Strategic Action Solutions and One Eyed Bird Entertainment. The project was created in response to the increasing number of motorcycle fatalities and accidents by Marines. Drawing from experiences from their popular motorcycle-based television show, The Great Ride Open, producer/director Dirk Collins, along with producers Jim Conway and Jeff Tilton, created Semper Ride as a state of the art, high definition, big screen action that promotes a responsible riding theme. The ongoing campaign combines the film with events, a website, public service announcements and local and regional programs. Since first premiering in 2009 at MCAS Miramar, Semper Ride has been seen by thousands of Marines is proud of its role in decreasing Marine motorcycle fatalities by 44%.

This site is an excellent resource that shows Marine PPE and training requirements. It’s well thought out, and I wish every military branch had a site like this.

Here’s a Youtube link to the full Semper Ride movie, all in low-def glory. If I find it in hi-def, I’ll let you know.

Crash Testing – Dress for the Crash

This article courtesy of the Naval Safety Center Smart Ride 2011 Magazine. Please also check out their website, the Naval Safety Center.

By MSgt William Potts

We’ve all had to sit through Safety Stand Downs and many of us have been the subject of ridicule because we choose to ride motorcycles. And we’ve all heard the clichés: Dress for the crash not for the ride. There are only two kinds of motorcyclists: those that have crashed and those who are going to crash. Well there’s a certain amount of truth to the clichés and those of us that choose to ride have a responsibility to do our part to break the mold and not become statistics.

Tuesday January 5, 2010 began just like any other workday for me. I woke up and went about my morning routine to meet my number one priority, which was to be on the I-5 heading south to MCAS Miramar from MCB Camp Pendleton prior to 0545. The reason for this is simple; if you miss the “window” for being on the I-5, traffic builds exponentially and your commute time is significantly increased. However, this was to be no ordinary Tuesday morning. I was about to become the first Marine Corps motorcycle safety statistic of 2010.

My jaunt down the I-5 to the 805 East was uneventful with light to moderate traffic. I exited onto Miramar Road and the traffic was unusually light. It wasn’t until I was less than a mile from MCAS Miramar’s East gate that things got interesting.

I was the third vehicle in line in the center lane stopped at the intersection of Miramar Road and Camino Sante Fe Road waiting for the light to turn green. Once the light changed, traffic proceeded through the intersection and I decided to shift from the center lane to the left hand lane. I checked my mirrors, turned on my turn signals, and performed a head check to ensure there wasn’t a vehicle in my blind spot. The coast was clear so I proceeded to make my lane change. Shortly after I changed lanes I felt a slight pressure on the back of my left arm as if someone were grabbing me. I started to turn my head to the left when all of the sudden my handle bars jerked violently to the full locked right position. A split second later, I was flying through the air trying to figure out what went wrong.

The next thing I knew I was sliding down the road on my back, watching sparks flicker off my “baby,” (that’s what I call my bike), trying to figure out how to get out of the way of the vehicle that was bearing down on me, and thinking that when I got run over it was really going to hurt!

I got lucky. The vehicle bearing down on me, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, evaded me by driving over the left side quarter panel of the car in the center lane to his immediate right.

Once I stopped sliding, I jumped up and got off the road to assess myself. Shocked onlookers tried to get me to sit down, but my only concern was getting my baby off the road out of further harm’s way. Thankfully, the Marine that I collided with helped me get my bike to the side of the road where we waited for the police.

So what went wrong? In short, two vehicles tried to occupy the same piece of pavement at the same time, which didn’t work out so well and we collided. The driver of the Jeep’s story was similar to mine except that he was far enough behind the group of traffic I was in that he never had to stop for the red light. He saw the same open lane I did and proceeded into it just like I did. From my perspective, I think he simply didn’t see me. That is often the case in crashes that are the fault of the four-wheel operator. Of course, there is the other possibility that I failed to see him and that I rode into him causing the crash. The accident investigation ruled us both equally liable. Admittedly, I was riding with my guard down because of the light traffic and my complacency was most likely a contributing factor in this crash.

