safer

JSO offers free motorcycle course to make riding safer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida has the second-highest number of motorcycle registrations in the nation — one spot down from California and one ahead of Texas.

I am one of those registered riders and have been since my late teens. A motorcycle was my main source of transportation for a couple of years. My part-time job took me on a 60-mile round trip while attending school. All of that riding totaled 15,000-18,000 miles annually.

I do not log that kind of yearly miles these days and maybe that is a good thing. With congested roads and distracted drivers in a hurry, there are too many unfortunate accidents. When those accidents involve motorcycles, serious injuries and deaths are all too common.

RELATED: 8 motorcyclists die on Northeast Florida roads in 30 days

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What if there was a local course taught by professional riders that could help you improve your riding skills?

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Indian Motorcycles Is Developing Lean-Sensitive Adaptive Radar Headlights To Make Night Riding Safer

Indian Motorcycles filed an extremely detailed patent application for an adaptive headlamp design way back in May of last year, and it was officially published in October. Our friends over at RideApart recently dug it up, and it’s absolutely fascinating. The system uses sensors from all over your motorcycle to provide a speed and lean-angle sensitive pattern of light emission. Having ridden several thousand miles myself in the pitch black of night, I am definitely behind and in support of anything that makes night visibility better.

The patent filing depicts the system functioning on an Indian Roadmaster, but mentions that the technology could be adapted for any other kind of two-wheeled machine, or even jet skis, potentially opening up the tech to other products in the Polaris lineup. It makes sense to start with a Roadmaster, however, as it’s a big bike, and you wouldn’t notice an extra 5 kg

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Can collision-aversion make motorcycles safer?

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My motorcycle accident was a classic, the scenario you hear about in rider safety programs and read about on forums. I was cruising down a four-lane city street with no traffic in my direction but bumper-to-bumper gridlock in the oncoming lanes. At a dogleg in the road I rounded a corner to find a car from one of those oncoming lanes turning left over the double yellow into a gas station parking lot. 

It was textbook, something I realized even as it was happening. My motorcycle slammed into the front fender of the turning car and I came off the bike, landing on the sidewalk 15 feet away. If not for an airbag vest I wore religiously–an inflatable powered by a CO2 cartridge and clipped to the bike’s frame via a tether, which acts like a rip cord when rider and machine are parted–I’m convinced I might not be writing

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