As another year comes to a close I hope that each and every one of you are happily enjoying the holiday season. 2012 found ASM as busy as ever training thousands of students and training more instructors and Instructor Trainers so that we can continue to be available to train motorcyclists & EMTs. We have been looking for ways to implement our “Best Practice” model for surviving motorcycle trauma while continuing to build alliances with those who are working with us to reduce injuries and fatalities to motorcyclists. Road Guardian members continue to be integral to helping us achieve our mission though our collective efforts. To all of you – THANK YOU!!!! Allstate Insurance worked with us to create a 5 minute video that can be shared with all motorcyclists and reviews PACT and ABCSS of Trauma, a logical approach to a motorcycle crash. Hupy & Abraham, SC has developed a helpful app for smartphone that can be used at a crash (see article in this newsletter).
We have a new contributor to our newsletter, Charter Road Guardian member Steve Briscoe. Steve is a retired First Sergeant with 23 Active Duty service. Steve anticipates that he will be riding 8000 miles in 2013 in the Hoka Hey challenge. Road Guardians will be following Steve’s journey as he not only attempts to complete the Hoka Hey but is also raising money for a worthy cause. I have enjoyed Steve’s engaging style of writing for years and am excited to share his journey with you.
Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year!
One of Road Guardian’s major sponsors has created a FREE app for smartphones that can be used in the event of a crash.
Why do you need this App? In an emergency, you can shake-to-call or use the one-tap feature to call 911 emergency services. There is also an accident checklist and you can access and document evidence of a crash. You can also connect to chat live with one of our support team and receive a free case evaluation, locate nearby hospitals and even see a list of taxi services. To receive your App, text HUPY to 77948 or scan the QR code when you see it in printed materials associated with our firm.
I started riding in 1972. I had just joined the Army and I, as a 17-year-old soldier, was invincible. I rode that poor Honda dirt bike into the ground. I recall riding a trail in the mountains of Colorado and as usual I was pushing the envelope. A friend of mine was with me and we were having a good time, not a care in the world. Not sure exactly what happened but gravity took over and my friend and I rolled down the side of the mountain. Being young and invincible we laughed all the way down thumping and dumping against the rocks and trees. We were too young to understand our lives could have taken a different road that day had serious injury set it.
I do not know how many miles I have ridden since that day but suffice it to say more than I could possibly count. I am older now, wiser (hopefully) and after having lived a life in the military I am more attune to my mortality. I no longer believe I am invincible or safe from harm, injury or death that may stem from my actions. When I first started riding there were no organizations like the
Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Accident Scene Management or Road Guardians and for years I believed, even after these organizations came to be, training provided would be of no benefit to me. I had been riding for years and felt any training offered would be a waste of my time; I already knew everything I needed to know.
Some time back it became mandatory to take an MSF course to ride on any military installation. I will admit my arrogance kept me from taking the course and for a time I just refused to ride onto a military installation. It was hard getting into a cage on those beautiful mornings to go to work and even harder to climb into the cage at the end of the day to drive home. So, I swallowed my pride and took the MSF course so I could ride onto the installation. Imagine my surprise when I realized I had been wrong all that time.
I cannot pinpoint the moment, but at some point in my life motorcycle safety became a major priority for me. I would watch young soldiers tear out on their crotch rockets, popping wheelies and speeding down the road and it brought to mind those friends of my youth that did not survive their personal encounter with mortality. I volunteered to serve on a safety counsel and my task was to assist with the development of training to reduce accidents. It became clear that reducing accidents, whereas very important, was only part of the equation. I started to focus on what to do after the accident because, try as hard as we can, we will never completely eliminate motorcycle related accidents.
A few years back I retired from military service, but continue to work as a Department of the Army employee in the Quad Cities area. I like to think of it as, “Retired, but still serving the soldier.”
While doing a Google search on rider’s safety I ran across an organization called Rescue Riders. It was clear this organization could possibly be an answer to the last part of my equation. I had never joined a rider’s organization before but felt this was an organization I could be part of, so I joined. From there I took the Accident Scene Management Courses, both the Basic and the Advanced. Through Accident Scene Management was born Road Guardians and it was a natural step for me to become a Charter Member. It is obvious to me these organizations portray an attitude of, “Pay it Forward.” Members of these organizations are bikers standing in the gap for bikers and I am proud to call myself friends with such fine people. We will all agree riders are a special breed that are set apart from others because we share the common love of riding, but also understand and share the danger.
For those who ride, there is no feeling that compares. We twist the throttle and head toward the road less travelled. What a great life. Unfortunately, when we ride, we willingly reduce our standing in the food chain. Discerning riders do everything they can to ensure they return home safely and have the option of riding again when the mood hits.
A discerning rider will take the basic and advanced Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses and continually hone their riding skills. They never succumb to peer-pressure causing them to ride beyond their abilities. They check tire pressure before mounting their steed to assure a positive lock with traction. They check oil levels and perform preventative maintenance on their ride to reduce the likelihood of a breakdown and to extend the life of their ride. Checking the lights and turn indicators become second nature thereby increasing their safety margin while riding out there amongst cagers who are texting or talking on a cell phone. We do all these things to protect our passengers, our ride and ourselves. Sadly, try as hard as we can to eliminate a mishap, the potential for a mishap is always there. So, what do we do about that?