After the police released us from the scene of the accident, I rode my battered motorcycle into work, garnering strange looks from the gate guard as I entered the base. Then I informed my chain of command and went to medical to get checked out. Once I returned to work with a relatively clean bill of health, the phone calls and emails started. You see, I wasn’t supposed to have a motorcycle crash. At the time I was 39 years old with 30 years of riding under my belt. I’ve attended the MSF’s Basic Rider Course (BRC), the Experienced Rider Course (ERC), the Military Sportbike Rider Course (MSRC), The Dirt Bike Rider Course as well as the ATV Safety Course. Oh yeah, I’m a certified MSF Rider coach for the BRC, ERC and the MSRC courses. It was incomprehensible to others that someone as “qualified” as I was to ride a motorcycle could be involved in any type of motorcycle altercation. The reality of my mishap is that training and experience will not prevent all crashes but it can stack the odds in your favor.

All in all my injuries were relatively minor compared to what could have happened; I most likely would have died if I had been run over! I was fortunate. I received a small abrasion on my left forearm caused by friction between my long sleeved shirt and the liner of my leather jacket. I had a bruised left heel caused by the right rear wheel of the Jeep driving up onto my left floor board which pressed my heel into my shifter and left engine case. Lastly, I had a massive bruise on my left hip/ thigh, measuring roughly 9 inches by 5 inches, sustained when I impacted the road. My baby, a 2005 Harley Fatboy, needed all of its sheet metal minus the tank replaced, plus other odds and ins totaling a little over $5,000. My new helmet, which only had 90 miles worth of ride time, was destroyed. My leather jacket, leather boots, leather gloves and chaps took the brunt of the fall and sustained only minor abrasions. Thank goodness for great gear!

THE BOTTOM LINE is that there is a steep learning curve involved with motorcycle riding and those of us who choose to ride must take responsibility for ourselves. We can do this by getting educated through rider’s courses and taking refresher courses from time to time; you might learn something new or break a bad habit that you have developed. Ride a motorcycle the fits you as well as your skill level. Don’t let others persuade you to ride beyond your comfort zone. If you feel the desire to push the limits, take it to the track. There you’ll be able to legally push the boundaries in a closed course environment with medical personnel on sight should they be needed. Always wear your PPE: (1) DOT/ SNELL rated helmet, (2) eye encapsulating shatter resistant glasses or face shield, (3) riding jacket, (4) full-fingered riding gloves and (5) over-the-ankle riding boots. Perform a pre ride check of yourself, making sure you’re mentally prepared to ride, of your PPE, ensuring that it is serviceable, and of your motorcycle, (remember T-CLOCS). Don’t ride distracted. Never ride complacent as I did. And never ride impaired by alcohol or other mind altering drugs.

My intentions here were not to get philosophical; they were to try to convey the lessons relearned from my accident and 30+ years of experience. There are inherent risks involved in riding a motorcycle and we’re all vulnerable, although we can mitigate the risks through education and training. Wear your PPE, but don’t just wear it because you have to. Wear it because it has a purpose; it helps to lessen the severity of injuries and it has the ability to save your life. No it won’t prevent all injuries or death but it will drastically reduce the severity of most injuries. Helmets in particular are the most important piece of PPE we can wear. Treat it as if your life depends upon it because it does!

Master Sergeant Potts is currently serving as the Avionics Chief at HMLA 469, MAG 3, MCAS Camp Pendleton.

Motorcycle safety: Tips to stay safe on 2 wheels

Check the full article at Fox23

Crash factors–Speed and Inexperience…

“Veteran riders and instructors we spoke with say keeping your speed down, and taking the right training courses are the keys to staying alive. …excessive speed and inexperience are the top two most common factors that contribute to crashes.”

Drivers also need to be aware of their surroundings…

“Archambault said, “The problems that we have with people driving, and being distracted through texting, cell phones and GPS and all the other things that they do, you know they just don’t see that motorcycle.”

Having the right mental attitude…

“Mike Roth of Clifton Park said, “I ride pretty cautiously. Basically, whenever I come to an intersection, I figure somebody is going to come out. It doesn’t matter whether there’s somebody there or not, (I assume) they’re going to come out.”

