Taking Care of Your Motorcycle

There’s nothing like riding a motorcycle on the open road. For most of the world, the motorcycle or 2-wheel scooter is the most common form of motorized transportation available. Around 200 million motorcycles are in use worldwide (compared to almost 600 million cars) and almost 60% of these are in Asia and the Far East – China and India both have over 35 million motorcycles and motorized scooters in use. Contrast this to the United States where the car is dominant (about 30% of the world’s cars are here in the United States). In fact, the world’s largest producer of two-wheel vehicles isn’t Harley Davidson or Suzuki, it’s Hero Motocorp, based in India. Kind of small indication of how the world is changing, isn’t it?

While we’re not experts on the place of motorcycles in the culture of these other countries, it’s obvious that here in the USA, the motorcycle has a unique niche in our pop culture consciousness. This place was cemented in the 1960s with movies like Easy Rider and Hunter S. Thompson’s book on the Hells Angels motorcycle gang in the mid-1960s. Harley Davidson’s sales are bolstered by their unique marketing appeal to how motorcycles look and feel on the open road. Harley even patented the exact sound of their engine. Beyond Harley Davidson, motorcycle sales in the United States today are around 1 million units a year. So lots of people these days are hitting the open road and feeling the wind in their face.

While motorcycles and scooters are fuel-efficient and a lot of fun to ride, they aren’t necessarily cheap. High-end motorcycles like a Harley can easily rival what it costs for a new car. That’s a lot of money invested in two wheels. So if you have a motorcycle or scooter, it’s important to take care of your investment so it will keep you riding for years to come.

This article covers advice and tips from professionals to guide you in the steps you need to follow to take care of your bike and keep it working its best for as long as possible. We will talk about areas of the bike that you need to pay regular attention to and why. We’ll talk about the right fuels to use and how to store your bike.

YOUR OWNER’S MANUAL – THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO SUCCESS

Following the owner’s manual is, quite frankly, pretty underrated when it comes to ensuring a long and successful ownership experience of your motorcycle (and your car, too). But they write owner’s manuals for a reason. The manual will give you the best advice from the manufacturer on important issues like

What you need to get fixed, how often, and when you should schedule the service
The type of oil and essential fluids needed by your bike
Any special procedures you can undertake yourself to keep your bike running its best

For those of us who are heavy into DIY and more mechanically-inclined, there are “full service” manuals available that basically tells a mechanic everything they need to know to rebuild the entire bike from scratch, down to such esoteric information as how many pounds of force to tighten a bolt on the bike.

Whether you’re one of those gearheads or just an average biker who wants to keep your bike in its best shape, you need a copy of your owner’s manual and you should check it often. The investment will be worth it.

PROPER MAINTENANCE SCHEDULES

Manufacturers recommend that motorcycles be serviced at specific mileage or time intervals. The suggested maintenance intervals are listed in the owner’s manual to help owners and technicians set up a realistic and appropriate maintenance schedule. Most motorcycles made after 1980 are pretty reliable if maintained properly. To some extent, the high reliability of today’s motorcycles has worked to the disadvantage of many riders. Some riders have been lulled into believing that motorcycles are like modern cars and require little maintenance. Modern bikes require less maintenance than they did in the 60′s and 70′s but they still need a lot more maintenance than a car.

BREAKING YOUR MOTORCYCLE IN FROM NEW

When you lay out the money to buy a new cycle, you certainly want it to start its life out right. This means you have to “break it in” correctly. This will prevent problems with your bike later on. Exactly what you need to do in this respect depends on the manufacturer recommendations for your bike, which will be found in your manual. It could be as light as just being advised to do “light riding” for the first hundred miles of life, to more complex and involved break-in protocols that involve driving the bike at specific speeds and engine RPMs for specific amounts of time, and which may change and morph from doing one thing during the first few hundred miles to doing something else for the next thousand.

Whatever your owner’s manual says for this is what you need to do. And you do need to do it. It will save you headaches down the road. You have enough headaches in your life without having one from not following these guidelines.

THE ESSENTIAL OIL CHANGE STEP

You should be well familiar with the concept that changing your oil within the recommended guidelines is the single best thing you can do for any engine on any kind of vehicle. This obviously includes motorcycles.

