Tag Archives: Tips/training

Best Vehicles for Towing a Powersports Trailer

In most cases, I would encourage you to ride your motorcycle or drive your ATV or UTV to your destination, but sometimes, you can’t. 

Whether you have a designated off-road powersports vehicle and you need to get it out to where you can use it or you just need to bring your motorcycle along with you for some reason, having a trailer and being able to tow your bikes or other powersports equipment around is a serious convenience. 

Having the right vehicle for this is a must. Too often, folks have a great idea to tow a trailer with them only to find out that they don’t own the right vehicle for it. With this in mind, I wanted to take a moment to discuss towing a powersports trailer and what vehicles you should look for when you’re thinking about towing a trailer. Without further ado, let’s dive in. 

Get the Proper Tow Rating

The Chevrolet Silverado’s all-new 3.0L Duramax inline-six turb

Towing a trailer isn’t always an easy feat, but if you have a vehicle that can handle the weight of that trailer, then you’re off to a good start. You need to get a vehicle with the right towing capacity

This is going to be more than your typical passenger car or many of the smaller crossovers out there. Think about it like this: the trailer you pull is going to weigh somewhere between 500 pounds and 1,000 pounds at a minimum. Add to that your motorcycle which can weigh anywhere from 300 pounds to 500 pounds or more, and you’re looking at needing a towing rating of at least 1,200 pounds or 1,500 to be on the safe side. 

If you’re putting more than one bike on the trailer, then you’re only going to add to this need for a high towing capacity. Personally, I’d advise you to find something that can tow over 3,000 pounds at least. That way, you should be in the clear. Even with a couple of bikes on a small trailer. If you have ATVs or UTVs, make sure you calculate the weight properly and have a vehicle that’s equipped accordingly. 

Think About Tongue Weight, Too

The towing capacity isn’t the only figure you need to think about. You should also figure out the tongue weight capacity. The tongue weight is the downward force that’s exerted where the trailer connects to the vehicle. Usually, this is a simple ball hitch. Your hitch will be rated for a specific amount of weight, and you need to be sure not to exceed that weight. 

The best way to do this is to use a commercial vehicle scale. However, you don’t have to use one, especially if you’re pretty sure you’ll be far below the capabilities of your vehicle. Tongue weight should be between 9 and 15 percent of the gross trailer weight. 

So, if you have a 1,500-pound trailer when laden down with motorcycles or ATVs, you’ll have a tongue weight of about 225 pounds. 

Of course, how you load the trailer matters, too. If the trailer is loaded down with everything at the front, it will have a heavier tongue weight than if everything is loaded at the back. Generally, you want a bit more weight on the hitch, because it helps you avoid trailer sway. 

Below is a great demonstration of trailer sway and how tongue weight plays a role. 

As you can see in the video, the more weight you load towards the front of the trailer, the less trailer sway occurs. Make sure to load the trailer evenly, and also ensure you’ll be within the vehicle’s tongue weight capacity, and you should do just fine. 

Now, let’s take a look at some of the best vehicles for towing a motorcycle or powersports trailer. 

Trucks

The Chevrolet Silverado’s all-new 3.0L Duramax inline-six turb

Trucks are going to be most driver’s go-to vehicle type when towing. These machines are designed with towing in mind, and that means that you’ll have trucks of all sizes that can easily tow over 5,000 pounds, sometimes they can tow far, far more. 

There are generally four different sizes of trucks: compact, midsize, full-size, and heavy-duty. All of them will be able to handle a small trailer with some motorcycles or ATVs on them. However, a word of caution. Don’t just assume every truck for sale can tow the weight you need to tow. 

It’s still important to do the math and cross-check that against your particular vehicles’ towing capacity and tongue weight. If you’re shopping for a new truck, then you should talk with the salesperson about your specific needs. Tell them what you want to tow, and they should be able to help you out. 

SUVs and CUVs

toyota 4Runner

SUVs and CUVs, or crossovers as they’re commonly known, are extremely popular vehicles right now, and for good reason. These vehicles are the true do-it-all machines. They have generous cargo areas, plenty of seating, all-wheel drive in many cases, and they sit up a little higher providing a good view of the road and some off-road capability. 

SUVs and CUVs are also good towing machines in many respects. Not every single one on the road is going to be right, but for mild towing duties, you’ll find that even many crossovers do just fine. 

“Many late-model vehicles including numerous small CUV’s and SUV’s, are capable of towing a small trailer easily.” The team at EchoPark Automotive told me. “They’re also great everyday vehicles for when you’re not towing a trailer.” The spokesperson for EchoPark went on to say that many people looking for a good tow vehicle use an SUV without ever experiencing any issues. 

While some are better than others, pretty much all of them will be able to tow at least 1,500 pounds. However, I’d look for a CUV or SUV that’s capable of towing at least 5,000 pounds. The Toyota 4Runner (shown above), for example, can tow that much and is a great option. 

Generally, the bigger the SUV, the higher its towing capacity will be. It’s also worth noting that the body-on-frame SUVs that are based on truck chassis will have the highest towing capacity while the smaller car-based CUVs will have lower towing capacities. 

Vans

2020 Ford Transit Cargo Van

Last but certainly not least are vans and minivans. Full-size vans will have the highest towing capacity and generally be the best towing option. However, you might be surprised to learn that even most minivans can tow 3,500 pounds or so. 

