by Thomas Day

State Officials Urge Motorcyclists To Seek Safety Training ST. PAUL — Public safety officials are encouraging all motorcyclists, even experienced riders, to tune up their riding skills just as they tune up their bikes for the riding season. Four motorcyclist fatalities, this year, underscore the need for riders to seek out proper safety training and learn—or relearn—how to control their bikes in an emergency.

On Thursday at 3:30 p.m., a Jordan man died after he lost control of his Harley-Davidson and was struck by an on-coming train. Two weeks ago, a Bloomington teen died in a motorcycle crash with another vehicle in Eden Prairie. Both incidents point to a need for proper education.

“Motorcycles are more difficult to operate than other vehicles. Many riders, even those with years of experience, do not know how to steer, swerve, or stop quickly in an emergency,” said State Patrol Captain, Dave Graham.

A common misconception riders have is that it is best to “lay the bike down” to avoid a crash. Trained riders learn how to use their brakes to stop the bike without laying it down. “It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been riding—if you’ve never taken a safety course, you are missing some vital information that may save your life,” said Graham.

Motorcycle safety training for beginners and experienced riders is available statewide April – September in Minnesota. In addition to emergency braking, students learn critical handling techniques such as steering, cornering and swerving, as well as the mental strategies used to identify problems before they lead to crashes. To learn more about motorcycle safety or find a training course, call 800-407-6677 or visit www.motorcyclesafety.state.mn.us.

US Taxpayer Pays $1M in Janklow Wrongful Death Suit Former South Dakota Rep, Bill Janklow has settled in the wrongful death lawsuit for $1 million, according to one of the lawyers involved. On August 16, 2003, Janklow ran a stop sign on a rural road near Trent, South Dakota and killed Randy Scott of Hardwick, Minnesota, who was riding his Harley-Davidson. Randy Scott was killed instantly in the crash and Janklow received minor injuries.

The Janklow family’s lawyer, Ron Meshbesher, said the Federal Tort Claims Act unfairly came into play, protecting Janklow and his insurance company from liability. The Minnesota State Attorney ruled that Janklow was on government business at the time of the crash and that means taxpayers must subsidize Janklow’s irresponsibility and he will escape personal responsibility for Scott’s death.

Meshbesher said, “If this case had been in state courts, as I believe it should have been, we would have been able to recover punitive damages for outrageous conduct because he had been speeding all his life.”

Janklow was convicted of second-degree manslaughter December, 2003. He served 100 days in jail, paid a fine, temporarily lost his law license, and was unable to drive during his probation period. His criminal record has been cleared.

Janklow was quoted as saying, “I’m happy that part of it’s over. My mom has always said if money can fix it, it isn’t a problem. And money couldn’t fix this problem. Somebody died who never did anything wrong. And he died in a young part of his life and I understand that because I was responsible for it. From that standpoint, I’m glad they brought that part of it to closure for their own sake. But it doesn’t bring somebody back and it doesn’t fix the problem.”

Of course, “fixing the problem” would require removing nut jobs like Janklow from behind the wheel. I wonder if his mother had something to say about that?

Your Chance to Vent Bikes and bike safety remains a popular media and political subject. The Secretary of Transportation, Mary Peters, has an official blog called “Welcome to the Fast Lane.” This is our opportunity to provide some human insight into the lawmakers who initiate safety, roadway access and design, and other transportation legislation.

Iran Whips Squids The head of Tehran’s State Security Force, Brig. Gen. Ahman Reza Radan, is promising “more suppressive measures” for hooliganism, “You must have witnessed the [unacceptable] behavior of some motorcyclists on the streets and the concerns of car drivers. One other area that we will take into consideration, besides the public security, would be social discipline.” What he means is that violators will receive a public whipping, 74 lashes in fact, for traffic offenses.

Those fun-lovin’ Persians! I suppose our black leather S&M crowd will be trying to immigrate to Iran to be part of that action?

Harley Sued for Brain Injury Tom Hawkinson, once an Illinois Ford dealership executive, was tossed onto the highway when his Wide Glide Harley Davidson became unstable. Now suffering from incapacitating brain injuries, Hawkinson is suing H-D for being aware of his bike’s defects and not correcting them.

“He was a successful businessman. Now, he’s incapacitated and has gone through a number of brain surgeries,” comments Hawkinson’s attorney, Max Maccoby.

PersonalInjuryLawyers.com reports that, “Hawkinson’s attorney has commented that the wobble problem with the Harley-Davidson is so widely known that motorcycle repair shops often openly advertise repairs for the defective models. Max Maccoby claims that it was a ‘design or manufacturing defect’ that was responsible for the crash and his client’s current condition. “A driver coming toward him saw his front light wobble back and forth for about 10 seconds before he was thrown,” says Maccoby. “Now, he suffers from disorientation, he fatigues easily and he can’t multi-task. He tried going back to work, but he couldn’t,” his attorney added.

Virgin Mary Road Rash KARE 11’s nutty “news” site reports that a California man crashed his bike, slid 50 feet down the highway, and claims he was saved from worse injury because his road rash resembles “a legitimate apparition of the Virgin Mary.” Check it out (http://www.kare11.com/news/national/national_article.aspx?storyid=510089).

It looks like a chili pepper to me.

Will Shatner Rides Again, Naked StarPulse.com interviewed William Shatner about his recent motorcycle crash on a southern California highway. Just as the “Captain” tested alien atmospheres “boldly” protected only by Space Spandex, Shatner says, “I think leather and helmets and protective gear is foolish in the hot California weather. I ride with sandals and shorts and a t-shirt.”

After crashing, remounting, and heading down the highway bleeding and in tattered parrot-head garb, he received a little ribbing from the locals. He whined, “Finally they uttered the ultimate insult, ‘Beam me up Scotty,’ so I gave them the finger.”

We think the ultimate insult would be having to explore the universe with a dumbass like Shatner in command.

Minnesota Contest Winner A Minnesotan won the super-trick Roland Sands’ ConqueRR Honda CBR1000RR and helped raise a record-setting $84,000 for childhood brain tumor research and family support. Steve Solberg of Hopkins read about ConqueRR in Cycle World Magazine and purchased his Ride for Kids® ticket on the organization’s website in January. We congratulate Steve for his win and for his contribution to this very worthy cause.

NHTSA Recalls Honda 2007-2008 VT600, VT750, VTX1300: Faulty fuel valve and fuel control valve diaphragm leaks fuel.

Piaggio 2007-2008 Moto Guzzi Norge: Top Case: Locating tab on the accessory top case mounting bracket can break possibly allowing the top case to fall off the motorcycle.

Triumph 2008 Rocket III Touring: Fail to comply with DOT labeling requirements for tire inflation pressure.

Yamaha 2006-2007 CP250, 2005-2007 YP400: Water enters the harness and corrodes the wires for the fuel pump coupler causing engine stall.

Vectrix 2007 Scooter: Battery cables come loose at the battery terminal within the battery packs causing short circuit and electrical fire.

M.M.M.

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