Look ma, no brakes.
But slow down anyway!
California startup Vectolabs has developed a new type of safety light for motorcycles that illuminates when the bike slows down, regardless of whether or not the rider is using the brakes.
Called Vololights, the device is comprised of two sets of LEDs built into a license plate holder that’s fitted with an accelerometer and CPU. When it senses that the motorcycle it is installed on starts slowing down, a pattern of blinking lights goes off to get the attention of following vehicles.
Since motorcycles decelerate much quicker than four-wheel vehicles when you let up on the accelerator or downshift, many riders don’t use the brakes to slow down as often as car and truck drivers do. Doing either of these things will cause the Vololights to flash twice per second, while using the brakes will flash them five times per second to indicate a more severe stopping event, augmenting the motorcycle’s stock lights.
Many motorcycle organizations and state departments of motor vehicles already encourage riders to flash their brakes when slowing, a step Vectolabs is simply looking to automate. It is also aimed at owners of some classic bikes, including 1960s Vespa scooters where the hand grip for the front brakes isn’t even connected to the lights, only the brake pedal is.
A number of electric cars, including the Tesla Model S, illuminate their brake lights as soon as you lift off of the accelerator, as their electric motors instantly start generating electricity and forcibly slow the car down in the process. Even more so than with motorcycles, you can drive these kinds of cars much of the time without using the brakes at all.
Vectolabs says Vololights fits a variety of motorcycles and is confident that it will conform to state and federal legal requirements for lighting, but will recommend users check their local laws. A ‘stealth mode’ turns off the system if you drive somewhere they are not allowed.
But don’t mount up and head to the motorcycle shop just yet. Vectolabs is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign that aims to raise $50,000 by June 12th in order to put the Vololights into production. A number of pledge levels are available, but it’ll cost you at least $69 if you want to get on the list for a kit.
In the meantime, watch out behind you.
Motorcycle buying tips for women
May 17, 2013 11:00 AM
From Consumer Reports
As the popularity of motorcycling continues to grow, more women are learning to get their motors running and head out on the highway. Industry experts say that about 12 percent of all riders are now women, drawn by the same combination of emotional and practical factors that appeal to men, from the feeling of freedom to combating the reality of high fuel prices.
Dealers like Angela Annamalai of Shelby’s Powersports in Bronx, New York, see a lot of new riders. When discussing first-time buyers, Annamalai offered some buying advice geared to women, who she says can often be intimidated by the male-dominated world of a motorcycle shop.
Visit our motorcycle buying guide for more advice on choosing the right bike and riding safety.
“Sit on a lot of different bikes first,” said Annamalai, who stressed the importance of getting over that showroom discomfort that may discourage women from trying enough models on for size. “Riding position is critical,” she says. “Arm length and being able to maneuver with your feet touching the floor is critical for safety.”
Read the rest of the article here
International Female Ride Day is a campaign for women motorcyclists with the sole purpose of highlighting and profiling the female motorcycle rider. Its mission is that of building and underlining broad-spectrum (and public) awareness of female motorcyclists while simultaneously encouraging other women to take up the activity; demonstrating the ease of the activity.
The event shines a spotlight on women motorcyclists and includes just one request which is “JUST RIDE”. It’s a globally synchronized day for and of female motorcycle riders everywhere! A day aiming to emphasize the many numbers of female’s who ride motorcycles; supporting their diversities, agelessness, limitless abilities and the enjoyment women embrace in the activity of motorcycling.
International Female Ride Day was created with three main principles outlined to maintain clarity of the campaigns intentions. As follows:
1. FREEDOM – Women are free to participate and enjoy the day in any manner preferred, desired or defined. This ensures the unification of women riders internationally, and of all motorcycling disciplines.
2. OPEN GOOD WILL- Many motorcycle ride day events are commonly partnered with a charity or good cause. International Female Ride Day will not infringe upon this freedom therefore not combining a global charity partner to this campaign. This allows participants to create their own cause or Incorporate activities around their current choice charity organisations. This campaign will not influence that preference and ensure women maintain the independence of choice. It is a fact however that MOTORESS is partnered with charity “Look Good Feel Better” and may involve or include activities during this campaign.
3. BRANDING – International Female Ride Day is to remain purely a campaign dedicated to promoting women and motorcycling. It will not be associated or is to be taken over by a single motorcycle manufacturer or similar motivated body (i.e. sponsorship). This ensures women riders choice of using any manufacturer’s make or model to enjoy equal participation. We do encourage all motorcycle brands, makes and models; the industry at large to get involved!
NORTHBROOK, Ill., May 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — In an effort to help standardize warning signs for motorcycle safety and help reduce the number of motorcycle crashes at intersections involving other vehicles, Allstate Insurance Company announced today plans to permanently install motorcycle warning signs in more than 30 U.S. cities this year. Currently, there is no standard sign for motorcycle awareness.
The yellow, diamond shaped warning sign was created following two years of development, which included 140 temporary installations in various U.S. cities between 2010 and 2011. The signs were designed to establish a standardized warning device that can be used by any local or state agency and would be recognizable to riders and motorists across the country. Simply reading, “Watch for Motorcycles,” the sign was developed by Allstate as part of its “Once is Never Enough” (ONE) program – an awareness campaign that encourages people to look twice for motorcycles at intersections.
