Safety tips as warmer weather brings out motorcycles

By KBJR News 1

May 29, 2014 Updated May 29, 2014 at 2:07 PM CDT

The snow is 99 percent gone from the Northland so it seems 99 percent of the region's motorcycles are on the road.

The bikes are back and so are the crashes.

Duluth police responded to the first accident of the year in early April.

They can happen to any rider.

Dennis Kachelmyer of the Harley Davidson Sports Center laid his first bike down in 1971.

"You know, not really paying attention and a lot more exuberance than common sense," said Kachelmyer.

Now, Kachelmyer stresses learning common sense to his customers that want to hit the road on two wheels.

So does Buddy Hernasman at RJ Sport and Cycle.

He says motorcycle safety is the responsibility of the rider.

"I'm the one who's going to be stopping from getting killed because of another driver," said Hernasman.

Kachelmyer says vigilance is the key to staying safe while surrounded by two ton cars with drivers that may not see a biker nearby.

"Awareness is everything and anticipating the intersections are the biggest area of concern and anticipating that drivers might not see you,"said Kachelmyer.

One can learn those skills through classes offered by the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety.

"It doesn't cost a lot of money and it could get you out of a jam," Kachelmyer.

Hernasman tells us a good way to stay out of those jams is to ride responsibly and respectfully.

"We shouldn't be weaving in and out of traffic. That's also a cause for someone to get mad at you and not respectful of motorcycle riders. You need to respect the laws and other people on the road," said Hernasman.

"Both Buddy and Dennis tell us that dressing for trouble is one way to stay safe on a motorcycle. A good helmet is a good thing to have. Black leather isn't the greatest for visibility but it does offer a lot of protection from road rash and, of course, good sturdy boots are another way to kick start your way to a safe motorcycle season"

"Getting on the machine and letting her rip on a good road trip is just a heck of a nice way to spend your time."

In Minnesota, motorcycle safety courses are offered in Duluth, Grand Rapids and Eveleth.

In Wisconsin, they can be found in Rhinelander and Rice Lake.

The U.P. has one in Marquette.

Written by Dave Anderson