Oh Wow :-)

March 21, 2010

I took my Fireblade out for her first proper run this afternoon after lowering the seat.. and my oh my 🙂

It’s so easy to ride, so smooth and effortless and I’m totally in love 🙂

I took it along some A roads, some round town roads (stopping for a coffee in Brackley) and then for a quick blat up the motorway, taking me home.  After my 400 I definately (hardly surprising really) noticed the increase in power.  I was quite happily cruising along in 3rd, enjoying the nice weather and the roads and glanced down at my speedo and was shocked to see I was doing 70mph!!! I only thought I was doing about 50.. oops 😉

I’m now going to keep a very close eye on the weather every day, good weather with no hint of rain means I’ll be taking the Fireblade to work, dodgy weather or even a hint of rain and I’ll be riding the 400 in.

New Motorcycle Test Under Fire After Series Of Accidents

May 27, 2009

Motorcycle L-Plate The government and the DSA is under increasing pressure to rethink the new motorcycle test after a series of accidents in it’s first few weeks.

On the very first day one young man, in South Yorkshire, suffered a broken arm after crashing while trying to slow in the wet immediately following the new ‘swerve’ manoeuvre, and since then 14 more accidents have been reported.  There was one additional, as yet unreported, accident yesterday when a young lady training at my old bike school also fell off doing the same manoeuvre.  Luckily she was not hurt but was shaken up and bruised.

Instructors, and bikers who have emailed the BBC, have said that trying to perform such a manoeuvre at 31.2 mph (50 kph), while possibly suffering from test nerves, is dangerous, especially when performed on a wet surface.

While the test would probably be fine when done in the dry, new riders who may be tempted to brake and swerve at the same time are likely to come a cropper when trying to do this in the wet.  Bikers are taught very early on in their training that braking when not going in a straight line is a BAD thing to do, and even though the trainees taking their tests are undoubtedly taught the same thing, test nerves may be getting the better of them.

Dexterity Motorcycle Training in Kent tried the test out two years before it was implemented and had this to say about the swerve manoeuvre

The swerve/avoidance test – just simply getting up to the required speed (as on my first run) will catch some out, others will swerve and brake too soon and too hard simultaneously with the front brake and bin it.

Somewhat prophetic words I think, considering what is happening on the tests now.

Jeff Stone of the British Motorcycle Federation had this to say

“There is no real argument with the actual test, but the DSA really do have to take note of ‘real world’ conditions.

“A brake and swerve manoeuvre on a wet road is fraught with danger for even an experienced motorcyclist, so there needs to be a safer option for inclement weather conditions.”

and Paul Turner of the Motorcycle Action Group added

“We don’t mind improvements in the test which will make for better riders, but putting people at risk during the test is ludicrous.”

Expecting novice riders to perform the manoeuvre at the same speed whether it is sunny or chucking it down is going against the instruction we are given as learner riders.  All riders are taught to ride according to the prevailing conditions, something which helps us to stay as safe as we can out on the roads.  We are taught to slow down in the wet, and increase stopping distances, but the DSA is overturning the training and asking new riders to hammer it coming out of a bend towards the swerve part of the test!

Phil Woolley, 28, of Liverpool, tells how he failed the test after completing the swerve slightly below the required speed.  He reckons the size of the test centre makes it difficult to get up to 50 kph without accelerating unsafely.  He says

“Do it at a controlled speed and you will almost certainly fail,” he said. “Or you just floor it as hard as you can and there is a good chance you will pass, but also a risk you will come off.”

Boy, am I glad I passed my test in February 2008, before the new test came into force.  I wouldn’t want to be tackling the new test.

Original Story

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

Speed Camera Boss Gets Ban For Doing 102 Mph!

May 6, 2009

I’m sorry but I really had to giggle when I read this story.  Talk about justice!

Tom Riall, Chief Executive of Serco, the company responsible for the installation and maintenence of speed cameras was clocked, in January 2009, doing 102 mph on the eastbound side of the A14.  This section of dual carriageway has a speed limit of 70 mph!

Riall has previous motoring convictions from 2006 and 2007, one of which was also for speeding and told magistrates that a potential ban would be a significant punsihment on him as an individual, and may affect the possibility of keeping his children in their current private schools.  He estimated that it would cost in the region of £30,000 to hire 2 personal drivers for the duration of a 6 month ban.

He asked if the magistrates would consider not giving him a penalty which would take him past the 12 point mark, which would of course lead to an automatic ban.  He also pointed out that the offence had caused him considerable personal embarrassment… Awwwww… Poor man!

I’m sorry but speeding at that level does deserve punishment, no matter who you are and the magistrates rejected his plea and put 6 points on his licence and also imposed a £300 fine. As a result of the 6 points being added to his licence, Riall now faces a 6 month driving ban.

Just because you are the person who’s company puts the speed cameras all around the UK, does not mean you are above the law and should be entitled to special treatment.  Luckily for him, he seems to be in a position where he can pay for drivers to chauffeur him about, but how many of us ‘lesser mortals’ are in that position.  How many people have lost their jobs as a result of speeding convictions?

