Welcome to the Webpage of Mike
Stock Safety & Education Director. This site is
provided for access to public information in an effort to better serve
the Members of ABATE of Ohio, Inc., Residents of Ohio, and the
motorcycling community in general. Phone 419-654-5446 or E-mail
Safety & Education Report
I was at Ohio Bike Week this week working at the ABATE trailer and selling Raffle Bike tickets, so I had a very good picture of what was going on. I saw riders with every type of riding gear on that I think was ever made. And as I have always said, if you feel comfortable and safe that is what you should wear and use. I also saw every
size of person on every size of machine, small bikes, large V8 bikes, small V Twin trikes to Large V8 trikes, and I would say
95% of them were in control. If you feel you donít have control 100% of the time, donít ride in big crowds. And when
youíre picking out that ride, get it to fit you. With that all being said; I saw 4 big bikes go down on close right hand turns
and so many close calls I lost count. Overall, I had a great time at Ohio Bike Week. You can be entertained by a different
band and all types of music every 6 hours for the whole 10 days! There were lots of vendors and every type of food you
can think of. Attending OBW is supporting all types of businesses and motorcycle support groups. As motorcyclists, we
need to support our core groups and events.
Talking with a lot of different bikers at OBW, I found that many have never heard of ABATE, MRF or even
AMA. This is not good. Maybe they donít know that E15 ethanol gas can damage your bike, that states are holding motorcycle
only check points or that graduated licensing for motorcycles could become a reality. Also, they may not know
that lawmakers and insurance companies are trying to restrict what types of motorcycles can be licensed and insured. If
nothing else, they can make it very expensive if no one challenges them. Thatís where ABATE, MRF and AMA come in.
We are the bikers who fight for your rights and our freedom on the local, state and federal level. You donít have to go to
meetings, but you do need to join to stay informed and be ready to make your voice heard if the do-gooders start winning.
With this riding season well under way, we need to keep up Motorcycle Awareness. If you donít have a Look
Twice Save A Life sign in your yard, please get one. It is $10 that keeps going back into Motorcycle Safety and Education.
Also, I can send you Look Out For Motorcycle magnets if you would like some. Remember our goal is to keep better informed
and we can only do that with membership. Everyone, try to get to an ABATE run, swap meet or party and have a
We will start with the facts. So far in 2016 we have had 417 crashes, which is 3.4 crashes every day of this riding season, and 11 fatalities. In comparison 2015 had 335 crashes, which is 2.7 crashes every day of that riding season, with 8 fatalities. What can we do? I have looked at all the fatalities trying to find ways to eliminate them. After going to fatal review meetings and reviewing crashes with authorities, we find we need to educate Motorists and Motorcyclists to not be distracted while driving or riding.
Letís talk about distracted driving. It is any activity that you do that takes your attention from the task of operating your vehicle. The cell phone is the most common and to me, this even means hands free, because you still donít have your mind on what you are doing. To my brothers who are using cell phones on their bikes now, ďstop itĒ. Also adjusting your navigation system is a big distraction. Pull to the side of the road and fix it. The list goes on - reading, grooming, eating and drinking, watching or adjusting any electronical device and talking or having a heated conversation with passengers. Please show by example and donít ride or drive distracted.
The riding season is now well underway with many of our charity groups and riding groups putting on rides that they want everyone to stay together and in a parade. This is the favorite way to move from one point to another, but not always the safest and legal way to get to that point. First, in most areas you may need a parade permit and an escort. Some groups feel they can use road guards to block traffic to get through an intersection, but this is not legal in the state of Ohio. It also gets us a bad rap from motorists who have to wait. Yes, ABATE of Ohio, Inc. has been working with legislators on a road guard bill to make it legal to road guard in Ohio. Until this gets passed we should try do our rides legal and get a parade permit and escorts or use a route sheet and send everyone to the next check point on their own, obeying all laws. I know this will get a lot of comments so if you want change, join ABATE of Ohio Inc. and you can help get that law passed.
Motorcycle Ohio is training motorcyclists all over the state, and they will be for the whole riding season. If you have never taken a class, try to work one in this summer. You will learn something that could save your life. To the rider that rides every summer on a temporary permit and never gets the time to take the three day course, they now have a one day class that you can get your endorsement in one day. If you ride on a temporary permit you have restrictions, and if you get caught not following the rules, your bike can get towed and you will be walking.
In my travels around I have seen a lot of Look Twice and Save a Life signs and would like to see more. We have good supply of the yard stompers and have just ordered banner size 3X5 signs. The yard stomper is $10.00 and the banner size is now $35.00. Both of these signs are on corrugated board. This is a proven way to educate motorists that they need to watch out for motorcycles.
As many of you know I love riding Ohio roads and have some favorites. If you like the Dragons Tail you would like Ohio route 555 ďThe Triple NickleĒ. Another favorite of mine is Route 9 from the Ohio River north. It ends up being very interesting. Up in the Toledo area where itís mostly flat we have Route 424 along the Maumee River that has a lot curves and things to do along the way.
I hope everyone has a great riding season and that can only happen if we ride alert and defensively. We need to keep our motorcycles in good condition. Do your safety check before every ride. And donít forget them tires. Check the tread in more than one spot on the tire, and proper air pressure is very important.
As we all know the Motorcycle Awareness Rally 2016 was wet and cold. Because of the brave souls that made the run, we made everyone aware that we are BACK. A big thanks to the BIBís Memorial for their donation, AD Farrow for coffee and donuts, to Jim for getting the products trailer there, for everyone that set up the sign-in area and did the sign-ins, the Columbus Motor Police and the Delaware Sheriffís department, our key note speaker Councilman Stinziano for braving the weather, Region 9 for a great After Rally Party and for all the hard core bikers for coming out in that weather.
