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Safety Information

Spring Riding (Apr 2008 newsletter)

by Ted and Joyce Strutz

Last month I opened by saying we should be seeing riding season around the corner. It sure seems like it is a really long corner. I for one sure hope it gets here soon! With all that in mind, here are some tips to get in mind before you get too far along. 

Keep in mind that the snow plows have been active in the last month’s time. Not only do their blades cause damage to the roadways, but they will also kick gravel from the berm onto the roadway. That is not to mention the sand they spread to help with the slippery winter roads. Until we get a couple of good spring rains you need to be especially watchful and careful in the corners. 

Something else to watch out for are the gusty spring winds. It is amazing how quickly a sudden gust of wind can push you right out of your lane and into trouble. Just as you counter steer for cornering so must you use it to fight the wind and stay in your own lane. Say you get a sudden gust of wind from your right you must counter steer to keep the bike straight. Pushing hard on the right grip will force the bike to lean upwind. As the gust passes, pushing on the left grip causes the bike to straighten up.

Of course, going into spring and summer means the start of another construction season. Don't forget that fines are doubled in a construction zone. It is not good to follow too closely behind another vehicle. Following too closely can cause sudden surprises that you won't necessarily like. Most road debris will be forced to the middle of the lane by the four wheeled traffic. It is best to leave extra room between you and the vehicle ahead. Myself, I usually prefer to be in the left track when I am not with other bikes. That way I am more visible to most other traffic and better positioned to defend my lane. 

Another thing to be ever watchful for in construction areas are the steel plates they use over holes they have dug in the streets. These can be especially slick with the morning dew or during a rain. Always try to maintain a steady speed and try to avoid accelerating or braking while on the plate. 

On a final note for this month, be extra aware for your first few rides. Cagers aren't used to seeing us out on the roadways after the long cold winter. They seem to have trouble seeing us in the summer so the first few spring rides can be a little extra dicey.