Full-size vans will be able to tow far more. The Ford Transit Cargo (shown above) is able to tow between 5,000 and 5,800 pounds depending on how it’s equipped. In most cases, that’s more than motorcycle-and-powersports enthusiasts actually need. 

Also, the nice thing about vans is you can take a lot of gear and passengers with you as well very easily. While pickup trucks will beat out vans in terms of outright towing capacity. Vans are sometimes the more versatile vehicle overall. 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

5 Free Ways to Improve Your Bike’s Suspension

Many motorcycles come with suspension that is non-adjustable or only has minor adjustment such as rear preload to compensate for luggage and/or a pillion.

Bikes with suspension that has separate adjustment for compression and rebound are usually more expensive.

But all bikes — no matter how much they cost — come from the factory set up for a rider weighing about 70kg, so they really are a compromise on ride, handling and even braking, steering and acceleration.

Setting up your bike for optimum performance in all these facets is difficult and can be expensive.

So here are my five suggestions for improving your bike’s handling that won’t cost you a single cent.

  1. If you are buying the bike new or second hand from a dealer, strike a deal that includes suspension adjustment for your weight as part of the purchase package. The dealership should have a mechanic who knows what they are doing with suspension. They should ask your weight and get you to sit on the bike and maybe even bounce up and down on it while they adjust the various clickers and springs.
  2. If you weigh more than 70kg, try to lose some weight. The biggest inhibitor of any motorcycle’s performance is the weight of the rider.
  3. Adjust your riding style. Learn how your suspension copes with various types of road and riding. Some suspension works better if you slow down for the bumps, while some works better if you go faster. For example, the Ohlins suspension on my Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport actually tackles corrugations better at high speed. So adjust your speed and riding style to suit the suspension and the terrain.
  4. Loosen up. Suspension has a lot of work to do, coping with both the bumps in the road and the weight of the bike and rider. By loosening your grip, bending your elbows and maybe even lifting your backside out of the saddle over rough bumps you are taking some of the load off the suspension.
  5. If you have a bike with adjustable suspension, you can make your own adjustments for free. However, be careful you don’t make matters worse as it is easy to get it all wrong.

Linear shocks - progressive springs

Suspension is a black art and there are many variables, so it is best left to the professionals to tweak it to your riding requirements, load and weight.

If you do want to experiment, first thing to do is note down the current factory settings by turning the clickers clockwise as far as they will go counting the clicks so you can return it to the factory setting.

2020 GMC Sierra Denali

Then check the rider’s manual which will give you basic instructions on which way to turn the clickers for a desired effect.

Only ever change the compression or rebound settings by one or two clicks at a time, then go for a ride and see how it affects the handling, braking and ride.

If you adjust compression, the rebound will then need attention, so do them separately, going for a ride over the same section of road after each adjustment.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

What You Should Know About Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Riding a motorcycle is an activity that comes with a fair amount of risk. That risk is rewarded by the unparalleled experience of tossing a leg over a bike and going for a ride, but it’s there nonetheless. 

In many areas of the world, local governments have decided it’s in the rider’s (and the community’s) best interests to enact helmet laws and enforce them. With helmets being such an important part of motorcycling in general, I thought I’d take a closer look at motorcycle helmet laws and identify some things that every rider should know. 

You Should Always Wear A Helmet Regardless Of The Law

The first thing I want to touch on is the fact that you should always wear a helmet no matter what the law says. Personally, I’m a bit of an ATGATT (all the gear, all the time) fan, but if you’re not, at the very least, you should put on a helmet each and every time you get on a motorcycle. 

You’ll hear people ask, “Are motorcycle helmet laws effective?” The simple fact of the matter is that motorcycle helmets save lives. The number of studies that show the effectiveness of helmets on reducing injury and death are too numerous to list here. 

With that said, I will point you towards this handy list of studies compiled by the Skilled Motorcyclist Association organization, which shows how effective helmets really are. 

According to the association, motorcycle helmets actually reduce the risk of death by 42 percent and head injury by 69 percent. With all of the data available to motorcyclists, the real question is why the heck would you even ride without a helmet? 

Not All Helmets Will Satisfy The Law

Helmet Laws

Now that I’ve reiterated how important motorcycle helmets are to rider safety, I want to talk about the fact that not all helmets are created equal, and not all helmets are treated equally in the eyes of the law. 

When you ride in the United States, for example, only helmets that have Department of Transportation (DOT) approval will satisfy the law in the states that have motorcycle helmet laws on the books. It’s worth noting that not all states have helmet laws on the books either. This means that you won’t be required by law to wear one, but I still strongly recommend that you do. 

Alternatively, DOT-approved helmets are not legal in places like the UK and Australia, which call for Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)-approved motorcycle helmets. 

ECE and DOT are different standards. They’re the two that matter the most in terms of helmet laws, though there are other helmet standards like Snell and Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) that take helmet safety even further than ECE and DOT do. 

The best advice I can give here is to get a helmet that will satisfy your local laws. Look them up wherever you live. If you can’t find them, then contact the authorities to find out what type of helmet will satisfy the laws in your area. It should be an easy thing to do and will help keep you legal and safe on the road. 

