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Ride Smart!
Ride Safe! Ride Often!

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Top Fuel drag racer Doug Herbert experienced a parent's worst nightmare in January 2008 when he learned that his two young sons Jon, 17, and James, 12 were killed in a speed related crash in North Carolina. In response to this tragic accident, Herbert founded the Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe(B.R.A.K.E.S.) program whose mission is to prevent injuries and save lives by training and educating teenage drivers and their parents about the importance of safe and responsible driving.

Although the emphasis of the B.R.A.K.E.S. program is aimed at teen drivers, the message seems pretty well suited to motorcyclists as well. As riders, we assume more risk than most other drivers when we guide our two-wheeled steed past the end of our driveway. And while safety on the road is a responsibility shared by all, not everyone accepts their share of that responsibility. Because of our vulnerability on a motorcycle, we have to be willing to take on a larger portion of that liability.

This includes thinking about and understanding the consequences of our riding behavior wherever we're riding. How does what we're doing affect our safety and the safety of others? Will the move we're making increase our risk or jeopardize the safety of others? Sometimes we may tend to forget about the impact of our maneuvers on others, but isn't that also a part of being a responsible rider?

If we dive into our favorite corner at the maximum speed we believe we can make it through expecting Bambi and every other creature to behave and leave us alone, aren't we increasing our risk? What if we went in at 80% of that speed so we had a little left over in case Bambi and her mom came to visit? Would that action significantly decrease the value of our ride? We really need to consider the significance of our actions while riding.

How about when we approach that traffic controlled intersection? Have we ever been concerned we wouldn't make it through before the green light changed and rolled on the throttle to beat the light? Have we thought about the fact that most crashes occur at intersections? Or the fact that our increased speed extends the distance we will travel while recognizing a problem, reaching for the brakes and stopping our motorcycle?

If we've had a few close calls, have we thought about what we were doing when they occurred? Was there something we might have done differently that could have given us a little more time to deal with the situation instead of reacting at the last moment? Although we may not be at fault in these incidents, did our actions make things tighter than they had to be?

Considering how the things we do on the road might affect our own safety as well as the safety of others can help us avoid many situations. At the very least it can mitigate the severity of the problem and make it more manageable for us. Be responsible and keep everyone safe - including yourself.

Ride Smart! Ride Safe!