Saturday, February 25, 2012

Motorcyclists Are Almost Forty Times More Likely Than Car Accident Victims to Die in a Crash

Between 1994 and 2010, motorcycle accidents have accounted for approximately sixty thousand deaths in The United States. Over the last nine years the number of motorcycle related deaths has doubled. It seems that about half of these deaths resulted from the driver having trouble negotiating a curve, and 60% of fatal motorcycle crashes occurred at night.

The Statistics

Statistics show that from 1980 until 1998, the average age of motorcycle riders has increased, and that the number of over 40 riders increased from 15% in 1980 to about 44% in 1998. The statistics also show the size of the motorcycles has increased as well, from 1990 til 2001 the average engine size has increase approximately 25%. These factors combined show that older riders on bigger bikes, at night, on curves, are dying more.

Other statistics from 2004 show that 41% of motorcycle fatalities had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. That would explain the trouble negotiating the curves at night. Per mile traveled, a motorcyclist is a startling 37 times more likely to die in an accident and 9 times more likely to be injured in an accident than someone in a car.

Helmet Head

Head injury is the most common cause of death in motorcycle accidents, and in approximately half of all fatalities from motorcycle accidents the riders were not wearing a helmet. For all the numbers citing death and injury, I failed to find numbers citing how many riders are paralyzed in accidents. We know it happens. Are the numbers startling high, or insignificantly low? I don't know, but one thing is for certain, it happens.

Protection from accidents while riding a motorcycle shouldn't stop with a helmet. There are special riding clothes designed to protect a rider from injury in case of a fall. Riding suits with special padding at key points of the body such as the spine, elbows and shoulders, knees and hips, made of skid resistant materials such as leather, ballistic nylon, cordura, and Kevlar.

Protecting the Goods

Airbag technology is even available now, fitted to jackets and vests for impact protection for both riders. Special riding gloves protect the hands and goggles or full face helmets with visors to protect the face and eyes, and special riding boots designed to be light, yet provide maximum protection. All of this protective gear is at the disposal of the rider, yet many choose not to utilize this option.

And another underutilized option for safe riding is driver education, or rather, rider education. Proper training and wearing helmets as well as other safety gear would no doubt reduce the risk of severe injury and death. But the choice being left to the discretion of the rider is what freedom is about, just like riding motorcycles. After all, haven't you ever seen the biker with the t-shirt stating "ride free or die"? Yeah, that never really made much sense to me either.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Daytona Bike Week

If you are a motorcycle enthusiast in North America, you've no doubt heard about one of the biggest biker rallies and parties in the United States and the entire world. Daytona Bike Week is an amazing motorcycle event that brings together approximately a half million like minded bikers each and every year.

What started in 1937 as the Daytona 200, a motorcycle race ran over both sandy beaches and pavement, has turned into an unbelievable 10 day festival held in March of each year. For thousands of North American motorcycle enthusiasts who are bombarded by winter including the cold temperatures and snow that accompanies it, Daytona Bike Week arrives just in time to transition out of hibernation and into biker party mode.

The success of the popular 10 day motorcycle related event can partially be attributed to the beautiful location holding Daytona Bike Week. Volusia County is located on the east coast of Florida and is home to some of the nicest beach vacation destinations in Florida and the United States. During Daytona Bike Week, the population of this ocean side county can swell to twice its size, doubling it's population for 10 days from 500,000 to 1 million.

As the popularity of the original Daytona 200 race grew, more and more motorcycle enthusiasts began flocking to Daytona Beach to watch and take in the excitement of the rally... and to enjoy the sunshine and beaches of Daytona Beach and Volusia County. Only for a few consecutive years during the second world war in the forties was the Daytona 200 cancelled as all resources and interest were focused on the allied forces defeating Germany in the European conflict.

Fast forwarding to present times, the small Daytona 200 race has evolved into something that can only be described as the biggest biker party/festival on the planet with local and corporate businesses sponsoring and holding so many events during the 10 days that it would be simply impossible to attend them all. From bike shows to beer gardens from poker runs to biker-themed concerts... Daytona Bike Week is to an adult what Disneyworld is to a young girl or boy. Nowhere else will you see this many leather clad, bad ass looking bikers having so much fun, each one seeming to have that wide eyed excitement with a hint of amazement and wonderment. All brought on by the sights, sounds and overall experience of the Daytona Bike Week.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Motorcycle Luggage Bags for Rookies

Motorcycles are one of the most commonly used modes of travelling these days. As with any other transportation, bikers also have luggage to carry with them. With the absence of luggage compartments in a bike, luggage bags are the only way to take your cargo with you. They have some considerable capacity to hold items from a small diary to a bowling ball. If you don't have a motorcycle luggage bag, you'll eventually need one in the near future.