A Helmet Can’t Guarantee You Won’t Get Hurt In A Motorcycle Accident

A motorcycle helmet will greatly reduce the risk of death or injury due to you hitting your head in a motorcycle accident. However, it cannot guarantee that you won’t sustain a head injury. As I discussed at the beginning of this article, motorcycling comes with risks involved. Even if you wear all of the protective gear you can, there’s still a risk. 

A lot can go into determining whether or not you will sustain an injury or be killed in an accident. The number of variables is endless. There’s your position on the road, your speed, the terrain and landscape around, the road surface, the other motorists on the road, and so, so much more. No helmet can protect you from every scenario. 

With that said, I would say that buying a high-quality motorcycle helmet from a reputable company that is modern and up-to-date in terms of construction and features will help give you the best chance at surviving a motorcycle accident unscathed. 

If you need to find yourself a good motorcycle helmet. Our sister site Web Bike World has some of the most comprehensive helmet information available anywhere in the world. The reviews you’ll find there are in-depth and thorough, and you should be able to find a helmet that satisfies your needs. 

If You Do Get Hurt While Riding, Seek Advice From A Professional

Helmet laws

One of the most common questions I get from riders is: what do you do if you’re injured as a result of a motorcycle accident? The first thing I’d say is to reach out to a motorcycle collision lawyer. 

The next question I get is: what can the lawyer really do for me? That question is a lot harder to answer because just about every motorcycle accident is different. However, in many cases, having a lawyer on your side can help. 

I’ll let Heidi Wickstrom of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. explain from the point of view of a lawyer in the video below:

This is especially true with a head injury. You’ll have medical bills to pay, likely have a busted-up motorcycle to deal with, and who knows what else. You could even have repercussions for the rest of your life. Having someone there like a medical malpractice lawyer to help you understand everything and ensure you get the correct compensation can really make a difference.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Motorcycle Safety: Avoiding Motorcycle Collisions and Accidents

Motorcycling can never be done risk-free. With that said, you can decrease your chance of experiencing an accident or getting into a motorcycle collision if you make an effort to do so. While some things will always be beyond your control, you should always do everything within your power to stay safe. 

With that in mind, I wanted to take a closer look at some of the things you can do to stay safe while riding your motorcycle. These tips and techniques won’t ensure you’ll avoid a collision, but they should help. 

Check the Weather Before You Ride

bad weather

Weather can play a significant role in your safety when riding. If you’re out during heavy precipitation, then visibility for both you and other motorists decreases dramatically. This can greatly increase your likelihood of getting into an accident or collision. 

A simple check of the weather before you ride is all you need. If there’s a chance of rain, it doesn’t mean you can’t ride, but it might impact the gear you wear on that ride. 

If, however, you see some severe weather conditions coming up, then it would be in your best interest to stay home. 

Scan for Potential Hazards

Hazards are everywhere on the road. Even things that might not seem like hazards for any other motorist can spell disaster for motorcyclists. Here’s a look at some of the most common road hazards for motorcycle riders:

  • Railroad crossings
  • Loose gravel
  • Potholes
  • Oil slicks
  • Wet surfaces
  • Animals
  • Road debris

One type of road debris that has received a lot of attention lately is grass clippings. It might seem silly, but freshly cut grass clippings can wreak havoc on your motorcycle’s tires’ ability to get proper grip on the road. This can lead to you going down when you least expect it. 

Usually, grass clippings are just left by a careless homeowner or lawn-care service, but that doesn’t stop these grass clippings from being a serious hazard. This has led a lot of motorcyclists to ask, “Is it illegal to leave grass clippings on the road?” The answer depends on the laws in your particular area. I’ll let a member of Spaulding Injury Law describe how this pertains to the law in the video below:

In short, some places have laws that prohibit homeowners and law service personnel from depositing grass clippings on the road. Other places don’t. I urge you to check your local laws so you know for sure. 

Make Sure You’re Seen

Most motorcycle accidents aren’t the rider’s fault. Quite often, a driver of a car, SUV, or truck simply doesn’t see the motorcyclist. While this is their fault, there are also some things a motorcycle rider can do about it.

Focus on being seen. This can start with your gear and your bike itself. You want your bike to get noticed. Lights and reflectors are very good things. When it comes to gear, you need to have reflective material on your gear and preferably bright, easy-to-see colors. Neon colors work best. 

Also, when riding, think about your lane position. There is no one lane position that is right all of the time. You need to choose the correct lane position for the situation, and the correct lane position is the one where other motorists can easily see you.  

Ride Responsibly and Appropriately

Riding responsibly

This one is a bit obvious, but never, ever under any circumstance, ride while intoxicated or under the influence. It’s a recipe for disaster and could lead to your death or the death of others. 

Riding responsibly is not just about not riding under the influence. It’s also about riding within the speed limit, avoiding silly stunts, or generally acting like an idiot on the road.

Also, make sure to ride appropriately for a specific situation. If it’s raining or traffic is heavy, avoid any aggressive maneuvers. Take things slow and easy while you’re out there. Assess the roads and your surroundings, and then respond appropriately. 

Always Have an Escape Route

One thing you should always do no matter where you ride is to always have an escape route. This means you should be able to exit your lane or position at a moment’s notice. It’s your go-to if a car cuts you off or brakes unexpectedly. 