It’s just as important to change your motorcycle oil on a regular basis because those engines tend to work harder – at higher speeds and RPMs – than cars and truck engines. Your owner’s manual will have the best recommendation for the right oil to use. It will also tell you how often you need to change it. Ignore these recommendations at your peril.

Go too long between changes and your oil won’t protect the metal parts from wear as effectively as it should. Remember that oil contains additives such as acid neutralizers which are used to protect the engine surfaces from build-up of damaging contaminants and combustion products (like soot and acid). So if you go too long between changing your oil, these additives will wear out and stop protecting the engine.

On the flip side, change your oil too often and you’ll be flushing money down the drain. Sure, you could change your oil every 500 miles “just to be safe”, but what would be the point? You’d just be wasting money by being too overly cautious.

AIR FILTER MAINTENANCE

An internal combustion engine requires a constant intake flow of air to provide the oxygen needed to support combustion of the fuel. A clean air filter is important for making sure that the air that goes into your engine doesn’t bring in foreign contaminants and substances that may do harm to your engine. Dust and dirt and particles from the environment can get trapped in the oil film or onto metal surfaces where they act as abrasives and damage the valves, cylinder and internal bearings.

Cleaning or changing the air filter will help prevent this. How often you should do so is dictated by your owner’s manual (there it is again). It’s also always a good idea to increase the frequency with which you change the filter if you ride your motorcycle a lot in dusty environments. Obviously a dusty environment increases the speed at which your filter gets dirty and excessively plugged.

Lastly, a clean air filter will also help your gas mileage. This is a bonus that everyone likes. Now it won’t boost your mileage by 20% or anything like that, but you do typically get a small mileage bonus for being conscientious in your maintenance in this area.

RIDE UNDER PRESSURE

Tire pressure can be the difference between wasting gas and money or riding at your best. Tires are the contact points for the road and influence so many things about your riding experience. Your fuel mileage stays high and your bike handling is best when your tires are at the proper pressure. Tire pressure that is too low causes too much of the tire’s surface to contact the road at any given time. This creates excessive drag and drops your gas mileage. It also places pressure on the side walls of the tires and speeds the wear of the tire. So make sure you’re not riding too low. But don’t raise the tire pressure too high, either. It is true that higher tire pressure gives you a mileage boost. But go too far in this direction (some people think if a little of something is good, a lot of it has to be great) and you won’t get the best traction in wet weather, which is obviously dangerous. And tires that are overinflated wear more quickly too, but in the middle of the tread, instead of on the sides.

There’s no rocket science here – just check your tire pressure once a week with a gauge.

KEEP YOUR BEARINGS (GREASED) AND CHECK YOUR SUSPENSION PARTS

People who own dirt bikes are already familiar with the habit of greasing wheel bearings, since dirt bikes need a lot of grease virtually from the minute they’ve been purchased. Street bikes don’t have as many exposed bearings as dirt bikes do, but they do need a healthy dose of grease in areas like suspension linkages. Checking them and following regular greasing routines will make these exposed parts last longer.

Any good maintenance routine should involve checking the health of important bearings for signs of wear. It’s essential to do this because these bearings wear out quickly when they start to go. Steering stem bearings should be checked (raise the front wheels off the ground on a stand and check the feel of the turn). Any unusual feeling or excessive loose play during this check could be a sign that these bearings need to be replaced.

Check your bike’s swing arm. The pivot point should be tight and it should not have any side-to-side play in it. Same thing for the front and rear axles. Any play in these areas necessitates replacing of these bearings.

In summary, check all your bolts and bearings regularly. Grease them regularly to make them last longer, and put anti-seize coating on them when you reinstall your bolts (swing arm, linkage, motor mount). Paying attention to these critical parts will prevent bigger issues at a later time.

WATCHING YOUR DRIVETRAIN

We’ve already talked about the importance of clean oil and a clean air filter in your bike’s health. But another essential part that works with these components is the chain, belt or shaft that enables your transmission to drive your bike’s wheel – the drive train. Which one of these you have depends on the model of bike you have.

Keeping your drivetrain healthy is pretty straightforward but important to do. Check your chain and sprockets for wear. Make sure you have no cracks in your belt. Check the shaft housing and add oil to it every so often. Maintenance to this essential area pretty much involves observation to ensure the lubrication is adequate. Don’t ignore this. You can’t go anywhere if your drive train is out of order.

