Babes Ride Out

Safety

First Responder | Advice from Dr. Jenny Kim of what to do when you see a rider down

SafetyAnya Violet

Accidents happen. We all do our best to avoid them and hope that we never are witness to one! Dr. Jenny Kim, our on site medic from BRO3, shares her first hand account of witnessing an accident and shares some key things of what to do and what not to do on the scene of an accident. 

 Photo by Lanakila Mcnaughton of Womens Moto Exhibit

Photo by Lanakila Mcnaughton of Womens Moto Exhibit

Babes Ride Out 3 was over.  The camp was deserted and the creaking of the wood shack that had been the first aid station seemed loud.  I loaded the last of the unused bandages, gauze, and ointments into my truck. 

I pulled out of the ghost town with my bike in tow and drove onto Sunfair Road.  What an incredible weekend it was.  I was joined by a group of talented women nurses, paramedics, and a firefighter that all shared a love of motorcycle riding to offer basic first aid to fellow riders.  We took shifts and took call at night treating road rash, pipe burns, corneal abrasions, and offered advice on general medical problems.  It was tremendously rewarding and gratifying.

Then suddenly, I saw settling dust ahead on the empty road.  I slowed down the truck as I approached.  There were two riders standing on the side of the road and one sitting on the ground.  Up ahead on the other side of the road was a motorcycle down on its side.

I pulled over and rushed over to the riders.  As I got closer, I assessed the area.  It was empty of cars, there was no debris or fuel on the road.  All three riders were off to the side of the road.  The rider on the ground was sitting, helmet off, moving all her limbs and talking coherently. 

If you ride, you have been or know someone who has been in a motorcycle accident. Motorcycle crashes can cause serious physical and emotional injuries.  If you are witness to a motorcycle accident, there are actions that you can take to decrease injury to the rider down.  Anyone can be of help and make a difference.  Below is a limited basic starting point and does not take the place of a medical professional or advanced emergency training.

1)    Take a breath and stay calm.  The rider down may be scared and in panic.  They need you to be cool and rational.

2)    Assess the situation then call 911.  Every minute counts.  Listen carefully.  Answer their questions clearly and succinctly.

3)    Protect yourself and keep yourself out of danger.  Make the area safe to help.  If, there are other bystanders, instruct them to warn traffic.

4)    Move the rider only if they are in imminent danger, such as fire or on coming traffic.

5)    If the rider is conscious, talk to them.  Reassure them and be encouraging.  Hold their hand so they know that you are there for them. 

6)    The rider may be going into shock.  Cover them to keep them warm.

7)    Don’t remove their helmets.  They may have cervical spine or spinal cord injuries.  Removing their helmet may cause further damage.  Only remove the helmet if it is a life and death situation, such as not breathing.

8)    If there is bleeding, elevate the limb and use pressure with a clean cloth.

9)    Do not give them anything to eat or drink.  If they lose consciousness, they may aspirate or choke.  Also, the rider may need emergency surgery.  Surgery is safer on an empty stomach.

10)  If you are trained to do so, administer CPR or BLS to the rider without a pulse or is not breathing.

11) Stay with rider until paramedics or professional help arrive.


Here Janea's account of the accident ( the rider who went down)

The last day at Babes Ride Out 3, I will never forget. I called my husband to tell him we were packing up and heading home soon. He asked me to call him before we left.

I packed up, got on my bike and looked at my gloves stashed behind my fairing.  The cafe we decided on for lunch, before heading home, was just down the street from camp.  I put the gloves on.  It was warm this October in Joshua Tree, so my leather jacket stayed in my pack. 

I took the lead down Sunfair Road out of camp.  The warm wind embraced me.  It had been an amazing week.  First, the moto trip through Arizona with the girls.  Then to Babes Ride Out 3 where I met women from all walks of life following their passions.  Lastly, my volunteer work with the inspiring MotoFam.  It was all gratifying, rewarding, and immensely fun!

Then suddenly, my handlebars began slapping my tank. I don’t know what happened.  I couldn’t control the bars.  The bike began to buck.  There was nothing I could do.  I let my hands go and closed my eyes.

I don’t remember what happened.  I opened my eyes and I was in a dust cloud.   I was filled with adrenalin and felt nothing.  One of the girls was running to me yelling “Lay down! Lay down!”