We prepare for the inevitable. Murphy’s Laws of Riding states, “If you ride, you will crash” and it is not a question of if, but a question of when and how bad. As a Road Guardian I have taken courses offered by Accident Scene Management. I carry a Trauma Bag to aid riders (and non-riders) who find themselves in need. I try to keep my 1st Aid Certification current because I know at any given time there will be a need; usually when least expected. I endeavor to give of my experience with the hope that at least a few who listen will take to heart the precarious nature of riding.
The aforementioned organizations offer training and equipment that allow us to ride as safely as possible and to provide us with the tools needed when we, through the actions of others or due to our own momentary lapse of clarity, are placed in precarious circumstances. They are available, staffed with caring people who give freely of themselves for no other reason than to aid others. They are not after fame or fortune, they are not working for the glamor of the limelight; they work behind the scenes. They work for you. All you need to do is take them up on their offer.
I have tried my whole life to be a caring and compassionate person. I will admit I have probably failed more times than I care to mention. I prefer to work behind the scenes, mainly due to my lack of social skills. I think I have improved some, but maybe I only think that because with age comes the inevitable attitude of “this is who I am, take it or leave it, don’t care either way.”
As riders and as members of a compassionate lot we should strive to always ride safely, always be trained and equipped to aid a fallen rider and always be willing to pay it forward with total disregard to personal gain. For sure riders are a compassionate lot and we prove it every time we pay to ride in a Poker Run or buy a 50/50 ticket at an event. Most of us do not buy the 50/50 ticket on the chance that we will win. Think of it, would you place a bet on anything when the odds are 50 to 1 that you will lose; of course not. We don’t do this to win the money; we do this to aid a cause and to assist someone in need.
I have been so blessed throughout my life. I served my country and even after military retirement I still have the privilege of serving. I have had, and continue to enjoy, the opportunity to work with some of the finest patriots and Americans in the land. I enjoy the freedom of riding and anticipate riding to my grave. The fellow riders I have met over the past few years alone give me great hope for this country. Much like the hope I gain from watching soldiers today steadfastly stand in harm’s way on our behalf. They “paid it forward” and now it is our turn, it is my turn, and my greatest hope is you will assist me.
Having spent much of my adult life in the military I know of and have seen soldiers selflessly give all. We all know or are related to soldiers who have served and they deserve our respect and our devotion. Soldiers of today enjoy, and rightfully so, a grand showing of gratitude. As I mentioned, I joined the Army in 1972 and those with an old memory will recall the attitude toward soldiers of that day was only slightly higher than an opinion of pond scum. Thankfully things have changed. Soldiers returning home today are greeted with a hero’s welcome. Wounded soldiers return home and receive first-rate care, but the therapy can last for years. This is where you and I come into the picture and pay it forward.
A very dear friend and mentor, after he retired, co-founded a program called Caisson Platoon Equine Assisted Program that provides much needed therapy to soldiers who received life-altering wounds during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. These soldiers volunteered to serve our country and for payment lost a leg or an arm or both. The recovery for these type injuries takes years, is painful and is very expensive. Adapting to prosthesis is difficult and takes an amazing amount of courage. Caisson Platoon (CPEAP) helps them with this process and does so free of charge. CPEAP is not a government-funded program and is staffed by an all-volunteer force dedicated to our soldiers. Therapy provided comes through horseback riding. That may sound odd to some but factually speaking riding a horse helps the soldier with their center of balance, improves efficiency in the use of and adaption to their prosthesis, improves core muscles, self-confidence, a sense of accomplishment and well-being as well as their mental and emotional outlook. The list goes on and on.
Their ride is made of flesh and blood whereas our ride is of iron, but the love of riding is the same. I ask you to extend that love of riding and to assist these soldiers with their recovery. On the 23rd of June, 2013 I will depart Irving, NY and start an epic ride hosted by Hoka Hey. For those not familiar with the Hoka Hey Challenge (www.hokaheychallenge.com) I will sum it up in a nutshell. It is not a race but a challenge each rider makes within themselves to accomplish what is not easy. These soldiers also face a challenge, a challenge thrust upon them and a challenge they must face each and every day.
I am asking each of you to pledge one penny for every mile I ride during Hoka Hey. Money pledged will go to Caisson Platoon Equine Assisted Program and be used to purchase and care for the horses within the program. It will not be used to pay workers as all workers and staff members are volunteers. None of the money will be used by me; the entry fee, fuel, food and any essential required prior to, during or after Hoka Hey comes from my personal funds. In fact, money pledged goes directly from you to CPEAP, which means you get the tax deduction.
I ask you to join me in paying it forward, to pay on a debt we can never fully repay, to give these wounded soldiers an avenue to ride, to enjoy something we perhaps take for granted. For more information and to learn the specifics of my challenge and how to pledge please go to www.stevebriscoe.net and click on the “Sponsorship” link or you can email me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The best we can hope for, while living our lives, is to have a positive influence on those around us. This is your opportunity.
Ride safe, keep the shiny side up and keep it between the ditches.
GET A JUMP on your booking for hotel booking Harley Davidson’s 110th celebration in Milwaukee!!!
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