Maintenance of Bike and Biker!

Last modified on 2018-01-19 18:07:25 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

By Steve Johnson – Road Guardians, Program Director

February is already over half over with.  For me, that brings a smile to my face because I see that no matter what happens – winter is coming to an end!  Yes, I know we can have winter storms in March and April.  However, from the way I see, we are on the downhill side and headed to spring and once again riding season.  My bike’s been parked since early November and I am missing my time in the wind.

As a biker in a northern climate, winter is the time to prepare for the upcoming riding season.  What comes to mind for most of us on this subject is those major maintenance or upgrades to the bike.  I am sure there are more than a few of you out there that have the motor out and the bike in pieces in the garage and basement, even a few who have made room in the living room for the bike.  It will not be long and those motors will be back in the bike and, after a marathon session of turning the wrench, ready to be kicked over and hear her purr.

We have all heard the list of what needs to be done to have the bike ready for a new riding season – tires, brakes, and battery.  My question this month is what have you done to get the rider ready for the new riding season?  It does not matter how much you have ridden or what you have done in the past. We all can learn more and grow our skills to make us better riders.  This winter, I have fought off the cold winter nights with visions of riding by reading Lee Parks’ book “Total Control High Performance Street Riding Techniques”.  There are many great books out there for reading that can add to your riding knowledge.  However, like everything, we just need to make sure we take action and do it.  Just because the bike is not on the road does not mean that as riders we can’t be sharpening the saw and getting ready for that next ride that is coming up soon.

Being lifelong learners and growing our skills as riders are habits we all could benefit from adopting.  Accident Scene Management’s “A Crash Course for the Motorcyclist” and “Advanced Bystander Assistance” classes are a great way to be prepared if the unexpected comes up and there is a crash.  Earlier this month, I sat in a courtroom in suburban Chicago as a distracted driver was sentenced for taking the lives of two bikers, paralyzing another, and injuring countless others.  It is always really hard to listen to the events of a crash be retold by the witness as a biker.   It really sits heavy on my heart to hear the details of the minutes before and after such a horrific event.  I was not alone in the courtroom by any means.  Every seat was full with bikers turning out like the family we are to support the families of our fallen riders.  This time was different as the bikers that witnessed everything testified.  They told how they took care of their own until EMS arrived on scene.  They were in a large group and everyone did their part like they had been trained.  Someone controlled traffic.  Others went to assists the most seriously hurt while more went to check the ditch and field for additional passengers that could have been thrown from the bike.  For a brief time in the midst of some very hard testimony to listen to in court, I smiled,  looked to the sky,  and winked at my angel because those bikers on the ride cared enough about their fellow bikers to get the training of what to do when the worst things happen.

As a rider with over twenty five years in the saddle and riding between fifteen and twenty thousand miles a year, I consider to myself to be a very proficient rider.  I often hear my fellow bikers with a similar background saying that they ride a level above the traditional experienced rider course offered by the MSF.  Though I would argue that no matter what your level of experience is or the amount of time you have in the saddle, everyone could benefit from a course that brings you back to practicing the slow speed maneuvers that the experience rider course offers.  In reality, everything builds off the basics and reviewing the basics and practicing those foundation skills is something everyone can benefit from.  However, for those that want to take riding to that next level there are courses out there that do that.  Lee Parks’ Total Control Course is offered in many locations across the country and if there is not one right next to you, it sounds like a great reason for a road trip.  I have had Lee’s course on my to do list for couple of years and this year I am going to cross it off.  There are many other great on-bike rider training programs to help you grow your riding skills and offer several different advanced rider courses in the Midwest and other areas is  They offer courses both in Michigan and Illinois with no worries about scratching your bike up training as courses include the use of a Harley police bike.  To recognize Road Guardian members that go the extra mile in being a lifelong learner, taking an on-bike motorcycle training program meets one of the requirements to becoming a “Certified” Road Guardian.  For more information on the Certified Road Guardian destination see:

It’s that time of year with the calendar turning  from February to March that many bikers make the pilgrimage south for the annual Bike Week in Daytona, Florida to get that early taste of spring.  If you’re making the trip down to Daytona keep the rubber side down and be safe, keep an eye on the Road Guardians Facebook page as there may be an opportunity to get together and meet some of your fellow members.  As of press time, details have not been finalized. “Like” Road Guardians on Facebook – it is always the best way to keep up with our latest news.

