Motorcyle Safety


(Safer Touring From Judicious Risk)

By: Don Kime (SAFTNUT(dkime2)), MTF Safety Liaison

The MTF is a community of fun-loving, motorcyclists. We choose to involve ourselves in an inherently risky activity, motorcycling. We all know that we could confine ourselves to the recliner in the interest of reducing the risk, but we've made the decision to live life more fully through motorcycling. Whether our interest is a sunny Sunday afternoon ride to the lake, a cross-country flower sniffing tour, an unpaved back to nature adventure ride, or a demanding distance undertaking - the risk rides with us - every minute and every mile. Dealing with and managing this risk is one of challenges that add to our experience.

It only follows that if we can be wiser and more judicious in dealing with this risk, we give ourselves the potential do this thing that we love continually and much longer. As beautiful as our mounts are in their intended orientation, they are just that much more hideous when lying on their sides with the undersides of headers, pipes and wheels exposed. It just shouldn't be. The sinking feeling that results from a call or a post advising of a crash and an injured friend is something that any of us would forego forever, in the blink of an eye. There is nothing appealing about a motorcycle crash - as a friend says, "crashing sucks!"

This page is an introduction to the MTF's Safety Activity. Given the myriad of opportunities in the safety arena, why do we focus on judicious or wise consideration of risk? We could have chosen skills development in any of its iterations or equipment or riding gear or preparation or many others. As we look across the MTF, it is believed that we are well above average in many of these areas. However, as we pursue the "joie de vivre," we can experience an intoxication that works against us in a judicious approach to risk. Risk has many inherent components such as the behavior of other traffic users, the vagaries of the roadway surface, the vulnerability of our exposure, the behavior of all manner of 4 and 2-legged creatures, and numerous others. We can do nothing about these. However, risk has many other elements that are much more contributory - preparation as we approach any hazardous intersection or traffic situation, speed and position as we approach any limited visibility situation, choices in protective gear, dealings with the elements or fatigue, preparation of bike and self, and this list could go on and on. Given the makeup of the MTF, we have chosen to focus our efforts on this variable, contributory risk as the safety concept that offers the greatest opportunity for us a group.

This choice is not intended to minimize other facets of safety such as training and skill development. However, looking across the spectrum of the MTF, our typical skill level is thought to be pretty high as compared to many motorcycling groups. Certainly ongoing skill development should be part of any group or personal safety program. However, any effective program needs to focus in the area that offers the greatest return. We choose to focus on Safer Touring From Judicious Risk (STFJR) as the area of highest potential for our group. But, we want to approach this in its broadest sense. As we embark on new types of riding, training and skill development may be the most critical element to managing risk. It will be up to each of us to evaluate our situation and determine where our emphasis should be. We can better manage risk through skills development, personal physical and mental preparation, equipment preparation, and improved mental processing while underway. Each of us needs to approach this wisely and determine where our emphasis needs to be. Every single aspect of riding introduces us to risk and offers opportunity for better risk preparation and decisions. It's all of this that we want to do better.

Why STFJR? A slogan and acronym is not chosen for the beauty of its words or it's grammatical correctness. It's chosen for convenience and simplicity so that through use and repetition it will begin to convey a message and theme that can be meaningful to members. We borrowed the STFJR acronym from two currently popular and familiar bikes. It is hoped that this familiarity will allow us instant recall and repetition in use until it's message becomes part of our fabric. Through such use, we hope to make a difference in our rider's safety.

The MTF Safety Activity will have a number of facets. We will maintain a web page of information and knowledge links, i.e., a reference library. This comprehensive listing of safety links will be selected to support STFJR. On a frequent basis, we will give well respected and well known MTF members the opportunity to write and post from their own experiences and practices on some topic(s) from our reference library. It is hoped that this writing will produce threads that will maintain visibility and offer varied inputs and perspectives into important safety topics. We will consider some games or quizzes to implore members to search through our reference library in order to become familiar with the contents and promote it's use. In essence, we hope to draw on the strength of the MTF, it's members participation, in identifying and promulgating far ranging topics that can make a difference to all of us. We will maintain a resource to assist our members in getting needed or desired training. Generally it is believed that sufficient training opportunity exists in most locals, but often individuals don't know how to navigate the available resources. We will attempt to offer both a general and personal assist as needed. We will consider coordinating MTF member specific training courses through accredited training sites so that experienced rider training can be both more available and more fun for interested members. This would be a great way to get to know one another better while developing important skills. We will be polling to see where and how often such courses might be offered. We will solicit member inputs into other areas and topics of interest. We want to make a difference in the safe riding of our members. We will adapt to member needs as we better know and understand them. It's here for you. Help us to make it better for you!

.and the next time you wave your MTF friends off on whatever their journey may be, give them a wave and say to them, "STFJR". Lets make a difference!
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