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Motorcycle Diaries Part V - Live Free Ride Alive

Yesterday the Morning Call, on-line edition, ran a story about PennDOT's proactive program on motorcycle safety. The side bar featured a link to a site which contained an 18 minute documentary filled with real life interviews and comments from guys and gals, many who have been riding for most of their life. As a rider and someone who has lost one of his closest friends in a left turn accident this video speaks volumes. Recently, I posted on the lunacy of those who ride without a helmet and proper equipment. No one likes the wind in their face more than me but the thing sitting on our shoulders does not bounce real well when it hits the sidewalk. PennDOT is to be congratulated and I hope they send a copy of this video to our governor who promoted and signed the legislation that removed the helmet requirement. In the addition to the video the site is filled with helpful information and safety tips. This site is well laid out with sections devoted to rider training and a section which has a timed test and which measures your recall about the meaning of different road signs. It also poses a series of still videos each with real life road situation that all of us have experienced, and then tests you on what is the proper evasive move. Pretty cool - After taking the test you get a score. I got 18 out of 20 on each test. It is also filled with facts and figures - did you know that in 2009 there were 3,736 motorcycle crashes resulting in 204 fatalities and 3,677 injures? One out of five results in head injuries. Here's the one that impressed me the most: at speeds of 30 mph or less helmets reduce head injury by 50%. The rider testimonials are some of the most powerful I have ever seen. Visitors to the site are asked to take the PennDOT "be one less pledge". The pledge acknowledges that you agree "to be one less statistic". Take the pledge and join hundreds of others whose names appears on the Wall. This proactive site sends a strong message and reminder to all of us. I know it takes some of the fun and enjoyment out of getting on your bike when you read and listen to these statistics, but if just one injury is prevented then it's done its job. Yesterday, on the way home from work I saw a couple on a nice Yamaha. They both were not wearing a helmet and were not using any protective gear. The passenger was wearing shorts and a tank top with flip-flops. I could tell they were both very young. That age were you think it will not happen to you? As older riders we have an obligation to educate our younger brethren. I'm not talking about being smart mouthed, but just a friendly -  hey man lets live to ride another day. Later this week I will be meeting with one of my bike clients to give him a check on a case that I am handling for him. Trust me the money will never compensate him for his losses. A car pulled out from a stop sign right into him and never stopped. As the PennDOT site states, "live free ride free."   Take the pledge. Dennis F. Feeley

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