It is snowing out and Iím writing my May article. That would not mean much to most people but this is Motorcycle Awareness month and we need the sun and warm weather. Iím writing in the future and I will say ďthe Awareness Ride and After Rally Party was held on a sunny and warm day.Ē HOPE I WAS RIGHT!
With that being said letís get down to business. In 2015 on this date we had 147 crashes and 4 fatalities and now in 2016 we have had 166 crashes and 6 fatalities. We have had a very mild winter and itís looking like spring is going to be the same. We need to keep up the hard work telling all our brothers and sisters to ride safe. Now is the time to get that Look Twice Save a Life sign out & get it back in the front yard. If you donít have one, call the state office 800-25 BIKER and have one shipped to you.
I would like to thank everyone that came out to the Seminar. The speakers all did a great job and we all got some good information. I would like to thank Chuck Stiteler, Motorcycle Ohio State Program Coordinatorand Sherry Hill, Region 8 Safety and Education Coordinator and a Motorcycle Ohio Instructor for bringing us up to date on the MO program and what it takes to become an Instructor. Thank You
Every year we get our bikes out and somewhere along the way I say ďhave you checked your tires?Ē Iím a little late this year but I want you to take a look at it one more time and check that tire pressure. Also do a good check over for any oil leaks, fuel leaks or smell. Make sure all the lights work, check for soft brake pedal or lever and make sure everything is tight. Look at the bolts and see if there are any shinny spots (meaning it is loose) and then take it for a slow ride and listen for noises. Now you are ready to do a rider tune up. Go to an empty parking lot and do some figure eights, some hard stops, left and right slow turns and slow ride (get ready for the bike games). And last of all check your riding gear to make sure your stuff still fits (not saying) and itís in good condition.
Now letís hit the road. Something that has been going around is that the international sign of a biker in distress is a helmet behind a bike on the ground. Every bike sitting along the side of the road should be checked on. At least slow down and gets a thumbs up, and if no thumbs up, stop and check on them. There is never a good reason to stop on the side of the road. You should get to a safe place to stop and take a break; gas station, ice cream stand or rest area. If you are riding in a group and a bike breaks down, only one or two bikes should stop. The rest should move on to a safe place.
We always put out information on how we need to stay safe. We put out magnets saying ď look out for motorcyclesĒ and signs along the road that sayďLook Twice Save a LifeĒ, but something else that would help to is if we could get all drivers to turn on their lights when itís raining out and move over when an emergency vehicle is along the side of the road. If we tell our friend and they tell their friend, the word would get out and all would be safer.
The next big event in for me is June Jam 2016. It is coming together and all we need now is you to come to Logan Ohio and have a great time. Keep checking the web for up to date information and we will see you there. I know we could use some more vendors so if you are out and about, tell them to call.
Iím still working on that question that so far has NO answer; how we can stop distracted driving. If you have an idea let me know. We will keep looking and we will keep telling everyone that the life you save may be one of us. ďDonít text and driveĒ
When you get this article it will be just four weeks till the Motorcycle Awareness Rally and After Rally Party. Before that, we have some hard facts to look at. This year has not gotten off to very good start. To start, on the first day of this year we a fatality and there is now one more making 2 fatalities and 61 crashes for 2016, compared to 0 fatalities and 27 crashes for 2015. Yes, the weather has been better than last year but that is no excuse. We need to start out slow and get back in riding shape and have fun.
Now back to Motorcycle Awareness month, the Motorcycle Awareness Rally and After Rally Party. This year the Rally will be on Saturday, April 30th, one day before Motorcycle Awareness Month begins. Weíll kick it off in great style by shutting down I-71 from Sunbury to downtown Columbus, going to the Statehouse to read proclamations and to get inspired by guest speakers, and let everyone know that we are back out on the Ohio Roads again. (see flier on this page)
ABATE of Ohio Inc. has been informing Motorcyclists and Motorists for years that we need to ďEducate, not LegislateĒ. By educating motorists through ďLook Twice Save a LifeĒ signs, billboards , truck signs and bumper stickers, we have made a difference. And with Motorcycle Ohio www.motorcycle.ohio.gov/ training motorcyclists to properly ride motorcycles, we are making a difference. In the past five years we have decreased the number of fatalities. A few facts: Motorcycle riders at fault 53%. At fault crashes caused by UNENDORSED rider 45.8%. Crashes involving UNENDORSED riders 42.1%. Motorcycle Ohio trained in crashes 20.2% and Motorcycle Ohio trained at fault crashes 10.2%. We need to get these unendorsed riders trained they will become safer riders. These riders are our friends so help them get signed up today.
We are still gathering Motorcycle Awareness Month Proclamations to read on the State House Steps. If you can stop at your Mayors office, Town ship Commissioners office, and even your State Legislators office and ask them to give you a Proclamation. I have samples of letters of introduction and proclamations. Give me a call and I will mail or email to you.
Here I am sitting in some of the nicest weather that a man could want - for winter anyway. But you know Old Man Winter just keeps us on the edge. They say snow and then dump brine on the roads. Well, no snow comes but there is tons of brine on the road and no rain to clean things up. Oh well, Iím not going to complain too much. How about the stats for the first month of this year? We still only have that one fatality from the first day of the New Year. It was alcohol related and the guy just drove off the road. But sadly, we have had 6 accidents so far. Last year at this time there were 20 accidents and NO fatalities. So letís ride responsibly, be responsible and take responsibility. Remember those 3 Rís!