When you go down, not if…

“Protective gear becomes the only line of defense. Hmiel said, “We always recommend full coverage helmets, jackets, good quality boot, gloves, pants.” Seymour says new trend in protective gear is “textiles over leather.” Hmiel said, “Textiles are lighter weight, they’re more versatile, they can be made waterproof.”

Check the full article at Fox23

SDIM1547

Full protective gear is the way to go!

Installing a Headlight Modulator for Safety

This article courtesy of the Naval Safety Center Smart Ride 2011 Magazine. Please also check out their website, the Naval Safety Center.

BY PETE HILL, CMC Safety Division Safety Engineer

Recently, I decided to add a headlight modulator to my bike. For those not aware of this technology, a headlight modulator is installed in the power supply to your headlight and makes the intensity of the light fluctuate during daylight hours.

WHY?
The reason to install a modulator is that it increases the visibility of the bike to car drivers. Having your headlights on during the day used to mean you were either a motorcycle, or in a funeral procession. Since the advent of daytime running lights on cars, the single motorcycle headlight does not stand out like it once did. The modulator is a game changer in this area. This device improves visibility any time the motorist has a frontal view of the motorcycle – for instance, the driver in oncoming traffic who is making a left hand turn, a driver pulling into traffic, or a driver moving in the same direction who may potentially change lanes into the path of a motorcycle. In the latter situation, riders should consider a lane position that maximizes the motorists’ probability of seeing the headlight in their side mirrors.

LEGAL
Modulators are a legal lighting accessory in all 50 states. While it may appear that they are alternating between high and low beam, they are actually only alternating the intensity between about half to full intensity of the high or low beam setting.

DAYTIME USE ONLY
There are different features and configurations that are offered with modulators. All modulators include a photocell that turns the modulation feature off at dusk, which is a DOT requirement. You cannot change the setting of the photocell but can influence its operation by where you place it on the motorcycle. The instructions for mine recommended placement in a position pointing downward to protect the cell from the elements. I installed it pointing downward in the cowl above the speedometer/tachometer cluster. Because it does not receive direct sunlight, it turns modulation off earlier than if it were aimed at the sky.

OTHER FEATURES
Another feature the user can control is whether the modulation operates on high beam, low beam, or both. I set mine to both, which means during daylight, the headlight modulates regardless of whether the beam is set on high or low. Some riders may prefer to limit modulation to the low beam only or high beam only. My modulator allows the rider to toggle the modulation on or off by rapidly switching between high and low beam, returning the headlight to non-modulated operation. This feature is helpful if you need to aim the headlight or measure its normal operating intensity. Another feature is an interconnection to the bike’s horn that causes a rapid modulation of the light when the horn button is pressed.

WHAT MOTORISTS SEE
The advertising and literature on modulators do not hype this aspect, but I believe one characteristic of headlight modulation that helps get the attention of motorists is that it mimics the modulation of headlights installed on many law enforcement vehicles. The fluctuating intensity gets the motorist’s attention and the first association may be that there is law enforcement following. It may prompt him or her to put down the Big Mac and hang up the phone. Regardless, anything that helps motorists see a bike is a good thing.

COST
The module I bought costs about $60. These can be obtained on the internet or from your local bike shop. Bike shops may charge $100 or more to install, depending on the size and complexity of the hookup. Soldering connections costs more in labor but is preferred over using crimp connections that come with the kit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EASY TO INSTALL
Installation is a fairly easy process for the rider, and step by step instructions are included. If you do not want a certain feature (like the horn-triggered modulation or high beam modulation) you simply do not connect those wires. Some modulators are larger than others. My unit is about the size of a matchbox with six twelve-inch wire leads. I mounted it up and under the console cover of my Pacific Coast 800. I did the installation in conjunction with replacing the windshield. Getting behind the plastic can be a challenge. Cruiser riders may want to select smaller modules if they want to install them inside the headlight housing.

Amazon link to Headlight Modulators

Loosen Up!

This article courtesy of the Naval Safety Center Smart Ride 2011 Magazine. Please also check out their website, the Naval Safety Center.