“Allstate set out to create a standardized warning sign to help increase motorcycle safety at dangerous intersections,” said Keith Rutman, vice president of Allstate’s Consumer Household unit. “As more and more of the ‘Watch for Motorcycles’ signs are installed across the country, we hope that riders and motorists will familiarize themselves with the message and remember to always look twice at intersections, because once is never enough.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 46 percent of all multi-vehicle crashes occur at intersections, oftentimes as a result of a vehicle turning left, impeding the motorcyclist’s right-of-way.
“Every day in the U.S., an average of three motorcyclists are killed at intersections in crashes that involve other vehicles, and that’s unacceptable,” Rutman said.
Through its ONE program, Allstate works with local traffic authorities to identify dangerous intersections for riders and then donates and installs warning signs at the determined locations to increase awareness of motorcycles.
To kick off National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month (May), the first permanent installation of the “Watch for Motorcycles” warning signs will take place today in Atlanta. Working closely with the Georgia Department of Transportation, Allstate is donating and installing the warning signs to help prevent motorcycle crashes at dangerous intersections in the future. Additional signs will be installed in other cities across the country throughout the year.
Allstate is also encouraging people throughout the month of May to take the ONE Pledge – committing to look twice for motorcycles at intersections – and share with at least ONE other person to spread the message. For every pledge shared, Allstate will donate ONE dollar toward the creation and installation of more “Watch for Motorcycles” signs at dangerous intersections across the country. To take the ONE Pledge and help make our roads a safer place to ride, visit Facebook.com/AllstateMotorcycle.
American comedian and actor Bill Engvall will also join Allstate in its quest to protect riders and help spread a motorcycle awareness message. Best known for his work as a member of the Blue Collar Comedy group, Engvall has partnered with Allstate after experiencing firsthand how important motorcycle awareness is for all drivers.
“As a person who’s had someone very close to me involved in a serious motorcycle crash and as a rider myself, I jumped at the chance to work with Allstate on this important campaign,” said Bill Engvall. “I’ve made a living making jokes about signs of the obvious, but here’s one sign that carries a vital message and is no laughing matter.”
Now in its fourth year, Allstate’s ONE program has evolved from general motorcycle awareness education, to installing temporary warning signs at dangerous intersections in more than 30 cities over the past two years, to the permanent installations of the new warning signs promoting motorcycle safety.
Allstate will continue to work with local departments of transportation across the country to identify dangerous intersections and donate and install additional signs in the future.
About Allstate The Allstate Corporation (ALL) is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer. Widely known through the “You’re In Good Hands With Allstate®” slogan, Allstate is reinventing protection and retirement to help nearly 16 million households insure what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow. Consumers access Allstate insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada, as well as via www.allstate.com and 1-800 Allstate®. As part of Allstate’s commitment to strengthen local communities, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate employees, agency owners and the corporation provided $28 million in 2011 to thousands of nonprofit organizations and important causes across the United States.
The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is pleased to announce the first group of seminar offerings at the 2012 AMA International Women & Motorcycling Conference. The conference will take place July 26-29 in Carson City, Nev.
In keeping with the conference theme of “Ride Well,” the seminar lineup includes topics that promote safety, health, awareness and preparation.
“We are thrilled to announce the first part of our exciting seminar lineup,” said the AMA’s Tigra Tsujikawa, who is organizing the conference. “Seminars are always one of the most popular activities at the AMA International Woman & Motorcycling Conference, and the women conducting these seminars all have a true passion for sharing their expertise.”
The seminars include:
• Get involved: How You Can Protect Your Rights To Ride And Race. Hosted by Jessica Irving, AMA grassroots coordinator, and 2011 AMA Motorcyclist of the Year Nancy Sabater.
• Women In The Business Of Motorcycling. Hosted by Jenny Lefferts, president and founder of MAD Maps.
• The Best of Motorcycling Tips, Tricks and Techniques. Hosted by Diane Ortiz, president of the Big Apple Motorcycle School.
• The History of Women in Motorcycling, and Women of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Hosted by author and Hall of Fame member Cris Sommer-Simmons.
• How to Pack & Eat Healthy for the On-the-Road Motorcyclist. Hosted by health and fitness consultant Debbie Voss.
• The Power of PINK: Aligning Power, Integrity, Negotiation & Knowledge. Hosted by personal growth and performance consultant Eldonna Fernandez.
In addition to the seminar lineup, the 2012 AMA International Women & Motorcycling Conference will also feature a health fair, where women can get a variety of health screenings such as mammograms and cholesterol and blood pressure checks. Conference participants will also have the opportunity to donate blood.
“Riding well means many things to women motorcyclists,” said Tsujikawa. “In a broader, more philosophical sense, it is also a call-to-action to be supportive members of our riding community.”
Through April 30, AMA members can rack up significant savings through AMA member-only pre-registration, which offers a discounted price of $125 to attend the conference. After April 30, the fee for AMA members increases to $175, and registration opens for non-AMA members. Attendees can register now here: events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=vw9ldxbab&oeidk=a07e5b2rc65a3dc83f3
“In addition to the dozens of benefits we already enjoy as AMA members, the conference adds yet another,” Tsujikawa said. “With a non-member registration rate starting at $235, a $49 AMA membership not only pays for itself, but opens the door to anyone who wants to take advantage of the early registration discount.”
Included in the registration fee to the AMA International Women & Motorcycling Conference is entry to seminars, the marketplace and moto action center, the Saturday Women’s Health Fair, priority registration for manufacturer demo rides, the Friday night cookout and Saturday night Closing Celebration banquet, as well as a conference t-shirt and gift bag.
Full conference details, as well as info on how to become an AMA member, are available at AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Events > Women & Motorcycling.