Weíre getting ready for this new riding year and if you have the time, sign up for a riders course with Motorcycle Ohio at www.motorcycle.ohio.gov. They have a 16 hour beginners course consisting of classroom and on the range riding. There is BRC2, a one day course to get your endorsement. Also, check on the two-up course for those of us that love our girls close to us. Many years ago I got my dad to go with me and take the beginners course. That was also my first time taking the course but not the last. He even took it again with his old friends. I have to say I felt sorry for the instructors that weekend. As many of your own dadís would say, ďYou canít teach me anythingĒ, but he was quick to take his words back. It kept him on the road until he passed so it was well worth it. Help a friend get a good start and make sure everyone gets endorsed.
In case you all donít remember, this is the time of the year that we all go out and get our local Mayor, Township Trustees and Commissionerís to write up a proclamation for Motorcycle Awareness Month. Most of the State offices have Proclamations in their computers so itís easy for them to fill them out. We also have samples for you. You can contact me for paper samples and the state office has a CD that has all the info on it. Ruby Worchuck did a good job making the CD for anyone to use. During the Awareness Ride we will take all of the Proclamations to the State House and read them on the steps. If you have never gone on the Awareness Ride it is very rewarding. I went with my Dad and I took Harley when he was still riding behind me. When we show the citizens that we are out riding again, it means a lot. Please support May as Motorcycle Awareness Month 2016. The date of the ride this year is April 30th and will start at AD Farrows, North Sunbury (flyer in this magazine).
The 2016 State Seminar at Mohican State Park will be fun and informational. (see flyer) There is a lot of give and take during the talks and everyoneís ideas are discussed. We have lots of info on Safety and Education, Insurance, Legislative Issues and Politics. With the recent issues in Denver, we will have plenty to talk about. We will also be talking about where we want to direct our efforts. Distracted driving is still our top issue. Maybe we can find time to squeeze in talking about autonomous cars and robot systems on the roads and smart technology. Something for everyone. Hope to see you there.
This is the first time that I did not get one single answer to last monthís question. Iím asking for the slogan that we can put on the back of cars that will make people put the phone down! Iím going to give you one more chance to be heard. If you want, send it to me on Facebook.
Ride within your limits
State Safety & Education Director
Safety & Education Report
Where to start when itís February and we are having 45 and 50 degree days and no snow on the ground? What is a
biker to do? We could ride but they keep coming along with brine and theyíre putting it down thick. I could peel it off the back of my car so I know what it would do to my bike - pits and rust. And the future of the weather? I just donít know if it will it be bad late into the spring or if weíll have nice weather early so we can get out and ride. My crystal ball is not working today.
In 2015 we rode right up to the end. I made my last ride of the year the 19th of December. Even though we had a
slow start to the riding season with all the rain in the spring, we ended the year with a lot of fatalities. So far in 2015 we
have 3725 crashes and 153 fatalities. In 2014 we finished with 3655 crashes and 140 fatalities. Not good, but when you look
at the increase in registrations the percentages are about the same. There was one motorcycle fatality on New Yearís Day in
the Columbus area and alcohol was a factor. We are already counting for 2016. Please be safe and ride smart.
Chuck Stiteler is the director of Motorcycle Ohio and he has provided me the following for publication:
Ohio had another good year for training over 13,000 motorcyclists, mostly new riders. Thanks for your
support. We hear many riders say to other riders that they should take the classÖactually been told
by other riders to do it! We have seen an up-tick in the BRC-2 class. This one day class has a lot of appeal.
You can take it yourself and sharpen your riding skills, or take it two-up with your favorite passenger.
It is a great way to practice together in a controlled environment and ďget tunedĒ to each
other on the bike. One of the best kept secrets about this class is you can get your endorsement. If
you or someone you know has been on a temporary permit, send them our way. Better yet, come with them!
Thanks Chuck. We will continue to support the MO Program.
It is a good example of the way we want our tax dollars put to
I have been getting a lot of replies back on center
line rumble strips. Most have been in favor of them, with the
suggestion that they are used on straight roads in areas that
people may drift over but not on curves. It will be interesting
to see what the state does with them. Thanks for the feedback.
Last month my question was about the most beneficial
way to promote motorcycle safety and awareness. It must
be a hard question because I have not had very much response.
The ABATE Foundation Board will be working on
sights to place signs and promotions, so give us some ideas.
The question of the month is: What slogan do you
think we can use on car magnets to get people to STOP DRIVING
DISTRACTED? Maybe thatís it? Some other ideas I have
BUCKLE UP, HANG UP, HEADS UP
IíM A BIKER, NOT YOUR NEXT ROADKILL. GET OFF THE PHONE & OPEN YOUR EYES
Ride within your limits
State Safety & Education Director
Safety & Education Report
You will be reading this the first of 2016 and the annual stats are not good. Weíve had a rough year so far; 2015 has 3596 crashes and 150 fatalities compared to 2014 with 3615 crashes and 138 fatalities. It will be March before I will be able to sum up 2015 showing age groups, single vehicle accidents and impaired causes. The timing depends on how fast the reports get finalized. As I sit here writing this the weather men are telling me that December is going to get warm again, so weíre probably not done. Yes, I would love to get out and make one or two more runs but Iím probably done for the year. I hope everyone who is out there rides safe and we can hope for an early spring.
