The holidays are over and soon all of us will be seeing how much we spent when our credit card bills arrive. The last few months for me was a moment to reflect on how truly grateful I am for family and our chosen family here in Colorado. As Publisher of Colorado Rider News and President/Founder of the BikerDown Foundation, I sometimes to get to see the hardship that our riders are facing from behind the scenes. However, the love and commitment to one another by this motorcycle community is something we should all be so very proud of. As we face the risks of riding, I quickly realize the REWARD is worth it.[Read more…] about Happy New Year!
Proactive Riding: What does that even mean?
Motorcyclists hear this all the time: Be a proactive rider! But what does “being proactive” really mean?
The most important piece of advice you can start using right now: Don’t trust other drivers. You are responsible for your ride. It’s an unfortunate reflection of our current culture that people are driving distracted, wrapped up in themselves, and anxious. Taking control of yourself and your actions should be number one on your to-do list.
Being proactive and being a proactive rider means actively being in control of everything possible about you and your ride and not just responding when something happens on the road. There are things you can control and then there are things you can’t control.
What is in Your Control
Gear — Seriously! Ride with the right gear. Accidents, road debris, weather – they are going to happen. Recommended gear includes: shatter-proof eye protection, full-face helmet, full-finger gloves, sturdy boots, and long pants.
Also, do you have a first-aid kit? If you do, do you know how to use everything in the kit?
Your bike — Most riders love their babies so they have this one covered, but some folks do let maintenance and repairs slide. Don’t be that person that gets injured or stuck in a bad place because of an avoidable breakdown.
Get the right insurance — Because you absolutely cannot trust anyone else out on the road, assume the worst: that they have no insurance or the state minimum. (Don’t even get us started about hit and runs!) This means you must carry enough insurance to care for you and your family if the very worst happens. (Check out our insurance recommendations at riderjustice.com.)
Your skill level — Hone your riding skills. Harley-Davidson said it best: Great riders aren’t born; they’re made! This means new riders should definitely take a class. Experienced riders should keep taking advanced training classes to keep yourself sharp. Rider inexperience is the *number one human contributing factor in motorcycle accidents in Colorado and your skill is completely in your control. Any rider, no matter how many miles under their belt, can learn more.
Situational awareness — Is anyone around you in a state of road rage? Are others texting, distracted, or oblivious? Is there construction, bad weather, or an accident ahead? Recognize what is going on around you and adapt with the sole intention of keeping yourself safe. Don’t get sucked into road rage yourself or teaching someone a lesson. Adapting to avoid danger is a better goal. Another way to plan for safety is to check out the Denver Accident Map and plot your rides to avoid the most dangerous roads in Denver.
Self Awareness — Do you react emotionally to situations? Do you get so angry at other drivers that your hands shake and vision narrows? *Aggressive driving is the 2nd top contributing human factor for motorcycle accidents. Don’t be that guy. Take a deep breath and remember that keeping your cool is a better way to get yourself home safe.
Your Community — Do you know who to call for help if something goes wrong? Not just 9-1-1, but organizations like BikerDown exist to help riders after an accident and offer membership services that can keep you afloat if you get hurt.
Do you have a trusted legal resource, like Rider Justice in your phone so when you have questions you can get advice?
Do you carry an ICE (In Case of Emergency) card?
Ride sober — This one should be a no brainer, but still, *DUI, DWAI, and DUID is the 3rd most common cause of motorcycle accidents in the state of Colorado. Don’t be your own worst enemy! Anything that affects your perception, vision, reaction time, or attention span is taking your control away.
Safety training — If there is an accident, can you help? Do you know CPR? Take classes that train you to confidently deal with what may happen on the road to fellow riders. Follow our Facebook page for announcements for safety classes that we sponsor for riders: https://www.facebook.com/MotorcycleRiderJustice/
What is Not in Your Control
People driving with little or no insurance — No matter how irresponsible – people still do it. You can’t control what insurance they carry or if they drive with none at all. There’s no pot of gold if someone uninsured hits you – insurance is where the money comes from.
Distracted Drivers — These people are a serious danger to everyone on the road. Watch for them and get away as far away from them as possible even if that means letting them move ahead of you so you can keep an eye on them.
Road conditions — You can’t get CDOT to work any faster but you can watch the road carefully to avoid hazards and plan your ride to avoid construction zones.
You probably don’t have a hotline to control the weather (if you do, let us know- we have some requests). Check the weather and just don’t ride if there’s rain, snow, or intense wind in the forecast. If you choose to do so, recognize that you are giving up some safety control to the elements.
Public perception of bikers — This one is rough because we know bikers get a bad rap. It isn’t fair and we don’t like it but we find most drivers assume bikers are the bad guys. Just keep in mind cameras are everywhere and there is a better than good chance that in any road “situation” there will be a camera recording all or part of it. Make sure if you’re being recorded that it’s to your advantage.
