Tag Archives: motorcycle

Motorcycle Headlight Configuration and Conspicuity

Being seen by other motor vehicles is a critical safety factor when riding a motorcycle. Most rely on a single front headlight. There seem to be great safety disadvantages to this design. What other options could enhance safety?

Most motorcycles rely on a single white headlight for both illumination and conspicuity. Now that there is a law in North America that all cars must have daytime running lights, a motorcycle’s single white headlight may be lost on other drivers.

Motorcycle Tire Valve Replacement

Motorcycle valve has a bulbous end which goes on the inside of the rim. This prevents the valve from going through the hole in the rim. A pump is screwed onto the top, allowing air into the tire.

Motorcycle valve has a bulbous end which goes on the inside of the rim. This prevents the valve from going through the hole in the rim. A pump is screwed onto the top, allowing air into the tire.

Pressed my front tire’s tire valve in a certain direction I did, and air leaked out. This cannot be good. After checking the age of the tire, I knew that my tire valve needed replacement. In this case my DIY efforts proved insufficient, but I learned something. I had a local bike shop replace my tire and valve.

Motorcycle Traffic Riding Error

Riding a motorcycle is hazardous to your health if you are not very careful and conservative. As a rider this is unsurprising. Yesterday here in Scarborough/Toronto, Ontario, Canada I made a riding error that involved a bus. Luckily for me I did not crash, there was no traffic behind me, and very little traffic around me. Still, I give pause to analyze my actions, improve my riding and ultimately to ride another day.

Repairing an Olympia Nomad Textile Motorcycle Jacket

Olympia Nomad motorcycle jacket: nice jacket, well constructed inside and out

Olympia Nomad motorcycle jacket: nice jacket, well constructed inside and out

Textile motorcycle jackets are really for one time crash use, then they are trashed. “Face”, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada had bought an Olympia Nomad textile motorcycle jacket in May 2012, then lowsided at 80 mph in Montana in July 2012. With only a couple of months of use and about $300US later, it was a shame to trash the jacket. We opted to try a repair of the damage. The jacket had minor melting and a hole in the left elbow, some teeth missing from one of the air vent zippers, small rips of the cordura that covered the zipper, and abrasion and stitching destroyed in the slide. The right elbow had a couple seams abraded away that needed to be resewn.

Automotive Journalist on Motorcycle Hurt by Left Turning Car

How to avoid getting killed by a car, especially a left turning car at a signalized intersection, is a frequent topic of discussion on motorcycle forums and blogs. For a long time smart motorcyclists have been looking for the cause and solution to this deadly dilemma, in the hopes of reducing or eliminating the threat. First-hand documented accounts of crashes are dissected with a forensic zeal. Possible causes and contributing factors are suggested. Motorcyclists always leave the discussion with an uneasiness and queasiness in the gut: Often the cause of the crash, a car driver, is beyond the rider’s control. In this case an automotive writer riding his motorcycle gets into a head-on crash with a left-turning young lady, who says the typical cop-out excuse: “I did not see him”.

Banning Kite Flying in Toronto, Unfortunately

Afghan Kite Flying in Afghanistan. Here in Canada do not use glass covered or metal kite line. They are illegal and dangerous.

Afghan Kite Flying in Afghanistan. Here in Canada do not use glass covered or metal kite line. They are illegal and dangerous.

Kite flying is a favourite pastime of our family. It is so unfortunate that kite flying at Milliken Park, Toronto, Canada, a very large park near our house, has recently been banned. Kite flying is very kid and family friendly, but has been spoiled by people that come from different cultures. South East Asian (India, Pakistan) and Afghanistan kite flyers in their country use metal wire and glass coated flying line to cut the lines of competitors. They are importing and illegally using this type of line here in Toronto, Canada. They then leave the lines as garbage. Kids and adults using the park get cut up from these types of lines. It is certainly a safety hazard.

DIY Perforated Leather for Motorcycle Gear

Cooler than leather better than mesh: perforated leather

Cooler than leather better than mesh: perforated leather

Leather gear is very protective, offering the rider both impact, with armour, and abrasion resistance. Use by professional sportbike riders is a pretty good endorsement for its utility. Unfortunately leather, like anything else, has its disadvantages, two of which is weight and that it is hot to wear. While we cannot do much about the weight issue, adding small perforations to the leather will allow increased air flow and cooling without compromising protectiveness. While perforated motorcycle gear is popular with the summer rider, it is expensive, even more expensive than non-perforated gear. I’ll cover a possible method to perforate your own leather gear.

Utah Department of Public Safety Motorcycle Campaign

Cars, trucks and motorcycles need to get along. Cooperation both ways would make life a lot safer for everyone. These roadside ads are excellent. I wish we had similar ads here in Ontario, Canada. They are a two part ad campaign, one part directed at drivers and the other at motorcycle riders. Kudos to the great State of Utah.

Here are a couple directed at drivers:

Utah Department of Public Safety: Bikers make Lousy Speed Bumps

Utah Department of Public Safety: Bikers make Lousy Speed Bumps

Utah Department of Public Safety: Cars have Bumpers, Bikers have Bones

Utah Department of Public Safety: Cars have Bumpers, Bikers have Bones

Here are a couple directed at motorcycle riders:

Utah Department of Public Safety: Road Rash is Preventable

Utah Department of Public Safety: Road Rash is Preventable

Does Motorcycle Mesh Gear Melt in a Crash?

If you ride a motorcycle you know you take more chances on the road than if encased in a steel and glass condom. An obvious question is how to reduce a rider’s risk? The answer is multifold, but starts between the rider’s ears: Develop that innate “spidey sense” to predict that a dumb cager will do an idiot move, move out of the way, and then watch as life unfolds, with the rider safely out of harm’s way. Another tactic is to increase your conspicuity: Wear a bright pink bikini bunny suit with a reflective vest. That might work. Or not. Yet another tactic is to wear personal protective equipment, or what bikers call “gear”. Of course thick leather is best, but in the heat of the summer you could pass out from heat exhaustion. Mesh is very popular and affordable, but does it protect you in a crash? A common impression is that mesh will melt against your skin during a crash, causing you more pain and suffering. One needs to ask “Does mesh really melt in a crash”? In short, mesh does protect you in a crash, and in general mesh does not melt in a crash. Last Update: July 08 2013.

Motorcycle Helmet Impact Zones

This is my favourite helmet impact diagram. Yes, it’s old but there’s nothing more recent, and nothing to indicate that conditions have changed to invalidate the results. The source is Dietmar Otte, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Abteilung Verkehrsunfallforschung, Germany. Note that 35% of impacts occur in the chin area. Because I like my chin I ride with a full face helmet. This diagram was cited in the Hurt Report, as well as Proficient Motorcycling by David L Hough.

Helmet crash zones. Source: Dietmar Otte, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Abteilung Verkehrsunfallforschung, Germany

Helmet crash zones. Source: Dietmar Otte, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Abteilung Verkehrsunfallforschung, Germany

Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures

The "Hurt" Study