BY DON BORKOSKI

You want a smooth ride, but instead, you feel every bump, crack, pot-hole and rock! Shouldn’t the suspension absorb more of that rough ride? Your arms get tired from fighting your motorcycle, even on the smooth roads. Sound like you? Don’t worry. There is a cure for some of your riding ailment, and it doesn’t cost a thing! That’s right, the problem isn’t your bike, it’s you. You likely have something called “stiff arm syndrome.” You got it; all this time the faulty component on your machine was the “engineering nullifier hanging on to the handlebars.” YOU! So what is the treatment?

Loosen Up!

That’s all there is to it. Loosen your grip and relax your arms, especially on the bumpy roads. Yes, your natural reaction is to hold on tighter as more and more road bumps feel like they are trying to fight you. Or maybe you think something is wrong with the bike, because even when you are holding on that tight, the problem seems to get worse.

Well, it will get worse if your arms are stiff. The tighter you hold on, the more you are fighting the motorcycle from making the hundreds of minute corrections it was designed to make. Your motorcycle is an engineering marvel. At least five things affect your bike’s ability to absorb and correct for road surface irregularities. Four are engineered into the machine, and the fifth is the most unreliable, but most correctable system.

1. Front End Rake-The rake (caster) on your fork helps keep your bike riding straight. Because of this steering stabilizing rake, every time you hit bumps, even in turns, the wheel may turn slightly but will return to its center balanced position because the rake makes the wheel want to stay straight. The more rake, the more stable the bike will be. Keep in mind that more stable means more input is required to turn.

2. The suspension system-Your suspension system is made up of shocks. A shock is an input (bump or hole) dampening system made up of two major components. 1. Large weight bearing springs stretch to fill holes in the road and compress on bumps and rocks. 2. Dampeners are hydraulic cylinders that work with the springs to keep them from overshooting center. When a spring overshoots the center at decreasing amplitudes, it’s called the pogo effect. The Dampeners reduce the pogo effect by internally leaking at an adjusted rate. That dampening effect takes place in both directions of movement. When the shock is returning from being over extended, it is called compression. When the shock is returning from being compressed back to center, the state it is called rebound. On many motorcycles, especially sport bikes, there are adjustments for both. In simple terms, your shocks move up and down to compensate for the road irregularities.

3. The steering system-Steering, independent of the rake or suspension system, also corrects for irregularities in the road surface. On a large scale, you can steer away from big bumps or holes in the road. On a smaller scale, the handlebars steer a little each time you hit road irregularities. This affect is even greater the more lean angle you have on the bike. (Note: some motorcycles, primarily sport bikes, have steering dampeners. These dampeners are needed to compensate for the lack of rake on the front forks. With so little rake, the steering overcompensates and can cause wobble.)

4. Tires system-Tires are less noticeable because they are so obvious. The tire acts exactly like an independent suspension system. The rubber acts as the dampener and the air in the tires acts as the spring. Additionally, the traction the rubber provides on the surface controls the tires’ movement through steering. If you have ever ridden on a bicycle with solid tires (no air) you know exactly what we’re talking about. On a solid tire, you feel every bump and the over-responsive steering can provide for a pretty wild ride.

5. The nut behind the handlebars-The most variable component on your bike that influences the ability to correct for road surface irregularities is you, the guy or gal behind the handlebars. The engineering features included in items one through four can be overcome simply by you preventing the machine from making millions of minute corrections. You are fighting your motorcycle if you are holding on too tightly and not allowing the corrections to take place.

From now on, let the bike work for you. Remember that your job is to control the direction and speed of the bike. Let your bike do its job of making all of those road irregularity corrections. You simply need to loosen up!

Remembering A Friend – A1C Dustin Pierce

In late 2006, the Air Force lost a new member, due to a motorcycle accident. His name was Dustin, and he was my student at his career field technical school. He was only beginning his career in the Air Force, when it was cut short, way too soon.

An article about the accident
His Dad has a memorial site where you can learn more about Dustin.

IMG15776
Dustin is the 3rd from left

My bike blog has always had a focus on safety and education. I believe in ATGATT (All the gear, all the time), taking all the MSF courses you can handle, and doing all you can to remain safe.

I dedicate every mention of motorcycle safety and education to A1C Dustin Pierce, 1984-2006.

