Check3GPS Readiness Quotient
Your supervisor may use the following checklist to determine whether you have adequately addressed
the risk factors for on-road motorcycle racing. If you can answer “yes” to all the questions below, you
should be good to go!
1. Have you attended and successfully completed a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course?
2. Is the race sanctioned by a nationally recognized motorcycle racing organization?
3. Do you have a competition license?
4. Do you wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including a DOT-approved helmet; shatterproof goggles or full-face shield; leather suit; leather boots; leather gloves; and back/shoulder protection?
5. Is your motorcycle in good mechanical condition?
TOP HAZARDS AND HOW TO MITIGATE THEM
1. Not wearing proper personal safety equipment
Mitigate: Be sure to invest in a well-fitting, full-face helmet that is DOT, Snell and/or ECE certified.
Replace your helmet after five years or if it has been in a crash. Other essential pieces of gear include a one-piece leather suit, gloves, boots and a back protector that runs from your tailbone to the base of your neck.
2. Not performing a bike/equipment inspection
Mitigate: The best time to inspect your bike is immediately post-race so that you have time to do the necessary maintenance before your next ride. At a minimum, inspect your chain, belt or shaft, and brakes after every ride. And don’t forget to check your tires for wear and proper pressure. Tires that are even a little flat will impair steering and handling. Follow the established T-CLOCS checklist to ensure your tires and wheels, controls, lights, oil and fluids, chassis, and stands are ready every time you ride.
3. Racing on unfamiliar roads or in bad weather
Mitigate: Check the weather before you head out, and postpone your ride if possible when heavy snow, rain or ice is in the forecast. If you must ride in the rain, know that roads are slickest immediately after the rain begins. Wait a while until the rain has had a chance to wash away some of the oil and other residue that has risen to the surface. Look ahead as you ride to spot any bumps, potholes or surface irregularities. Since motorcycles have less contact with the ground than cars, they slide out more easily on pebbles, wet leaves and sand.
4. Poor race preparation
Mitigate: Don’t put off basic bike inspection, such as checking your oil and brake pads, until just before your race. Last-minute maintenance can lead to missed steps and shoddy work. Prepare for race day well in advance by making a checklist of what you need to bring to the track. That way you won’t be harried and distracted when you get to the track, scrambling for the items you forgot to pack.
5. Riding while fatigued
Mitigate: Get a good night’s sleep the day before you race, and avoid riding when you would normally be sleeping—i.e., in the early morning and late evening hours. Drink ample amounts of water throughout the day, and eat smaller, more frequent meals. Wear earplugs to reduce the constant drone of engines, make your bike as comfortable as possible to ride, and dress appropriately for the weather conditions.
6. High-speed collisions
Mitigate: In 2016, 33 percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared to 19 percent for passenger car drivers, 15 percent for light-truck drivers, and 7 percent for large-truck drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Adhere to all speed limits on the road, and don’t exceed your personal limits on the track.
SIX MYTHS ABOUT MOTORCYCLE HELMETS
Myth: A quality motorcycle helmet will last a lifetime. Fact: Most motorcycle racing
helmets have a five-year lifespan. Both the outer shell and the glue that bonds the inner Styrofoam
layers degrade over time.
Myth: It’s okay to buy a second-hand helmet. Fact: Purchasing a used helmet is a very
sketchy move, because helmets that have been in crashes don’t always show external signs of damage. Helmets are designed to absorb and dissipate the force of an impact (i.e., self-destruct), so that your head does not.
Myth: A full-face helmet is more protection than you need. Fact: Not so, if you care about
your face. Almost half of impacts to motorcycle helmets occur in the area of the face not covered by
three-quarter or open-face helmets. Full-face helmets also reduce wind noise and keep bugs out of your teeth!
Myth: Helmets increase risk of neck injury. Fact: According to a 2018 study of 1,061
motorcycle crash victims over a five-year period at a Level 1 trauma center, helmeted riders had a
significantly lower incidence of cervical spine injury and less severe injuries overall than unhelmeted riders.
Myth: Motorcycle helmets restrict a rider’s peripheral vision. Fact: Motorcycle helmets
have wider fields of vision than people do. Department of Transportation (DOT)-compliant helmets are required to provide a visual range of 210 degrees; humans can see only 180 degrees without turning their heads.
Myth: DOT-compliant helmets are the gold standard of safety ratings. Fact: While a DOT
rating is the only certification that is mandatory for motorcycle helmets in the United States, it reflects the least rigorous testing of the three major helmet-certifying organizations. Snell-rated helmets offer a higher level of protection, and helmets compliant with Economic Commission of Europe (ECE) standards are arguably the safest of all. The ECE rating is the most up-to-date standard and is recognized by more than 50 countries and almost every racing organization in the world.
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