Motorcycle Handlebars: More Important Than You Think!


Robert S. Kinder, Jr., BSME, Automotive / Mechanical Engineer ::::
The handlebars are a critical component when it comes to maintaining control of a motorcycle. Whether the rider is accelerating, braking, or employing techniques such as counter-steering, a properly secured handlebar is necessary to complete such tasks. If the handlebars were to come loose or detach, could you maintain control?
Yamaha has recently recalled over twenty thousand late model motorcycles due to a painting issue that can result in the loosening of the handlebars. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a handlebar that is not properly secured to the motorcycle can cause a loss of control and increase the risk of a crash. The handlebars are clamped by a metal holder. It turns out that if an external force is applied to that holder, the paint can wear off over time. As the paint wears off, a space is created between the holder and mounting surface, thus reducing the clamping force on the holder. The combination of the newly created space and engine vibration can cause the holder’s stud bolts to loosen. Not only can the studs potentially loosen, the holders/handlebars can even fall off. Thread-locking material is commonly used to prevent the loosening of bolts due to vibration, however NHTSA indicated that the holder may lack adequate thread-locking material. If the bolts were to loosen or fall off, the handlebars can become detached from the rest of the motorcycle. Continue reading “Motorcycle Handlebars: More Important Than You Think!”

Motorcycle Collision: “I Didn’t See the Stop Sign!”

Steven M. Schorr, PE, President of DJS Associates ::::
Synopsis: A motorcycle was traveling southbound on a two-lane, two-direction roadway approaching a T-type intersection with a four-lane roadway. The motorcycle operator (plaintiff) failed to stop at the posted stop sign, and entered the four-lane roadway where he was involved in a collision with a westbound vehicle.
The motorcycle operator testified he was traveling at the posted speed limit of 35 mph as he approached the intersection; but, due to the stop sign being obstructed, perceived the traffic control at the last instant and did not have sufficient time and distance to stop prior to entering the four-lane roadway.
The plaintiff contended that tree branches obstructed the stop sign and therefore sued the State [the governing authority for the roadway], as well as the owner of the property on which the tree was located. The area of the collision was reportedly changed by the time suit was filed. The plaintiff provided no specific “hard copy” data, including photographs or measurements, to establish the obstruction or the extent of the obstruction. Continue reading “Motorcycle Collision: “I Didn’t See the Stop Sign!””

Motorcycle Safety Foundation Responds to Legalizing Marijuana


Robert S. Kinder, Jr., Mechanical Engineer ::::
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and automotive industry have a long history of alcohol induced impairment research. That research includes goggles which simulate the effects of alcohol on the ability to operate a vehicle. Until recently, the MSF only offered an alcohol impairment course for motorcycle operators. Due to the increasing number of states legalizing marijuana, they have released a marijuana impairment goggle system. This system or kit is called the “weed goggles” kit. It will hopefully increase the level of awareness of marijuana usage while operating a vehicle or motorcycle.
The kit cannot replicate the effects of being “high”. Instead, it allows the visualization of the distorted perception marijuana has on a person while in control of a motorcycle. The kit includes a course with activities that you will follow which illustrate the effects marijuana will have in traffic situations. There have been numerous studies which show marijuana affects your psychomotor skills in traffic situations. Testing revealed the marijuana induced driver will drive slower and requires a longer time response time to traffic or emergency situations as compared to a sober driver.
Continue reading “Motorcycle Safety Foundation Responds to Legalizing Marijuana”