BATTERY CHARGE

Even if your drive train is in good working order, you won’t go anywhere if your battery is dead. Batteries drain slowly from new, so it’s up to you to maximize the total life you’ll get out of it. There are two kinds of batteries you can opt for: a sealed battery and an exposed battery. Exposed batteries require that you check the liquid solution inside every so often. If the solution gets too low, top it off. This keeps the internal plates from getting exposed and wearing the battery out too quickly. If you use a sealed battery, you won’t have to worry about this.

RIDING WISELY

Beyond the simple things above that you can do to make your bike last longer, how you operate the bike also goes a long way in this regard. A car driver who squeals his tires, pops his clutch and slams on his brakes isn’t going to get very long life out of his clutch or brakes and transmission and is likely to be spending a lot of time with his friendly neighborhood mechanic. The same is true for motorcycle riding. Riding the bike rough, not feathering the clutch while shifting, not backing off the throttle at the right time – these will wear your transmission out pretty quickly. In the same vein, accelerating and braking in controlled manners help out as well and will keep you out of the repair shop for much longer periods of time. You have enough things to spend money on these days without wasting it by wearing essentially bike parts out too quickly.

FUEL SYSTEM MAINTENANCE – ESSENTIAL STEPS

The fuel system is an essential internal system that ensures your motorcycle gets its essential life blood of fuel delivered to the right place in the right amount for the best performance. Like other parts of the bike, the fuel system requires a little bit of looking after, but it doesn’t have to be difficult or labor intensive, it’s more preventive in nature.

GETTING THE FUEL RIGHT

Fuel is quite often overlooked as a form of preventive maintenance on a motorcycle. Any time you’re talking about fuel and fuel systems, you should always consider the fuel filter. It’s wise to check the fuel filter regularly if you have one to make sure it is not clogged, looks clean and is clear. It is recommended that you replace fuel filters every 2 years, or sooner if you have any signs of contaminated fuel. While you’re at it, check the bike’s fuel lines for weather damage and cracking. Replace these lines immediately if any damage is found.

Typically, untreated gasoline retains its best combustion quality in storage for about six months; much less if the gasoline contains ethanol. Things that cause gasoline fuels to lose their quality are exposure to air and light, and the accumulation of water from the environment. Air and light cause chemical reactions (oxidation) to occur in the fuel, producing discolored gasoline with dark deposits collected on the bottom of the gas can or storage tank. These reactions happen faster in hot weather.

Ethanol fuels also have the issue of pulling water out of the air and into the fuel. This is due to the chemical nature of the ethanol itself. When enough water is absorbed, the dissolved ethanol m ay start to drop out of solution in a process known as “phase separation”. The free ethanol mixes with the water and sinks to the bottom of the tank (because water and ethanol is heavier than gas). When this happens, you’ve got some problems that are best avoided, like leftover gasoline that is stripped of its octane rating, or your fuel line sucking up a water/ethanol mix instead of sucking up gasoline.

The best way to prevent these storage problems is to treat the fuel with an additive. But in order to be effective, any fuel additive must be added when the gasoline is in good shape. Once the fuel goes bad, there are no products on the market that can restore it to good condition, and the gasoline must be discarded at that point. At best, poor performance and at worst, serious engine damage can result if deteriorated gasoline is burned in your engine. A good fuel additive treatment can double or triple the life of gasoline and will have a positive effect on the performance of your motorcycle.

Furthermore, the ethanol found in most on-road gasoline is highly corrosive and will actually dissolve the aluminum in your carburetor over time. A good fuel additive mixed in with the gasoline should coat and protect the carburetor and fuel system components, protecting them from this process. This is very important when your bike is in storage for a long period of time.

WHEN YOUR BIKE SITS AROUND – BURNING YOUR RESERVE

Also remember that, when parking your motorcycle for any extended length of time, to turn the petcock to the off position. This prevents any fuel potentially leaking or flooding the carburetor. The fuel that is drawn in when you change your petcock setting from “Normal” to “Reserve” comes from a different part of the gas tank, usually from the very bottom. The gas located in this part of the tank is more likely to be phase-separated gasoline containing higher concentrations of water, ethanol and whatever foreign matter and heavy deposits that would have accumulated over time. The potential here is that the very first time you need your reserve fuel, your motorcycle just stops dead because this contaminated fuel would be drawn into the carburetor or fuel injection system. A good preventive solution to this problem is to ride on the reserve setting with a full tank of fuel on occasion. The ratio of contaminated to good fuel will be so small as not to be as much of a problem. You’re more likely to burn off whatever bad gas is in the reserve without nearly as many problems. This will also mean that the day you need your reserve, it’s going to work like you need it to.

