UK Drink-Drive Limit May Be Lowered

January 8, 2010

According to this article on the BBC’s website, there is support for lowering the drink-drive limit from it’s current 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood to 50mg.  Motoring organisations are backing the move.

My personal opinion, it should be lower!

I personally would like to see zero tolorance for anyone who even has one drink and then drives.  I’m in the unfortuante position that, after years of hardly drinking at all, one drink really knocks me for 6 (no cheap date jokes please :-)) and I’m definately in no fit state to drive at all.

Hell, I’ll only have a drink at home in the evenings if I know I’m not going to be riding my bike the next day.

In my opinion even having one drink can affect a persons ability to function normally, and I really don’t believe that people who have had a drink or two should be on the road in something which has the potential to kill others.

Motorcycle Safety Campaign – Funny, But Informative

May 21, 2009

I came across these today and thought I would pop them on here..

I found them on The Motorcycle Industry Association’s website and thought they conveyed the information in a way which makes you giggle, while still getting the point across..

Just click on the thumbnails to be taken to the larger images

How To Avoid Problems At Junctions Small

Hazards Along The Road Small

Road Surfaces Small

Diesel And Liquid Spills Small

Damaged And Repaired Road Surfaces Small

Traffic Calming Measures Small

Apparently there are more to come and I will add those as they appear on the site.

Images courtesy of Motorcycle Industry Association

Choosing The Correct Size Motorcycle Helmet

January 14, 2009
Buying the correct size crash helmet is probably the most important thing you will need to do if you are either just learning to ride, or replacing a crash helmet which has been damaged in some way. A correctly fitting crash helmet really can save your life and really is something you should spend some time doing to ensure a perfect fit.

Here is a quick guide to help ensure you buy the correct size.

Firstly use a tape measure to find out the circumference of your head. Measure round your head with the tape just above your ears and about one inch, or 2.54cm, above your eyebrows. Don’t pull the tape too tight, but take your time and measure your head a few times and work out the average measurement. When you have your head measurement look at the size guide below to find out your helmet size. If you find your head measurement is between two sizes, you should always try the larger size first.

Motorcycle Helmet Size Guide

Motorcycle Helmet Size Guide

Please note these sizes are intended as a guideline only. The same as when clothes shopping, different crash helmet manufacturers do unfortunately interpret the sizes differently, and so a medium from one manufacturer may not fit as well as the same size from someone else.

If you are buying your motorcycle helmet from a retail outlet make sure you try on plenty of helmets from different manufacturers to make sure you get one that fits correctly. If you are buying online, as many people are these days, it is worth remembering that under UK Internet retail law you have the right to return anything you buy for a full refund if you are not happy with it or f it does not ft correctly. You are normally able to return items within 7 days, but make sure you check the small print of the online retailer you are dealing with.

How To Test For A Good Helmet Fit

Once you have the crash helmet on your head you should always check the following.

The top pad inside of the helmet interior should be in firm contact with the top of your head

Your cheeks should be in light to medium contact with the helmets cheek pads

Next you should try to push your finger up between your forehead and the helmet interior. There should not be any space there for your fingers to fit into.

Now you should try to rotate the helmet back and forwards and from left to right on your head. When moving the helmet the skin on your head and face should move. If the helmet moves without doing this it is too big and you will need to try on a smaller size. It’s worth bearing in mind that because of the different sizing by the different manufacturers you may find you are between sizes. If this is the case you may find that you need a different style of motorcycle helmet to ensure the correct fit.

Next thing is to fasten the chin strap so that it is tight enough under your jaw, without suffocating you. Once this is done you should try to push the helmet off your head form the back, and then try the same thing from the front. Obviously they should not come off.

The last thing to check is that you are totally happy with how much you can see out of the visor. Smaller visor sizes mean you will not see so much as a larger one.

If you follow the guidelines you should end up with a crash helmet which is the correct fit for your head. As I mentioned this is one aspect of motorcycling which really can save your life and you should take time to make sure you buy a correctly fitting one.

Your life may depend on it.

Emergency First Aid For Motorcyclists

January 12, 2009

st-johns-ambulance-logoRegular readers of my blog will recall the FBOS (First Bike On Scene) first aid training for biker’s post I did a little while ago, well I have found another course run by the St John Ambulance.

The Emergency Aid For Motorcyclists course has been devised with motorcyclists in mind and  trains you so that you will have the confidence to be cope if you have the misfortune to be at the scene of an accident.

The course, which lasts for about four and a half hours, includes instruction on the following

  • Bleeding.
  • Casualty movements.
  • Communication and hygiene.
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • Crash helmet removal.
  • Emergencies in public.
  • Head injury.
  • Primary survey.
  • Rescue breaths.
  • Shock.
  • Unconscious casualty.