There are many different types of luggage bags for bikes. There's a bag for almost every place available on the bike to store luggage. So, determine the type of luggage you're planning to take before buying bags.

The most commonly used luggage bags are saddlebags. These have come all the way from the days of horse carriages. Don't worry as these are different for bikes and come according to the needs of the biker. There are two types: Hard and Soft. Hard saddlebags are moulded into a trunk like shape and mounted on both sides of the rear wheel. They are lockable and add up to the overall look of your ride with extra brake lights. Soft saddlebags on the other hand aren't solid like the hard ones, but still they have a traditional shape.

Tool bags are there for keeping your bike's tools with you. As tools are heavy, these bags are made of heavy duty nylon or leather to carry the weight of tools. They're mounted on the fork of the bike sometimes, but usually they are strapped on the seat behind the driver. They have compartments and internal straps for classifying tools within the bag.

If you need to keep small items like cameras, road maps, sunglasses and a small diary, then windshield bags are made specifically for this purpose. They find their place in between the dashboard and windshield and offer easy accessibility to small but sometimes urgent things. You would waste a lot of time searching for them if they were stashed in any other larger bag instead of the windshield bag.

For carrying perhaps the most luggage, you would find a sissy bar bag helpful. These bags are mounted to the sissy bar or passenger backrests nf the bike and are quite large. With the tower bag, comes a roll bag on top. You could quite easily take a few days' food or camping equipment in them.

There are then trunk bags to give you all the features of sissy bar bags plus lock ability. They are constructed of heavy duty ABS Plastic, giving them a solid shape. With the high quality finishing, they give a glossy look, adding extra style to the bike. They are ideal for keeping breakable things like a full face helmet, net books, external hard drives, etc.

Getting the right motorcycle luggage bag to fit your needs depends on your knowledge of its features, pros and cons. A more informed decision would increase the chances of getting the right type of bag.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Top Five Motorcycle Roads in Oklahoma

Riders will see elevations that vary from the state's low point in its southeast corner (at only 800 feet above sea level) and rise as you move west into the panhandle where the highest peak resides - Black Mesa at 5,000 feet above sea level. The state has four primary mountain ranges: the Ouachita Mountains, the Arbuckle Mountains, the Wichita Mountains, and the Ozark Mountains.

5. Rune Stone Ride (81 Miles)

Written Directions:

Begin in Broken Bow, OK and head north on US Highway 259 from Broken Bow and just stay on 259 all the way through until you hit a T in the road. At the T, which is US Highway 270, take a left and ride about 20 miles to Heavener.

The scenery is woodsy, mainly pines once you ride North of Broken Bow. Before you reach Heavener you have to pass through about 30 miles of twisting and turning through mountain passes.

Road Quality:

The road is perfect! It's nicely paved and has a lot of curves as well as some straight-aways. There is no traffic!

Roadside Amenities:

There isn't much but a few towns and residential homes along this route which makes it that much more remote. Near the end of the ride, you can take the Telimena Byway Note: You have to ride out to the Rune Stone National Park in Heavener to see the proof the Norsemen discovered America around the date of November 11, 1012 (which is what the lettering represents), long before Columbus fumbled upon it. It is believed that these Norse explorers crossed the Atlantic, rounded the tip of Florida into the Gulf of Mexico, found the Mississippi River, and sailed into its tributaries, the Arkansas and Poteau Rivers, around 750 A.D. This date is indicated by the grammar used on the Poteau Runestone. The park which surrounds the stone is overlooking the whole town of Heavener and is a beautiful site to behold. There is a waterfall and a really nice area made around the stone so you can view the stone and walk around the area.

4. Rural Lake Keystone Ride (25 Miles)

Written Directions:

From Tulsa, take HWY 412 west. Exit at 209th west avenue also called Prue Road. The ride begins here. Ride north and follow the road around the north side of Lake Keystone to Cleveland, OK.


This route is hilly and curvy in the beginning, opening up to a view of Lake Keystone from about a hundred feet up. It winds around the lake going over small sections and through both flat and sparse terrain as well as hilly and wooded.

Road Quality:

This road used to be terrible, but it's brand new blacktop asphalt now (2012) for most of the ride. The last few miles are country road so take it a little slower. Mostly hilly and sweeping curves, just a few of them are tight and twisty.

Roadside Amenities:

This is a rural ride, but has several places to stop for gas because of the state park. There's a gas station at the beginning, two along the way and several at the end in Cleveland. Check out any of several entrances to state parks on Lake Keystone.
3. The Best of 66 (40 Miles)

Written Directions:

This is Route 66 between Stroud, OK and Arcadia, OK. There are a lot of places to check out and it's just a great road. Be sure to take your time and don't be afraid to turn around to check something out that you missed.


This is a small portion of Route 66 and it's beautiful. Some curves and lots to look at, but you will probably have to backtrack for some photo ops, markings leave a lot to be desired.