In the first part of December the U.S. senate approved the Federal Highway Bill and it looks like the President will sign it. This will be the first highway bill spanning longer than two years since 2005.
Re-establishing the Motorcycle Advisory Council
Continuation of the funding of Motorcycle safety grants
Funding distracted driving grant program
Share-The-Road Model Language, on the importance of sharing the road safely with motorcycles
Stop Motorcycle Check Points
Limitation and owner definition on data retrieval from vehicle event data recorders
This will be in place for five years and it gives us new programs that we can utilize. Many of the regulations and programs apply to all vehicles and do not single out motorcycles. This is a very good advancement of what we work for.
As we all hope for warm weather in January, if you ride please remember that salt and brine stays on the roads after the snow leaves. I like to wait for a good rain and then I will suit up and go for that winter ride. If you just canít wait for the roads to get clean, wash your bike well when you get back. That stuff will just eat at your bike parts. It is nice to say I rode every month this year. We do like a challenge.
How many of you have found the center line rumble strips? The state has started doing some test strips around the state. The one that I found is on Route 68 just north of Kenton. If you get a chance to check them out let me know how your bike handles on them. I will make sure your comments get to the ODOT.
This is the start of a new year and I would like to see all of us have a safe ride. So my question of the month is; What is the most beneficial way to promote motorcycle safety? The use of billboards, bumper stickers or magnets, radio, TV commercials, newspapers or magazines, events? Let me know firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-654-5446
The Sate Seminar is coming up in March on the 19th It is a great place to learn how ABATE works and how we can make a difference. Any questions contact the state office or me. It is a fun way to meet Bikers from around the state that have the same goals as yourself.
I would love to be able to start out on a good note, but facts are facts. We have more fatalities than last year. The added registrations for this year would be some of it but not that great of a change. Letís look at the facts for 2014
crashes 3529 and fatalities 125. For 2015 - crashes 3212 and fatalities 140.
How it shakes out:
All Crashes Unendorsed Riders 41.9%
Riders at-fault Crashes Unendorsed Riders 46.3%
Motorcycle Ohio Trained crashes 20.2%
Out of all fatalities this year 9 are passengers. We need to take care of our passengers. Take the two-up course at Motorcycle Ohio.
To me, these figures show there are an awful lot of unendorsed riders out there who donít have the training they need. Letís get all our friends endorsed and the number of crashes will be cut by as much as 50%. If you have not taken a riders course in the last 3 years, take some type of advanced riderís course. Motorcycle Ohio has a one day courses. In your everyday riding remember that it is dangerous out there and we need to stay alert at all times, and always Ride SMART (Sober, Motorcycle Endorsed, Alert, Right Gear and Trained). This will keep us safe.
I was having a conversation with a younger rider and he said that he figured that his age group, 20 Ė 30, was probably high in crashes and fatalities. I told him they have just as many crashes and injuries but a lot less fatalities. The age group 45 to 60 has the highest percentages of crashes, injuries and fatalities. Us old guys just donít make it through a crash as well the young ones. Plus we think we know it all because we have been riding for so many years. Maybe we all need to ride smart and be responsible to avoid the crashes.
I was on Facebook, yes, I heard it on the internet, that Hawaii has a legislator that want to ban motorcycles because of the noise. I contacted AMA and it is true. It has been in the works for about five months. There is a petition circulating and it has signatures and gaining followers. And as always the feds are looking at that pesky helmet law saying that it will save lives. If they can get sponsors for it, it will take off. These types of laws take so much energy to stop them. Now you say, why I am bringing this up? Because we need support! We need motorcyclists to be aware of what is going on. These days motorcyclists seem to support everything but motorcycles. We have 667,190 endorsements in Ohio as of this month and we do not have 5% that are members of our state rights organization or the AMA. Everyone needs to get involved if we want to keep riding our Motorcycles. Go to ABATE of Ohio and you can join and help fight for our rights and our freedom.
I think itís time for the question of the month. How can an organization like ABATE of Ohio put an application in the hands of a new rider and get him or her to join to protect his rights to ride that Motorcycle? Mikestock419@gmail.com or 419-654-5446
I would like to wish everyone out there in Motorcycle land a Great Big Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thank you all.
Every month I start by going over fatalities but this month, we are going to go a little deeper into the facts. In 2014 there were 128 fatalities by this time of the year. Out of the past 10 years, 2014 had the 2nd lowest number of fatalities. 2015 has had 132 fatalities and that is making this year 3rd lowest. 2013 was the best in the last 10 years with 115 fatalities. This means we are below fatalities of 10 years ago. Also, every year we keep adding to the number of bikes on the road, and now we are at 414,600 registered motorcycles.
A little history on the 132 fatalities so far this year. Out of all the fatalities, only 12 were Motorcycle Ohio trained. 6 of the MO trained were at fault with 5 crashes in a curve and/or departed roadway (one from a blown tire) and 1 struck a vehicle. Of these, 2 wore helmets and 2 involved alcohol. The other MO trained not-at-fault, 1 struck by a horse and buggy, 1 struck left of center, 1 rear ended and 2 right of way violations at an intersection. Stats for all of the fatalities show that 59% are the fault of the motorcyclist. There are also 7 passenger fatalities this year. As these numbers show, any training (like the MO program) absolutely makes a difference.