Plan your escape routes as you ride. Look for wide shoulders or a middle lane that you could pull into if needed. Also, keep an eye on gaps between cars and between other bikes. These can be how you can get to your escape routes when things are tight. 

Keep a Cushion

keep a cushion when riding a motorcycle

Having a cushion when riding is key. This applies not only to the car in front of you but the vehicles and obstacles on all sides of you. It’s best to have at least a two-second cushion in front of you (usually a little longer). 

When it comes to either side of your bike, just make sure you’re not pinned in by motorists on either side of you. Remember, you want to keep your escape routes open. Sometimes, this will mean speeding up. Other times this will mean you need to slow down.

By keeping your distance and always having a cushion between you and the cars and motorcycles around you, you’ll have time to react quickly to the unexpected. 

Keep Up on Your Riding Skills

I’d advise every single person on a motorcycle to take a motorcycle safety course. In these courses, professionals teach you the best tricks they’ve learned over thousands of miles traveled. 

While an initial safety course is important, it’s equally important to keep up on your riding skills. I’d urge you to take an intermediate or advanced rider’s course. These courses go beyond what instructors can teach you in a beginner class, and the tips and techniques you’ll learn will help you not only to be safe but become a better and smoother rider overall. 

Finally, nothing makes up for practice. The issue with a lot of riders is that they never practice their panic stops or tight cornering or obstacle avoidance. If you don’t practice your skills, you’ll never perfect them. 

Get Help If You Need It

motorcycle injury xray

If you do have a motorcycle collision or an accident of some kind when riding, then you may need legal representation. 

Spaulding Injury Law notes that it’s always a good idea to consult with a lawyer if you’re involved in a motorcycle accident. This is especially true if you or someone else was injured in the accident. 

Consultations with lawyers are often free, and that means you can find out if you need a lawyer without much of a hassle at all. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to motorcycle collisions and accidents.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

4 Road Violations Most Motorcyclists Commit in California

(Contributed post)

Motorcycle accidents have been one of the major problems on the road in California. Motorcyclists don’t have a steel or sturdy material to protect them when accidents happen- as cars do. Hence, there’s a high chance they’ll be thrown away during any vehicular collision.

Motorcyclists are less visible and conspicuous to other vehicle drivers and pedestrians. The two-wheel vehicles are also less stable than the land vehicles with four or more wheels. The driver must be both mentally and physically aware when driving a motorcycle.

Many factors affect the drivers’ safety and focus while on the road. It could be because of a problem with the motorcycle, bad weather, or something wrong with the driver themselves. However, most motorcycle accidents occur because of road violations committed by these drivers. Here are some of the most common violations committed by motorcyclists in California.

Speeding

The speed limit in California varies. Most highways have a maximum speed of 65 mph, while some have 55 mph. Hence, driving beyond these speed limits is considered “speeding,” which is against the law. Drivers must slow down their speed depending on essential contributory factors.

All drivers should maintain a safe driving speed when the weather is bad, or the road is poor. Heavy traffic and pedestrians are also contributing factors. However, despite these, many drivers still exceed posted speed limits while on the streets.

You might have been driving a motorcycle for many years, but others haven’t. Hence, you tend to drive at high speed because you’re equipped with excellent driving skills. However, some inexperienced drivers don’t have the skills you have.

Most of the time, these experienced drivers lane split. All states in the US consider lane splitting illegal. However, the California Vehicle Code doesn’t explicitly express if it’s illegal in the state of California.

Technically, vehicle drivers in California can split lanes, but they must not exceed 30 mph. If the traffic is heavy, speeding and lane splitting, at the same time, aren’t allowed to avoid a serious accident.

Under the Influence of Alcohol

Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. Many have already died because of this, and the law in California upholds penalties for violators. If it’s your first time getting caught with this violation, you might end up with a suspended driver’s license, pay fines in thousands, and, worse, end up in jail.

If motorcyclists continue violating this California Vehicle Code, penalties will also continue to increase. California gives the violator up to ten years to cleanse their record from prior violations. However, many vehicle drivers, including the motorcyclists, continue to disobey the law resulting in numerous cases of road accidents.

At the end of the day, it’s always better to be safe at all times than to be sorry. If you got involved in a DUI-caused vehicular accident, say in San Diego, you should find a San Diego personal injury lawyer right away to help you with your case. However, if you got in trouble while in Los Angeles, it’s best to find a lawyer in that area. That way, it would be easier to access your attorney.

Incomplete Gear

The state of California provided a California Motorcycle Handbook for the motorcyclists to know the do’s and don’ts while driving on the road. One important thing included in the handbook is the proper motorcyclist attire while driving.

The United States Department of Transportation implemented the use of compliant safety helmets. Manufacturers should follow the guidelines set in producing helmets to comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. Helmets with this certification are high-quality and durable.

With the quality and durability of these helmets, your chance of survival will increase when involved in an accident. Moreover, the handbook suggests that the riders and passengers of a motorcycle should put on face and eye protection.

Motorcyclists shouldn’t cover both of their ears with headsets, earplugs, or earphones unless due to a medical condition. This is so a driver can hear if an emergency vehicle is near or other drivers are calling their attention using horns.