STORING YOUR MOTORCYCLE

When preparing to store a motorcycle for an extended period of time, you should take certain steps that will reduce the chances of having certain storage-related problems. The following items are some recommendations for steps to take before you put the cycle away for storage. This will ensure that when the next riding season arrives, your motorcycle will be free of problems and ready to go:

Change the oil and filter.

If the motorcycle is liquid-cooled, be sure that the cooling system is filled with a 50 percent antifreeze solution to prevent the cooling system components from freezing.

Fill your fuel tank with gasoline and add a fuel stabilizer. There are a number of options for this, some better than others. A good fuel additive will prevent corrosion to fuel system components (especially from ethanol) and prevent the fuel from deteriorating during storage.

Drain the carburetor if possible or turn the fuel petcock to the off position and run the engine until all the fuel in the carburetor is consumed and the engine dies.

To prevent rusting in the cylinders, poor a teaspoon of clean engine oil into each cylinder by removing the spark plugs. Place a piece of cloth over the spark plug holes and turn the engine over a few times to disperse the oil and coat the cylinder walls. Replace the spark plugs after completing this operation.

Remove the battery and verify that it is fully charged and store it in an area to protect it from freezing. You should place the battery on a trickle charger once a month while in storage to prevent it from discharging and sulfating.

If the motorcycle has a drive chain, you should lubricate it to prevent it from rusting.

Inflate the tires to the factory recommended pressure to prevent sidewall cracks or flat spots.

Wash and wax all the painted and chrome parts.

Cover the motorcycle to keep dust and grit from settling on the paint which can result in a scratched finish. It is also recommended using a cloth cover to avoid any moisture collecting on the cover or the painted or chrome surfaces.

Following these procedures will reduce the chances of having problems when taking the motorcycle out of storage and ensuring that your motorcycle will look as good and run as well as it did when you placed it in storage. The result will be an enjoyable riding season when it begins.

The author Erik Bjornstad is the Technical Information Director for Bell Performance, the inventors of the first fuel additive in 1909.

Bell Performance manufactures quality fuel treatments for ethanol (Mix-I-Go and Ethanol Defense), gas, diesel and the power generation industry.

Cheap Stylish Motorcycle Clothing and Motorcycle Gloves to Keep You Safe

People all over the world are motorcycle enthusiasts, some even since their childhood, and they have never missed an opportunity to delight in this passion. Most of us have seen people cruising along the highways and roads on their bikes with great pride and gallantry. Motorcycle drivers are mostly chivalrous and confident. But to motorcycle drivers and riders ever consider the array of accidents which are inseparably linked with motorcycle riding? Motorcycle accidents are extremely common; hence, it is important for motorcycle drivers to equip themselves adequately in order to protect themselves. If you are a resident of the UK and enjoy riding your motorcycle, you should have motorcycle gloves and clothing that will keep you safe.

Motorcycle clothes and motorcycle gloves should combine style, protection and comfort. These types of clothing are meant to protect you from accidents. A biker requires a minimum amount of comfort to be able to drive at ease. The proper motorcycle clothing and motorcycle gloves enable bikers to ride comfortably in all types of weather conditions, even in the most harsh weather conditions. Whether it is rain or snow, good motorcycle jackets offer protection from water seepage and road burn if you fall off your bike and slide. Many bikers like donning the latest styles in motorcycle clothing and motorcycle gloves. Motorcycle clothes are not just meant to protect a biker and keep him or her safe; they are also an excuse for bikers to wear the latest items of fashionable clothing.

Clothes for motorcycle riders include a number of items from motorcycle jackets to motorcycle gloves. Biker jackets are the most important items in motorcycle clothing and they are manufactured of leather in UK. However, they are also available in nylon, which offers year round protection to bikers. Most of these jackets are manufactured in the UK in such a manner that they offer warmth during the chilly winter and protect from water during the rainy season. The jackets should be purchased only after proper measurements have been taken, unless the jackets are comfortable and accommodating the bikers will not ride comfortably. For bikers who indulge in professional racing, motorcycle body armour is a must. It acts as a shield and protects the back, chest and arms from injuries in accidents.