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February 2012 Newsletter: Motorcycle Trauma Response Best Practice

Last modified on 2018-01-19 18:14:46 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Download a pdf copy of this report: 2012-Motorcycle-Trauma-Best-Practice.pdf.

Summary Statement: The current state of EMS response to Motorcycle Trauma is inadequate. Funds should be allocated for development of better EMS protocols and increased training, especially for EMS and Motorcycle Rider Educators.


  1. 911 call center Dispatchers have varying degrees of response with most centers recommending Head tilt -Chin lift and chest compressions for a non-breathing accident victim. This response could not only further injure the person but in some cases could even kill the injured victim.

Solution: Develop statewide dispatch recommendations and protocols specific to motorcycle crashes.

  1. Some call centers have adopted a new recommendation by EMD (a national resource) that simply says: if the person is not breathing and is wearing a helmet, take it off. It does not indentify the kind of helmet or give instruction how to remove the helmet.

Solution: Complete a study on one person helmet removal as well as ability to explain technique over the phone

  1. EMTs are not required to learn helmet removal as part of their training.

Solution: Require EMT Basics to complete training on Motorcycle Trauma.

  1. Motorcycle Safety Rider Education instructors are required to take CPR and First Aid but not motorcycle specific trauma training (though it is available). Since MC Safety instructors are often the first persons new riders are exposed to, their advice is relied upon as accurate. If Rider Educators are not educated in proper response they will likely give wrong or no advice.

Solution: Motorcycle Rider Coaches need to be trained in Motorcycle Specific Trauma Response.

  1. While Wisconsin has had a program that teaches MC trauma for many years, the majority of people who have been trained have done so voluntarily and at their own expense (at full price). Approximately 6000 people have been trained over 12 years, a small fraction of the total registered riders in the state.

Solution: Do more to encourage motorcyclists to be trained

Supporting Theory: Haddon Matrix

Haddon Matrix is a model for disaster response. Much effort should be placed in preventing a disaster from occurring. In the event that a disaster does occur, a plan must be in place for containment and minimization of the effects of the disaster.

Accident Scene Management, Inc (ASM) was established in 1996 to work with the Wisconsin D.O.T. in order to present a bystander program to motorcyclists as a pilot project. In only 5 classes, 375 motorcyclists were trained. Evaluations of the program ranked high with stories of usefulness being told less than one year later. To date ASM has trained nearly 20,000 students, has instructors in 26 states and Australia, and is recognized as the North American leader in the topic of motorcycle trauma. ASM is a partner in the motocycle safety netowk meetings in Washington D.C., A professional member of the State Motorcycle Safety Association, and a member of the Wisconsin EMS Association. We have the only accredited motorcycle trauma educational progrma in the United States, training both motorcyclists and Emergency Responders at all levels.

ASM and the Waukesha County 911 Dispatch Center organized a meeting of a cross section of interested parties in December of 2009 to discuss elements of a “Best Practice” for surviving a motorcycle Trauma. Fire Cheifs, Waukesha Co Emergency Medical Director, Dispatch Reps, ABATE, DOT motorcycle safety coordinator & ASM instructors were in attendance. Four areas for improvement were discussed with proposals for how to improve each area. In February of 2010 a meeting was held in Madison with a reprentative of HHS and the DOT motorcycle rider education coordinator. Both representitives cited funding as issues for why Motorcycle Rider Coaches and EMS could not be trained. The Emergency Medical Dispatch is interested in changing protocols but they require some studies to be done first regarding helmet removal. In April 2010, a sample study was done at the Center for Injury Prevention at the VA crash test lab. The results were favorable, however, funding for the study would be around $30,000.00 which has stalled that project. Motorcyclists continue to pay for their own training. Despite the difficult economy our rate of students trained has continued to be strong.

