Story by Doug Westly
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published the Jan. 2015 edition of the MSTA Florida Chapter newsletter, The Florida Gator Tale, and was republished in the Jan. 2021 newsletter. The story has been edited to match the MSTA website’s style.
Everybody makes them. Sometimes they are kept, sometimes not. How about some New Year’s Resolutions that could save your life?
These are mine:
▪ I will always check my bike before I ride. That includes checking the tires, tire pressures, brakes, drivetrain, lights, controls and more. I will also check my wife and riding partner’s bike (that’s part of our agreed division of pre-ride duties). Nothing is more important to me than her safety. (She cross-checks me as well.)
▪ I also will check myself and ask, “Am I ready to ride?” Is my mind focused on the ride and not distracted by something else going on in my life? Am I rested and alert? I promise to walk away from a ride if I am not ready. I have nothing to prove.
▪ I will always wear all the gear all the time. I will routinely inspect my gear — particularly my helmet — to ensure it will protect me if needed.
▪ I will ride responsibly and safely. That means cooperating with other traffic and riding responsibly on the public streets.
▪ I will carefully decide with whom I ride. My riding partners should demonstrate the same attitude towards riding that I do. I will not ride outside my comfort zone. I will ride my own line.
▪ I will practice good riding techniques. I will focus on my riding and stay alert to possible hazards (Remember the MSF’s Search-Evaluate-Execute strategy).
▪ I will seek out more rider training in 2021. For me, that means my annual RiderCoach refresher and this year probably another track school!
▪ I will always maintain my motorcycles. That means following the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual. It means regularly cleaning my bike as a means to detect possible problems or maintenance issues.
▪ I am an experienced rider. I recognize that newer riders may look to me or watch how I ride. I will do my best to present a good example of a mature, safe rider. At the same time, it is also my responsibility to show newer riders that safe riding is also fun riding.
▪ If I see unacceptable riding behavior or unsafe riding techniques, I will take it upon myself to address these issues. I will do it politely and positively. I recognize that, as much as possible, we should all watch out for each other.
No one is perfect, and there are times when I forget something. What’s important is I recognize how motorcycling is a central part of my life and I’ll do what is necessary to continue riding. These resolutions are how I plan to make that happen this year.
How about you? Ready for another year of riding in 2021?