These are just some of the simple guidelines stated in the handbook about what a motorcyclist should wear while driving. However, many drivers aren’t still following it. A motorcyclist might get involved in a severe accident simply because of not wearing eye protection.

Incomplete Motorcycle Equipment

The California Motorcycle Handbook also includes guidelines of what the motorcycle should have before a driver can use it. There are specific equipment requirements needed to be met. The tires should have enough tread and air pressure for safe driving. Brakes for both front and rear parts of the motorcycle should be functional.

The same goes for the horns and side mirrors. These should be present and in good condition. Moreover, motorcyclists should turn the headlight both day and night, especially for vehicles manufactured in or after the year of 1978. The front and rear turn signal lights must be working at all times. The motorcycle should also have a muffler and footrest.

Additionally, when you’re holding the handlebars, your hands shouldn’t be six inches above your shoulders. It’ll be difficult to maneuver the handlebars if it’s too high, and swerving will be hard for your arms and shoulders to keep the balance. Secure one handbook to check that you’re not missing anything when using your motorcycle.

These are the guidelines in the handbook about what your motorcycle should have before driving it. However, many drivers still don’t follow these guidelines. They still use their motorcycles when the signal lights aren’t functional.

Many accidents occur because of signal light malfunction or not using the signal lights at all. That’s something that you don’t want to happen. Hence, remember what’s stated in the handbook to avoid getting involved in an accident in the future.

Takeaway

Driving a motorcycle is fun, but, keep in mind the things discussed above to avoid any possible accident in the future. Although a motorcycle offers convenience, especially in heavy traffic, it’s also very dangerous if you’re reckless. Hence, simply follow the road rules and guidelines for your safety.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Motorcycle Security Tips from London

By Arthur Yarwood*

The last few years have seen London struggle to control a huge motorcycle crime wave. At its peak in 2017, 15,497 motorcycles and scooters were stolen in London1, that’s over 42 a day! Crime figures have since been brought down by a concerted Police action, including tactics to ram thieves off bikes and an awareness campaign of preventative security owners should use.

However, thieves are getting ever resourceful, no longer just relying on bolt croppers, today’s tooled up criminals are carrying battery powered angle grinders, freeze sprays to shatter brittle metal and using (previously stolen) scooters to push stolen bikes away.

What can you do to avoid motorcycle theft? 80% of motorcycle theft occurs at home with average thefts taking only 20 seconds!2 So, tool up and invest in the best motorcycle security devices you can buy, follow the tips below on what to look for in heavy duty security for use at home.

Security ChainLondon motorcycle theft

As a minimum, invest in a security chain with 16mm case-hardened links; 16mm is too big to be attacked by big bolt croppers and through-hardened links are too brittle, the whole link will shatter after one side is broken. With grinder attacks so common, larger chains with links up to 22mm are available from the firms like Almax and Pragmasis. Still not 100% grinder proof, but they’ll take considerable longer to cut and put off all but the most determined thieves.

When locking your bike, keep your chain elevated off the ground, it’ll be a lot harder to attack if it can’t be braced against something solid.

Ground Anchor

A chain alone won’t stop you motorcycle being lifted into a van, you need to chain you bike down to something solid like a ground anchor. These are either a hoop design to bolt to a concrete floor (with measures to prevent unbolting) or are a Y-shaped pipework design to be sunken into a fresh concrete hole. The latter are neater and flush to the floor, but more effort to install. Once a good chain is threaded through your bike and the ground anchor, no-one will lift your bike away without a good deal of angle grinder work.

Disc LockLondon motorcycle theft

Essentially a lockable pin clamp to go on your brake disc to prevent your bike being rolled away. Not as secure as a quality chain and often removed relatively quickly with a grinder, either directly or by grinding a chunk out of the brake disc! However, disc locks are still a worthwhile buy due to their portability for when you’re parked up away from home and many are available with a loud alarm. If you’ve got one, use it in combination with your chain and ground anchor at home as well to increase the theft effort.

Cover

Obviously a thin rain cover isn’t going to secure your bike much, but a cover will hide your bike from prying eyes and opportunist thieves. They won’t know if you’ve got a posh Ducati or a tatty commuter hack, what manner of security gear you have in place and are one more thing to slow a thief down. Don’t take my word for it, a bike cover was also a key part of the recent Met Police “Be Safe Lock Chain Cover” campaign3 to raise awareness of motorbike theft in London. Considering the low cost of a cover, they’re well worth using.

Conclusion

Motorcycle theft is a big problem in many cities and should not be dismissed without thought. You maybe insured against theft, but excesses and future hikes in premiums will still hit your wallet. Above are some simple measures and a minimum to protect yourself, more tips are in this motorcycle security guide. Ultimately, there is no single wonder device, use multiple, each requiring more time and effort to overcome.

Bio

Arthur Yarwood | Beginner Biker Adventures – Seasoned London commuter, doing my best to stay rubber side down.

Sources

  1. Met Police (https://www.met.police.uk/SysSiteAssets/foi-media/metropolitan-police/disclosure_2018/february_2018/information-rights-unit—detailed-breakdown-of-statistics-for-motorcycle-theft-in-london-by-borough-for-2017)
  2. National Crime Intelligence Service (NCIS)
  3. Met Police, Be Safe scooter theft (https://www.met.police.uk/police-forces/metropolitan-police/areas/about-us/about-the-met/campaigns/be-safe-campaign/be-safe-scooter-theft/)

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Kentucky Motorcycle Accident Statistics & KY Helmet Laws

(Contributed post)

Should Kentucky motorcycle riders wear helmets?