Road King vs Tractor Trailer

This article courtesy of the Naval Safety Center Smart Ride 2011 Magazine. Please also check out their website, the Naval Safety Center.

BY CHRIS FIELD, MSgt. USMC, Ret.

This is the story of how I about got taken out by a tractor trailer one morning last December on my way to work. I was on Highway 17 right in front of the back gate of Marine Corps Air Station New River.

I had just turned onto the highway, heading for Camp Lejeune at 0600, and I saw a row of reflective lights in the left turn lane. Then they disappeared as a set of headlights went across my field of vision headed into the back gate of the Air Station. Then all I saw was a white wall of tractor trailer.

I was still accelerating, but I quickly grabbed some brakes, slid on the front tire for about 20 to 30 feet, searched for an exit, then hit the brakes again as the cab of the truck had already passed through the traffic islands. The trailer must have been the longest allowed, as it was still in the median. All I could see was the bottom of the trailer (at chest level), trailer landing gear, and the spare tire cage hanging down under the trailer.

With nowhere else to go I had to lay it down. The left side of the bike and I slid on the crash bars and up under the truck. All I saw were sparks.

I hit the ground on my cell phone (which is still working fine but deeply scratched). As I slid and rolled, the right handlebar and mirror hit the bottom of the trailer and flipped the bike back over to the right side and continued to slide hitting the curb of the outbound lane of the base, and then it slid across the road into the median.

I jumped up and screamed toward the truck that amazingly, continued on toward the gate! A passer by stopped to make sure I was alright and helped me put my bike up on the kickstand. Then I took off running to the gate guards to get the MPs and stop the truck.

Lucky for me (note the sarcasm) it was 1 December and there were all new guards on the gates and no one knew what to do. As the sentry was calling the MPs, the truck was being inspected at the inspection station that is parallel to the street where the gate is. It felt like five minutes went by as I was pacing back and forth outside the guard shack (adrenaline pumping) but the sentry finally came out. I asked him if someone was coming and he said “I’m not sure.”

Just then I was looking through the guard shack and saw the truck pulling out of the parking lot. So I took off running through the ditch and wood line to the inspection lot to try to stop the truck. There were three Marines sitting there as I told them what happened and they said “We need to call someone.”

Just then an MP car pulled into the lot. I jumped in the car with him and we went out to the crash scene. As we were going out the gate he realized they had to call the county and/or state to coordinate the off base wreck.

Forty minutes later, the state trooper arrives, gets my story and then asks the MP if he had details on the truck. He had to get it from the log book at the inspection lot, but the info was bogus – a bad phone number and a license plate to the trailer, but not the cab.

At least the MP noticed that the truck driver was heading to the commissary, so he went to see if he was still there. He wasn’t, as over an hour had passed by now. He checked the log book again and found this truck driver was a regular and he was able to get the driver’s cell number and an 800 number for his company. The cell phone went straight to voice mail, but the 800 number was a good one.

They couldn’t reach him but had GPS on the truck and traced him in Warsaw, N.C. The state trooper caught up with him the next day and showed him the black mark under his trailer and said the guy about peed when he saw it. Claimed he didn’t see anything.

I ended up with two broken ribs and where my cell phone dug into my hip I had a deep bruise. On my right side I shredded my pants and ripped a hole in my leather jacket elbow and the palms of my gloves were blown out too. It was cold out that morning so I had Gortex gloves on. I have a raspberry about the size of a softball on the side of my thigh. And he didn’t see anything!?!

Nonetheless, due to my cat-like reflexes, advanced motorcycle training, AMOS (Advanced Motorcycle Operators School put on by Keith Code’s California Superbike School), and 22 years in the Marine Corps (where I learned how to fall), I walked away.

I’ve seen this stunt done on TV and in movies, and now I know it’s not that hard since I managed to do it in the dark, on my first try. I just didn’t come out the other side on my wheels.

The PPE I had on saved me from any road rash and the training and experience that I have prevented me from panicking. It could have been much worse.

Smart Ride 2011 – Safer Sport Bikes Have Arrived!

This article courtesy of the Naval Safety Center Smart Ride 2011 Magazine. Please also check out their website, the Naval Safety Center.