Wisconsin has lead this effort to improve outcomes for motorcyclists who have been in a crash. Our multi-faceted approach to reducing injuries and fatalities through rider education, motorist awareness, strenghtening of laws, anti-impaired riding, and Bystander Care has made a difference but we can do better and we need help to get the best treatment and care. CPR & 911 are good but are not enough. The first 5-20 minutes are the most critical after a trauma and CPR should be cautiously considered for use on a motorcycle trauma due to concerns about neck and chest injuries.




February 2012 Newsletter: RG Member Discounts

Last modified on 2017-12-21 16:49:57 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

 Road Guardians receive 15% off Kohl’s online orders every day. No coupon needed! Also receive discounts from Target, Kmart and Sears. Log in to the members area and look for Smart Savings to find the codes. Enjoy your rewards!




The Low Down On L.E.D. Lights

Last modified on 2018-01-19 15:50:51 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

by Biker Chad
Part I

It seems that the colored lighting effects on bikes are catching on like wild fire they look great and offers one more way to customize your bike, but did you know the colored lights used to light up bikes are not actually light bulbs at all? They are actually light-emitting diodes also called LED’s.  LEDs are smaller (one LED is a few millimeters across), run cooler (LEDs loose almost no energy to heat like incandescent bulbs that burn a filament to make light losing over 75% of energy consumed to heat loss in the process), last way longer (LEDs last over 10 times longer than the best fluorescent bulbs available), use way fewer raw materials to manufacture than incandescent bulbs or fluorescent bulbs (and they use no poisonous mercury like fluorescent bulbs).  LED lights also come in a variety of colors.  I am convinced that LEDs will soon be used as replacements for all filament and fluorescent bulbs helping to save a ton of energy and raw materials.

How much power does an LED use?  Well, lets say you need a 60-watt output light bulb.  If you used an incandescent light bulb you would use 60 watts of power to make 60 watts of light, not very efficient at all.  If you used a fluorescent light bulb it would use around 13 watts of power to produce the same 60 watts of light.  If you used an LED replacement bulb it would use around 3 watts to produce the same 60 watts of light.  Most LED replacement bulbs for a house have a cluster of around 180 individual LEDs.  A motorcycle would use way less than 180 individual LEDs (around 32 to 64 individual LEDs) so the power consumption is usually less than a watt to light up an entire bike.  This is because each individual LED uses .016 watt to light up.

Now that we understand LEDs and how they work I will explain some of the most common options to light up your bike.  LEDs for bikes come in strips, what I can only describe as the “Kuryakyn” style, and pods.  There are several other variations on LED styles and assemblies, but the ones I have listed most commonly used on bikes.

First the strip style: These are like stickers that are nothing more than a printed circuit board with the LED lights either exposed to the elements or sealed in clear silicone.  This is not my favorite option, they are the least expensive option and have several LEDs on them, so many folks are tempted to purchase them thinking they are getting more bang for their buck.  I do not recommend getting these units installed on your bike.  They do not last long and are very easily damaged by weather or washing your bike, and if they ever need to be removed for service, they are usually ruined in the process.

Second the Kuryakyn “Lizard Light” Style:  This style has the LEDs in a plastic stick on housing, so they are a step up from the strip style.  Unfortunately, the cheap plastic used does not get along well with the heat of Harley V-Twin engines.  They use small plastic plugs making installation easier for the at home mechanic, but the wires used to go from unit to unit are very thin and fragile, melting easily and breaking from vibration.  The Lizard Light has the ability to strobe and cycle through many colors with the addition of a sold separately programmable controller unit.  Lizard Lights are also very similar to the ones that H-D sells with their name on them and they are most likely made by the same manufacturer. These units could be removed and re-used if extreme care is used.

Third is the pod style: The pods you want are units that are filled with high temp silicone to absorb the vibration and heat of a running V-Twin engine.  Pods are made in two different styles; a pin spot style pod that consists of about 4-6 individual LEDs that make a more focused beam, and a fan style pod that consist of 4-6 individual LEDs that have a more dispersed or “fanned out” light beam.  Pods are very sturdy and may be removed and re-stuck many times, with out damage as long as the double-sided stick tape is replaced when removed.

In the next installment of this series we will continue our study on colored LED accent lights, and what to expect if you would like to wire your own LED accent lighting on you bike.

-Ride smart, Biker Chad