by Pat Goss
Motorcycles are more popular than ever and that means that motorcycle safety is more important than ever. Here to talk to us about it is Linden Able, General Manager of Patriot Harley-Davidson in Fairfax, Virginia. Linden, welcome to the show.
LINDEN ABLE, GENERAL MANAGER, PATRIOT HARLEY-DAVIDSON: Thanks, Pat.
GOSS: All right, what’s the first thing we do as far as safety is concerned?
ABLE: The first thing to do is get yourself some training, if you haven’t taken a motorcycle safety course then that’s the thing to do. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation teaches one in I believe all fifty states, there are some private companies as well. Take that to get started. If you’ve been riding for a while and haven’t already, take the experienced rider course. It’s time well spent.
GOSS: Okay, and when I took the course they stressed the importance of tire safety.
ABLE: Absolutely, your motorcycle rides on two half-dollar patches of rubber that connect you to the road. Make sure that your tire pressure is set. It’s critical.
GOSS: All right and being seen, like the lights for instance.
ABLE: Yes, this is an example of a product that Harley-Davidson sells to allow you to have three brake lights on the back of your motorcycle instead of just one. It converts your turn signals to active brake lights as well. A great piece of inexpensive safety.
GOSS: And to see is important.
ABLE: Yeah, the other side of the bike, this is what lights up the road for you, also allows improved visibility for oncoming drivers to see you. This is one example, it’s a high intensity discharge light, but there are other things out there to brighten things up.
GOSS: Okay, and continuing on that theme, how about mirrors? Very important!
ABLE: Yeah one of my favorites. I believe that it’s really critical on a motorcycle to have 360 degrees of awareness. Without good mirrors that’s impossible to achieve. An aftermarket mirror can both give you an excellent field of vision and is stylish, but nothing wrong with the stock Harley-Davidson mirror.
GOSS: All right, and of course we want eye protection and something that’s high quality and gets the job done.
ABLE: Sure a good quality lens you can see better through. It’s important to get something you’re comfortable with.
GOSS: Now this doesn’t look like much right here.
ABLE: Not without the outer shell but this is the meat of the business. This is the inside of your helmet. It’s made of the common beer cooler material that motorcyclists like so much. If it doesn’t have this in the helmet it’s really not going to do you much good.
GOSS: Okay, and of course pick the style that you’re most comfortable with.
ABLE: There’s a half, a three quarter, or a full face. This will give you much more protection but use what you’re comfortable with.
GOSS: And of course outer wear. Here’s the old standby.
ABLE: The leather, the perennial favorite of motorcyclists, the leather jacket. Leather is the best protection for road rash, also tends to slow you down if you’re in a slide. This is a modern version that includes some reflective decorations and piping as well as flow-through ventilation to keep you comfortable on the road. Really sort of a three season jacket and there are a lot available
GOSS: And some of the new fabrics?
ABLE: This is a terrific jacket for somebody if it’s really hot. You’re just not going to put on a heavier leather jacket. This is as comfortable as wearing a tee shirt but also contains some armored impact points so it will give you substantially better protection than a tee shirt or a denim jacket.
GOSS: Doing it right and you’ll be safe.
GOSS: Thank you Linden.
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
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