By Steve Johnson – Road Guardians, Program Director
The New Year brings new opportunities, as well as a time to reflect back on the past and see what we have accomplished. Sometimes in the rush of our busy lives, we neglect to take the time to look back and celebrate our victories; often the tasks ahead and or goals is all we focus on. While looking forward to the next set of goals and objectives at times it seems like the mountain is getting larger and larger or the tunnel has no end. That’s why looking back and seeing what we have done really helps put things in to perspective.
Recently, Vicki and I were invited to the Rescue Rider Holiday Party. Once again I was reminded of why I love the motorcycle community and bikers so much. From early spring through December, the Rescue Riders are on their bikes providing support for events; they are there to help if God forbid a crash occurs and riders go down. They take the gift of their training and share it with others to keep everyone safe. So for the Rescue Riders, when they go to a ride or to an event, they are pretty much always “working” or helping run the event at some level. Most of them rarely are just there as an event participant. Now don’t get me wrong – they have a great time doing what they do, it seems the group has a culture of having fun while delivering their mission ensuring that all the riders are safe and in the event something should happen, trained members are there to keep the scene safe and assist the EMS personnel when they arrive on scene. Their motto “Ride for a Reason” really fits what they do; they like any of us don’t need too much persuasion to get out on the bike and ride, however, you will see this dedicated group out in any weather. If they committed to supporting the run be in rain or cold, they will have members there to carry out the mission.
At their Holiday Party, the Rescue Riders gathered for a meal and to reflect on the past year share some photos and memories as well as recognize those members that on a mission set up and played important roles at the scene of crash. Watching as the awards were handed out, one can’t help but think of how many lives they touched this year at times when people needed them the most. The stories that many shared with me were about how much their Accident Scene Management training helped them when the time came to act. I had to smile while someone was sharing their experience on a mission; they said that as walked up to the scene they could hear Trauma Momma in their head telling them the steps of PACT in their head just as if she was there- “Prevent further injury, Assess the Situation, Call EMS, Treat the injured.” I just chuckled inside because I have heard the voice of my instructor on the scene as I put the training to work as well.
It was great to hear the Rescue Rider’s celebrating their victories and accomplishments. This year they supported fifty two missions that had a combined attendance of thirty nine thousand riders, covering four thousand route miles. They were called upon nineteen times to provide assistance and support at the scene of a crash. All I can say is, “wow”! When anyone looks at what the Rescue Riders accomplished in 2011, it is clear they are making a difference. As one looks forward to where they are going in 2012, I am sure next year’s Holiday Party will have many more positive stories and memories to share.
At the Holiday Party, our Road Guardian co-founder, Vicki Sanfelipo and I presented an plaque on behalf of Road Guardians. The 2012 Award was presented to the Rescue Rider Training Division for the outstanding work they do. The award reads “Presented to the Rescue Rider Training Division For their exemplary work and dedication to reducing injuries and fatalities through Bystander Assistance Training.” For Rescue Riders, it is not just the early spring through December riding season that the members are involved with, they also have “training season” or as others may call it – winter. When the bike get parked for the winter, things do not slow down for the training division – they are busy preparing for the next year by keeping skills fresh with refreshers and skills days and training new members in ASM’s basic and advanced classes. Their training division is active year round in keeping all of their member’s skills at the highest level.
In 2012, Rescue Riders will once again be growing their program to new levels and areas. If you are looking to use your skills and have a lot of fun doing so, I would encourage you to look into their “Ride for A Reason” program. More information can be found on their website at www.rescueriders.org
As I look back on what Road Guardians has done, we too have come a long way. Accident Scene Management has trained about 20,000 students in what to do at the scene of a motorcycle crash. This past year, we combined the ASM and Road Guardians website into one as we unify our brand under the Road Guardians name. Nothing is changing in what ASM does – the classes will still remain the best and most current training in motorcycle trauma. We are just adding tools to your tool box with the Road Guardians program. We have had some growing pains as we move to the new website and membership system, however the bugs are getting worked out and I am sure you are going to love our new services. Did you know we offer an online refresher course that you can take on your own schedule?
The Road Guardians program also offers hundreds of everyday discounts plus discounts on travel, auto, motorcycle parts and more. Restaurant.com offers our members $25 gift certificates for only $4! Want to get stared with a fitness routine? Snap fitness is offering free enrollment and 10% off/month to our members to work off those extra calories. Stop by the Road Guardians member area our website the members discount forum has the details about our Smart Savings program. Not a Road Guardian Member? Join our mission by signing up and helping us achieve our goal of reducing injuries and fatalities to motorcyclists while being rewarded!
As I look to what 2012 holds in store for the Road Guardian program, we will continue to grow and strengthen what rewards that we offer. We are in the process of putting together a Road Guardians Program Board of Directors. They will be actively involved in our planning and growth. If you are interested in becoming more involved, send me and email. We are always looking for volunteers looking to make a difference reducing motorcycle fatalities and injuries. We have once again partnered with Allstate Insurance and we will be part of the Allstate Rider Protection Zone at many of the major rallies this summer. Next up is Bike Week in Daytona -March 9th to the 18th.
We have hosted our Annual National Biker’s Betterment Conference for the last few years. This year we ran into some conflicts with dates and were kept busy getting things going with our new home on the internet and growing the Road Guardian program. I am happy to announce that the Biker’s Betterment Conference has found a new home on the calendar and will be held annually the last weekend in January starting in 2013. Mark your calendar for January 26 and 27, 2013!