Flickr CC: http://www.flickr.com/photos/purplbutrfly/2729495249/http://tr.im/gill_ignite01I have two goals tonight. To raise awareness of two wheeled vehicles on the road and encourage some of you to sign up for a motorcycle safety class. First, I need to puncture a stereotype.
Flickr CC: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8363028@N08/3366899946/Thanks to Peter Fonda’s Easy Rider, this dude (and dudette) may be what pops into your head when you think motorcyclist. But safe riders wear helmets! And protect their skin.
Photo by Bryan Klech, 2001 AlpsAlthough there are as many different types of riders as there are types of car drivers, most motorcyclists are guys. The ratio is about 9-to-1. But women are more likely than men to sign up for class.
Photo by KEG When I woke up one morning in 1998 and decided I wanted a motorcycle, I signed up because I'm inseam challenged. That means gravity is going to win! I wanted to drop someone else's bike. I learned that there are other reasons to take the safety class. (All these students passed, btw.)
NHTSAYou become more aware of everything on the road. Being mindful makes you a defensive driver -- and less likely to text and drive. Think of the motorcycle class as a fun driver's ed class!
Flickr CC: http://www.flickr.com/photos/will1972/3808751741/Vehicle ownership and commuting patterns are different in the U.S. compared to Asia or Europe. Over there, most people ride a scooter or a small motorcycle before they drive a car. Awareness of two-wheelers high.
Ride to work dayBut in the U.S., only a tiny percentage commute regularly on two-wheels. Those numbers are growing, particularly in environmentally conscious cities like Seattle. By taking the class, you're more likely to see us when we're sharing a four-way stop with you.
Flickr CC: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62904109@N00/2636010903/Go ahead, rent a scooter on your next vacation to Hawaii or Mexico or Thailand. Minimize the risk of skin grafts – take the MSF class first!
NHTSAEveryone here knows that we're more vulnerable on a bike than in a car. So why do people ride motorcycles? That's the 64 dollar question, isn't it?
KEG photoWe get far more miles to the gallon than you do in your SUV or MiniCooper. Scooters can easily get more than 70 mpg, motorcycles 50 or more. Urban commuters like two wheels because parking is less of a challenge!
Kathy photoDedicated motorcycle parking spaces. Some garages let us park free. And sidewalk parking, while technically illegal, is practiced widely where businesses are motorcycle-friendly.
Flickr CC: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aboyandhisbike/459393421/Then there's the Washington-only reason. Ferries. Motorcycles are first on and first off. This is a godsend when you want to get away to the San Juans in the summer!
Photo by Phil KoppBut the fact is that riding a motorcycle isn't a rational decision. It's the intangible that is the draw. Although the average biker rides less than 2,000 miles a year, many rack up the miles going places they can't easily reach by car.
Flickr CC: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyeliam/2777195676/Riding is year round here and so is the safety class. But most people want to take it in the summer. We provide the bikes and the helmets. You just need a willingness to learn -- and gloves, jeans and over-the-ankle boots.
Flickr CC: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usag-yongsan/2773228365/in/photostream/The class isn't for everyone. We can't teach balance - so you need to be comfortable on a bicycle. Life is easier in class if you already know how to drive a stick shift -- unless, of course, you're taking the class on a scooter!
Kathy photo – iphoneBut if you've ridden horses, you might have a natural affinity for motorcycles. I jokingly tell my horse friends that I only have to feed my bike when I ride it!
Kathy’s photoWe have a few scooter-only classes and we have some ladies-only classes. However, I think women learn more in a mixed class. And if you want a scooter, just say so and we'll have one for you in a regular class.
Flickr CC: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyeliam/2776351341/I can guarantee that you'll learn a lot about yourself if you take the course. It's an intense two days. But it really is fun! And pretty cheap: classes start at $125.
In summary:* You'll be a more defensive driver* We'll be safer because you are now aware of two-wheelers* Safe tropical vacations!* It's fun!
Flickr CC: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jrishel/3784324617/20. But warning: Assimilation happens!Benefits of riding: gas, parking, ferrieshttp://tr.im/WaMSF
5 Reasons To Take The Motorcycle Safety Class
5 Reasons To Take A Motorcycle Class* <br />*even if you never plan to ride a motorcycle <br />http://tr.im/gill_ignite01<br />