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GET READY FOR CYCLE SEASON
1. Be Ready: mind, body and bike
There are three ways riders should ready themselves for a ride. First, there is mental readiness. Are you ready to concentrate on riding? If you are angry or preoccupied by something, taking your bike out may not be the best idea. A proper attitude will not only make you safer but your spouse and co-workers are less likely to plot against you.
It goes without saying that drugs and alcohol should be avoided at all costs, but I'm going to say it anyway. Alcohol affects your judgment, reaction time, and balance, among other things. Loss of your control over these things can easily mean your bike will soon be lying on its side and dripping important fluids. You may even get a ride in the back of a squad car. Even simple cold and allergy medications can seriously impair your riding, making you sleepy or sluggish.
Next, you must be physically prepared. Start with good protective gear. This means a good-fitting helmet, gloves, eye protection, jacket, long pants and sturdy boots or shoes. Wear gear that is designed for use on a motorcycle, not a beach or a fancy nightclub. The people you see wearing a helmet, a smile and not much else are not well protected. Likewise, folks in eight layers of leather, Kevlar, body armor, but no helmet are not well protected. It is a whole package, and you need to wear it every time. If it's too hot to wear protective clothing, it's too hot to ride, period.
Try not to choose all black gear. Sure, it looks cool, but bright colors will help you stand out in traffic.
Third, you must make sure that your bike is up for the job. This includes not only fixing the parts that break, but doing all the preventive maintenance that is so easy to skip: regular oil changes, properly adjusted controls, a properly adjusted chain and suspension, good tires, working turn signals, you get the idea.
2. Know where you are
When it does come time to make an emergency maneuver, you need to know what's around you. In fact, this is good information to have at all times. Being aware of what is in your immediate space cushion will always help you guide your ride safely. Failure to be aware of your position in relation to those around you can cause dire consequences when faced with the need to make a quick lane change. Other vehicles have a nasty habit of sneaking in to places you can't see them, like the blind spots over your shoulders. Sometimes it's hard to imagine a mini-van disappearing, but it can happen. Once in that blind spot, you can find that a vehicle is easy to forget until you try to turn and find yourself mere inches from an enormous bumper and big tires. Pay special attention to what's in front of you, especially oncoming traffic. It's easy to disregard traffic traveling in the opposite direction but that is where the greatest threat lies. Be ready for the car that turns left in front of you.
3. Keep a 2-4 Second Following Distance
Following too closely to the vehicle in front of you is arguably one of the greatest sins committed by most riders on a regular basis. When traveling on a highway, the minimum distance to keep between you and the vehicle in front of you is 2 seconds, but that is the bare minimum. A 2-second following distance is like buying the cheapest bullet-proof vest you can find: sure, it's protection, but if you really want to be safe, you'll upgrade. That upgrade would be to a 4-second following distance. Keep in mind two seconds is the distance needed on clear sunny days. At night or during inclement weather you need to increase your safety margin to four to eight seconds.
The very best time to practice these habits is every time you go out for a ride. Spend at least a few minutes every ride concentrating on each of these habits and soon they will become second nature to you. Don't focus so hard on practicing that you lose sight of the job at hand. Instead, integrate practice into your normal riding routine.
Article taken in part from: http://www.transportation.wv.gov/dmv/msp/Pages/SafetyTips.aspx
PDF Document for WI Motorcycle Laws: State Motorcycle Law Chart
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WARM WEATHER CRIMES
After being stuck inside all winter, many people anxiously await the arrival of the warm spring season weather. But, there are some who dread the potential increase in crimes caused by rising temperatures.
Tracy Siska, executive director at the Chicago Justice Project, says there is a correlation between rising temperatures and violent crimes.
“Violence increases, especially street violence, muggings, assaults, battery,” Siska says. “Across the boards most crimes increase.”
Siska speculates that the spike in crime may be due to the increase in the number of interactions that people have with one another during the warmer months. Warmer weather can bring together potential wrongdoers, victims, and belongings all in the same place.
Roger Humber, director of the Criminal Justice department at South University — Montgomery agrees that warmer temperatures alone may not be to blame for an increase in crime. Like Siska, he says the rise in social interactions may be a factor.
“A factor may be the heat, or it may just be that we are all active more during this time,” he says, adding that people may experience a form of heat aggravation in warm weather that causes them to lose their temper more easily.
Examining Factors Behind Crime Increase
Although many law enforcement departments across the country report increases in crime during warm weather months, Laura Brinkman, associate director at the University of Chicago Crime Lab says there is no clear causal explanation for the pattern that is consistently applicable across different urban settings.
Violence increases, especially street violence, muggings, assaults, battery.
“For example, it could be that it’s not the weather, but the academic summer break that leads to a spike in violent crime,” Brinkman says. “Juveniles are the most likely to commit crime, in general, so it seems almost obvious that crime may peak during summer months when students are off from school with idle hands.”
Chicago received a great deal of media attention during the spring and summer 2010 months, due to a rash of violent crimes in the city’s South Side area.
Siska says the level of violence during this time period wasn’t necessarily greater than usual, but the press put more emphasis on it than they have in the past.
Brinkman says statistics have shown that homicides in Los Angeles, which has warm temperatures most of the year, are the highest during July and August, but are almost as high during December and January as well.
“So despite the fact that juveniles contribute to a large portion of violent crime, there is nothing special about summer that causes an increase in offending in Los Angeles,” says Brinkman. “This could suggest that the relationship between homicide and summer in Chicago is due to temperature, rather than the fact that students are on summer break.”
Brinkman adds that these statistics could also simply mean that Los Angeles has found a better way to decrease the homicides that occur during the summer months than is used in Chicago.
