Risks Distracted Drivers Pose to Motorcycle Riders

Based on figures from the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), distracted driving played a factor in 80 percent of all accidents involving a motorcycle rider. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving injures 20,000 motorcycle riders and kills another 400 to 500 annually. Distracted driving encompasses a wide range of behaviors:

  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone
  • Eating or reading
  • Applying makeup
  • Brushing hair
  • Talking to other passengers
  • Tuning the radio
  • Wearing headphones
  • Using a GPS
 

All of these actions can cause drivers to take their eyes off the road, increasing the chance they will miss a stop sign, go through an intersection or hit a passing vehicle. Motorcycles are particularly vulnerable, due to their smaller size and lack of enclosure. Motorists may misjudge how far away a bike is or miss a motorcycle in their blind spot.

Especially in early spring, drivers may not be expecting to see motorcycles and could react too late. As a rider, keep your head on a swivel and always proceed into intersections with caution. For your safety, what else should you think about?

Dangers of Phone Use Behind the Wheel

motor vehicle accidentAt any given moment, an estimated 800,000 US drivers are texting behind the wheel. This behavior is responsible for:

  • 1.6 million accidents annually
  • 25 percent of all car accidents
  • Elevated crash risks
  • Decreased brake reaction
  • 11 teen deaths every day

As of 2018, 16 states and the District of Columbia ban talking on a cell phone or other hand-held device while driving. Forty-seven states and D.C. forbid texting and driving.

Identifying Distracted Driving

As a motorcycle rider, how can you tell someone is distracted behind the wheel?

  • They weave in and out of traffic
  • They drive over the center line
  • You spot them wearing headphones
  • They brake suddenly
  • Their vehicle stays stopped at a green light

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How to Plan Your First Spring Motorcycle Trip

Once the warm weather of spring arrives, you’ll be back on your motorcycle. Are you ready for your first trip? Rather than hitting the pavement with no destination in mind, plan ahead to increase your chances of a successful journey.

1. Know Where You’re Going

riding motorcycle on a sunny dayFor your first trip, choose a familiar destination where you already know the roads. However, potholes and uneven pavement may not be addressed by early spring. Even a route you know well could present a few riding challenges.

Wherever you go, you will need the stamina to get there. No one wants to get fatigued halfway through and turn around. Pick somewhere you know you can ride to without significant warm up. If you’re traveling in a group, decide on the destination together.

You can also get a sense of the route and current conditions with a trip in the car.

2. Pack Up Supplies

Never set out on a motorcycle trip without the right supplies. Bring the appropriate riding gear, including waterproof pieces in case of rain. This time of year, temperatures can still plunge unexpectedly, so have a balaclava, gloves and a lightweight set of layers.

On the flip side, you don’t want to lug around too much gear. Clothing aside, stick to the basics for warmth, shelter and food without weighing down your bike.

3. Check Your Motorcycle

Even if your motorcycle was properly winterized, it will likely need maintenance before your first ride:

  • Fuel: You likely added fuel stabilizer before placing your bike into storage, but make sure your bike has fresh gasoline before you set out.
  • Tires: Check the tires for flat spots, lumps, general unevenness and proper inflation.
  • Fluids: Change the oil and check the brake fluid to make sure your bike is not leaking.
  • Belts: Check the belt drive system for wear and tear.
  • Suspension: Check for rust and tarnishing around the suspension system and have it scrubbed off.

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4 Tips for Spring Motorcycle Rides

When spring arrives, we want to get out, hit and road and feel the wind as we travel. While adventure is likely on your mind this time of year, it’s important to be practical. We need to check our bikes for things like pests and old fluids, as well as brush up on our riding skills.

After you perform a motorcycle tune-up, what’s next? As you get ready for the first few rides of the season, think about the following points.

1. Have the Right Gear

riding on a sunny dayYou can never be too careful, even when circling the block to get back in the swing of things. Prepare for uneven pavement, potholes, accidents and unpredictable weather with the right riding gear:

  • Have your motorcycle jacket, pants and boots ready to wear, rather than jeans and a T-shirt.
  • Spring brings rain showers, so have your waterproof gear on-hand in case you’re caught in a storm.
  • Don’t forget your cold weather gear for chilly spring evenings. Extra insulation is essential when you’re riding through cool temperatures and windy conditions.
  • Will you be riding at dusk or past sundown? Have a clear visor, balaclava and glove liners to combat the chill.

2. Take Things Slow

We’re all looking forward to lengthy trips through back roads and down the coast, but these rides shouldn’t be on your radar yet. Now is the time to remember how it feels to ride and get your skills back up to speed. What can you do?

  • Circle the block a few times and be sure to stay local.
  • Understand your reaction time could be a bit slower in the beginning.
  • Go around corners slowly, as you remember how to shift the weight of the bike into the curve.
  • Stick to familiar roads and routes but understand there could be winter damage, like potholes.
  • Travel the speed limit or slower, as other motorists may not be expecting to see motorcycles and could pull out in front of you.
  • Always follow the rules of the road and drive defensively.