There were 122,360 motorcycles registered in Kentucky as of 2018, according to the Kentucky Traffic Collision Facts, 2018 Report (Collision Report). And while motorcycles are part of less than 1% of all collisions, they amount to 7% of fatal accidents. Riders need to be aware that though the risk of a crash is low, the likelihood of being seriously injured or killed in a collision isn’t negligible.

One of the factors that can determine whether a collision results in a fatality is whether riders wear helmets. Kentucky doesn’t have a universal helmet law. A vast majority of riders can decide not to wear a helmet—and many do. But what is the consequence of this choice? Many could argue the outcome is unnecessary injuries and deaths.

Kentucky Helmet Laws

As of 1998, Kentucky has limited helmet laws, according to Kentucky Safety Facts, published by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Previously, Kentucky had a universal helmet law in place, which was originally enacted in 1968.

Currently, a rider is required to wear a helmet only if they:

  • Are under 21 years old;
  • Possess a motorcycle instruction permit; or
  • Have held an operator’s license for less than one year.

In general, young and inexperienced riders must have helmets. But riders who have held a license for over one year and are older than 21 years old can forgo this safety equipment.

The real question is, are Kentuckians wearing helmets? The answer appears to be that a little over half of riders are using helmets. In 2017, 60% of riders surveyed wore helmets, according to the Collision Report. (Kentucky didn’t gather data for 2018.) This figure was down from 68% in 2015.

Motorcycle Crashes in Kentucky

The Kentucky State Police reported 1,494 motorcycles were involved in collisions in the state in 2018, according to the Collision Report. This amounted to only 0.61% of all collisions—a negligent amount. Passenger cars and trucks were far more likely to be involved in a crash at 90.98 percent, followed by large trucks at 4.35 percent.

Fatal Motorcycle Crashes: Do Helmets Matter?

When it came to fatal collisions, motorcycles played a bigger role. In 2018, 86 motorcycles were involved in deadly crashes, amounting to 7.47% of all fatal collisions and 88 deaths, according to the Collision Report.

Riders might wonder whether helmets play a significant role in preventing motorcycle fatalities. The numbers suggest they do. In 2018, 54 motorcycle riders were killed when they weren’t using a helmet, while 34 riders who used a helmet were killed.

There also was a difference between the number of motorcyclists injured while wearing a helmet vs. not. The same year, 536 motorcycle riders were injured while not using a helmet, while 496 were injured while wearing a helmet.

Kentucky lawmakers know helmet laws matter. When legislators repealed Kentucky’s universal helmet law in 1998, motorcycle facilities increased over 50%, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that helmets reduce motorcycle rider fatalities up to 37% and brain injuries up to 65%.

Additionally, in May 2020, motorcycle safety awareness month, Kentucky Office of Highway Safety Acting Executive Director Jason Siwula encouraged motorcyclists to wear protective gear, including helmets, according to ABC 13 WBKO.

Motorcyclists Follow Universal Helmet Laws

There’s little debate about it: universal helmet laws that require all or nearly all riders to wear helmets are effective. The U.S. General Accounting Office reviewed nine separate studies and found between 92% and 100% helmet use in states with universal helmet laws. When helmets are required, a vast majority of riders wear them. They obey the law.

In contrast, between 42% and 59% of riders use helmets in states with limited helmet laws. When helmets become optional, many riders choose not to wear them despite their clear safety benefit.

Should Kentucky Motorcyclists Wear Helmets?

Though most motorcycle riders in Kentucky aren’t required to wear helmets, they should. Studies have confirmed that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury and death.

Wearing a helmet is even more important when riders consider minimum auto insurance requirements vs. the average cost of a head injury. Motorists in Kentucky are required to carry minimum liability insurance of $25,000 for bodily injuries per person, $50,000 for all bodily injuries per crash, and $25,000 for property damage. 

Serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI), will cost much more than a minimum auto insurance policy will cover, even if the rider has health insurance. Victims of a motorcycle crash will need to work with a motorcycle accident lawyer to recover as much compensation as possible from the negligent driver.

Treating a TBI is expensive, and a rider who sustained a moderate-to-severe TBI might need years of treatment or even lifelong care. The cost of a TBI is exasperated by the likelihood of unemployment in the years following. The lifetime cost of treating a TBI can vary between $85,000 and $3 million, according to Dr. Chandi Edmonds, previously the director of clinical education in the Physical Therapy and Human Movement Science Department at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

By wearing helmets, despite the legal requirement to do so, motorcyclists reduce the risk of suffering a head injury that could lead to pain and suffering, physical and cognitive disability, unemployment, and extensive medical debt.

Choosing the Right Helmet

The Kentucky Motorcycle Manual provides more information on choosing the right helmet. Whether the rider chooses a full-face or three-quarter helmet style, it should be designed to meet the U.S. Department of Transportation’s standards. 

