Awesome to see you post an article on responding to accidents (Riding Around, September 2019). I’m on my fourth recertification as a Wilderness First Responder from NOLS, and can’t speak highly enough of the training and the confidence I got in dealing with situations that would have put me into brainlock previously. In addition, I’ve taken a Field Trauma class from John Holschen at Insights Training in Seattle. I want to echo the sentiment of the author but throw up a hand at one potentially serious issue with the article.
At accident scenes I often have to prevent bystanders from simply yanking helmets off downed riders. There’s a very specific technique for removing a helmet (even if it has the easy-off cheekpads), and it’s something every rider should learn. When the author says, “Many believe you should never remove a motorcyclist’s helmet…,” I have to take issue with what follows. There is a very specific technique to safely remove a helmet without risking a compromised c-spine. If you don’t know that technique, I’d leave the helmet on unless there’s no pulse or respiration (a hand on the chest will let you know about breathing). My wife and I also label our helmets (name, blood type, allergies, ICE contact info, etc.). We carry a small baggie in our riding gear all the time with gloves, an Israeli bandage and a CPR mask, as well as a bigger NOLS-type kit on the bike or in a Camelbak.
Sorry to poke, but it seemed like an important point in an otherwise excellent article!
Marc Danziger, Los Angeles, California
Hi Marc, we appreciate your experience and perspective on a very important topic, thank you for sharing. As our Letter of the Month winner, we’d like to send you a TK from our friends at Michelin. Congratulations!
As a motorcyclist for more than 50 years and a retired law enforcement officer, I really appreciate your article on accident management. I have attended more motorcycle accidents than I can count, both on and off the job, from scrapes and bruises to severed limbs. One point that I didn’t notice in your article was the item that normally follows the ABCs (Airway, Breathing and Circulation): to make the patient as comfortable as possible. I have been at two accident scenes as a rider where the wait time for law enforcement and medical was an hour or more. One of the human traits I have noticed during those wait times is that people want to help the person in pain. Maybe if we did this, maybe if we adjusted that, maybe if we moved the person over here. Untrained, well-meaning people want to help, but many times the things they suggest doing run the risk of more serious injury. The bottom line is once you’ve done your ABCs and made the injured person reasonably comfortable, don’t mess with him/her. Monitor them, talk to them, but don’t mess with them unless their condition changes.
Dan Farrell, via email
“Before Help Arrives” was a very well-researched review of accident scene protocol. However, there is a very large elephant in the room, and that is one of financial liability concerns. Even if the impacted patient has good medical coverage, transportation out of remote areas by helicopter may not be covered and can cost over $20,000. In addition to satellite communication capability, a rider who strays off the beaten path should check their insurance, and if air transportation is not covered, should seriously consider investing in additional rescue insurance.
Tim Kenney, Ojai, California
As I read “Harley’s Shocker” (September 2019), I recalled hearing the tales of riding the BSA and Triumph motorcycles of the ‘50s: “Ride ‘em one hour, work on ‘em for two hours.” Looks as if Harley is bringing the tradition back with the LiveWire. Ride it one hour, charge it two to twelve hours. The best part? I get to pay almost $30,000 for the privilege of looking at my bike 80% of the time, while it charges.
Keith Ingram, Clovis, New Mexico
I am sure there will be naysayers, but I think Harley is doing exactly what it should with the LiveWire. Visually, it’s got cues from the Sportster and XR750—definitely some Harley DNA. Yet it’s also fresh, modern and muscular. It’s better than a pure cruiser or supersport; not just another bike in the crowd, it has to stand apart.
If Harley can get into the EV party early, with a refined product, it’s definitely an advantage. As noted in Boehm’s article, Harley’s existing demographic is withering away. I can’t say that the LiveWire will save Harley, but it’s the kind of bold step they need to take. I hope it does well.
Ron Russell, Tucson, Arizona
I like the LiveWire! Riding an electric motorcycle would be a blast. Totally quiet, eerily smooth, as you said, and it looks great. Eight years in development tends to make me unconcerned about the build quality and reliability of a first-year model. I salute Harley-Davidson for building the LiveWire. However, these are not going to sell. Harley knew it when they built it. But somebody has to step up and begin the process that will ultimately make the electric motorcycle practical one day. Harley deserves a big round of applause, but it may want to consider a less expensive model of the LiveWire next. Thirty grand is big money for such a limited-use machine in my humble opinion. A less expensive model would certainly sell better.
I enjoyed your review; in fact, you make me want to take a test ride. Problem is I have three Harley dealers in my city, but as of two weeks ago I was told that none of them had a LiveWire in stock!