BY DYLAN CODE California Superbike School

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO CUT YOUR CHANCES OF CRASHING A MOTORCYCLE IN HALF?
WHO WOULDN’T?
HOW COULD THAT BE DONE?
EASY: RIDE A SAFER MOTORCYCLE!

Believe it or not, a safer motorcycle has arrived. Plus, it’s fun to ride and plenty powerful; actually, right now it’s the most powerful sport bike in the world. The bike is the BMW S1000RR. While the Navy and Marine Corps aren’t endorsing any brand, I did want to tell you about these advances, and let you know that other manufacturers are following suit. The more you learn about the safer technology, the smarter you’ll be when you’re choosing the must-have features for your next bike.

At the California Superbike School, we travel to tracks around the USA to train riders in a true racetrack environment. This year we switched from a Japanese 600cc sport bike to the new BMW 1000cc sport bike. When news of our switch to the 1000’s got out, many speculated that far more of our students would be crashing on track due to all that power.

Guess what actually happened? We compared last year’s safety statistics to the same period for this year with the new bikes and found we have less than half the crashes with the same number of riders. Why so few crashes on a more powerful bike? Simple: it’s safer. Why? Because it’s smart.

Bear with me for a quick history lesson. These major leaps in performance came from a more innocent time in the 1970’s. Back then you had street bikes and then you had race bikes. Race bikes were made in small quantities at the factory for one purpose – going fast on a closed circuit. They did not have lights, mirrors or even a speedometer – and they were expensive. In the mid-70s a small class was introduced at the national races that fielded modified street bikes. They called it “Superbike.” The Superbike class was more or less a sideshow at the national races, but it gained popularity quickly, partly because spectators liked the idea that they could buy and ride the same models they saw raced at the track. This boosted sales and soon the motorcycle manufacturers were building street bikes that resembled and performed like race bikes. They wanted their bike to win, so spectators would buy it. Soon the saying became “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.”

FAST FORWARD TO PRESENT DAY and anyone can walk into a dealer and buy, in essence, a race bike. Because they are street legal, they are called sport bikes. The competition between manufacturers to build the ultimate street legal race bike has been hot and heavy for years. The losers in this competition have been the untrained riders and others who have been treating the public roads like a racetrack.

Manufacturers have shown what remorse they can, but what are they supposed to do, make a slower bike and sell none? The solution was to make a safer motorcycle, and this has been accomplished by BMW at the beginning of 2010 when they released the S1000RR. Admittedly, with 183 horsepower at the rear wheel it doesn’t sound safe.

Actually the safe part is in its electronics.
The available electronics package on this bike is comprised of two key elements:
1) Dynamic Traction Control.
2) Race-spec Antilock Braking System.

Dynamic Traction Control set for “rain.” Photo courtesy of California Superbike School.

The Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) is basically every rider’s dream come true. There are many different aspects to DTC, but in a nutshell it keeps the rear wheel from losing traction from over-acceleration or slippery conditions. The system has front and rear wheel speed sensors. If it detects the rear wheel rotating faster than the front, the ignition system will soften the power output to restore traction. Should the slide persist it will then alter the fuel delivery to further soften power output. Information is sampled from the sensors thousands of times per second. Additionally, you can adjust from the hand controls how sensitive the traction control is. For example, there is a setting called “Rain” which will soften the power delivery if the slightest hint of a slip is detected by the sensors. I put this to the test and rode the S1000RR across a grass-covered area in first gear and suddenly twisted the throttle wide open. I was amazed to find that the rear wheel did not lose grip or spin at all. I then went to a paved area and the bike accelerated promptly, but only when it sensed there was traction available.

Another key part of the DTC is a pair of electronic gyros that monitor lean angle within two degrees of accuracy. Power delivery is coordinated with lean angle. This means the further the bike is leaned, the gentler the power output. As the bike is brought from leaned to straight up and down, power becomes more and more available. A rider grabbing a handful of throttle at a steep lean will not receive full power until the sensors find the traction available.
It also has adjustable “wheelie control” that will set the front end down if it gets too high to keep the bike from accidentally flipping over backwards.

