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Motorcycle Safety Foundation presents its Rules of the Road for Ride To Work Day…And Every Workday

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An estimated one million Americans will join in the 18th annual Ride to Work Day on Monday, June 15, and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation is asking two-wheel and four-wheel motorists to follow these rules of the road.



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Harley’s Chichlowski new chair of Motorcycle Safety Foundation board

Harley-Davidson's Julie Chichlowski has been appointed the new Chair of the Board for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). She succeeds former MSF Chair of the Board David Edwards, who retired in April of 2009 from American Honda Motor Co., Inc. after 38 years of service.

"We're really excited to have Julie take on the role of Chair of the Board for MSF," said MSF President Tim Buche. "Her track record in rider safety programs is exemplary; and we're seeing great synergies as a result of her guidance. For example, MSF worked closely with the Harley-Davidson Rider's Edge staff to pilot test two versions of an introduction to motorcycling RiderCourse, and the resulting data enabled us make to make an informed decision on which course to pursue."

Currently Director, Trike Platform, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Chichlowski began serving as a Member of the Board of Trustees in October 2007, was elected to the position of Vice Chair of the Board for the MSF in February 2009, and succeeded Edwards as Chair this past April.

"I'm honored to serve as Chair of the MSF Board of Trustees," said Chichlowski. "I look forward to working closely with my peers in the industry and the MSF staff to continue to promote the safety of motorcyclists."

Chichlowski joined Harley-Davidson in 1992 as a Manufacturing Engineer in Powertrain Operations, and since then has served in leadership roles in Powertrain Operations, Powertrain Engineering and Product Development, Corporate Strategic Planning, Product Plant Management, and Rider Services. She was Director of Rider's Edge for three years prior to her current role in Trike.

MSF: Should you ride a motorcycle?

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Riding a motorcycle is a unique experience. Riding is fun and invigorating, yet the skills needed for safe riding, combined with the lack of car-like crash protection on a motorcycle, can cast doubts on whether a person should choose to ride a motorcycle. Some potential riders lack the ability to execute skilled and timely actions in a complex traffic environment; others lack keen judgment or don’t have a firm grasp of the concept of risk management.

MSF believes that motorcycling isn’t for everyone. If you’re considering becoming a rider, however, here are some questions for you to use as a self-assessment of the physical capabilities and mental attitude required to safely navigate a motorcycle on the street:

  1. Are you a higher risk-taker than others you know? If you tend to need a thrill while driving a car and have aggressive or risky tendencies (following too closely, turning without signaling, talking on a cell phone, getting angry at other drivers, etc.), motorcycling may not be for you. While motorcycling improves the overall quality of life for many, for some it can lead to disaster. Thinking that accidents only happen to others is an attitude that will get you in trouble.
  2. Can you ride a bicycle? This is a prerequisite for enrolling in our Basic RiderCourse and generally a good gauge of your ability to maneuver a motorcycle. Bicycling, like motorcycling, is a physical activity that involves balance and coordination. And speaking of coordination …
  3. Can you drive a stick-shift car? This is not a requirement, but it may make learning to ride easier because almost all motorcycles have manual transmissions. If you can’t get the hang of shifting gears but still want to enjoy a powered two-wheeler, you might want to start out on a motor scooter. Motor scooters generally have automatic transmissions and come in many sizes, from simpler models with an engine size of 50 cubic centimeters (cc) to powerful 650cc models.
  4. Do you see well? Riding a motorcycle requires special perceptual skills that rely on good vision. Have you had an eye examination recently? Do you tend to see things that are far away later than other people you know? The ability to see well ahead is important for safe riding.
  5. Are you mechanically inclined? Today’s motorcycles are very reliable machines, but with all the bolts, nuts, and mechanisms out in the open, and only two tires connecting you to the pavement, you need to be able to inspect your equipment and make the occasional minor adjustment. You don’t need to be a master mechanic, but it helps to know your way around a tire pressure gauge and a wrench. Most everything a rider needs to know is in the motorcycle owner’s manual, and if you’ve never read your car owner’s manual, that could be a sign that motorcycling is not for you.
  6. Are you safety-minded? If you routinely find yourself bandaged up after doing simple do-it-yourself projects around the house, or think it’s acceptable to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, the unique challenges of motorcycle riding may not be compatible with your decision-making. Riders can control their situation only if safety is a high priority. Millions of motorcyclists ride millions of miles without incident, and they likely take safety seriously.
  7. Do you respect machinery and other equipment that has risk? For example, when using a lawn mower or chainsaw, do you maintain it properly and wear eye/ear/hand protection when needed? If you’re not serious about safety in connection with simple machinery and equipment whose improper use can lead to serious injury, you may not respect motorcycling enough to follow safety precautions. Successful riders know that safety isn’t a matter of luck, but a matter of doing the right things to minimize risk.
  8. Can you focus? Inattention is a major cause of crashes. Safe motorcycling requires dedicated attention to the immediate task and a keen awareness of everything going on 360 degrees around you. Rush-hour traffic aboard a motorcycle is not the place to be daydreaming. For instance, if you find yourself overusing your brakes because you were caught off-guard, or are often surprised by a passing car or truck you didn’t see, your situational awareness could be less than adequate.
  9. Can you handle your car in an emergency? Drivers don’t often have the need to brake hard or swerve to miss a crash, but it’s important to have the skills to be able to do so when needed. On a motorcycle, having these types of skills is essential because other highway users tend not to see motorcyclists in traffic, especially around intersections.
  10.  Are you willing to invest some time in learning to ride the right way before hopping on a bike? Your best “first ride” is a Basic RiderCourse where you can familiarize yourself with the safe operation of a motorcycle. You can even take the course as an experiment, to help you better understand the dynamics of good riding and to determine if motorcycling is right for you.

