By: Laurie Montoya
2020 is behind us, A new year is upon us and many hope that 2021 will bring healing to all. The start of a new year is a time of making positive change, arriving at fresh decisions, and transforming old habits into great ones.
This year, life looks different than it did last December. When the 2021ball dropped the streets were not filled with hundreds of thousands of people, many celebrated in a quiet, low-key way, perhaps snuggled on the couch.
As motorcycle riders, our bikers had more time to ride and saw an uptick in motorcycle fatalities and accidents and as a rider myself, I know it is time to consider what I can do to be safer on the ride.
Dieting and saving money might sound like good 2021 new year’s resolutions. But, really, the best resolution you could make is: ride more motorcycles and make some changes in how you ride. Here are some motorcycle resolutions to keep in mind in 2021
- Increase your bike/car insurance – not the most glamorous first resolution, but certainly the most important. Colorado riders ride year-round and accidents as we know happen weekly in our community. All riders MUST have at least 250k dollars in under or un-insured motorist coverage. 50% of all drivers in Colorado do not have car insurance and if they do another 25% of them have liability only. No-one likes high priced insurance, but FREEDOM of the ride is NO LONGER FREE. Do it for your family and friends if nothing else, family members are the ones who will struggle to help you if or when you have an accident.
2. Add a Supplemental policy such as Aflac or MedPay – These supplemental policies are vital coverages to have in the event of an accident and will cost you less than you think. I cannot tell you how many times a rider has said to me I have FULL-COVERAGE, so I am good. Full coverage covers your bike loan or helps you if you hit someone. What full coverage does not DO is help keep your family financially a float while you are out of work. Health insurance will pay your medical or doctor’s bills. But having 1 of these supplemental policies will help offset your loss of income while you are recovering.
Aflac Accident policy inclusive in their 35.00 per month ($1.16 per day) membership that you can utilize in any type of an accident not just on the bike.
MedPay – Medical Payment Coverage, also called MedPay, is a premium that your car insurance company must offer you. MedPay is relatively inexpensive, adding about $5 per month to the cost of many policies. This is because its use is limited, and its maximum payout is low. In fact, to forfeit the coverage, you must sign a waiver. The value of the coverage can range from $5,000 to $25,000. Watch this video for more information on MedPay
3. Get your Living will and affairs in order – again not on most people’s top 10 of things to do, but vital in the event of an accident. We all know that life can change in a blink of an eye. Accidents can happen but thinking that your family and friends know your wishes or will honor your wishes after an accident of fatality is quite a different story. We lost many of our biker family in 2020 and the aftermath of confusion would shock most of you. Take a day to do your living will or watch for one of BikerDown Foundation’s Free Will Friday that will be scheduled for 2021 monthly. They are planning on bringing in experts who can help you get your documents in order..
4. Motorcycle Maintenance – Regular maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure motorcycle safety on the road. Just because your bike starts and runs…doesn’t mean it isn’t a risk for a breakdown leaving you possibly stranded on a ride and causing more damage to your bike when you are forced to get it fixed. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then the New Year is the perfect tie to learn. Take your owner’s manual and get more familiar with your specific bike. You should also always check your tire pressure for the temperature and conditions on the road. Your tires will lose pressure in colder riding conditions and not give you the performance you might need…traction is also so important in Colorado with the ice/gravel and other hazards that can be on our mountain roads
5. Get your endorsement – Many riders are riding in our state and nationwide without their motorcycle endorsement. While your state may not require it, many states do…so taking that trip cross country you might head into a state that requires it. I believe there are also some insurance discounts/benefits that you can get from your insurance company by showing them that you have your endorsement or have completed some refresher classes.
6. Update your riding skills – Many of you have been riding for years, but there is not anything better than taking a day to refresh your motorcycle skills and learn some additional defensive driving tips. There are also Accident Scene Management classes sponsored by Rider Justice and BikerDown that can help someone render aid in the event of an accident.
7. Is it time for a new helmet? – In terms of safety gear, a DOT helmet is one of the most important items you can add to the bike, and if you are planning on any road trips outside of Colorado, you will need to carry a helmet when you travel. While Colorado riders have always believed in the choice to wear or not wear a helmet it is astonishing just how many bikers will compromise their safety in a bid to look cool on the road. I too had never wanted to wear a helmet, but now have taken that leap to additional safety when I ride by purchasing a DOT helmet.
- 8. Safety clothing and apparel – For years if you wanted to wear motorcycle safety gear you had to go to a sport bike clothing manufacturer and it really did not match your clothing or style of clothing. Companies like Tobacco Motorwear Company have brought to the motorcycle riders (male and female) clothing such as Kevlar riding pants and jackets and vests that have D30 back protectors. D30 is a new technology is the thinnest and most advanced protection against impact around. Basically, it is very thin and flexible until impact and then hardens instantly.
- Ride more often – you should try, and ride more than you did in the previous year. Set a goal of riding a specific amount of days per month. It can be hard to do with family, work and other commitments occupying most of your time, but if you are a passionate rider, then it shouldn’t be viewed as a chore. Even if you must go around the corner for a few groceries, make it your duty to take your bike instead. Once the nice weather hits your area, get out and join up with local organized charity rides. Find a group of riders that share your passion and style of riding is also a great way to get out and ride more. The more buddies you have that want to hit the road, the easier it will be for you to get off your butt and go for a ride.
9. Plan a Motorcycle Trip – Colorado riders has some of the best riding in the country. Make a list of states that you have always wanted to ride to and start planning. Road trip can get expensive, but if you decide on taking your motorcycle somewhere instead, you will enjoy the freedom and experience of getting to your destination a lot more. Now is the perfect time to start planning something for 2020 because, in Colorado winter is still upon us and will limit our riding over the next few snowy months. There is some amazing riding outside of Colorado…so make your bucket list and start your saving for your trip. The possibilities are endless. You just need that determination and drive to start organizing things and follow through with it. You only live once, so you might as well make it memorable experiencing the unfamiliar.
Being pro-active with your riding and taking some simple necessary steps to keep you a little safer on the road seems to me to be the BEST Motorcycle New Year’s Eve Resolution!