“Adding to the tenuousness of the summer-break murder-spike theory in Chicago is the fact that the majority of school-age homicide victims in Chicago are actually not enrolled in school, making summer break no different a time of year for these individuals than when school is in session, aside from weather of course. That is unless the addition of school children to the mix of individuals out and about in a given neighborhood somehow exacerbates pre-existing tension, which is again, hard to measure.”
Regardless of the reason behind the violence, Humber says that law enforcement should provide extra resources in areas with the highest amounts of crime.
“Additional patrols in high-risk areas, shortening response time to calls for service during times when criminal activity is most pronounced may help,” Humber says.
Siska believes that for the most part, there is adequate police coverage even in the areas of Chicago with the highest crime rates. He says that although some police officers could be transferred from areas with lower crime rates to the areas that see the most crime, it wouldn’t necessarily lower crime in the city.
“There’s a difference between prevention and displacement,” Siska says. “It changes who was victimized.”
Siska says that for the past 50 years, Chicago has been saying they were going to find a way to end the violence in the city and they haven’t, so something else needs to be done to stop it.
Sergeant Dave Jacobson, of the Oak Park Police Department, in Oak Park, Illinois, says he has occasionally seen an increase in crimes that could be attributed to warmer weather, for example property crimes such as bike thefts and auto break-ins.
“With warmer weather, people tend to start bringing out and leaving out valuables, such as bicycles, lawn furniture, etc,” Jacobson says. “This creates more opportunities for would-be criminals to commit theft.”
“You also might see more fights between teenagers as they start to spend more time hanging out outside,” Jacobson adds.
Although the spring can be a dangerous time in major cities, people are advised to always take safety precautions.
“Always be aware of your surroundings; when possible avoid unfamiliar or potentially unsafe situations; don’t leave valuables outside where they can easily be stolen; and never hesitate to call 911 if you observe anything suspicious,” Jacobson advises.
Author: Laura Jerpi
Source: Reprinted from the South Source (http://source.southuniversity.edu/) website article “As Weather Warms Up , So Do Opportunities For Crime”.
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BIG CITY / LITTLE TOWN AND CRIME
Whether you live in a big city or a small town, there is crime everywhere. However a larger city has more unknowns and it is vital to know how to remain safe on the city streets. People who come from smaller towns may be caught off guard by the amount of crime and violent activity that is present in large cities, but by being aware and taking a few precautions you can stay safe wherever you go.
The most important thing you can do when you are on city streets or anywhere else is to be aware of your surroundings. Understand that criminals look for easy opportunities to assault an unsuspecting victim. A typical target will be a person who is clearly from out of town and may be intimidated by big city life. Be careful where you go, and pay attention to everything and everyone around you. A predator never wants to be seen before committing a crime, so if you walk intently with your head held high and survey everything, you will be a far less likely target.
When you are out at night, try to stay in areas that are brightly lit. Darker streets and alleys offer the perfect cover for an assailant to hide and catch you by surprise. Walk with friends anytime you can, because criminals are far less likely to approach a group than an individual. If you are alone, keep a brisk pace, get to where you are going and make your way inside. As you return to your vehicle, be prepared to get in right away. Lock the door and drive off quickly. You never know when a predator may be nearby watching to see if you linger and give them an opportunity to assault you.
Guard Your Money
In the city there are thousands of people around, so the odds of encountering a predator becomes very high. They watch for potential victims at all times, and one of the things they look for is someone who is obviously carrying a large amount of money or valuable personal items. Never flash cash on a city street, as that will encourage a thief to target you. It's a good idea to keep your money well hidden and located in an area that is difficult to get to. A pick pocket may be able to pull your wallet out of a back or jacket pocket, but will be far less likely to attempt to reach into a front pocket, which makes that an ideal location to store your money and credit cards. Some experts also recommend carrying a second wallet with just a small amount of money and invalid credit cards. That way you have something to turn over if you are ever mugged.
Women should carry their purses close to their bodies, but not with the shoulder strap placed securely around the neck. A purse snatcher may be determined to take what you have, and it can turn violent as they wrench the purse from you. It's better to let a thief take your personal belongings than to risk being hurt. Carry as little cash as possible, and only one or two credit cards. Then if the purse is taken, your loss will not be too great.
A Street Encounter
Although it's always best to be polite, even to strangers, it is a good idea to be very wary of anyone you don't know who approaches you. They may ask for directions, money or anything else. Answer quickly, and continue on your way. If they persist, tell them that you are unable to help and mention that a police officer would be better suited to provide assistance. You may find yourself being followed, and if so remain in a public area. Find a police station or security guard and explain your predicament.
Carrying a personal alarm is a great way to deter strangers who will not back down. Sounding the alarm will grab the attention of everyone around, and focus it on you. A predator won't want to be seen by witnesses, and will leave you alone.
In Case Of Assault
When an attack is unavoidable, you must be prepared to fight back. Practice any self defense maneuvers you know and aim for pressure points on the assailant's body. If you have a self defense weapon like pepper spray or a stun gun, don't be afraid to use it. The device will protect you and leave no permanent damage on the aggressor.
Anyone who has been hurt during a violent assault or rape while visiting the city should seek out immediate medical attention. Get to a hospital as quickly as possible, and make a full report with the police.
Article by: http://www.crimepreventiontips.org/safety-in-public/how-to-protect-yourself-on-city-streets.html
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Information and recommendations are compiled from sources believed to be reliable. The Sheriff’s Office makes no guarantee as to and assumes no responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency or completeness of such information or recommendations. Other or additional safety measures may be required under particular circumstances. Last Revised: 05/13