During the course you are continually access by your trainer and a St Johns Ambulance certificate, which is valid for 3 years is issued when you successfully complete the course.

For further details, and details on reserving a place on a course being run near you either click on the St John Ambulance logo at the head of the post or follow this link – First Aid Course for Motorcyclists

Details on the FBOS (First Bike on Scene) Course can be found here

I really think that both courses are a really good idea and I will be looking into doing them at some point in the near future.  I will keep you updated and once I have attended the courses I will write a blog entry about them.

Road Salt.. And It’s Effects..

January 6, 2009


Now we all know that road salt is bad for our bikes, and our riding gear but there is another effect it has of which many of you, especially anybody new to riding a motorbike, may not be aware. The salt gets into the road surface and acts as a lubricant between the road surface and your tyre. Unfortunately you will probably only realise this when you are negotiating a bend, a roundabout or some other hazard!

So, just to be on the safe side its probably best to keep your speed down for a while after the roads have been salted and the temperatures have gone up enough for the road surface not to be frozen anymore.

It will take quite a considerable amount of rain to completely wash the salt from the roads and until then they may be slippery from the salt residue.

Just be careful, okay J


Check Your Tyre Pressures!

January 5, 2009
rear-tyreWhen we woke up this morning there was a light covering of snow on the ground L and it’s tried to snow again a couple of other times during the day as well! Thankfully it didn’t come to anything! But this got me to thinking about my motorbike tyres.

In perfect weather the condition of your tyres are crucial to the way your bike handles, and in the winter when the roads are wet, or worse slippery in really cold conditions it is vital that you check your tyres, both the tyre pressure and their condition, on a regular basis. Remember, during the wintertime the pressure in your tyres will be affected more by the cold weather than they would be during a warmer period during the summer.

If you are finding that your bike is ‘wandering’ slightly when you are riding over road markings in the wet, or that it feels slightly less sure footed or that it is starting to track the slight furrows in the road surface then you definitely need to take a look at your tyres.

It may be something as simple as the tyre pressures need looking at. Don’t trust the pressure gauges at your petrol station, 9 times out of 10 they are wrong! Invest in a digital tyre pressure gauge. I picked one up for a fiver, back in the summer, at Halfords and its small enough to keep in the bikes tool roll in the under seat compartment.

Under-inflated tyres will dramatically affect the handling of your bike, in all weathers, quite dramatically and be very unpleasant to ride on.

Over-inflated tyres while not really causing any real problems with the handling, will actually result in a smaller contact patch between the tyre and the road surface and means your bike will have less grip. Not really something you want, especially with the roads being like they are at the moment.

Either way, having your tyres inflated incorrectly is dangerous and could result in an accident. Checking your tyres on a regular basis is so vitally important and takes literally seconds to do, but that few seconds may just save your life.

So the next time you go to ride your bike, check them. And make sure you remember to check them on a regular basis, especially while the weather is cold.


I.C.E Your Mobile

December 22, 2008

And no, I don’t mean stick it in the freezer! -)

I don’t know how many of you have heard of I.C.E., it stands for In Case of Emergency.  Basically it means that you put an entry in your mobile phone with I.C.E. as the prefix and in the unfortunate situation that you are involved in an emergency or an accident, the medical personal or emergency services can easily find your loved ones or next of kin’s phone number in your phone if it is needed.

I.C.E is the brainchild of a British paramedic who came up with the idea after he encountered difficulties with alerting the family members of accident victims.  In the wake of the London terrorist bombings the idea has taken off, via the internet. 

There may be some concerns about privacy, but when a life is on the line, rescue workers insist the benefits of I.C.E. far outweigh any risk.  “I don’t know if it’s an invasion of privacy because if you have a cell phone anyways, we’re going to start hunting and looking as well. So, wouldn’t you rather have a designated person that we can contact immediately and get the information that we need?” said one emergency services worker.

Here is an interview with Bob Brotchie, the paramedic who came up with the idea.

It is such a simple thing to do and could mean the difference between life and death.  As soon as I read about this online I decided I had to do an entry about it in my blog, plus I also now have my I.C.E. contact in my mobile phone.

First Bike On Scene (FBoS)

December 21, 2008

fbos_motorcycle_first_aid1I am a fairly new rider, although I had been a pillion passenger for over 20 years and I can quite honestly say I have never heard of the First Bike On Scene course offered by various Ambulance Service NHS Trusts around the country. And now I do know about it, I think it’s a brilliant idea and definitely worth attending one if at all possible.

The course was designed by a State Registered Paramedic and biker at Lancashire Ambulance Service, as a response to enquires from motorcycle groups and organisations, who did not feel that traditional first aid courses dealt with the issues found at the scene of a road traffic accident. The course was written with the rational of “What can we reasonably expect a layperson to do at an accident scene whilst awaiting the arrival of an ambulance”. The course is designed to give bikers the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to deal with the accident scene and casualties in the minutes before the paramedics arrival.

