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Ride Safe

One of the missions of the IAFF is to identify hazards, develop and disseminate user friendly technical materials and information, and provide assistance so IAFF affiliates and members can recognize and control the safety, health and medical needs associated with our profession.

With that said, the IAFF-MG is equally committeed to ensure that its members and our riders have access to accruae and timely information to assist in making sure that your/our Motorcycle Riding Experiences are not only fun, but safe for our members with riding indiviually or in groups. This section is designed to provide just that information.  

The IAFFMG encourges all IAFF and IAFF-MG Members/Riders and their passengers to please observe all federal, state, and local laws and ride safely and defensively. The IAFF-MG requests that you and your passenger wear a helmet, appropriate clothing and eyewear. As outlined in  the IAFF-MG Waiver that you signed in order to obtain your IAFF-MG Membership and your participation in any IAFF/IAFF-MG sponsored and/or supported rally/ride, if you and/or your passenger choose to ride without a helmet or other protective clothing and eyewear, you do so at your own risk.

The Ride Safe Section of the IAFF-MG site is designed to provide you with Motorcycle Safety information and tips. If you should have any questions, need additional information and/or want to offer some Motorcycle Safety Riding Tips, please e-mail your questions and suggested Safety Tips, to Michael J. Crouse. 

Live to Ride, but Ride Safe...


Helmet Laws in U.S.
Aug 03, 2012

Knee Draggers Motorcycle Safey Information from our Friends from Pine Wood Elementary School!
May 11, 2012

Refresh Your Riding Skills
May 13, 2010
REFRESH YOUR SKILLS ~ MOTORCYCLE SAFETY FOUNDATION GUIDE TO GROUP RIDING SAFETY : This 10-minute video in the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Guide to Group Riding Kit explains riding formations, pre-ride meetings, hand signals, and more. Please spread this important traffic safety messages to your friends, your clubs, and your riding buddies as riding season begins again this year. Everyone can benefit from brushing up on their skills before they head out on group rides this year.

WATCH THE VIDEO


Know the Weather Conditions before you Ride!
Feb 10, 2010

Motorcycle Safety Program Guidelines
Dec 30, 2009

Tips for the Motorcycle Passenger
Jan 14, 2010

Motorcycle Videos
Jan 12, 2010

Harley Davidson's ~ Safety Tips
Apr 13, 2008

Motorcycle Safety Foundation
Apr 13, 2008

Motorcycle Safety Related WEB Sites
Apr 13, 2008

2010 Riding Season is Coming!
Apr 13, 2008
While more detailed inspection and maintenance practices can be found at  motorcycle maintenance, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's T-CLOCS method is an efficient way to inspect your bike before traveling:
  • T: Tires.
    Make sure both tires are properly inflated, using an air pressure monitor that you bring with you on rides. Don't risk riding on tires that might need replacement; if suspect a tire will not last long enough for a ride, have it replaced.
  • C: Controls.
    Are your cables (clutch and brakes) and controls intact and working?
  • L: Lights.
    Make sure your headlights (high & low beam), turn signals, and brake lights work.
  • O: Oils & fluids.
    Check everything from engine oil and coolant to brake fluid.
  • C: Chassis.
    Ensure that the frame, suspension, chain, and fasteners are all secure and intact.
  • S: Stands.
    Make sure the center stand and/or side stand isn't cracked or bent, and that springs properly hold the assembly away from the pavement when stowed.
For a more detailed, downloadable inspection checklist, go to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's website.

The HURT Study
Nov 22, 2007

The Hurt Study [1981]

A motorcycle accident study offers you and your students a wealth of information about accidents and how to avoid them. The Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures, is a study conducted by the University of Southern California (USC). The Hurt study, published in 1981, was a ground-breaking report on the causes and effects of motorcycle accidents. Although more than 26 years old at this time, the study still offers riders insight into the statistics regarding motorcycle accidents and tips on safer riding. With funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, researcher Harry Hurt (from which the study gets its common name) of the University of Southern California, investigated almost every aspect of 900 motorcycle accidents in the Los Angeles area. Additionally, Hurt and his staff analyzed 3,600 motorcycle traffic accident reports in the same geographic area.