Motorcycle chaps are another important component of motorcycle clothing, it protects bikers from cold winds, dirt and dust. Motorcycle gloves are another important clothing item that bikers cannot avoid while riding on their bikes. Without motorcycle gloves, motorcyclists may fail to keep the grip needed to handle their bikes. Often the grip of the motorcyclist is compromised due to sweat, which causes her grip to slip. The last and the most important item of motorcycle clothing is the motorcycle helmet. Helmets offer protection to the head and face of the riders from injuries. Hence, a helmet protects the most important part of the body and is surely the most indispensable item of clothing that one needs to wear while driving a motorcycle. However, before purchasing a helmet, make sure that it is endorsed by the Department of Transportation. A DOT certified helmet ensures that it has passed the optimum stages of protection and the helmet complies with motorcycle laws.

A lot of manufacturing companies in the UK produce branded motorcycle clothing and motorcycle gloves. This motorist wear comes at premium rates however, it is unavailable to most motorcycle owners. Since the most important function of these items of clothing is protection, one can choose affordable motorcycle clothing instead of paying high prices for the expensive brands. Though it is true that affordable clothing items are not as popular as their branded counterparts, these items offer sufficient protection to bikers as long as they have been approved. Before purchasing motorcycle clothing and motorcycle gloves it is necessary to consider certain factors like the fit and the thickness of the jackets. There are a number of motorcycle clothing stores in the UK; shop around to find out best motorcycle clothing and gloves for you.

Pursuing a Motorcycle Accident Claim

You can ride safer by following these quick tips on motorcycle safety:

1. Always assume that you and your motorcycle are totally invisible to other drivers.

2. Leave plenty of space in front and back and to the sides from all other vehicles.

3. Beware of motorists turning left in front of you at intersections.

4. Never drink or take drugs and try to ride a motorcycle.

5. Avoid riding at night, especially late Saturday night and early Sunday when drunken drivers may be on the road.

6. Beware of taking curves that you can’t see around. A parked truck or a patch of sand may be awaiting you.

7. Do not try to ‘get even’ with another rider or motorist by giving in to road rage.

8. If someone is tailgating you, either speed up to open more space or pull over and let them pass.

9. Take a motorcycle safety course to learn what to look for to avoid accidents.

10. Wear protective clothing and a helmet.

There is no New York No-Fault insurance available to motorcycle riders. This means that in the event of injury in a motorcycle accident, private health insurance must pay the bills. If the rider wins a lawsuit, these bills must usually be paid back to the health insurance carrier. If there is no health insurance available, the issue of medical bills and paying for medical care becomes complicated, indeed. Consult an experienced accident and personal injury attorney.

As a lawyer and rider who has held a motorcycle license for many years, I have some definite thoughts on this topic. But I’d like you to “cram down” some statistics about motorcycle safety, which relate to accidents and injuries, and which I find fascinating:

1. Approximately 3/4 of motorcycle accidents involve collision with another vehicle; most often a passenger automobile.

2. Approximately 1/4 of motorcycle accidents are single vehicle accidents involving the motorcycle colliding with the roadway or some fixed object in the environment.

3. Vehicle failure accounts for less than 3% of motorcycle accidents, and most of those are single vehicle accidents where control is lost due to a puncture flat.

4. In single vehicle accidents, motorcycle rider error is present as the cause about 2/3 of the time, with the typical error being a slideout and fall due to overbraking, or running wide on a curve due to excess speed or under-cornering.

5. Roadway defects (pavement ridges, potholes, etc.) are the accident cause in 2% of accidents; animal involvement causes 1% of accidents.

6. In multiple vehicle accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violates the motorcycle right-of-way and causes the accident 2/3 of the time.

7. Drivers inability to recognize motorcycles in traffice is the main source of motorcycle collisions. The driver of the other vehicle involved in collision with the motorcycle does not see the motorcycle before the collision, or does not see the motorcycle until too late to avoid the collision.

8. Deliberate hostile action by a motorist against a motorcycle rider is a rare accident cause.

9. The most frequent accident type is the motorcycle proceeding straight and the automobile making a left turn in front of the oncoming motorcycle.

10. Intersections are the most likely place for the motorcycle accident, with the other vehicle violating the motorcycle right-of-way, and often violating traffic controls.