The helmet should fit snugly and have no visible defects, like loose padding or cracks. Riders should wear the helmet firmly secured to prevent it from coming off during a collision. They also should also consider a brightly colored helmet or a helmet with reflectors to help other motorists see them at night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

‘Free’ vehicle check service offered

A major Australian insurance company has launched a “free” check on the history of used motorcycles and other vehicles so you don’t buy a lemon.

If you are buying a used motorcycle, you should check to see if it is stolen, has money owing on it, has been written off in a crash or has been damaged in a flood or storm.

Buyers used to check the state-based REVS (Register of Encumbered Vehicles) or VSR (Vehicle Securities Register).

Since 2012, this has been nationalised in Australia under the Personal Property Security Register website which now costs $25.

There are several private websites that offer similar services, but they can be quite expensive and may offer information that is not relevant to your purchasing decision.

Be wary if you simply Google-search for “PPSR” as you will also find private suppliers.

These are only useful if you want a more in-depth report that may show things such as odometer regularities, or “clocking” where the seller winds the odd back.

‘Free’ service

Now Budget Direct insurance company has launched a “free” service.

It says it’s a “car search”, but it also works for motorcycles as Budget Direct does insure motorcycles.

This service may save you a couple of bucks, but you need to know that you have to supply your email and phone number.

After I did a search as a test, Budget Direct contacted me via email for an insurance quote.

I then tried to manually unsubscribe from their email service several times, but it kept throwing up an error.

I have not yet been contacted by phone, but I suspect that may be coming.

So while the service may be free from payment, there could be an associated hassle.

PPSR check

There are several scams that make buying a second-hand motorcycle a risk. Click here for some of the most prominent scams.

At least you can be assured with an official PPSR check that you do not end up buying a lemon, a stolen bike or one that will be repossessed by a finance company because the previous owner still owed money on it.

To make a PPSR check, you will need to supply the vehicle identification number (VIN). Never buy a vehicle from anyone unless they provide the VIN.

You can find the VIN on a registration notice or on the bike’s steering head, front frame or on the bottom of the engine.

It could be on a special plate, or stamped or etched into the frame or engine.VIN PPSR Cheap and easy check on used motorcycles

Turn the handlebars to the left and look on the right side of the frame where the steering head goes through the frame.

In a car, a VIN could be in a number of different places: Wheel arches, dashboard, boot, under the spare tyre, doors, door frames, and in the engine bay.

PPSR can also be accessed for various other personal property such as cars, boats, caravans, pant, machinery, shares and even works of art.

You can also search non-material items such as accounts, intellectual property, investment instruments, or licences.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

TruCAM II: Rider’s friend or foe?

While some riders may not like the hi-tech TruCAM II radar gun’s ability to more accurately measure speed, the device could also be considered a friend of the motorcyclist.

Features which may appeal are its ability to target tailgaters, aggressive drivers, distracted driving and vehicles obstructing traffic.

Call to double driver phone penalties roundabouts distracted
Distracted drivers are one of our most hated motorists

So why aren’t they used more for these offences, rather than just speeding offences?

We asked police and transport departments in several states for statistics on offences from TruCAM II units and were either told the figures were not available or would take days/weeks to acquire.

We will update this article if they ever arrive.

TruCAM II

Many police departments now have TruCAM II devices but some don’t divulge their technology.

Victoria Police said they do not use the devices which cost about $A36,000 (£20,000, $US25,000) per unit.

While the units could be a friend to riders, more often than not they seem to be their foe.

Some of their abilities specifically target riders including its “rear-plate mode” which measures the speed of an approaching motorcycle (or other vehicle with a missing or obscured front plate) and tracks it as it passes so that it captures the number plate.

The images are highly accurate to 150m and at speeds up to 320km/h.

Manufacturers Laser Technology Inc (LTI) say the device will detect any vehicle, capturing its make, model and registration plate.

LTI claim the cost of the device is justified by providing better proof of an offence so officers are not required to front court when a fine is challenged.

Other features include:

  • Differentiating speeding motorcycles and other vehicles in heavy traffic, including when lane filtering/splitting;lane filter filtering splitting traffic commute commuting congestion Brisbane
  • Automatically capturing images in a fixed distance, such as school and construction zones;
  • Auto focus, iris and shutter speed for clear number plate images up to 150m away;
  • Enforcing multiple speed limits on the same highway and distinguishing between commercial and private vehicles;
  • Allowing enforcement at night or within tunnels;
  • Capturing vehicles misusing bus, transit or car pool lanes;
  • Detecting vehicles obstructing traffic;
  • Measuring the speed, traveling time and distance between two vehicles for “Following Too Closely” or “tailgating” violations; and
  • Detecting drivers and passengers not wearing seat belts.

Since the system’s clarity can detect seat belt infringements it may also pick up riders who have not done up their helmet chin strap.

LTI say TruCAM II also has built-in detection algorithms to combat laser jammers. (Western Australia is the only state in Australia that allows radar detectors.)

LTI have sold more than 6000 photo/video lasers to more than 90 countries.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

6 Automotive Industry Attorneys Explain Common Auto Dealer Fraud

(Contributed post on common auto dealer fraud for our North American readers)

Most everyone goes into the process of purchasing a motorcycle or car with a healthy degree of skepticism.