These numbers will become more positive because we have laid some great ground work with our Motorcycle Awareness programs, such as Look Twice Save a Life signs, Look Out for Motorcycle magnets and signs, Billboards and electronic signs. ABATE of Ohio has also been going into Drivers Ed schools and talking to future drivers about motorcycle awareness. Either by being active or just a member, every motorcyclist needs to become involved and join a motorcycle rights organization; ABATE of Ohio, Inc. or American Motorcycle Association. I donít know any of my friends that are Hot Rod enthusiasts and donít belong to the NHRA and read that magazine every month. Unfortunately, I know many fellow bikers that donít know what is going on because they donít care enough.
In the up and coming months I will be talking about how age, gender, 3 wheelers and some changes in our road surfaces come into play in accidents. At the end of this article is my question of the month. I would like to get many responses so I can make a good recommendation to ODOT about motorcyclistís opinions.
In March of 2016 ABATE will be hosting a state wide seminar that will cover Legislative issues, Education, Awareness and Safety. Stay tuned and we will be talking more on the time and place.
How can we not talk about Distracted Driving, Riding and Walking? We have to, so what are we going to do about it? I know law enforcement is taking it very seriously and are going to issue citations for lane violations, reckless operation and anything that does not involve getting a warrant to look at your phone. When it comes to our motorcycles, we are getting way too many toys to take our attention from the road and other motorists. Letís get back to enjoying the ride. Sometime when you are at your favorite restaurant, sit in the front window and watch the show - people walking and texting, it is funny.
Fall riding it is such a pretty time of the year but can be very dangerous time of the year. Watch for wet leaves on the road (it is illegal to blow leaves and grass onto the roadway), farmers bringing mud and stuff out on the roadway and deer that are on the move more now than ever. Get your good riding skills out and pay attention. Scan ahead and slow down in deer country. When you put on extra clothing make sure you can still move and see.
Now for my question of the month: Do you think that center line rumble strips would help save lives? If you have any ideas on this, put rumble strip in the subject line and email me. We have a lot of center line violations, and we need to consider if the rumble strips would cause a danger to motorcycles.
Letís get out and enjoy the last good riding days of the season and be safe. Please vote. It is your right and you can make a difference.
I always start my article with the latest stats from the Ohio Dept of Public Safety to inform you of how our efforts in safety and education are working. Some of it is not in our control, like the weather, but I really believe that our efforts at Motorcycle Awareness are making a positive difference. Motorcycle accidents are down a good deal from last year - 2,620 in 2015 vs 3,003 in 2014. Fatalities are almost even Ė 115 in 2015 vs 112 in 2014. Motorcycle drivers are at fault 55.4% of the time. Friends, we need to get people trained to ride motorcycles safely, those who are new riders and those who havenít been on a motorcycle in years. Those of us who have been riding for years need to pay attention because the risks out there are sometimes new ones and sometimes the same old things we take for granted. October is the last month of the year for the Motorcycle Ohio program, and they usually have openings. Spread the word that it is a good time to get your endorsement or take a refresher course. You just might learn something cool.
Just a short time ago they were few & far between, but now we are being overtaken by ROUNDABOUTS. They are springing up everywhere. With them being so new, many drivers are confused about how to yield and enter. The confusion increases the dangers for motorcyclists. I was on a group ride in Hocking Hills over Labor Day. We had 8 bikes in our group and came upon 2 roundabouts in a row with heavy traffic. We got through safely but boy was it stressful. Make sure each person in your group has a general idea of the route because itís almost impossible to stay all together. Judge the speed of the other vehicles so you can merge into the roundabout without coming to a stop if possible. It is safer if you can navigate it without stopping but traffic may force you to stop. Keep your eyes open, check your blind spots and donít take unnecessary chances. You will be through it in seconds, it doesnít even take minutes.
As summer comes to a close, be extra careful in construction areas. Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you. It seems that everyone is sick of all the construction and very impatient. The DOT has signs posted on some routes that show the number of year to date fatalities on Ohio roads. The numbers are increasing too quickly. Take our slogan and change it to ďLook Twice and Save Your Own LifeĒ when it comes to passing, intersections with tall corn and areas where there can be hidden driveways.
Iím hoping that we have a mild fall so we can keep riding right up to the first snow. Remember, leaves on the road are very slippery. If you have the opportunity, ride some of the back roads in the state when the trees are turning their fall colors. It should remind you of why you enjoy motorcycling Ė seeing the beauty of nature up close and personal.
At this time we have had two weeks of very nice weather, great sunny days, warm nights and very little rain. By the time you get this article we will be thinking about colder weather setting in. With the change of weather we need to be aware of changing road surfaces, the changes in the road construction areas and the added clothing that we will be wearing. This all brings us to awareness of riding safe. At this time, we have been doing a great job. In 2014 we had 2170 crashes and 75 fatalities and in 2015 we are at 1315 crashes and 46 fatalities. Keep up the great riding and keep putting out the ďLook Out for MotorcyclesĒ magnets and ďLook Twice and Save a LifeĒ signs. These reminders are working.
As Motorcyclists, we need to more than ever push awareness of Distracted Driving. It is the cause of many accidents and we need to talk about it with our friends and make sure that everyone knows the dangers. People have been doing it for so long that it is normal and it is getting worse. To text and drive is illegal, but it is a secondary offence so you have to do something else to get caught. Many times itís after an accident has already occurred. I have been doing fatal reviews with the State and if more people would have been paying more attention, some accidents could have been avoided.