3. Think About Mechanical Issues

After the tires have been inspected and the fluids changed, your bike could still experience mechanical issues. Aside from staying on familiar routes close to home, anticipate any potential breakdowns and have a cell phone on-hand. Plan who to call for help in the event of a breakdown.
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Submit Your 2019 Motorcycle Events

Winter is on its way in New England! Unfortunately, that means riders are putting their bikes away for the season, but there is a bright side. Once again, it’s time to start working on our annual Motorcycle Events Calendar, sponsored by Trantolo & Trantolo, LLC. Every year, we print a motorcycle events calendar of upcoming group rides and local charity fundraisers. The printed booklets are available at the Trantolo & Trantolo offices and local motorcycle dealerships around the state. We also post the year’s event listings online at CTRideGuide.com.

About Event Submission

eventIt’s very important to submit your events on time and with accurate information. Once the booklet goes to print, we cannot make any changes to your event. Please send the following information to norml@trantololaw.com:

  • Event Name
  • Event Date(s)
  • Location
  • Cost
  • Start/End Time
  • Event Description
  • Contact Information

You can also submit your event listing online here. Please fill out the complete form and double check your information before the submission is finalized! We can add events to the website at any time but for inclusion in the 2019 Ride Guide booklet, please send your events before March 1, 2019.

From all of us at CT Ride Guide, we are grateful for the motorcycle community’s participation. Whether you’re an event organizer or regular attendee of charity rides, you help us make a difference for those less fortunate. We hope to see you all next year!

Tips to Winterize Your Motorcycle

For those of us in Connecticut, the early fall means more time to ride. However, as the days get colder and the calendar approaches December, you’ve got to think about winterizing your motorcycle. While you might be tempted to park it in the garage or throw a tarp over it, how you store the bike now directly influences its quality and rideability come springtime. Ultimately, a lack of preparation could mean a rusted, gummy bike with lumpy tires.

So, where should you begin?

When to Store?

man performing maintenance repairs on his motorcycleAlthough there’s no set timeline, those in the Northeast often retire their bike toward the end of October or whenever the temperatures turn noticeably cooler. On the other hand, some people extend it until there’s no more sun. Through a combination of these factors, your bike should be prepared and covered before the season’s first snowfall.

Pick a Location

Never leave a motorcycle bike outdoors, exposed to the elements. On a basic level, keep it covered with a secure tarp or in a portable garage. In either instance, the polyethylene material prevents water from building up and rusting the exterior and blocks UV damage. However, make sure the cover doesn’t completely seal off the bike. Otherwise, moisture trapped inside could result in mold, mildew and corrosion. Even inside your garage, a cover prevents dust from accumulating on your bike’s surface.

In an ideal situation, the garage should be a temperature-controlled spot – one that doesn’t get too cold nor too warm. No matter how you monitor the temperature, be wary of condensation and freezing. Condensation invites rust and can damage the tank, while freezing temperatures can result in cracked parts and rodents nesting in your bike.

Make a Maintenance Checklist

So your motorcycle remains in good condition during its time in storage, be sure to have the following done ahead of time:
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Harley-Davidson Announces 4 New Bikes

For certain age groups, Harley-Davidson represents the ultimate bike – a high-quality investment that continues to perform trip after trip. Younger demographics that have less brand allegiance have approached Harleys with a tepid attitude. After a few years of slumping sales, the long-time motorcycle brand decided to retool its strategy and announced its plan earlier in July, right in time for the company’s 115th anniversary.

New Bikes

close-up of leather motorcycle gloveFor the first – and perhaps most crucial – part of their progression, Harley-Davidson revealed four new models. While the new bikes will diversify the brand’s lineup, the company’s plan further targets:

  • A younger, most cost-conscious demographic
  • Customers who would otherwise go for a Ducati or BMW
  • Riders who would like a second bike

Covering three types, the new models include four 500-cc to 1,250-cc middleweight platform bikes:

  • Pan America 1250: Part of the popular Adventure Touring line, this model is geared toward on-road overland travel and on-off use and is expected to debut in 2020.
  • Future Streetfighter: This 975-cc model is strictly a street bike, albeit with an updated design. Like the Pan America, it’s slated for 2020.
  • Future Custom: Another 1,250-cc model, this bike blends classic and modern design themes while being relatively compact overall.
  • Livewire: Previewed four years ago, this electric bike will be the first to appear, with sales to the public starting in 2019. This concept, considered an advancement in motorcycle design, has already gotten a significant amount of buzz and will see additional electric models launched through 2022. Design wise, this no-clutch, twist-and-drive model will be lighter and smaller, offering more cost-effective operation. Its ease of use is expected to attract a larger swath of potential riders and for more experienced customers, the bike will give a reliably fast yet quiet ride.

By comparison, existing Harley models average around 1,700-cc and weigh about 1,000 lbs.