11. Weather is not a factor in 98% of motorcycle accidents.

12. Most motorcycle accidents involve a short trip associated with shopping, errands, friends, entertainment or recreation, and the accident is likely to happen close to the place the trip began.

13. The view of the motorcycle or other vehicle involved in an accident is limited by glare or obstructed by other vehicles in almost 2 of multiple vehicle accidents.

14. Visibility of the motorcycle is a critical factor in multiple vehicle accidents, and accidents are significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle headlamps (on in daylight) and the wearing of high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets.

15. Fuel system leaks and spills are present after 62% of motorcycle crashes. This means that there is usually a fire hazard.

16. Significantly overrepresented in accidents are motorcycle riders between the ages of 16 and 24; motorcycle riders between the ages of 30 and 50 are significantly underrepresented. Although the majority of accident-involved motorcycle riders are male (96%), female motorcycles riders are significantly overrepresented in accidents.

17. Motorcycle riders involved in accidents are essentially without training; 92% are self-taught or learned from family or friends. Motorcycle rider training experience reduces accident involvement and reduces injury in the event of accidents.

18. Almost 1/2 of fatal accidents show alcohol involvement.

19. Motorcycle riders in those accidents have difficulty avoiding the collision. Most riders overbrake and skid the rear wheel, and underbrake the front wheel, greatly reducing the ability to slow down and avoid the accident. In the presence of alcohol, the ability to countersteer and swerve are just about absent.

20. The typical motorcycle accident allows the motorcyclist just less than 2 seconds to avoid the collision.

21. Motorcycle modifications such as those associated with the semi-chopper or cafe racer are definitely overrepresented in accidents.

22. The likelihood of injury is extremely high in motorcycle accidents – 98% of multiple vehicle collisions and 96% of single vehicle accidents result in some kind of injury to the motorcycle rider; 45% result in more than a minor injury.

23. Half of the injuries to motorcycle riders are to the ankle-foot, lower leg, knee, and thigh-upper leg.

24. Crash bars are not an effective injury countermeasure; the reduction of injury to the ankle-foot is balanced by increase of injury to the thigh-upper leg, knee, and lower leg.

25. The use of heavy boots, jacket, gloves, etc., is effective in preventing or reducing abrasions and lacerations, which are frequent but rarely severe injuries.

26. Speed, alcohol involvement and motorcycle size increade the injury severity.

27. Seventy-three percent of accident-involved motorcycle riders use no eye protection, and it is likely that the wind on their unprotected eyes contributes to impairment of vision which delays hazard detection.

28. Approximately 50% of the motorcycle riders in traffic use safety helmets but only 40% wear helmets at the time of their accident.

29. Voluntary safety helmet use by accident-involved motorcycle riders was lowest for untrained, uneducated, young motorcycle riders on hot days and short trips.

30. The most deadly injuries to motorcycle accident victims are injuries to the chest and head.

31. The use of the safety helmet is the single critical factor in the prevention or reduction of head injury.

32. Safety helmet use does not decrease the riders ability to hear or see, and causes no fatigue or loss of attention; no element of accident causation is related to helmet use.

33. Helmeted riders and passengers showed significantly lower head and neck injury for all types of injury, at all levels of injury severity.

34. The increased coverage of the full facial coverage helmet increases protection, and significantly reduces face injuries.

35. There is no increase in neck injury by wearing a safety helmet; helmeted riders have fewer neck injuries than unhelmeted riders.

Motorcycle Accessories to Enhance Your Riding Experience

Motorcycle accessories can enhance your riding experience. With the right accessories, your ride will be safe as well as comfortable. What things should you consider when selecting motorcycle accessories? Lets have a look at some of the essential items:

Motorcycle Helmets – A Must-Have Motorcycle Accessory

Riding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating experience for the adventurous rider. If you have the passion of riding such a powerful machine on the open road, you most certainly need adequate head protection which will protect your head in the event of an accident.

In this article we will discuss must-have motorcycle gear that can enhance your riding experience: When riding a motorcycle, your head needs maximum protection. Whether you are a daily commuter, a weekend rider or a just-for-fun rider, a helmet is an essential accessory when it comes to protective gear. Some motorcycle helmets are designed specifically to protect your entire head and face. Motorcycle helmets also help protect your eyes from blowing wind and debris which can impair your vision and cause an accident.