Summary of Findings

Throughout the accident and exposure data there are special observations which relate to accident and injury causation and characteristics of the motorcycle accidents studied. These findings are summarized as follows:

  1. Approximately three-fourths of these motorcycle accidents involved collision with another vehicle, which was most usually a passenger automobile.
  2. Approximately one-fourth of these motorcycle accidents were single vehicle accidents involving the motorcycle colliding with the roadway or some fixed object in the environment.
  3. Vehicle failure accounted for less than 3% of these motorcycle accidents, and most of those were single vehicle accidents where control was lost due to a puncture flat.
  4. In the single vehicle accidents, motorcycle rider error was present as the accident precipitating factor in about two-thirds of the cases, with the typical error being a slideout and fall due to overbraking or running wide on a curve due to excess speed or under-cornering.
  5. Roadway defects (pavement ridges, potholes, etc.) were the accident cause in 2% of the accidents; animal involvement was 1% of the accidents.
  6. In the multiple vehicle accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle right-of-way and caused the accident in two-thirds of those accidents.
  7. The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle accidents. The driver of the other vehicle involved in collision with the motorcycle did not see the motorcycle before the collision, or did not see the motorcycle until too late to avoid the collision.
  8. Deliberate hostile action by a motorist against a motorcycle rider is a rare accident cause. The most frequent accident configuration is the motorcycle proceeding straight then the automobile makes a left turn in front of the oncoming motorcycle.
  9. Intersections are the most likely place for the motorcycle accident, with the other vehicle violating the motorcycle right-of-way, and often violating traffic controls.
  10. Weather is not a factor in 98% of motorcycle accidents.
  11. Most motorcycle accidents involve a short trip associated with shopping, errands, friends, entertainment or recreation, and the accident is likely to happen in a very short time close to the trip origin.
  12. The view of the motorcycle or the other vehicle involved in the accident is limited by glare or obstructed by other vehicles in almost half of the multiple vehicle accidents.
  13. Conspicuity of the motorcycle is a critical factor in the multiple vehicle accidents, and accident involvement is significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle headlamps (on in daylight) and the wearing of high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets.
  14. Fuel system leaks and spills were present in 62% of the motorcycle accidents in the post-crash phase. This represents an undue hazard for fire.
  15. The median pre-crash speed was 29.8 mph, and the median crash speed was 21.5 mph, and the one-in-a-thousand crash speed is approximately 86 mph.
  16. The typical motorcycle pre-crash lines-of-sight to the traffic hazard portray no contribution of the limits of peripheral vision; more than three-fourths of all accident hazards are within 45deg of either side of straight ahead.
  17. Conspicuity of the motorcycle is most critical for the frontal surfaces of the motorcycle and rider.
  18. Vehicle defects related to accident causation are rare and likely to be due to deficient or defective maintenance.
  19. Motorcycle riders between the ages of 16 and 24 are significantly overrepresented in accidents; motorcycle riders between the ages of 30 and 50 are significantly underrepresented. Although the majority of the accident-involved motorcycle riders are male (96%), the female motorcycles riders are significantly overrepresented in the accident data.
  20. Craftsmen, laborers, and students comprise most of the accident-involved motorcycle riders. Professionals, sales workers, and craftsmen are underrepresented and laborers, students and unemployed are overrepresented in the accidents.
  21. Motorcycle riders with previous recent traffic citations and accidents are overrepresented in the accident data.
  22. The motorcycle riders involved in accidents are essentially without training; 92% were self-taught or learned from family or friends. Motorcycle rider training experience reduces accident involvement and is related to reduced injuries in the event of accidents.
  23. More than half of the accident-involved motorcycle riders had less than 5 months experience on the accident motorcycle, although the total street riding experience was almost 3 years. Motorcycle riders with dirt bike experience are significantly underrepresented in the accident data.
  24. Lack of attention to the driving task is a common factor for the motorcyclist in an accident.
  25. Almost half of the fatal accidents show alcohol involvement.