We all use hand signals to help fellow riders know what we are going to do or want to do. We use our turn signals and brake lights to warn others what is going to happen. And then on the Internet I saw a picture of the international sign for a biker in distress, a bike sitting alongside the road with a helmet on the ground behind it. Well number one, Iím from a helmet free state so I donít have a helmet with me. Then I thought, that is not the way it works. If you see a bike alongside the road, you should slow down and see if everything looks okay. If everything is under control, they will give you a thumbs up or wave you on. If not, you stop and see if they need help. I have never just rode by a bike of any make or model and I have donated nuts and bolts, wire ties, duct tape and a lot of information to people who need help. Donít ever pass up a fellow biker. Check on them and it will make you feel good. If you are stopped alongside of the road and youíre ok, give the wave on.
The motorcycle world is changing or trying to change all the time. If politicians are not looking at making a new sound law, they are trying to put ethanol gas in our bikes. Then they are trying to take public lands away so our kids canít start the way we did. In Ohio we have around 500,000 +or- registered motorcycles, but we donít have anywhere close to even half that number that are members of any type of Rights Organization. We need the membership power of ABATE or AMA to stop these laws that could put a stop to the way your motorcycle sounds or performs. If we can stop a bill before it becomes a law, it is so much easier than after it is a law. If you are not a member of ABATE of Ohio Inc. call 800-25-BIKER or email me email@example.com or call 419-654-5446. You can make a difference.
Winter is on its ugly way and we need to get all the riding in that we can. So ride safe and with ABATEís help, RIDE FREE. And remember if you have friend that rode all this summer on a temporary permit, help him get into a class and get his endorsement. Motorcycle Ohio now has a one day course to get your endorsement called the BRC-2.
Motorcycle fatalities in the US have dropped for the last two years. Fatalities for 2014 in the US were 4,584 and in 2013 were 4,668. This is about a 1.8% drop. Now letís look at Ohio - in 2013 we had 3768 crashes with 133 fatalities and in 2014 we had 3651 crashes with 140 fatalities. Yes we were up, and our vehicle registrations were up also, but our crashes were down. When you sit down and look at a lot of the figures, over all Motorcyclists are getting safer with our Education program and our Riders Training programs. Motorcycle Ohio does a one day class called the BRC2. You can get your endorsement one day. If we keep putting ďLook Twice and Save a LifeĒ and ďLook Out for MotorcyclesĒ in front of all motorists, we will keep those numbers coming down.
I cannot talk enough about construction zones. When you see orange barrels, slow down! Also watch the road surface because the ground is very unforgiving. After the roadway has been ground away in just one lane, there is a step up or down. Be very careful, check for signs that point out dangers, give cars and trucks plenty of space and never take exit ramps to fast. The construction workers are trying to keep us safe so if you see something that is not safe, stop and tell someone or call 911.
We are about half way through the riding season. When is the last time you checked your bike over? Itís time to do a good check of your bike. Look at the ground for any fluids, look for shiny spots for unusual wear, check tire wear and air pressure, check the clutch and throttle adjustments and check all lights and their functions. Then give it a good wash and wax and keep your eyes open for anything loose or out of adjustment.
I have been doing a lot of accident reviews and studies would like to say I found the answer to how to prevent them, but I have not. We need to be more aware of our surroundings. Scan further ahead and to the sides for any changes in traffic flow. We are getting more head-on accidents, left of center, both by bikes and by motorists. Think about what you would do if it was coming your way. If you were the biker, should you have looked ahead further and gave more time? If the motorist starts coming your way, where could you go? Play things out in your head. And then remember that most accidents can be fixed by slowing down and giving yourself more time.
Please stay safe out there and I hope August is a lot dryer than weíve had. There are still a lot of great runs and parties to get to.
Itís June 10th and I pulled the stats for the year and we are not doing that well. I have been tracking a few of our crashes around the state and I would love to find that one thing that we could use to avoid a crash. With over 50% of crashes being the motorcyclist fault, it tells me that we need to do a better job of training riders. 2014 Crashes -1246 and Fatalities Ė 44 and 2015 Crashes -854 and Fatalities -30. If we could get everyone to just think ahead and not have those single vehicle crashes, we would be on our way to 0 fatalities. As it has been said for years, if we just keep educating the motorist and the motorcyclist, we will all be safer.
Blind spots are something that is forgotten over time and we need to be reminded of them. Trucks, RVs, Vans, SUVs and Busses all have very large blind spots. Donít hang out on the side of any vehicle. The larger the vehicle the bigger the blind spot. If you canít see the drivers face in their rear view mirror, then he canít see you. Donít hang out to close to the rear of any vehicle. If they brake suddenly you may not be able to stop and you cannot see what is up ahead. And now to the front - never cut in to quickly. Remember we stop faster than a lot of larger vehicles. And last, a lot of larger vehicles make wide turns. Donít pass on the right. Once they start that turn they canít see you.
We all need to use our blinkers or turn signals more often. As bikers we need this tool to let everyone know what we are doing, and motorists need do the same. If hand signals will bring awareness to your turn, use them. If they donít know hand signals they will at least know something is going to happen. Go online and you can find all kinds of motorcycle hand signals. They are very handy when riding in a group.
Roundabouts are here to stay, and we need to learn how to use them. We need to educate ourselves about roundabouts because they are much safer and reduce head-on collisions. Slow down and yield at the entry to traffic. Stay in your lane within the roundabout and use your turn signal to exit. If thereís more than one lane, use the left lane to turn left, the right lane to turn right, unless directed otherwise by signs and pavement markings. Very important - trucks need all the room, so donít get in a bad spot. Hope this will help with some of the fears of roundabouts.