However, while you may be prepared for aggressive sales tactics, some dealers also engage in blatantly fraudulent behavior that may catch you by surprise.

When you are an automotive attorney, you reach the point where nothing surprises you anymore. From filing fraudulent loan applications to rebuilding salvage titles and hoisting them on unsuspecting consumers, some auto dealers have almost turned fraud into an art form. And their favorite victims are those with limited incomes and poor credit.

There are many federal and state laws that penalize fraudulent sales, marketing, and financing schemes. However, thousands of consumers still fall victim to fraud every year. Below, we review what attorneys have to say about some of the most common types of auto dealer fraud.

Knowingly Selling Bad Vehicles

When you think of auto fraud, one of the first things that probably comes to mind is dealers making false claims about a vehicle’s condition.

Thomas R. Breeden, a consumer rights attorney in Virginia explains, “One of the most common types of fraud is selling a vehicle without disclosing that it has a history of damage, such as a salvage title due to extensive body and frame destruction or other title blemishes.”

When you complain, the dealer may try to hide behind an “as-is” clause in your contract to avoid responsibility. However, this does not excuse them from failing to disclose known problems with a vehicle. In fact, some states prohibit “as-is” sales completely, and other states severely restrict them.

Even if the dealer claims you’re out of luck, you should consider consulting an attorney about the problem. They can advise you of any options you have for making an auto dealer fraud claim.

False Odometer Readings

Texas attorney Allen Stewart Odometer also points out that “odometer tampering is a common fraudulent scheme.” Used car dealers will roll back the odometer to make it look like it has fewer miles on it.

Stewart points to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stating that more than 450,000 vehicles with false odometer readings are sold each year. This fraud costs American consumers more than $1 billion yearly.

Fraudulent Charges

Another way car dealers commit fraud is to inflate prices above sticker value. They can also add hidden charges without disclosing or explaining them to the customer. Sometimes they will even represent that certain upgrades or services are “required” to get the customer to pay for things they don’t need or want. 

George O. West III has a law practice in Las Vegas that focuses on representing fraud victims. He observes that “[i]t is not uncommon for people to begin to realize they were the victim of auto fraud only after speaking with” an attorney. “Often people have a general feeling that something did not go quite right when they bought their car but may think it is part of the process.”

West explains that although “hidden charges or overcharging . . . may look suspicious, . . . the consumer may not understand exactly what or why they are being charged.” Consumers expect some degree of nickel and diming, so they may just overlook some of these charges. But in fact, many of these types of charges are blatantly fraudulent.

Bait & Switch 

Another common type of fraud occurs when a dealer tells you one thing and then changes their tune later. When it comes to marketing, this often takes the form of a “bait and switch.” 

A bait and switch occurs when the dealer advertises something to get you into the store, such as a particular price or a financing deal. However, when you actually try to take advantage of the deal, they tell you that the car is no longer available and sell you something similar—or even the same car advertised—at a higher price. 

Pauliana Lara, an auto fraud attorney in Southern California, explains, “They get the client very excited, and the client is very emotional, and they end up buying the car.” Lara had a client who fell victim to this scheme and ended up paying $3,000 more than the advertised price for a Prius. When he checked the ad again after getting home with his new car, he realized the car he bought had the exact same VIN as the car in the advertisement.

Yo-Yo Sales

“Yo-yo” sales also involve dealers changing their tune after you’re already on the hook. Missouri attorney Summer Masterson-Goethals explains that a yo-yo sale involves delivering the car to the consumer without finalizing the transaction: “The consumer believes they have a deal but later, the dealer informs the consumer that the transaction fell through for one reason or another and makes the consumer either return the car or agree to different terms than originally bargained for . . . .” Masterson-Goethals warns that sometimes the dealer will even sell the consumer’s trade-in vehicle before going back on the deal. 

Credit Application Fraud

Credit application fraud is extremely common among car dealers. In fact, the Maryland firm of Whitney, LLP reports that 1 in 5 credit applications it reviews for clients reveals credit application fraud and sometimes even forgeries.

Common tactics used in credit application fraud include:

  • Falsely inflating the applicant’s income;
  • Misrepresenting a person’s job title or how long they have worked for an employer;
  • Falsely reporting that the applicant has a job they don’t have;
  • Faking a trade-in so it looks like the borrow has made a larger down payment;
  • Inflating the value of the vehicle so it looks like the borrower has made a down payment when they haven’t or so that the loan-to-value ratio appears greater;
  • Not reporting the applicant’s other financial obligations; and
  • Stating that the applicant’s rent or mortgage payments are lower than they are.

Georgia auto fraud attorney Michael Flinn relates the example of a retired truck driver he represented. Despite Flinn’s client making only $1,500 a month, a dealership sold him a $35,000 vehicle by falsifying his credit application. Eventually, employees at the dealership received federal fraud charges.

Flinn advises consumers to “[a]sk to see the credit application filled out before you sign it. Don’t let there be blanks for your income. Do not agree to providing false income information. . . . Be suspicious if you are being sold more car than you thought you could afford.”

It’s never a good idea to obligate yourself on a loan you can’t afford to pay. This is especially true if the dealer talked you into a more expensive car by fraudulently securing your loan. If you can’t afford to pay your loan, your car will be repossessed. This will affect your credit score and can even lead to bankruptcy.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com