  26. Motorcycle riders in these accidents showed significant collision avoidance problems. Most riders would overbrake and skid the rear wheel, and underbrake the front wheel greatly reducing collision avoidance deceleration. The ability to countersteer and swerve was essentially absent.
  27. The typical motorcycle accident allows the motorcyclist just less than 2 seconds to complete all collision avoidance action.
  28. Passenger-carrying motorcycles are not overrepresented in the accident area.
  29. The driver of the other vehicles involved in collision with the motorcycle are not distinguished from other accident populations except that the ages of 20 to 29, and beyond 65 are overrepresented. Also, these drivers are generally unfamiliar with motorcycles.
  30. The large displacement motorcycles are underrepresented in accidents but they are associated with higher injury severity when involved in accidents.
  31. Any effect of motorcycle color on accident involvement is not determinable from these data, but is expected to be insignificant because the frontal surfaces are most often presented to the other vehicle involved in the collision.
  32. Motorcycles equipped with fairings and windshields are underrepresented in accidents, most likely because of the contribution to conspicuity and the association with more experienced and trained riders.
  33. Motorcycle riders in these accidents were significantly without motorcycle license, without any license, or with license revoked.
  34. Motorcycle modifications such as those associated with the semi-chopper or cafe racer are definitely overrepresented in accidents.
  35. The likelihood of injury is extremely high in these motorcycle accidents-98% of the multiple vehicle collisions and 96% of the single vehicle accidents resulted in some kind of injury to the motorcycle rider; 45% resulted in more than a minor injury.
  36. Half of the injuries to the somatic regions were to the ankle-foot, lower leg, knee, and thigh-upper leg.
  37. Crash bars are not an effective injury countermeasure; the reduction of injury to the ankle-foot is balanced by increase of injury to the thigh-upper leg, knee, and lower leg.
  38. The use of heavy boots, jacket, gloves, etc., is effective in preventing or reducing abrasions and lacerations, which are frequent but rarely severe injuries.
  39. Groin injuries were sustained by the motorcyclist in at least 13% of the accidents, which typified by multiple vehicle collision in frontal impact at higher than average speed.
  40. Injury severity increases with speed, alcohol involvement and motorcycle size.
  41. Seventy-three percent of the accident-involved motorcycle riders used no eye protection, and it is likely that the wind on the unprotected eyes contributed in impairment of vision which delayed hazard detection.
  42. Approximately 50% of the motorcycle riders in traffic were using safety helmets but only 40% of the accident-involved motorcycle riders were wearing helmets at the time of the accident.
  43. Voluntary safety helmet use by those accident-involved motorcycle riders was lowest for untrained, uneducated, young motorcycle riders on hot days and short trips.
  44. The most deadly injuries to the accident victims were injuries to the chest and head.
  45. The use of the safety helmet is the single critical factor in the prevention of reduction of head injury; the safety helmet which complies with FMVSS 218 is a significantly effective injury countermeasure.
  46. Safety helmet use caused no attenuation of critical traffic sounds, no limitation of precrash visual field, and no fatigue or loss of attention; no element of accident causation was related to helmet use.
  47. FMVSS 218 provides a high level of protection in traffic accidents, and needs modification only to increase coverage at the back of the head and demonstrate impact protection of the front of full facial coverage helmets, and insure all adult sizes for traffic use are covered by the standard.
  48. Helmeted riders and passengers showed significantly lower head and neck injury for all types of injury, at all levels of injury severity.
  49. The increased coverage of the full facial coverage helmet increases protection, and significantly reduces face injuries.
  50. There is not liability for neck injury by wearing a safety helmet; helmeted riders had less neck injuries than unhelmeted riders. Only four minor injuries were attributable to helmet use, and in each case the helmet prevented possible critical or fatal head injury.
  51. Sixty percent of the motorcyclists were not wearing safety helmets at the time of the accident. Of this group, 26% said they did not wear helmets because they were uncomfortable and inconvenient, and 53% simply had no expectation of accident involvement.
  52. Valid motorcycle exposure data can be obtained only from collection at the traffic site. Motor vehicle or driver license data presents information which is completely unrelated to actual use.
  53. Less than 10% of the motorcycle riders involved in these accidents had insurance of any kind to provide medical care or replace property.

