Monday, April 27, 2009

Very challenging intermediate rider course

I taught my first intermediate rider course this past Thursday and Saturday. Rider must already possess a motorcycle permit. If they pass the riding evaluation, they get the license waiver they same as graduates of the basic rider course.

The range for the riding on Saturday was terrible. South Suburban College's parking lot was always challenging with cracks, dips, and loose gravel on the old asphalt. It was seal coated this past fall. Saturday's weather gave us intermittent showers which in turn made the seal coat slick as snot. During the demo ride of the cornering exercise (stretch out race track type of oval), my rear tire slid several times even though I was going only 10-12 mph. The students were rightfully timid, but it also cost a few come the riding evaluation.

3 of 10 passed. I bike was dropped during the stopping quickly evaluation because of a front tire skid. Bikes went down 3 other times during the day.

Conditions aside, I don't believe several of the riders had the appropriate level of experience for the progression of the intermediate course. One person that I was greatly suspect of her experience didn't show up for the riding portion. During the self introductions, her stated experience was being on a bike a few times on a parking lot. The problem is that without having some level of comfort riding, shifting, stopping, turning, the riders without the right level of experience aren't able to effectively progress throughout the course as they don't have the right building blocks. They also eliminate exercise 17 Skills Practice for the IRC.

We will see how the next IRC goes this Thursday and Saturday. I will reserve my judgement of the curriculum until after this one.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

First MC class of the season, half pass

Today was the last day of my first 20 hour Basic Motorcycle Class offered by the UIUC Motorcycle Rider Program. This class was at South Suburban College. The range for the class is pretty rough with plenty of cracks and dips. Anyhow, on the fourth day of the course, only 8 of the original 12 students started the day. The riding progressed fine but I knew a few of the rider were going to have issues during the riding evaluation. One particular person just couldn't get comfortable above 8 mph so it was hard for this rider to acquired the skills needed. The rider was actually surprised that she didn't passes the riding evaluation as the rider stated "you're kidding me that I didn't pass." Well I wasn't and the rider didn't . The rider already has a HD sporty picked out and the rider was wearing all HD gear. The rider showed up with a HD half helmet put wasn't allowed to wear it.

More personally disappointing was a rider who was doing fine and progressed throughout the course. However on the quick stop of the evaluation, grabbed the front brake, skidded the front tire a bit and dropped the bike. Dropping a MC during the riding evaluation is an automatic failure. The rider was really frustrating.

Even though only half of the remaining students passes, all of them learned a lot and made progress. They were also a joy to work with. First of 11 classes is done.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lawmakers cave to Illinois Abate on Helmet Law

Illinois Senate bill 1351 was defeated yesterday. The bill would have request the use of DOT helmets by all motorcyclists in Illinois. Abate of Illinois did a good job on contacting all State Senators.

I think that it is sad as I believe that Illinois should require the use of helmets like most of the states including California and New York, see AMA for the helmet laws by state. Yes I did contact my State Senator to voice my support for the bill, however I am sure that she received hundreds of calls opposing the law. The argument that it about freedom of choice is not logical. It is a public safety issue no different than the used of seat belts. Such a law would have alleviated the need for a local fundraiser for a biker with head and face injuries who rode without a helmet. Over time, who will be paying his medical bills? You and I.

So, thank you again Abate for demonstrating how special interests groups dictate the votes of elected officials.