Every year I bring up tires and I think that it is very important that we look at our tires every week. At Ohio Bike Week I took a look at rear tires in Margaretvilleís parking lot and it was not good. It did not matter if it was old or new, a bald tire could be found. If the owner was there I had a talk with them and most did not know it was in that shape. Donít tell me you have a new one at home, just get it put on. Please check those tires and have a safe ride.
Starting July 1st , Motorcycle Ohio will be able to offer the BRC-2 as a skills waiver class. This means riders with a permit will be able to take the class and earn their endorsement. This is a one day class and it will help get riders that have been riding for years on a permit take one day and show they know how to ride and get their endorsement. If you have any questions please contact MO call 1-800-83RIDER and www.motorcycle.ohio.gov.
Last of all I would like to thank Shanton Wilson for writing a great article in Juneís Thunder Roads Ohio magazine on the 2015 Awareness Rally with some great pictures. If you did not read it, go back and check it out or see it online at www.thunderroadsohio.com. Also, a big thank you to Thunder Roads Ohio Magazine for getting the Legislative and Safety and Education information to our Ohio riders. Great Job!!
Well here we go, itís May and the weather is letting us get out and ride. Now we need to remember all the skills that we have learned over the years to stay out of trouble. I pulled the crash report as of May 8th and they are: for 2014: Crashes Ė 502 and Fatalities -21 and for 2015: Crashes Ė 409 and Fatalities Ė 10. See how just a few days of sunshine will bring these numbers up. These numbers come from reports sent to Columbus and we know in Northwest Ohio we have several fatalities that are not included here.
A great way to ride is to ride SMART. This stands for Ride Sober, Ride Motorcycle Endorsed, Ride Alert, Ride Right Gear and Ride Trained. If everyone would follow this great acronym we would have fewer crashes. It is easy to tell someone they have a bald tire, but so hard to help someone get his or her endorsement.
Now for the hard one Ė Alcohol. The way I like to bring up this subject is to just say the 3 Rís. Be Responsible, know your limits. Donít let your friends change your mind and donít let yourself get caught up in Ďjust one moreí. Ride Responsible. You are in charge! Donít ride impaired and call for a ride if you have had too much. And Take Responsibility is the person that says: Man youíre wasted, I will call home for you and you can stay with me. Individual responsibility is the ultimate way to reduce fatalities.
I would like to thank everyone that came out for the kick off for Motorcycle Awareness Month 2015. What a great day, sunshine all day and no rain. Many thanks to all the volunteers that helped to get everyone checked in. Thanks to Jim and Diane for having the products there. Thanks to the Columbus Police and the Delaware Sheriffs for coming out and keeping us safe. And thanks to AD Farrowís for letting us invade their space. Last of all, a big thank you to Region 9 for a great time at the After Rally Party. It was just a great time for all.
For any one that is hunting for something to do, go online to ABATE.com then to events and you will find a ride in your area. The next big state event is June Jam 2015. There will be bands Friday and Saturday night, Poker run, Bike games and a Bike Show. We have a lot of space to camp and lots with shade. This all takes place just outside of Logan Ohio, on June 19th, 20th and 21st, 2015. More info online.
Everyone check your rear tire and all your lights, and then ride like no one can see you.
Well the year is just getting started and the figures are starting to come in. Remember that the facts I get are depending on when the Police report is finalized and they do get changed along the way. The facts for last year at this date: 2014 crashes 180 and fatalities 6 and 2015 crashes 98 and fatalities 3. In the past 5 years we have had a steady decline in fatalities. This has been done by reminding ourselves that we to must be alert and then remind our friends to do the same. Please ride safe!
This year at the ABATE State Seminar we had the honor of ODOTís Michelle May giving us a report on how ODOT is taking care of our highways. Whenever any changes are made in our highways, motorcycles are taken into the scope of things. She also gave us many pages of facts that helped us get an overall view of the history of car and motorcycle crashes and their causes. We did have Q and A period and many issues were brought up. Michelle did take notes at this time and assured us that she will check out the problems we told her about and get back to us. One issue that was brought up is cable barriers. She explained how they do save lives and how they put a lot of thought in the placement of them. Even though they scare a motorcyclist, the facts prove they do more good than harm. If you ever see any problem with our roads that you want reported, you can email ODOT at the state level or let your local garage know. At the next BOD we will be passing out a fact sheet of Michelleís info.
Also we had Chuck Stiteler from the Motorcycle Ohio Program (MO Program). Chuck was an instructor and knows the program well, and he does answer his phone. He gave us a very up to date report on what they are doing. The thing that I feel will bring a great change is that they will give a one day course that will get you an Endorsement. This is for riders that just keep getting temporaries and have a lot saddle time. This program will be starting in July. And as in the past they need more instructors. If you want a job and to make some money - get signed up. They also have more mobile sites this year than ever before so you can take advantage of these classes.
I would like to personally thank everyone that presented a program and attended the 2015 State Seminar this year it was very informative and also a lot of fun. Watch for it next year. You will learn a lot. Thank you!
When you all get to read this article we will be heading to the 2015 Motorcycle Awareness Rally. This is the kick off for the Motorcycle riding season. And then I hope to see all of you at the After Rally Party. The entire day is a great time and you get to ride in a great parade to the State House, hear the reading of the proclamations and listen to a guest speaker. Hope to see you there.
June Jam is ABATEís state party where we take a weekend to raise money for our cause, listen to great music and play games. The location is at Kaeppner Woods in Logan. There is great camping and the location has some of the best riding in Ohio. Admission is only $25.00 for three days of fun. For more info go to the ABATE of Ohio web site, ABATE.com, where you can find the flier and a pre-registration form.