I do feel that the law is somewhat rigid on the question of speeding though.  While I do not condone speeding I cannot see the point of convicting people for going over the speed limit if there is no one else travelling on the same bit of road as yourself.  Surely some level of common sense can be used if they are not too much in excess of the posted limit!

But then again maybe not, what do you think?

Full Story

Great Start To The New Motorcycle Test

April 30, 2009

Motorcycle L-Plate The new ‘Super Test Centre’ at Rotherham, South Yorkshire, has come under fire this morning after the first candidate crashed his bike and broke his arm!

The DSA’s new centre opened for motorcycle tests on Monday for the new part one of the motorcycle test which must be taken off road due to that fact that some of the manoeuvres have to be done at 31mph.

Concerns are being voiced up and down the country by riding instructors after finding out that the test moves HAVE to be carried out at the same speed and over the same distances, whether it’s a nice sunny day or chucking it down with rain!  Instructors have been told that the surface is fitted with a super sticky compound which makes it safe in all weathers.

John Atkin, spokesman for the DSA, has said of the test centres:

“The areas used for the motorcycle manoeuvres have been tested thoroughly in both wet and dry conditions and provide a safe environment for the candidate. Tests have continued successfully at Rotherham since this happened.

I personally would like to know who is actually testing these centres.  Is it experienced riders who may very well be able to cope with doing these kinds of exercises, or is it novice riders who have recently learned to ride a bike? It would be interesting to find out.

The instructor who trained the man who was injured said the following

“Adam did his swerve manoeuvres and put his brakes on so he could stop in the required distance.
“But the back end of the bike swerved round and threw him off, leaving him with a very nasty break to his arm which needs surgery.
“All the instructors around here agree this is a joke. It’s common sense that you wouldn’t ride the same in the wet. They’ve just thrown common sense out of the window.

On the same day at the same centre, another young man fell from his bike, and was uninjured, and a girl failed the test, in the pouring rain, for being 1kph too slow.

I don’t know about the rest of you,  but if it’s raining I slow down on my bike and yet the DSA is expecting new riders to carry out manoeuvres at the same speed as you would in the dry!  It just doesn’t seem right.  Plus, if you think about this, new riders will be suffering from ‘test nerves’, I know I was when I took my test and this may well be a contributing factor.

I really feel for anyone looking at taking their test now, it can be done but it not an experience I would want to go through.  I’m just glad I passed my test before this was bought into effect!

Full Story

Busters Offering Pirelli Diablo Corsa’s for £129.99 A Pair!

March 10, 2009

Busters (UK) are offering a great deal Pirelli Diablo Corsa tyres this week.

You can buy a pair for just £129.99, a massive £70 off the normal retail price!

The offer is for the following pair of tyres

120/70ZR17 & 190/50ZR17

Just click on the photo to be taken to the offers page on Buster’s Website

Pirelli Diablo Corsa

Tyre Features

High performance road tyre for the supersport bikes

Higher traction and corner grip also in wet, given by an innovative and optimized tread pattern

Enhanced bike control, high speed stability and quick warm up thanks to the new silica compound and a new profile.

U-Turn Over VASCAR Decision?

February 8, 2009

The police in Scotland announced on the 5th February that they were reversing the decision, announced just one day earlier, advising officers to stop using the VASCAR speed detection system.  Apparently Home Office scientists have confirmed that the devices are in fact reliable. 

The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPoS) have said,

They had now received advice from the Home Office Scientific Development Branch that there was no possibility of interference when guidelines were followed by officers.
Acpos said that the equipment had been tested and found to operate properly under the appropriate guidelines.

Now forgive me for pointing this out, but what happens when they are operated under ‘inappropriate’ conditions?  Does this mean that there is still an issue with the devices?

Apparently the Home Office has advised the following,

Despite the all-clear being given, the Home Office said officers should not use radios or mobile phones while using the device.

Now to me, this suggests there may still be some kind of an issue with the devices when used at the same time as radios and mobile phones!  Why say don’t use your mobile phone or radio if there is absolutely no reason for concern about the validity of speeding convictions.

In section 5 of the Association of Chief Police Officers Traffic Committee Enforcement Technology National Guidance Manual (the how to do it book) it says,

It is impossible to obtain complete immunity from radio interference.

As well as,

It is not possible to lay down a strict criteria for safe operating distances from transmitters. The strength of the interference depends on several factors, such as transmitter frequency, type of aerial and modulation system.

Now, surely this must throw some small measure of doubt on speeding convictions obtained using these devices.  What about all the people convicted before this all came to light and the Home Office ‘guaranteed’ their accuracy? 

I don’t know, maybe the authorities are just trying to head off loads of claims for falsely obtained convictions!

Previous entries on the same subject
VASCAR May Suffer From Interference.
Faulty Speed Cameras Could Wipe Out Speeding Convictions

Police’s U-turn over VASCAR speed detectors
Acpos does U-turn over use of speed detectors by Scots police forces
Police speed detectors ‘reliable’
In use for 30 years, but are speed units accurate?