This is the same study that is frequently quoted in the MSF rider safety courses.  The final report is several hundred pages. If you choose to have this document in your resource library, the order information is:

Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures, Volume 1: Technical Report, Hurt, H.H., Ouellet, J.V. and Thom, D.R., Traffic Safety Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90007, Contract No. DOT HS-5-01160, January 1981 (Final Report)

This document is available through:
National Technical Information Service
5285 Port Royal Road
Springfield, Virginia 22161
(703) 487-4600


Motorcycle Safety Study
Nov 22, 2007

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has unveiled a new motorcycle safety initiative built on an "action plan" designed to guide the federal agency's policy over the coming years.

Secretary of TransportationThe federal plan, unveiled November 2, was accompanied by a television public-service announcement featuring Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters (right, shown in a still photo from the PSA), herself a rider, relating her experience with a motorcycle crash that left her with a broken collarbone (See the TV spot at the NHTSA website.) The accompanying action plan calls for a focus on six areas:

  • Evaluating the results of the first comprehensive study into the causes of motorcycle crashes in more than 25 years, a study that has now received full financial support from the federal government and the motorcycle industry following years of work by the AMA.
  • Developing new national standards for entry-level motorcycle rider training that are expected to set a baseline for programs in all states.
  • Amending the federal motorcycle-helmet standard to address problems of false helmet-certification claims.
  • Distributing a brochure designed to offer guidance for highway officials and engineers looking to design, construct and maintain roadways for increased motorcycle safety.
  • Creating a training program designed to educate police on enforcement efforts to reduce motorcycle crashes.
  • Marketing a “Share the Road” campaign kit for use by states, local communities and motorcycle organizations.

"We're encouraged that NHTSA officials have adopted a more comprehensive approach to the issue of motorcycle safety," said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations, "and we certainly agree with the emphasis on the new study of motorcycle crashes, which will be getting under way in the next few months. Like the last such study, which was completed in 1980, we think this research has real potential to help riders be safer on the road.

"We are still evaluating what amounts to a major new initiative by this federal agency regarding motorcycle safety," Moreland added, "and we hope that NHTSA officials will maintain a dialogue with the motorcycling community as they proceed with elements of this action plan, to make sure we are working together toward common goals we can all support."

Full details of the action plan are available at the NHTSA motorcycle safety website.

 © 2007, American Motorcyclist Association


Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Nov 22, 2007

Safety is the primary concern of the IAFF Motorcycle Group [IAFFMG]. Regardless of the various U.S. and Canadian Motorcycle Helmet Laws, the IAFFMG recognizes that wearing a helmet is a personal choice. However, the IAFFMG encourges all IAFFMG Members and Riders to please observe all federal, state, and local laws and ride safely and defensively. The IAFFMG requests that you and your passenger wear a helmet, appropriate clothing and eyewear. As outlined in  the IAFFMG Waiver that you signed in order to obtain your IAFFMG Membership and your participation in any IAFF/IAFFMG sponsored and/or supported rally/ride, if you and/or your passenger choose to ride without a helmet, you do so at your own risk.

While planning and/or preparing for your next Motorcycle Ride and/or Rally, please make sure you are aware of the various Helmet Laws within your riding area[a]. Below are links to the various U.S. [State] Motorcycle Heltmet Laws for your review and information.This information provided by Iron Horse Helmets.

All Canadian provinces have universal motorcycle helmet laws. Canada is considered to be a world leader in motorcycle safety, thanks in part to its longstanding helmet laws and its strong national training program. In 2003 alone over 23,000 riders across Canada completed the Canada Safety Council's Motorcycle Training Program.

Iron Horse Helmets  Novelty, Helmet laws Motorcycle Helmets, DOT motorcycle Helmets, DOT motorcycle helmets

StateMotorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law
AlabamaAll Riders
Alaska17 yrs. and younger
Arizona17 yrs. and younger
Arkansas17 yrs. and younger
CaliforniaAll Riders
Coloradono helmet use laws
Connecticut17 yrs. and younge
Delaware18 yrs. and younge
D.C.All Riders
Florida20 yrs. and younger
Georgiaall riders
Hawaii17 yrs. and younger
Idaho17 yrs. and younger
Illinois17 yrs. and younger
Indiana17 yrs. and younger2
Iowano helmet use laws
Kansas17 yrs. and younger
Kentucky20 yrs. and younger
Lousianaall riders
Maineall riders
Marylandall riders
Massachusettsall riders
Michiganall riders
Minnesota17 yrs. and younger
Mississippiall riders
Missouriall riders
Montana18 yrs. and younger
Nebraskaall riders
Nevadaall riders
New Hampshire17 yrs. and younger
New Jerseyall riders
New Mexico17 yrs. and younger
New Yorkall riders
North Carolinaall riders
North Dakota17 yrs. and younger
Ohio17 yrs. and younger
Oklahoma17 yrs. and younger
Oregonall riders
Pennsylvania21 yrs. and younger
Rhode Island20 yrs. and younger
South Carolina20 yrs. and younger
South Dakota17 yrs. and younger
Tennesseeall riders
Texas20 yrs. and younger
Utah17 yrs. and younger
Vermontall riders
Virginiaall riders
Washingtonall riders
West Virginiaall riders
Wisconsin17 yrs. and younger
Wyoming18 yrs. and younger