MSF: Five messages to automobile drivers to safely share the road with motorcycles

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MSF Cautions Car, Truck, and Bus Drivers: Don’t be Driven to Distraction

Just days ago, a bus driver was caught on video texting for six minutes before crashing into a sports utility vehicle that had stopped in traffic. The driver of the SUV suffered neck injuries, but luckily no one was killed due to the bus driver's negligence.

Had it been a motorcycle the bus plowed into, the results might have been far more deadly. This is just one example of the inherent dangers motorcyclists face every day on the road – the danger of other motorists. Read more

MSF reminds motorcyclists of five critical safety messages

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MSF Emphasizes Five Critical Safety Messages for Motorcyclists

As spring fever sets in, millions of motorcyclists are taking to highways and back roads across the United States. In recognition of May Motorcycle Awareness Month, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) reminds all motorcyclists to follow these five critical safety messages:

  1. Get Trained and Licensed - Take an MSF RiderCourseSM and get licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Visit or call (800) 446-9227.
  2. Wear Protective Gear - Wear proper protective riding gear, most importantly a helmet made to Department of Transportation standards.
  3.  Ride Unimpaired - Ride unimpaired, never drinking or using other drugs before getting on a motorcycle.
  4. Ride Within Your Limits - Stay within your personal skill limits, never riding faster or farther than your abilities can handle.
  5. Be a Lifelong Learner - Be lifelong learners, regularly returning for refresher riding courses.

“This is a great time of year, especially for motorcyclists, but they have to be mindful that riding is serious fun,” said MSF President Tim Buche. “It’s all about riders taking personal responsibility for risk management. Following these five guidelines should be a no-brainer for anyone who wants to enjoy a lifetime of motorcycle riding.”

The MSF offers a variety of tools to enhance the safety of motorcyclists and prospective motorcyclists, including hands-on training, DVDs, online videos, books, and other publications.

About MSF
Since 1973, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has set internationally recognized standards that promote the safety of motorcyclists with rider education courses, operator licensing tests, and public information programs. The MSF works with the federal government, state agencies, the military, and others to offer training for all skill levels so riders can enjoy a lifetime of safe, responsible motorcycling.

The MSF is a not-for-profit organization sponsored by BMW, BRP, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha. For RiderCourseSM locations, call 800.446.9227 or visit

Ten things all car and truck drivers should know about motorcycles

  1. Over half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. Most of the time, the motorist, not the motorcyclist, is at fault. There are a lot more cars and trucks than motorcycles on the road, and some drivers don't "recognize" a motorcycle - they ignore it (usually unintentionally).
  2. Because of its small size, a motorcycle can be easily hidden in a car's blind spots (door/roof pillars) or masked by objects or backgrounds outside a car (bushes, fences, bridges, etc). Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles, whether you're changing lanes or turning at intersections.
  3. Because of its small size, a motorcycle may look farther away than it is. It may also be difficult to judge a motorcycle's speed. When checking traffic to turn at an intersection or into (or out of) a driveway, predict a motorcycle is closer than it looks.
  4.  Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or merely rolling off the throttle, thus not activating the brake light. Allow more following distance, say 3 or 4 seconds. At intersections, predict a motorcyclist may slow down without visual warning.
  5. Motorcyclists often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to minimize the effects of road debris, passing vehicles, and wind. Understand that motorcyclists adjust lane position for a purpose, not to be reckless or show off or to allow you to share the lane with them.
  6. Turn signals on a motorcycle usually are not self-canceling, thus some riders (especially beginners) sometimes forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change. Make sure a motorcycle's signal is for real.
  7. Maneuverability is one of a motorcycle's better characteristics, especially at slower speeds and with good road conditions, but don't expect a motorcyclist to always be able to dodge out of the way.
  8. Stopping distance for motorcycles is nearly the same as for cars, but slippery pavement makes stopping quickly difficult. Allow more following distance behind a motorcycle because it can't always stop "on a dime."
  9. When a motorcycle is in motion, see more than the motorcycle - see the person under the helmet, who could be your friend, neighbor, or relative.
  10. If a driver crashes into a motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian and causes serious injury, the driver would likely never forgive himself/herself.

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