Larry C. Chambers, Nashville, Tennessee
Just received the September issue and read Mark Tuttle’s column about the CB750’s impact on the motorcycle industry (One-Track Mind). I started riding at age nine on one of those “lawnmower mini-bikes” and made my way all the way up to my current ride, a Harley Ultra Classic. But my first big street bike was a Honda CB750 Four. It ignited my passion for riding. I rode that bike all over the West Coast, and not just California. My first date with my wife was on that Honda. It was a beautiful bike, and I loved it. But, alas, I’m sorry to say I let it slip away. Recently I’ve been trying to track down a unit of same year and color. I found one in Iowa. As fate would have it, we have family there we would be visiting. Told my wife I could ride it home, and she replied, “Isn’t it too small?” Well the deal fell through, but not before I reminded her that that was the same model we rode all over California and Oregon way back when. Thanks for the memories!
Russ Burmaster, Huntington Beach, California
I have to take issue with EIC Tuttle’s “The First Superbike” column. Sure, the Honda CB750 was a landmark motorcycle and an unprecedented success that changed the motorcycle landscape forever. But it was not the firstsuperbike. That distinction would have to go to the Triumph Trident (ok, and BSA Rocket III), which predated the Honda by several months. Tuttle drops an oblique reference to the British Triple, dancing around the fact that the Brits demolished the poor-handling, heavier Hondas on race tracks everywhere (except Daytona) and yes, they ran on an older valve gear and initially lacked a front disc brake like the new Honda. But the Triumph was a real superbike, and it came out before the CB750.
Rick Averill, via email
I appreciated Eric Trow’s article on staying hydrated during a ride (Stayin’ Safe, September 2019). One thing he did not mention was how to properly rehydrate if a person does become dehydrated. If a person drinks too much water too quickly, they can flush and dilute their electrolytes, sometimes to the point of crashing their system, passing out and even dying. If a motorcyclist gets very dehydrated, it is important to steadily—not quickly—rehydrate with an electrolyte drink. Try to pick one that is low in sugar and does not have caffeine, as caffeine can make the problem worse.
Jeff Snook, Charlottesville, Virginia
Malinda Peck’s Cabot Trail story (Favorite Ride, September 2019) broke free memories I forgot that I forgot! Years ago my lovely wife and I visited the same spots. Albeit in not quite the same way: we lumbered around Cape Breton in a 32-foot motorhome while towing a Honda CRV (dingy). We had made the tough (for both of us) decision to bring the car rather than trailering the bike from our home in Virginia. As soon as we arrived and saw the motorcycle-worthy roads, we knew our dingy choice was wrong.
As we read the article, Malinda’s Kawasaki Vulcan 500 also recalled another forgotten memory. We had an old Honda CB350, simple and reliable as an anvil, and about as fast. We rode it together for years before moving to bigger and supposedly better machines. Malinda’s Vulcan reminded us that we could have brought a smaller bike with us on a bumper carrier, thus allowing the car to come along as well! So, off we go on another adventure figuring out which new small machine to acquire. Thank you, Malinda, for a great adventure story and starting a new one for us.
Paul and Nikki Fuller, via email
I just saw a KTM 790 Adventure today up close (drove two hours to see one). You guys are spot-on with awarding it Motorcycle of the Year. It is just incredible to see and I’m sure to ride as well. Approachable seat height, narrow waist, light weight, good ground clearance, comfortable riding position, low center of gravity, innovative design, loads of power…the list is long! The European manufacturers have really taken a huge lead in the last few years and this bike in particular strikes a balance (for me). Even the headlight thingy makes sense. The other manufacturers will be catching up for years. Well done KTM, I’ll be riding one soon!
Harold Klassen, Marcus, Iowa
Perhaps I have experienced the Rip Van Winkle syndrome, or perhaps I’ve been on another planet. Or maybe Riderhas entered the realm of time travel, or you want to test to see if people are really reading the articles. Maybe I should ask Ms. Jenny Smith (Gearlab, September 2019). I’d like to see that product review of the Cardo Packtalk she referenced from June “2106.” I just want to know what happened to all of those missing issues….
Joe Gass, Rohnert Park, California
Ms. Smith did mention a recent ride in a Delorean, but alas, she wouldn’t spill the beans on which bike wins our 2106 Motorcycle of the Year.
Regarding the recent letter from a reader complaining about tall bikes, please allow me to give you some perspective from the other side of the issue. When I saw the tallness of the new Indian Flat Tracker I perked up right away. At 6’4″, I’m a wee tad taller than Greg Drevenstedt, and the Flat Tracker didn’t look ridiculously small under him in the pictures so it should fit me acceptably as well. This brings me to the point that there aren’t enough bikes for us obnoxiously tall people! One of the ergonomic issues I have is that with a 34″ inseam, it’s tough to keep my knees far enough below my hips to keep my lumbar in a good, comfortable position. Most bikes are just too short for my comfort. This is the main reason why I ride a BMW R1200GS: I have NO ambition to conquer the unpaved world, but I need some legroom! Don’t get me wrong, I love my GS, but the idea of something that fits my big frame without being limited to the ‘adventure’ style is appealing. I’d love to have a more basic fun bike for local and short-distance riding, and something like the Flat Tracker might just fit the bill. I say bring on more tall but fun, non-adventure bikes!
Ben “The Veg” Lower, Lawrenceville, Georgia