The theory session deals with the following issues:-

  • Trauma and the Mechanism of injury- what is trauma, how does it affect the body and how can we recognise or predict the injuries sustained by a casualty by looking at the scene of an incident.
  • Compensatory mechanism- the bodies response to traumatic injury and blood loss, and how the body can sometimes appear less injured than it actually is.
  • Scene management- protecting the scene, making an appropriate 999 call giving relevant and important information, looking at safety factors of the accident scene.

The practical elements of the course involve a great deal of student interaction and includes:-

  • Snatch rescue- sometimes we have to move a casualty, there is a safe way of doing this
  • Removal of the crash helmet- when, how and why we remove it and the implications (This skill can also be used to assist an ambulance crew)
  • Spinal care- positioning of a casualty to protect airway and spine (This skill can also be used to assist an ambulance crew)
  • Resuscitation skills- including airway management with consideration for spinal injury (This skill can also be used to assist an ambulance crew)
  • Major haemorrhage- direct and indirect pressure to deal with severe bleeding.

The whole ethos of the course is about dealing with the significant life threatening issues. Its not about teaching people how to put on plasters or frozen peas on twisted ankles, it’s about being proactive, recognising significant injury and giving help immediately.

The course lasts for approximately six hours and is competency based, with lots of hands-on practice on all practical elements of the course.

Although the course was first started in Lancashire, it is now available through the following centres as well and you can contact them either by phone or email. Each FBoS Centre has a dedicated team offering professional training to all delegates. No matter where you go for your course, the course is delivered to exactly the same high standard.

For more information contact your local centre

Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cumbria, Cheshire and Merseyside
0870 8330 999

Wales and Cheshire
07940 392586

Oxfordshire and surrounding area

Midlands and London
0870 225 0101

01226 282999

Dorset, Devon and Cornwall
01305 257643

01523 869197

If you and a group of your mates want to take part in one of the courses it is easy to arrange one, just call your regional number and organise one.  The course costs about the £50 mark but I think this is a small price to pay for the skills you will learn.

Devitt is one of the motorcycle insurance companies which supports the scheme, and if you check out the DEVITT SUPPORTS FIRST BIKE ON SCENE (FBoS) page on their site you will also see that they off a 5% discount for anyone who has attended the course.

Recommended posts to read – I.C.E Your Mobile

Motorbike Safety

December 18, 2008

If you are new to motorcycling you will soon notice (unfortunately) that many car drivers unintentionally (usually!!) simply will not see you.  It is worth remembering these tips when you are on the road, so that you learn how other drivers ‘see’ you out on your bike.

1. You will soon notice that there are many more cars and lorries out on the road than bikes and in some cases the drivers simply do not ‘recognise’ a motorbike.  They will unintentionally ignore you, not even registering you are there as they are constantly on the look out for other cars and lorries.  When out riding on your motorbike, make sure as much as possible that they can see you, ride just to the right of the centre of your lane so you are more visible.  Always ride with dipped headlights so it gives you more of a presence on the road.  Wear bright clothing to make you stand out more. 

2. As you and your bike are a smaller size than a car, car drivers may not realise how far away you actually are and they can find it difficult to judge how fast you are going.  If I’m out on my bike and approaching a junction I always keep a close eye on any car waiting to pull out, just in case they decide to try and dive out in front of me.  I have had occasions when they simply haven’t seen me and pulled right out in front of me, causing me to do an emergancy stop.  The look of horror on their faces when they see a motorbike screeching to a halt at their side would be almost comical if it were not for the fact that their inattention almost caused me to hit them.  Nowadays I tend to have my brakes covered when approaching junctions, especially during the rush hour, if I am out on my bike.  Rush hour is always the worst time, especially when you have all the school run mums out as well rushing to get their kids to school on time. 

3. Also remember that as we and our bikes are smaller we can quite easily fit into the blind spot of a car! Cars will sometimes pull out to overtake another vehicle, not realising that you are already there.  If you are riding along side another vehicle just keep an eye on it, just in case it does decide to try this.   

4. If, like me, you slow your bike by dropping down a gear instead of braking remember a car driver will not necessarily realise what you are doing.  If you can it may be worth just dabbing your rear brake just to let them know you are slowing down.  They may notice a sudden glare of a brake light and get the idea.   

The best advice I can give you is to RIDE AS IF YOU ARE INVISIBLE!!!

Ride as if no one can see you, and anticipate that other road users will always do the wrong thing in any given circumstance!!  It is what I was told to do when I first started riding, and I do it EVERYTIME I go out on my bike.