The ride should be a beautiful thing, and sometimes beauty takes work and planning. The best thing you can do is take total control of yourself and your ride.
*MOST 2019 Annual Reports
Dirty Dogs Calendar: January 2020
Colorado Motorcycle Expo
We’re excited to announce that the Colorado Motorcycle Expo is all set for 2020! It will be held February 1st and 2nd in the National Western Complex in downtown Denver. Formerly known as the Colorado Motorcycle Show & Swap, the Expo has been held annually in Denver since 1978. After starting at the Adams County Fairgrounds, the Expo moved to the National Western Complex in the early 1980’s, and it draws people from all over the country. Among motorcycle enthusiasts it has a large and loyal following with 20,000-25,000 people attending the event each year.[Read more…] about Colorado Motorcycle Expo
What resolutions will you stick to this year?
There is always something special about the new year that somehow puts a new hopeful look into the upcoming year. New Year’s resolution posts on Facebook and Instagram start flooding your timelines. Maybe someone you know is planning to quit smoking, hit the gym, drink less – the list can go on. These resolutions usually don’t last long. What about for us motorcycle riders though? If you’re passionate about riding, then it’ll be easier to follow through with biker resolutions.
So, here are some motorcycle resolutions to keep in mind in 2020
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. 30% of all drivers in Colorado do not have car insurance and if they do another 25% of them have liability only. No-one like 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.
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 is short, and 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 2019 and the aftermath of confusion would shock most of you. Take a day to do your living will or attend one of BikerDown Foundation’s events. They are planning on bringing in experts who can help you get your documents in order.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Update your riding skills – Many of you have been riding for years, but there isn’t 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.
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. While Colorado riders have always believed in the choice to wear or not wear a helmet it’s 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.
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 didn’t 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.
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!
A Look Back at 2019
BikerDown Foundation restructures levels of assistance for 2020
BikerDown Foundation helps injured motorcycle riders with the recovery aspect of their accident with a variety of services including but not limited to medical equipment, funeral assistance, limited financial assistance, legal assistance and victim fundraising.
BikerDown has received a 100% increase in requests for assistance since 2018 and 2019 and it has been challenging to meet the financial requests from accident victims. The Board has reviewed our current Bylaws and has voted to implement a cap on financial assistance based on level of membership to BikerDown.
This policy change will still enable BikerDown to continue to help ALL riders in our chapter states and nationwide but will limit the assistance to riders that are not a member of BikerDown. All non-members and FREE members will still have access to services that are important to them such as our BDFundme program that gives accident victims the ability to fundraiser without paying high credit card processing with companies such as Facebook and GoFundMe. Free or non-members will still be able to get help with medical equipment, strategic planning and legal assistance.
President and Founder Laurie Montoya commented, that for 10 years BikerDown has done our very best to help ALL riders nationwide with the recovery aspect of their injuries, but for us to continue to help ALL riders, but especially in our chapter states, our Board felt that it was time that we detailed levels of assistance to ensure the stability and ability to help victims in 2020.
BikerDown offers several affordable levels of membership that provide you additional financial services but also provide you value when you need it most.
Free Membership – free members will have access to our BDFundMe fundraising, medical equipment, legal resources, strategic planning and receive our monthly newsletter. Your free membership will also put your In Case of Emergency Information in the event we are contacted by law enforcement or the hospital we can work to get in touch with your family or designated contact.
Roadside ($35.00 per year) – Annual members will have access to all the services referenced in the FREE membership + will have our MTS nationwide towing and assistance with funeral expenses and financial assistance up to $100.00
Roadside ($100 one-time payment or $10 per month $120) – This level includes all the services referenced in our Free and Roadside 35 yearly level + you will have access to increased financial assistance up to $500 maximum.
Roadside Plus ($35.00 per month) – BEST VALUE – this level includes all of the service included in the above referenced membership levels + you will have access to increased financial assistance up to $750 maximum + this level also includes the Aflac Accident Policy inclusive in this membership, Accidental Death Benefits and the peace of mind that in the event of an accident you have the coverages necessary to help get you thru a serious accident.
Roadside Plus 2 bike – 2 riders ($60.00 per month) – this is the same level as the Roadside Plus but for 2 bikes – 2 riders and you will receive a saving of 10.00.
To sign up please visit our website or contact us at email@example.com
Justice for Mark “Munky” Berman
In October 2019, our community lost our friend Munky at the hands of a murderer name Alberto Calcurian. The loss to our community resulted in one of the biggest celebrations of life seen in Denver in several years. The fundraiser raised enough funds that Munky was able to be buried in Florida by his parents but didn’t leave much for his son Marcus or the estate to deal with the after math of such a tragic loss. But the story doesn’t end there.[Read more…] about Justice for Mark “Munky” Berman