I would like to remind everyone that itís a new riding season and we all need to start out slow. Let the motorists get used to us being on the road again. Remember before every ride, perform a safety check. Ride alert, wear the right gear and get trained. Have a safe ride.
Last of all, if you do not belong to a Motorcycle Rights Organization, check ABATE of Ohio Inc. out. We are dedicated to the preservation of motorcycling. We keep you FREE. See you down the road.
Letís start by talking about fatalities, which is not something that I like to talk about, but lowering these numbers is our most important mission. We are looking better than last year and that is good. I pulled these facts on the 10th. In 2014: Crashes - 65 and Fatalities Ė 1 and in 2015 Crashes Ė 17 and Fatalities Ė 0. This year we are off to a good start. Most of our state this year has been very cold; last year the southern half had some nice days. Letís look at what we are up to now that itís getting warm and out comes the bikes. In Northwest counties we have one fatality on one of our river roads. This road has not had enough time to wash off all the salt dust, loose gravel and loose asphalt that will be a pot hole soon. And down goes a bike. In Southern counties we have bikes going down due to speed, and on one of the very first nice days.
Now letís talk about what you should be doing on that first day out. This is after you or your favorite mechanic has checked out your bike. Take a little time and go down to a big parking lot to tune up your riding skills. Do a few figure 8ís, a panic stop or two, and practice slow riding. Get the feel of that bike again. It has not changed but you have lost some of that feel over the last several months. I like to go back to the Motorcycle Ohio Riders program and take one of their great courses. If you want or need to take the course go to www.motorcycle.ohio.gov.
ABATE of Ohio Inc. has the best road side sign - Look Twice Save a Life. It is easy to read at any speed. If you wish, you can get signs with your Company name at the bottom or In loving memory of someoneís name. And if you like to go big, we do offer a 4X6 sign. If you ride or a family member rides, you should have a sign out front. Also you can get Watch Out For Motorcycles magnets for your cars and trucks. If you donít see them at motorcycle functions to pick up, just call me.
We all, the old biker that has always been around and the new biker who just knew that he always wanted to ride, need to get involved. Going to a meeting or just supporting with your money, you can make a difference. The world is changing and we need to keep informed, because some day they will be making laws that we never heard of. Last year we passed the parking bill and the handle bar height bill. We are still working on the right of way bill and the road guard bill. And now we have Congress looking at Vision Zero. This is the concept of dropping fatalities to zero and in my thoughts this will only happen if we do away with motorcycling altogether. They feel a reduction in speed of 19 mph city (where there could be non-fatal contact between pedestrian and cars (motorcycles)) and 43 mph on all other roads would help accomplish their goals. Sorry but this has been adopted in some of our large cities to slow accidents down. So the purpose of my babbling is to get people to join ABATE of Ohio Inc. and protect our rights as we know them today. Just imagine what will happen if no one stands up to the do-gooders and says ďNOĒ.
May is Motorcycle Awareness Month and where are you going to be on May 2nd at 10:00am? You need to be at A.D. Farrow Harley Davidson, I-71 @ exit 131, Sunbury, Oh. 43074. This is the starting point of the Motorcycle Awareness Rally that happens every year when we ride to the State house. Then we all gather on the Statehouse steps and read Proclamations from the Governor and Mayors from around the state. Then off to an After Rally party. Just a great day to let everyone know we are back out on the roads throughout this great State. Check out the flyer in this Magazine.
I would like to give you a good report but itís not going that way. Pulled the facts on the 10th and this is it. In 2013 Crashes 3751 and Fatalities 133 and in 2014 Crashes 3426 and Fatalities 135. Now for my insight on all this; we, as Motorcyclists, are not staying focused on riding as if it was the beginning of the season.
Letís talk about one of the problems that keeps coming up and that is maneuverability. Throughout the year we keep seeing the single vehicle accident, running off curves and just plain running into things. To correct this we need to practice and think about our riding skills. Take a Sunday morning early before large parking lots get busy and practice panic stops, figure eights, stopping in a curve and slow ride maneuvering. If you think you need it, take a Motorcycle Ohio course. Sign up will start at the end of February.
Smart Vehicle Technology Ė what is it and how is it going to change motorcycle riding? This is just in my thoughts but I have been riding with a friend who has a new car. It has sensors that tell him when something is in his blind spot. My question is, does it always work on motorcycles? Will the driver get so reliant on this that they will not really look for motorcycles? Just something to think about and I will be writing on this later after more thought and research.
I will be calling out to Safety and Education Directors and anyone interested for a planning meeting in February. How we can reach out and get more people and organizations involved in Motorcycle Awareness?
The planning has started for the Motorcycle Awareness Rally on Saturday May 2, 2015 in Columbus Ohio. Please make plans to make the ride and try to bring a group of friends. It is the beginning of Motorcycle Awareness Month. Starting the first of the year you can find samples of the Proclamation and a cover letter on the Web Site. We need to get a proclamation from every town and village in Ohio. Stop in the local Mayorís Office and show them a sample. If you need tips, give me a call. It is nice when they ask you to come in front of the city council and tell them why we need Motorcycle Awareness.
Remember if you love the freedom of motorcycling, you need to support your local rights organization. They are watching new laws and how they will affect you, and writing new laws that will make our sport better. If you would spend $25.00 to ride free, then join ABATE of Ohio Inc.
Letís ride safe in 2015 and enjoy the freedom of the road. See you down the road.
Ride Within Your Limits
State Safety & Education Director