In winter of 2011 and of April 2013 I had the opportunity to introduce new ways of looking at motorcycle safety to over 800 people. One of those events was a motorcycle safety day at Eglin Airforce Base in Florida. My husband and I left Wisconsin on our bikes in the snow knowing that if we could get south 100 miles we would get past the snow and rain. By the time we got to Florida it was 80 degrees and beautiful! We experienced all kinds of weather as we made the trek back and forth. That is always part of the adventure!
Now the challenge for any of us who teach motorcycle safety is to make it fun so it’s not a drag for people to attend. I had the privilege of being their keynote speaker that morning as they kicked things off. It’s a tough job when you know people are just waiting to get the speaker part of things out of the way so they can go back outside and hang around the bikes. The Safety “Briefing” was held in an auditorium that seated 400 people and the place was PACKED! Every seat was full. People were standing in the back and the front of the room and people were sitting in the aisles. With sunshine, wings, bikes, and Hooters waiting outside I wondered what was going to happen when I started talking about “safety”…..
Much to my delight the crowd was attentive and engaged. I introduced a concept to them: if our goal is to achieve zero fatalities then we need to open our minds to a larger concept. It takes addressing all Six areas of motorcycle safety to achieve zero! I challenged everyone in the room to make it their commitment to themselves and their riding buddies to be “better” to never be satisfied with where they are at and to look for ways to improve. The title of my program was Six = Zero!!!! Five of the topics deal with prevention but a prevention plan without a plan for containment of disaster is not a complete plan. The Five areas for prevention are:
Rider Education – if you have completed basic training then think about challenging yourself to take advanced training.
Apparel – learn about protective apparel and wear it
Anti-Impaired Riding - Impaired riding can take many forms. Typically we think of this as alcohol impairment but are you riding with you full faculties?
Motorist Awareness – Not only do cars need to be more aware of motorcyclists but the motorcyclists needs to make themselves more visible to cars.
Laws/Regulations – Are you aware of the laws in the state or country that you are traveling?
The sixth area of motorcycle safety is the disaster plan/containment piece
First Response – Have you learned specific care for a motorcycle crash victim? Do you know how to help your friend? CPR is the response for a heart attack victim but not the preferred first response for a trauma. First Aid is helpful but not enough. Are you prepared to help a friend. Are they prepared to help you? What is YOUR disaster plan?
We finished our safety briefing, got outside to look at the bikes and had a beautiful safe and scenic ride. What a Great Day it was!!!!
Our ride home was interesting as well as we had to take cover when the civil defense sirens indicating a tornado warning went off as we were gassing up. We made it home wet and with a story to tell.
I am so excited about the interest in Motorcycle First Response and the good that we are doing. I look forward to the many events that I’ll be attending the rest of the summer and having a chance to do demonstrations and meet more people who want to see us get to zero. Thanks for helping us teach more people about motorcycle safety and use the six to get to zero motorcycle fatalities!
Rubber Side Down!!!
Vicki Sanfelipo, RN/EMT