The Importance of Practice by Francesca Michelle

SafetyAnya Violet

As we are gearing up for Babes Ride Out 6 we are highlighting some important topics to help you stay safe on the road. One of those topics is PRACTICE! It's easy not to think of riding a motorcycle as something that you need to practice. However, practice can mean the difference between you being as prepared as you can be for the unexpected or not. For some, its as simple as practicing holding your line on a fun twisty road or quick stops in a parking lot as you wait for a friend. Taking your riding skills to the next level will help to keep you safe on the road. We caught up with Francesca Michelle of the Eastside Moto Babes to get her thoughts on practice. Read on and enjoy!

babes ride out

The Importance of Practice

by Francesca Michelle of Eastside Moto Babes

 Back in 2016, my best friend asked me if I wanted to ride on her team in a 24 hour endurance race. The race, put on by M1GP, runs noon-noon for 24 hours straight, with a team of 6 people keeping the bike on track at all times. I was 23, had been riding for almost three years, didn’t own leathers, and had never ridden on a track before. Obviously, I said yes.

My logic was: I was a skilled, fairly fast rider on the street. I practiced a lot in parking lots and rode canyons regularly. Track couldn’t be that different; I’d probably be fine.

Cut to the day of the race. It’s around 95 degrees in the high desert. There’s 15 teams on the track, in different classes ranging from 50 cup to mod 125. We’re the only stock Grom in the 125 class and all six of us are really excited. We’re running stints an hour long, and I’m near the end of the lineup. I get on track for my first stint, and it takes me about four seconds to realize I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. My street riding skills don’t help me here. As anyone who’s ever been on a track will tell you: it’s a completely different kind of riding than on the street, and I’m getting an up-close look at it. I’m pretty much the slowest out there. I get passed, a lot. I get lapped, a lot. It’s massively frustrating. When my hour is over, I get off track, pass off the bike, and go off by myself to be grumpy.

 The night session passes pretty similarly. Things start to turn around during my morning stint. The sun is rising. The Grom is running strong. I think, this is silly. It doesn’t matter if I suck at this. If I give up on it now, I’ll always suck the same amount.

I finish my session happy. My lines are cleaning up, my body position is getting better. I find people on track I can trail behind and watch how they ride. Between my first sessions and my last, I drop six seconds on my lap time. But, more importantly, it starts to be insanely fun. OK, everyone is going to pass you. Who cares! Don’t worry about being faster. Just be smooth and make yourself harder to pass.

 My team placed second in the stock class that year (completely due to my teammates, who are excellent riders and terrific people). Shortly after, I started volunteering at Socal Supermoto in Riverside and riding their TTRs whenever I could. Slowly, I got better. I practiced, and I listened, and I started to improve. I bothered Brian and Frank about everything I could think of, and every weekend at supermoto I’d pick up something else. I bought my own TTR and converted it to minimoto. The next time I raced with M1GP, it was stupidly fun and I was ten million times better than the year before. 

It’s easy to look at people who are really good at something, and beat yourself up because you’re not as good as them. It’s easy to feel like they have some kind of intrinsic ability or innate skill that you just don’t have. (To be fair--those people do exist, and it’s incredibly annoying.) But often, that’s not true. All you have is a snapshot. A girl on an MX bike railing a berm. A girl on a track bike blowing by you at unrealistic speeds. That’s insane, you think to yourself. I can’t do that. This person is just better at this than me.

 I’ve been there. I’ve thought that. But here’s what you don’t see: the hours of practice put in. The questions asked. The mentors and friends and coaches, pestered with questions. The hours--and I can’t emphasize this enough--of doing something a million times, failing at it over and over until you start getting better. Skill is practice. Practice is a habit, and a willingness to try again. All the skill you have at something comes from a willingness to be terrible at it first.

Take the classes. Ask the questions. Find som eone who knows more than you, and bug them. Think you can’t do it? You can. Just get out there and do it. Get out there and suck at everything for awhile, screw up and fail a bunch of times and you will get better. You will! Failing is a part of it. Give yourself the grace to suck at something you love. It’s more fun than you think.

Options for further training:

Safety Refresher Course  Westside Motorcycle Academy www.westsidemotorcycleacademy.com  Sign up: HERE

Intermediate, advanced 1 & 2 rider courses: https://www.totalcontroltraining.net

Socal Supermoto: https://www.socalsupermoto.com

M1GP, racing and rider clinics: https://m1-grandprix.com/m1gprc/

UMRA, racing with fleet rental options: http://www.raceumra.com/faq.html

Ride Your Own Ride by Blaire Baily

SafetyAnya Violet

When people find out that you ride a motorcycle, do they tend to mention how dangerous it is or maybe a friend of theirs that was in an accident? Happens to us all the time. They are not wrong, motorcycles are very dangerous. However, that does not stop us from doing what we love. We reached out to some of the talented, and experienced riders in our community to share some wise words on how to stay safe and minimize your risk on two wheels. Blaire Baily of The Eastside Moto Babes brings up a very important topic "Ride your own ride"! Read on to hear more!