There are five different modes of sensitivity:
“Rain” for wet or low traction conditions.
“Sport” for dry street conditions.
“Race” for racetrack with supersport-type tires.
“Slick” for racetrack with non-grooved “slick” race tires.
“DTC off” disables traction control completely.

Photo courtesy of California Superbike School.

The rider can choose the relevant setting for the current riding conditions and environment. The other key aspect to the safety package is the Race ABS. The “Race” part of the name comes from the fact that most racers do not prefer to use ABS due to the lack of feel and control during hard braking. BMW’s racing research and development created a very refined version of antilock braking that allows for excellent feel and maximum stopping power in critical conditions.

Aside from this ABS feature, the gyros on the BMW can detect a front end flip from heavy use of the front brake. Most people call this an “endo” which is short for end-over-end. If the bike detects the rear wheel coming off the ground, it will modulate brake pressure just enough to set it back down while braking is continued. What’s more is the front and rear brakes are linked: when only the front brake is applied, a small amount of rear braking is automatically applied for you. The sensitivity of the ABS is adjusted depending on which mode the traction control is set at. Additionally, if desired, the ABS can even be switched off just like the Dynamic Traction Control.

Advances in braking systems can help avoid “endos.” Photo courtesy of California Superbike School.

What does this all add up to? As I stated earlier, it adds up to a safer motorcycle. Decades ago, aviation experts employed electronic systems to override pilot inputs that are detected as unsafe. This type of technology being integrated into motorcycles has been long overdue, but now that it is here, it’s already saving riders. Regular ABS is not new to street bikes, but Dynamic Traction Control that coordinates braking, power delivery, roll and pitch all in one package – that’s the best risk management news for motorcyclists in a long time.

What about limits and confidence? Many people have voiced concern that riders would become lazy and rely on the electronics to save them and get soft with their skills. I feel that to be the opposite and I’ll tell you why. So many riders wonder where the limits of traction are. How much can you lean it? How hard can you brake? How much throttle can the bike handle? This bike tells you. When the traction control has to intervene, it notifies the rider by means of a white LED on the dash. That’s the bike telling you: “Hey buddy, that was too much throttle – I had to step in and save you.” Right there the rider feels the limit without overstepping it. The same is true with the Race ABS. When it intervenes, you feel a very light pulse in the lever. Again, in this instance the rider feels when maximum braking is taking place. These are excellent learning tools.

Of course the bike is not crash proof. Too much lean or too fast for a corner and the tires simply can’t cope. Nothing will ever take the place of solid training, sharp skills, and smart riders. But technological advances like these are good tools. We’ve now had dozens of days at the track where not one rider went down on this bike, even when the riders were challenging the limits. That’s good news for everyone – except those who make a living repairing crashed bikes, selling replacement parts and trying to put the riders back together. This is a giant leap forward in motorcycle technology and already other manufacturers are following suit.

Mick Doohan – No Place to Race

Public Safety Ad to encourage motorcyclists to think about the obstacles they face on the road. Very effective!

ATGATT – All the gear, all the time. This PSA shows the dangers of wearing everyday clothes while riding. With Mick Doohan
Mick wants to help motorcycle riders be the best they can be and believes riders education and training are the keys to avoiding crashes.
Mick’s site

Top 10 Tips for Street Riders by Can Akkaya

Tips for riders from Motorcycle Insights

1. Focus- I see many people riding on the street without being fully focused. They ride through a canyon the same way, as they do their city ride from traffic light to traffic light. Change that! Especially on long rides make sure to stop every hour for at least 10 minutes, as it helps you refresh and maintain your focus.

and 9 other great tips! Check em out!

Can Akkaya is a German former professional motorcycle racer. Throughout his racing career he raced the German IDM, the Spanish and the Dutch Open and the European Championship; winning his last international race in 1995, retiring from professional racing shortly after. In 2004 he wrote his life story and was offered a publishing contract by Mohland Verlaign Germany. His book Racers-Story is a top 10 best seller. He became and is a world class motorcycle instructor, having trained thousands of riders from around the globe.

Can’s Coaching Site

Advanced Motorcycle Safety Training – Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii

Advanced Training provided at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.