Helmets may seem a little uncomfortable but the fact is, they provide ventilation. Your head may feel a little warm with prolonged use but you have to endure it for your own protection.

For any rider, motorcycle helmets are indeed a necessity. Helmets cannot promise 100% protection against head injury, but they do without a doubt, decrease the severity of an injury and reduce the chances of a fatality in any motorcycle accident.

Some motorcycle helmets protect both your head and face. There are several different kinds of helmets, each offering different benefits. These include:

* A Full face helmet
* A Motocross helmet
* Open face helmet
* A Half helmet

A full face helmet provides the most protection; as it covers the entire head while also protecting your skull and chin. These helmets are much larger in size but the advantage is definitely more than in most other types. All these helmets have a chin guard that should be kept fastened at all times while riding. For long distance rides, there are special helmets with sturdier features such as face guards. These face guards are retractable and they even provide anti-glare protection to help keep riders from being blinded by the bright glare reflected off shiny surfaces from other vehicles.

Motorcycle helmets provide a great deal of protection for your head and by wearing one each time you ride significantly reduces the chance of a head injury if involved in an accident. Statistics show that the risk of major head and soft-tissue injuries are reduced by nearly 40% with the use of a motorcycle helmet. Many States have passed a law making it mandatory to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. To ensure your safety, you should always check for any defects when buying a motorcycle helmet. Do not ignore even the slightest crack. You will have more security if you ride using all safety precautions.

Motorcycle Saddlebags – Another Must-Have Accessory

One thing is for sure, motorcycles are not at all convenient for transporting personal belongings or items that you may purchase at the store. Most motorcycle owners know this and you will hardly ever see a person riding a motorcycle down the street one-handed, steering with one hand and carrying a bag of groceries in the other. Those who ride often, need a durable and reliable way of carrying these items while riding and motorcycle saddlebags provide perfectly for this need.

These saddlebags look great and fit well on most motorcycles. It is the most convenient way to carry anything while you ride. Bikers should also have these spacious compartments to store certain items in the event of an emergency. Such items that should be stored in these compartments and may also come in handy include:

-A First Aid Kit
-A Flashlight
-Goggles/Glasses
-Mobile phone
-Some groceries
-Flares and Tool Kit
-Registration and motorcycle Insurance
-Map(s)

These are just to name a few. Most saddlebags come with enough space to carry almost anything you need while on the road. Saddlebags come in a variety of sizes however, leather saddlebags are a bit smaller than the hard plastic shell types. Every motorcyclist needs some kind of storage for their personal belongings and saddlebags provide plenty of space and does it with style.

Leather Vests – A Stylish Accessory

Are you planning a motorcycle adventure trip? If so, then you need to think about what motorcycle gear you would like to put on for this thrill ride. It is nearly impossible to experience such an adventure in your regular street clothes or with long sleeves. You should wear something that is both tough, yet trendy. If you prefer to embark on your adventure in style,then you need a cool leather motorcycle vest.

Leather vests have always been a favorite amongst all bikers. Leather motorcycle vests are a way of displaying a bikers smooth and rugged look. Motorcycle vests provide an ample amount of room and comfort for that rugged adventurer without skimping on its essential purpose: protection against the elements of nature. These leather vests are meant for inner wear by both guys and gals, but they are most often worn externally for that trendy leather appeal. Leather motorcycle vests are available in a variety of styles with each leather vest encompassing its own unique image.

Ideally, they are comfortable, form fitting and made with quality leather. They provide plenty of pockets to carry all your essentials. Riding vests are manufactured with a sturdy lining to protect the rider from strong winds, rain or other undesirable weather condition. They can be worn with or without an undershirt and on any riding occasion. So get into your gear with these three motorcycle accessories and make your road trip a riding adventure!

With Motorcycles, One Size Does Not Fit All, and Not All Ages Are Created Equal

In states like Oregon, where there are fewer months with dry road surfaces and warmer air, it’s hard not to notice an increase in news stories about personal injuries and fatalities due to motorcycle crashes during the summer months. Add to that the nearly steady increase in motorcycle registrations in the state over the past 10 years, often with a more than 5% increase from the previous year, and that means an onslaught of motorcycles on the roads for a limited amount of time. Increases in these motorcycle accidents could mean an increased need for motorcycle injury attorneys. But the numbers also reveal something else. In recent years, motorcycle deaths among people in their 40s to 60s have increased, likely due to the fact that there are larger numbers of older drivers, but also because as people age, the physical and mental functions needed for safe driving can deteriorate.

