Off and Running-hard
By Gary Klinker 

Spring should be here by now. I hope you have had a chance to at least get the bike ready if you haven't been out yet. I want to shift from the various topics of the past few months and concentrate on Safe Rider issues, since the season is in full swing. Earlier in February we attended the DOT Motorcycle Safety Program Spring Kick-off. Later we held our own Safe Rider training and scheduling meeting, along with the annual BOD meeting.

At Spring Kick-off training sites from around the state are represented. The entire staff of the Motorcycle Safety Program attends and a lot of information is given out to the attendees. Policy changes, grant application information, training opportunities, and statistics from the past year's fatalities are just part of the day. As with many of our ABATE events or conferences, networking, sharing information with peers, and getting your batteries recharged are an important part of the day.

At our Safe Rider annual meeting we worked on internal training, looked at a new registration system and set our schedule for the coming training season. Some changes this year are in order. As I have mentioned before, all of our BRC-basic classes filled last year. This was a very good sign, since the past few years registrations dropped off toward the end of the season. On the other hand, our BRC2-experienced classes did not fill very well. Only seven of the scheduled sixteen classes were run. We did schedule another late season class for S&S that worked out well. For this reason, along with losing one Rider Coach, we will concentrate on the basic classes.

There will be limited BRC2-experienced classes scheduled. If your region would like to schedule a class this year do it early. Thanks to Mike and Region 1J for already filling a class. Check the ABATE website, Safe Rider section for the latest information and schedules. If you have six riders who want take the experienced class we can set aside the whole class for your group or region. We also allow passengers in the class. Again this year we will take advantage of the Dan Frantz Scholarship. Any ABATE member who takes the BRC2 class can have their tuition reimbursed. This only applies to the rider. Passenger's $15 fee is the cost of the insurance for them.

On the topic of the BRC-basic classes, we encourage all of the ABATE members to utilize our site for training new riders. If you have children, grandchildren, or other family members who want to ride motorcycle we can train them. The classes are available throughout the state, but we welcome your support. We will have classes scheduled most weekends from late April through Labor Day. Class runs from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon. They include an on-line E-course, classroom time and riding time on the range. Again, check the Newsletter and website for information. If you have any questions-any time contact me. My information is on the Newsletter.

I have saved the worst for last. The review of 2016 motorcycle fatalities. Last year 85 motorcyclist died in Wisconsin, up from 83 the year before. The youngest was 12 and the oldest was 85. The bulk of deaths was in the 36 to 65 year old group, much like ABATE's age group. Once again, the statistic that I consider the worst, since it is preventable, is the single motorcycle crash. Forty nine people died in motorcycle only crashes. Twelve of these involved deer. Fifty two deaths occurred on Cruiser or Touring bikes, 12 on Sport Bikes. Twenty eight died at intersections, 54 were non-intersection crashes, and one died in a Round-A-Bout. The majority of fatalities-64.6% took place Friday through Sunday. Seventy-seven deaths occurred in dry road conditions. Seventeen were wearing helmets, 67 were not, and one is unknown. Safe Rider is doing what we can to change these numbers for the better. It is up to you the motorcycle riders to take advantage of the training opportunities.

Without getting too long here, I recently read a poem in a magazine article by Lee Parks. He is well known in the motorcycle training world. His company runs the California training program and he has written many articles and books on riding. He used this poem as the eulogy at the funeral of a friend who died in a racing crash. I thought many of us could appreciate it. After spending the weekend with many of our ABATE family at Officer Training it seems especially to the point.

Ride safe,


"To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.

To weep is to risk being called sentimental.

To reach out to another is to risk involvement.

To expose feelings is to risk showing your true self.

To place your ideas and your dreams before the crowd is to risk being called naive.

To love is to risk not being loved in return,

To live is to risk dying,

To hope is to risk despair,

To try is to risk failure

But risks must be taken, because the greatest risk in life is to risk nothing.

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing.

He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow or love.

Chained by his certitude, he is a slave; he has forfeited his freedom.

Only the person who risks is truly free."

-- Janet Rand

Klinker, Gary. "Off and Running-hard." ABATE of Wisconsin Newsletter Mar. 2017.

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