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
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
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
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.
"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
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.