Between 1998 and 2008, the most recent data available from the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration, fatality rates of motorcycle crashes increased steadily across the board, even as car crash fatalities decreased. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by 2008, car fatalities were at an all-time low while motorcycle fatalities were at an all-time high. Whether or not these motorcycle crash fatalities were a result of wrongful death, therefore requiring a wrongful death attorney, is unclear. Some of the crashes can be attributed to the fact that motorcycles are more likely than other vehicles to crash with a fixed object – opposed to another moving vehicle – according to the NHTSA. However, there’s another clear piece to the puzzle: Age.

The NHTSA and the CDC have conflicting data about the various ages of those fatalities, perhaps because of their different areas of focus. According to the CDC, the age group with the most motorcycle fatalities has long been riders in their 20s. The NHTSA tells a different story, though. According to their data, motorcycle fatalities in 1998 were more common for riders in their twenties. But by 2008, riders older than 40 were more likely to die in motorcycle crashes, and by a larger margin.

In Oregon, the numbers support those of the NHTSA. In 2011, motorcycle crash deaths disproportionally affected people between the ages of 45-64, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation, with more deaths in that age range than all other age ranges combined. Of all the motorcycle crashes in Oregon that year, nearly twice as many did not involve another vehicle. This category includes accidents caused by overturning, colliding with a fixed object, or others classified as “non-collision.” Fatalities in those categories were five times higher than fatalities of motorcycle crashes with other vehicles involved, and more motorcyclists died in collisions with fixed objects than any other kind of collision, according to ODOT. But why is there such an increase in fatalities with age?

It could be sheer numbers. According to The Insurance Journal, motorcyclists older than 50 accounted for just 10 percent of all bike owners in 1990. However, “[b]y 2003, the 50-and-older crowd represented 25 percent of motorcycle owners,” and “the average age of motorcycle owners rose from 33 to just older than 40.”

In addition to the increased numbers, factors of aging could play a role. In an article about aging vehicle drivers, the CDC noted that as people age, “declines in vision and cognitive functioning (ability to reason and remember), as well as physical changes, may affect some older adults’ driving abilities.”

Although this does not address motorcycle drivers specifically, the more physical and mental demands of riding a motorcycle could exaggerate those age factors. “It takes an estimated 2,500 tasks to ride a motorcycle and only 800 to drive a car,” making motorcycle driving more complex, according to ODOT and TEAM OREGON, Oregon’s official motorcycle safety program. As TEAM OREGON’s communications and outreach manager, Pat Hahn, said in a news story for KTVZ, “[m]otorcycling is different from driving a car – you need a higher level of skill and awareness than you do in a passenger vehicle.”

There is one more theory behind these increased deaths, though it cannot be proven one way or the other until there is a shift in data collection. In the article by The Insurance Journal, there are two trends of motorcycle fatalities that could be related. As previously discussed, one is age. The other is the size of the motorcycles. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, between 1985 and 2009 there were an increase in deaths on motorcycles with engines larger than 1400cc, and a decrease in deaths with motorcycles having engines smaller than 1400cc.

Although the NHTSA sees an increase in fatalities for people over 40 and for those driving larger motorcycles, there is no evident data that the two go together. If they do correlate, though, there would be ramifications. As motorcycle engine size increases, so does the weight of the motorcycle, making it harder to maneuver. If decreased strength and cognitive functions are in play with older drivers, an increased weight and necessary skill level could raise the number of motorcycle accidents and deaths.

As with many other types of accidents, it can be difficult to determine the cause of all motorcycle accidents. When personal injury or death is a factor in motorcycle crashes, motorcycle accident attorneys may be able to provide assistance.

If you or a family member has been injured or killed in a motorcycle crash, and you would like help sorting out the details of the crash, contact Dwyer Williams Potter Attorneys. With offices in Portland, Eugene, Bend, and Medford, Dwyer Williams Potter Attorneys can help clients all over Oregon who have been involved in motorcycle crashes. To contact them, call 888-247-9023.

Roy R. Dwyer believes that individuals and corporations should and must be held accountable for careless and negligent acts which injure or kill innocent people. At Dwyer, Williams, Potter we carefully fit our strategy for handling your Oregon motorcycle accident case to the specific circumstances of your situation.