- April 8, As the weather gets warmer, men and women throughout the tri-state region will start revving up their motorcycles. It is a ritual for the motorcycle enthusiast that is timed to the warming weather and end of winter. For some, it is also a time to refresh their safety skills, and for good reason. Riders with experience survive.
Motorcycles have a reputation for being a dangerous vehicle. But not for the reasons many may think. A study undertaken by the Traffic Safety Center at USC found that motorcycle training substantially reduced accident involvement and reduced injuries in the event of accidents. It also showed that motorcycle riders showed significant collision avoidance problems by over-braking and skidding the rear wheel, and under-braking the front wheel, greatly reducing the ability to avoid collisions. Further, the ability to counter-steer their motorcycles and swerve to avoid an accident was essentially absent.
Additionally, this study showed that:
– Weather is not a factor in 98% of motorcycle accidents.
– Roadway defects (pavement ridges, potholes, etc.) were the accident cause of only 2% of the accidents; animal involvement just 1% of the accidents.
– Those motorcycle riders involved in accidents were essentially without training; 92% were self-taught or learned from family or friends.
These are the kind of numbers Diane Howells hates to read. Because she knows, with just a little training most accidents that occur on a motorcycle can be avoided. And Diane should know. Having trained over 8,000 students since she opened her school in 1999, not only has she broken ground in a male-dominated industry by being the only woman owner of a Motorcycle Training school, but she has built hers into the largest Motorcycle Safety Foundation training organization in New York State.
“Most people think riding a motorcycle is like riding a bicycle. It is in some ways. But it’s completely different when someone gets into trouble. On average, they have less than 2 seconds to maneuver around and out of an accident.” Says Diane. “And that is where just a little training can help a lot. Knowing how and when to steer out of a problem situation is the leading contributor to saving lives. And that is something we train all of our students to do.”
Diane and her Motorcycle Safety School train students to ride safely in a fun environment. “It’s important people enjoy themselves. It’s the best way for them to remember what to do when they’re out on the road.”
Diane has been riding since 1994, and received her instructional license while in Vermont. Her documentary Motorcycle Diaries, has aired on the Oxygen Network and was part of the 2002 Guggenheim Museum’s Art of the Motorcycle exhibit. She now holds classes at three locations including Brooklyn, NY; Ulster County, NY, and New Jersey, and continues to generate the attention of such media and news outlets as The New York Times, NY Post, ABC Eyewitness News, WB News and many more.