Wear a Real Helmet… Please

It’s really sad to see something like this accident happen. The passenger was wearing a “novelty helmet” which according to the California Highway Patrol, “…failed in the collision and significantly contributed to her death.” Sometimes called skid lids, novelty helmets are not DOT approved and are technically illegal in California and other states with similar helmet laws. They don’t offer any real impact protection and shouldn’t be worn in lieu of a real helmet.

If you’re new to motorcycling, a good helmet should be your first priority when it comes to safety gear. Make sure to get one that’s DOT and/or Snell M2010 approved because it means the helmet has gone through rigorous standardized testing to ensure the rider has a chance to withstand an impact.

Source article: The Press-Enterprise

Angeles National Forest – Still Recovering and Still Dangerous

My bike in the foreground, burnt trees in the background

The ghastly Station Fire in August 2009 devastated huge portions of the Angeles National Forest, making much of the famed Angeles Crest Highway look like a wasteland. It will take decades for the forest to recover, but eventually it will. As for the area’s roads that many of us have enjoyed for so long, they remain under constant repair due to complications arising from the fire and subsequent landslides due to the lack of vegetation. They also remain as dangerous as they’ve ever been.

If you’re a beginning sportbike rider aspiring to take a run on one of southern California’s most famous roads, keep in mind that it’s not a competition out there. I had a great ride up there by myself last weekend, but that same day a fellow rider didn’t make it home. If you’re ever up there, take it as easy as you need to. If faster riders are behind you, let them pass. If the group you ride with starts going “super squid” on you, stay back and ride your pace. The goal is to enjoy the road and make it home safe.

Angeles Crest Highway Update

Newcomb's Ranch on Angeles Crest Highway

California’s budget problems will prevent the CHP from receiving a grant that was supposed to help them step up enforcement on and around famed Angeles Crest Highway. That’s not to say they won’t still be up there; they just won’t have the presence they were hoping for. For those of you who live close by but have never ridden it, I’ll be posting a riding guide for Angeles Crest Highway a little later this year.

Source: La Cañada Valley Sun

Protect Your Head Part 2: Confusion About Snell M2010

If you saw my recent review of the Arai Profile, you know part of the reason I purchased a new helmet was to get one that was compliant with the new Snell M2010 safety standard.  Snell’s own website lists the Arai Profile as M2010 certified so I was confident that’s exactly what I was getting when I ordered it.  It wasn’t as clear cut as I had hoped.

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Arizona to Allow Lane Splitting?

Arizona House Bill 2475 would make it legal for motorcyclists to split lanes in Maricopa county.  The catch?  It’s only for one year (2011) and only applies during stopped traffic.  It’s interesting progress nonetheless and will undoubtedly spark its own controversy (just check out the comments in the source article).  What’s also noteworthy is that if the bill is passed, it will be the first time a state has explicitly allowed lane splitting.  California has always tolerated it, but there are no laws specifically allowing or disallowing the practice.

Source: ABC15.com

Update:  the bill was vetoed by the governor.

California Motorcycle Accident Statistics 2008

2008 wasn’t a great year for motorcyclists in California, continuing an increasing trend in accidents and fatalities coupled with a large increase in registered motorcycles over the past several years. Fortunately the first half of 2009 has broken the trend and saw a greatly reduced number of fatalities vs. the same period in 2008, so let’s hope the trend continues.  Here are some interesting statistics from the California Office of Traffic Safety’s California Traffic Safety Report Card for 2008.

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