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4 Summer Road Safety Tips for Motorcyclists

Our favorite time of year is here: Summer! As motorcyclists, we especially love the longer days, open roads and bountiful sunshine. While this season often has the perfect weather for riding, it’s important to keep safety in mind. The following tips can help everyone to be safer on the roads this summer.

1. Watch Out For Traffic

motorcycle driving through trafficSummertime brings a tremendous amount of traffic to roadways statewide. Be sure to watch out for all vehicles, including cars, trucks and bicycles, as well as pedestrians.

Never ride in another motorist’s blind spot, as a sudden lane switch or door opening could spill you off your bike. Ride safely and defensively to protect yourself and other drivers on the road.

2. Get Your Practice In

While charity motorcycle events can be the highlight of the summer, it’s important to be prepared for a large organized ride. If you have never participated in a group ride, be sure to get some riding time in beforehand.

During the journey to your shared destination, keep a two-second stagger between yourself and other riders and never lane switch. If one rider goes down, it could lead to a dangerous domino effect.

3. Be Prepared for Construction

All motorists should approach construction sites with caution, but motorcyclists have particular risks to keep in mind. When the road is being milled, slow down and ride at a comfortable pace, relaxing your grip on the controls. Do not make any sudden maneuvers for your own and the workers’ safety. If you have a narrow front tire, know this can magnify the effects of road milling.

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4th Annual MDA Benefit Ride & Concert

Trantolo & Trantolo, LLC and TSI Harley-Davidson present the 4th Annual MDA Benefit Ride & Concert on Sunday, July 15, 2018. This annual event is back at it’s original venue, Sun Valley Beach Resort in Stafford Springs.

Ride, Rock & Make a Difference for the MDA of Connecticut!

Purchase Tickets

MDA Tickets Tickets are $30 in advance and include the scenic motorcycle ride and admission to the concert. They can be purchased at:

  • The Law Offices of Trantolo & Trantolo
  • Four Seasons By The Lake at Sun Valley
  • TSI Harley-Davidson
  • Yankee Harley-Davidson
  • Sheldon’s Harley-Davidson

Join the Ride

Don’t miss your chance to take part in the largest one-day charity motorcycle ride in Connecticut! The scenic motorcycle journey to Sun Valley is police-escorted and will leave from three satellite locations:

 

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5 Scenic Rides for Summer in Connecticut

When warm weather arrives in Connecticut, many of us cannot wait to get outside and enjoy it! A beautiful day is an invitation for motorcyclists to take the bike out and explore what our state has to offer. This time of year, we love riding to the following scenic destinations.

Sun Valley Beach Club

two men riding their motorcycles in the sunshineSun Valley Beach Club is a family-owned and operated private campground in Stafford Springs. The lake covers 10 acres of peaceful land, including 300 seasonal camping spots. Four Seasons By the Lake at Sun Valley, formerly known as Clubhouse Café, is the new on-site restaurant to enjoy a meal overlooking the water.

The Cornwall Bridge

If you’ve never visited Connecticut’s Appalachian Trail, you are missing out on some truly breathtaking views! To get there, the West Cornwall Covered Bridge is must-stop along your route. This wooden truss bridge over the Housatonic River is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which would be a great weekend adventure.

Bull’s Bridge

This single-lane wooden covered bridge is a historic landmark in South Kent. As one of the only three surviving covered bridges in the state, Bull’s Bridge is a must-see. While crossing 109 feet over the Housatonic River near the Connecticut – New York border, stop to admire the reinforced trusswork and surrounding waterfalls.

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5 Spring Riding Safety Tips

When spring weather arrives in New England, motorcycle riders can barely contain their excitement. After months of snow and ice keeping us off the roads, the temperature is rising and the pavement is drying – it’s time to ride!

Before you head out, be sure to keep the following safety tips in mind for spring.

Perform Routine Maintenance

riding a motorcycle in the rainFor your own safety and the safety of others sharing the road, never assume your motorcycle is ready to ride. If your bike has been in storage all winter, it likely needs some work. Be sure to check the following components before rolling out:

  • Test the brakes in your driveway or take a quick spin around the neighborhood.
  • Refill the gas tank and change the oil. Also have the fluids flushed and replenished.
  • Check the tires for proper inflation. Months in storage can lead to air loss.

Review Insurance & Registration

Before planning your first motorcycle trip, make sure your license and registration are up-to-date. You should also contact your insurance carrier to make sure you’re sufficiently covered in the event of an accident. Motorcyclists who are caught on the road with an expired registration or no insurance policy can be fined and have their bikes towed.

Update Your Gear

Although the weather is getting warmer, it’s important to keep your body protected in the event of a spill. Durable riding boots, gloves, a helmet and leather jacket are recommended to prevent damage to your body. Riders should never hit the road wearing sneakers, a t-shirt or shorts – even on the hottest of days – or they risk road rash. This occurs when skin makes contact with the pavement after a spill off a moving motorcycle.

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