Road Quality:

Road changes between counties, but mostly great. Lots of trees and curves. Also just to the west of Arcadia is the Arcadia Lake and Park.

Roadside Amenities:

Lots of little towns and small shops and stations. Chandler has a Route 66 museum that is really a must see, great place. Pops, Bikers Shak, and Round Barn are in Arcadia. Lots of great places to stop and find things you can't live without!

2. Lake Hudson Tour (40 Miles)

Written Directions:

Start in Locust Grove, OK and head north on 82. When you get to Langley turn left on to route 28 and end your route in Pensacola or Adair.


Drive through foliage tunnels, along side Lake Hudson, see open prairies with rolling hills in the distance. You'll also pass next to the Spavinaw Hill State Game Refuge and see its untapped beauty. You'll also be in the vicinity of Snowdale State park (Which sits next to Lake Hudson)

Road Quality:

Lots and lots of twist and turns with a few hills thrown in. Great pavement not a pot hole one.

Roadside Amenities:

You won't be taking this route for the things to do along the way... just gas up and ride!!

1. Talimena Drive (55 Miles)

Written Directions:

This route is located in the southeast region of Oklahoma and starts in a very small town called Talihina, OK. Talihina is about 60 miles south west of Fort Smith Arkansas and

located off of US Highway 271. The general path of this route is simple -- you are traveling east from Talihina, OK to Mena, AR. To start, just get to Talihina and head east out of town on state route 1. Stay on this same road as it crosses into Arkansas and becomes state route 8 and leads you right into Mena, AR.


The Talimena National Scenic Byway or, for short, Talimena Drive extends west to east along the ridgeline of the Winding Stair Mountain and Rich Mountain in southeastern Oklahoma. These are the highest point in elevation between the Appalachians and the Rockies. These fifty miles are filled with sharp curves and 13% grades extending from Talihina, Oklahoma on the west end to Mena, Arkansas on the west end. There are several vistas that overlook the valleys to the north and south as well as picnic grounds along the route as well. Some of the most breathtaking scenery in Oklahoma can be found along this drive.

Road Quality:

As mentioned above, the road is filled with lots of curves, switchbacks and steep grades. The speed limit is SLOW which of course allows you to enjoy the scenery. Since the road generally only supports scenic traffic, the road conditions are less than perfect. Since you will be traveling well under the speed limit, you will probably not even notice an occasional pothole.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Accessories for Motorcycle Riders

We have all seen them, admired them and wished we were them. Who am I talking about? Motorcycle Riders, in which, many aim to be just like them.

Many are inspired to purchase a motorcycle and become a rider; however, it's important to know the most important factor in riding a motorcycle. Safety! That's right. Whether you know it or not driving a motorcycle is a lot different from driving a car and the safety methods are on another playing field.
I want to take a look at the most important pieces every motorcycle rider should possess. Knowing the proper gear is essential to safe riding and makes it more enjoyable when you are fully prepared.

The Helmet. The helmet is the piece of gear that protects you from sustaining any head injuries in case of an accident. Helmets come in all shapes, designs and sizes. There are helmets for children and adults. When you're buying a helmet you must make sure that you get one that is not loose or too tight. Your helmet should cover the head and face. The helmet can also provide you with some type of hearing protection from the wind.

The Eye Protection. The eye protection can vary depending on what type of helmet you have. Riding without something covering your eyes is an epic fail. Just like cars get window chips and or cracks, imagine something like that happening your eyes. Proper eye protection means using an approved shield. You can talk to any rider or sales person in a store that sells motorcycle gear on the best options for you.

The Jacket. The jacket can protect you in case you fall and slide off the bike. You can purchase various styles of jackets in several types of material, such as, denim, nylon in its various guises, corduroy, and leather. The hide of a cow, or any other commonly used leather. So, you must decide on which you prefer.

The Pants. The pants should be made of a thick material, such as leather, because they resist abrasions and provide protection from the elements. Besides, you've seen the movies with the guy who gets all of the girls at the local diner because he's dressed with signature leather pants.

The Gloves. Gloves are always a smart idea. In the event that some flies towards you in the air you will have the protection you need to block or swat it away if possible. Also, if you have to jump off the bike or you fall, you will have something to protect your hands.

The Boots. This is an optional item to have and wear. Although, you recognize a motorcycle rider by the gear they wear (Jacket, Pants, Helmet, Etc.) you still want to protect yourself. Rubber soled shoes with a good tread design can give you better gripping capabilities. You want to avoid boots with a smooth or slippery sole.

The Rain Gear. When it rains it pours. That's the popular saying that we have heard for generations. Rain gear is an important piece to have as well. It's seems very trivial, however, you don't want to be caught in the rain without it while riding.