The Motorcycle Blog

Turn Signals!

OK people, I need you to do something that will make riding safer for all of us.  Please, please, show one person you know where the turn signal is on their car or truck and then teach them how to use it.  Once they get it, have them do the same with one person they know.  Better yet, show as many people as possible! 

Personally, I don’t think some people know about the little lever on the left side of steering column and those that do, don’t know when to use it.  Don’t they teach this in drivers ed anymore?  Come on, it’s not that hard?  Look, signal where you want to go, look again and then go when it’s clear.

Wait, maybe people know about the turn signal but it’s too inconvenient for them to use.  It takes too much time.  It’s faster just to turn without signaling or signal and turn at the same time.  Forget about looking, others will get out of the way if they don’t want to be hit.

Listen, every driver who doesn’t use a signal or who doesn’t use it they way they should, is a danger to a motorcyclist.  As a rider, if you don’t have a clue that a car is turning or coming over you’re going be in big trouble if you’re not able to avoid the car. 

The Morons Are Wired

Last week I was in Southern California on business and had a free day to work with.  Thanks to the help of Sweetwater Harley Davidson in National City, who hooked me up with a sweet 2009 Road King Classic rental, I used the day to cruise up the Coast Highway from San Diego to Huntington Beach.

I’d just turned onto East Harbor Dr. and was riding north towards the San Diego Convention Center and was in the right lane, minding my own and keeping a close watch of what was around and behind me.  It had been a while since I’d ridden in a major city.  Anyway, the car beside me started to drift over, which gave me only a couple of choices to avoid becoming road kill.  Move over and slow down or move over and speed up.  I chose the latter.  Aggressive has always worked for me so why change now.  Well the wonderful sound of the Harley V-Twin under acceleration along with the horn (Dear Harley Davidson please make the horn louder, like semi-truck loud) got the attention of the two morons in the car and the look on their faces when I came blasting past was priceless.

So Long Buell?

So the big news in the American motorcycle industry this week was the decision by Harley Davidson to discontinue the Buell line of motorcycles.  On an emotional level I feel bad for Erik Buell who has poured most of his adult life into designing, building and selling an American made sport bike.  Very few of us have the balls to truly live our dream and Erik is one of those few.

So why did Harley Davidson make the decision to get out of the sport bike business?  There are those who will be of the opinion that it was to cut costs.  I have no doubt that this was part of the decision.  The fact is, the revenue generated from the sales of Buell motorcycles represent less the 3% of Harley’s total gross revenues.  To put this in perspective, the revenue from General Merchandise (t-shirts, jackets, etc.) is more then two times that.  The gap widens even further when you consider that with merchandise there are few issues with warrantees or product liability and very little cost of promotion.  That alone would be enough for the bean counters to cut out Buell. 

Alcohol, The Drink of Death!

Don’t drink and ride!  Don’t do it, it isn’t worth it!  Hell, for that matter don’t drink and drive, not even after just one!

Not that long ago two local riders were knocking back some suds at their favorite establishment and then tried to ride home.  They hadn’t gone far before they crashed into each other and both ended up in a heap on the side of the highway.  Both survived, sort of, but the cost of their afternoon out will take a long time to pay down.

On a personal level, both riders will ride again, but for one the road to recovery will take several months and he will probably walk with pain the rest of his life.  Both riders were charged with impaired driving (riding) and in our area that brings a minimum 1-year license suspension automatically.  It could be more.

On a money level, both motorcycles (custom Harley Davidson’s) were badly damaged.  It’s going to cost a lot to fix them, if they can be fixed at all.  If the two riders are convicted of the impaired charges then their insurance company will likely try to get out of paying.  Legal fees could run into the thousands of dollars before this is over.

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