 Photo by Jenny Linquist

Photo by Jenny Linquist

Ride Your Own Ride


by Blaire Baily

Life is full of subtle and not-so-subtle invitations to change your normal riding style. We’ve all had the experience of getting on a bike when we’re running late and feel pressured to make up time. And I can’t be the only one that gets sports cars in the next lane revving their engines, eager to race. More commonly, if you ride in groups, you may find that the speed of the group or the difficulty of the ride is somewhere outside your comfort zone.

Serious, experienced motorcyclists say the same thing again and again: ride your own ride. That is the golden rule. Riding your own ride means, in its simplest terms, refusing to allow outside factors or influences to change your riding behavior. It means riding within your comfort zone at all times. Your comfort zone can change, for example if you are riding at a track instead of on the street, but it is only you, and no one else, that should adjust and manage how you ride.

There can be a strong temptation in group rides to meet others’ expectations rather than determine your own limits. When I first started riding with a group, I was concerned about keeping up and afraid to seem inadequate, inexperienced, or unskilled.

I’ll admit that more than once I rode a lot faster than I was comfortable with and had some very close calls. It’s easy to do, and it’s often a rush. But it also exposes you to an untenable level of risk. The dangers of motorcycling, just like the rewards, are especially intense. Human bodies are fragile. If a motorcyclist is a jelly fish, a car is a brick. We have to treat motorcycling with the respect it deserves and the best way to do that is to always ride your own ride.

Here are some steps you can take to be proactive, empower yourself, and ride your own ride:

•           Ride on Your Own

If you’re experiencing pressure from other riders, and keep giving in, remove them from the equation. Riding solo will allow you to increase your skills and experience at your own pace. You get to decide where you ride, and when, and at what speed. This gives you maximum control and helps ensure you’ll ride your own ride every single time.

•           If You are Going to Ride in a Group, Make a Plan in Advance

To avoid a situation where you realize you are not comfortable riding at the speed the group is already going, make a plan before it happens. Speak to whoever is leading the ride before you head out. Ask: if you decide to slow down, will they wait for you a few miles ahead? If not, no problem. That’s fine. Now you know. Say that if you do slow down, you’ll just meet them at their destination. Now everyone is on the same page. If at some point you feel it is necessary to slow down, you can do so. And you’ll already know what comes next.

•           Listen to Your Gut.

If you’re starting to get tired and your concentration is wavering, or you’re getting light-headed because you’re hungry, listen to those warning signals. Pull off and take that break. Many accidents happen when riders try to push through exhaustion in order to stay on the road.

•           Use a Reminder

Put a small reminder on your bike to ride your own ride. Every time you look at it, ask yourself: Is this how I normally ride? Am I riding my own ride?

•           Shift Your Attitude about What it Means to be a “Good” Rider

Rethinking your understanding of what it means to be a “good” rider will also help you resist pressure to ride outside your comfort zone. Don’t think of riding skill in terms of “fast” and “slow” but rather in terms of “has more experience” and “has less experience.” I’ve been riding for six years, but I tend to ride only once a week for a few hours. There are several women in my motorcycle club, the East Side Moto Babes, that race motorcycles and live and breathe motorcycling. Unsurprisingly, they have a high level of skill and proficiency and our comfort zones are completely different. This is entirely logical given our respective experience and, more importantly, is completely okay. We’re not in competition with each other. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be as skilled as other riders when they have a lot more experience than you do.

•           If You Want to Push Yourself, Do So in a Controlled Environment

Want to learn to curve up corners and follow perfect lines? Hit up SoCal Supermoto and use their small, difficult track to hone your cornering skills. If you mess up, the worst that will happen is that they catch it on camera. Want to experience and practice higher speeds without the danger and unpredictability of cars? Do track days. You’ll improve your riding skills and, if you should go down, chances are the damage will be minor.

•           Ride From a Place of Love (For Others and For Yourself)

Put your safety above outside demands. If you’re late, it can wait. It takes self-awareness, self-love, and confidence to know your limits and to assert them. The truth is that when you ride, you carry some of the happiness of the people who love you around with you on your bike. Ride accordingly. And remember that riding your own ride is actually deeply respectful of the people you are riding with—it shows you are putting the safety of everyone on the ride first.

•           Help Shape Riding Culture

Women riders have a unique opportunity to shape motorcycle culture around comradeship, skill-building, and safety. When a rider steps forward to say that she is not comfortable with the speed or difficulty of a group ride, thank her. Tell her you appreciate her commitment to riding her own ride. Help her come up with a plan about how to ensure she stays within her comfort zone. Help her ride her own ride. If you do that, chances are one day she’ll do the same for someone else.