SITUATIONAL AWARENESS SITUATIONS
With the transition to warmer weather we are experiencing
and the 2018 riding season officially underway, there is no
better time for me to offer up some quick moto-advice right
here in this column. The first word of the day is POTHOLES!
They are everywhere and seem to be worse than ever this
year. They are deeper, wider, longer and there are simply
more of them than ever before! The road crews are out
trying to fill them but it’s an overwhelming task. The next
time you get stuck in bad traffic because of those crews, take
a chill pill because they are ultimately helping to save
the lives of metroarea motorcyclists.
Please be careful and heighten your situational awareness
especially this early in the season when drivers are not used to
seeing bikes back on the road.
Another important item is dressing properly for your ride
especially with the fluctuating temperatures we have.
Wear sheddable layers under your riding gear so you can adjust on the fly.
Back on March 3rd when it was still quite cold out, journalist,
architect and cartoonist (yes, he drew the one on this page
about distracted driving) Mike Roth went for a ride with
his grandson Alex. Alex wanted to go out since it was nice
and sunny but neglected to prepare with proper apparel.
Mike, by far the more experienced rider donned his riding
pants with quilted liner, a sturdy riding jacket with a batteryoperated
inner jacket, and ski mittens. His fairing also made
a big difference in terms of cold wind protection.
Alex on the other hand only wore jeans, two hoodie sweatshirts and
a pair of summer gloves. He also did not have Mike’s fairing
coverage and learned quickly that wind much like rain, will
always find a way in. As Mike puts it, “I told Alex that he was
not dressed properly but macho him said he would be fine.
I knew he was in trouble when he kept on placing his left
hand behind his back to keep warm. When we stopped to
take this picture, (see pic) he would not admit it but I know
he was very cold. I on the other hand, was warm and toasty.
When we got home he was shivering and stayed home sick for
a couple of days. You must always dress for the occasion
whether motorcycling or skiing.” I’m not trying to pick on Alex
cause he clearly paid the price and does not need salt in his
wounds, but Mike is right and you should all heed his words.
Additionally, riding when you are cold will impair your ability to
be situationally aware, restrict your movements and slow
your reaction time.
With regard to Mike’s cartoon, this is what it is like out there
on the road these days and it’s pretty sobering. Distracted
driving is only getting worse and if you choose to ride,
you must be mindful of that. Drivers are overloading their
capacity to multitask and sadly, the actual driving part often
takes a backseat to texting, calling, GPS routing, etc…
So at the risk of sounding redundant, HEIGHTEN YOUR
SITUATIONAL AWARENESS! That is all.