 
*Alaska's motorcycle helmet use law covers passengers of all ages, drivers younger than 18, and drivers with instructional permits.

*Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas provide exceptions for riders over a certain age. In Florida and Kentucky, the law requires that all riders younger than 21 yrs. wear helmets, without exception. Those 21 yrs. and older may ride without helmets only if they can show proof that they are covered by a medical insurance policy. Louisiana's law allows riders 18 yrs. and older to ride without helmets if they can show proof that they are covered by a medical insurance policy. Texas exempts riders 21 yrs. or older if they either 1) can show proof of successfully completing a motorcycle operator training and safety course or 2) can show proof of having a medical insurance policy.

*Motorcycle helmet laws in Kentucky, Minnesota, and Wisconsin also cover drivers with instructional/learner's permits.

*Maine's motorcycle helmet use law covers passengers 14 years and younger, drivers with learner's permits, and passengers if their drivers are required to wear a helmet.

*Bicycle helmet use laws in Massachusetts and New York prohibit people from transporting passengers younger than age 1.

*North Dakota's motorcycle helmet use law covers all passengers traveling with drivers who are covered by the law.

*Ohio's motorcycle helmet use law covers all drivers during the first year of licensure and all passengers of drivers who are covered by the law

*Rhode Island's motorcycle helmet use law covers all drivers during the first year of licensure and all passengers.

***International -England / UK, New Zealand has a Full Helmet law

* Laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear a helmet are in place in 20 states and the District of Columbia
* Laws requiring only some motorcyclists to wear a helmet are in place in 27 states
* There is no motorcycle helmet use law in 3 states (Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire)
* Some bicyclists are required by law to wear a helmet in 21 states and the District of Columbia
* There is no bicycle helmet use law in 29 states


Motorcycle Safety Foundation
Nov 22, 2007

About the Motorcycle Safety Foundation

Since March 1973, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) has set internationally recognized standards of excellence in motorcycle rider education and training.  The MSF works with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), state governments, the military and other organizations to improve motorcyclist education, training and operator licensing. The MSF is a national, not-for-profit organization sponsored by the U.S. manufacturers and distributors of BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio/Vespa, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha motorcycles.

Objectives and Strategies

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is the leader in championing the safety of motorcyclists by:

  • Developing and maintaining a high quality, comprehensive, research-based Rider Education and Training System (MSF RETS) and its individual curriculum products.                  
  • Establishing national trainer and site certification standards and providing technical assistance for training and licensing programs.                  
  • Promoting model or enabling legislation to create state-funded rider training programs.                  
  • Actively participating in government relations, research and public awareness                  
  • Partnering with other motorcycling and public organizations to make the nation's streets and highways safer for motorcyclists.

The MSF does not deal with motorcycle design or manufacture; its programs focus on the motorcycle operator.

The Five Main MSF Messages for Motorcyclists

To enhance the enjoyment of motorcycling, MSF recommends that riders:

  • Get trained and licensed.                  
  • Wear protective gear.                  
  • Ride unimpaired.                  
  • Ride within your limits.  
  • Be a lifelong learner.              

 Links to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Site 

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation® is the internationally recognized developer of the comprehensive, research-based, Rider Education and Training System (MSF RETS). RETS curricula promotes lifelong-learning for motorcyclists and continuous professional development for certified RiderCoaches and other trainers. MSF also actively participates in government relations, safety research, public awareness campaigns and the provision of technical assistance to state training and licensing programs


Tips for Maintaining Your Motorcycle During the Off-Season...
Jan 14, 2010



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