Hi. I’m David, author of the Motorcycle Smarts book series and host of the Motorcycle Mentor Podcast.
I begged my parents for a motorcycle when I was twelve, and they said “no.” So I settled for a bright orange Honda Express moped.
I thought I’d died and gone to heaven the first time I rode it. THE MOTORCYCLE HOOK WAS SET.
A Late Start
In 2005, nearly 27 years later, I purchased my first real motorcycle—a used Honda VFR.
I was forty at the time. Laugh here if you want.
At forty-something, I approached my new passion with a certain level of maturity. I wanted to enjoy all the pleasures of riding, making friends, and exploring the unknown. But I wanted to do it the right way—with the right gear, the right skills, and the right mindset.
Like it was yesterday, I remember being overcome with fear the first time I rode it in traffic. I remember wondering if I was crazy for even thinking about owning a motorcycle. I remember feeling like my motorcycle was in control of me—instead of me being in control of it.
I consumed everything I could find about riding. I devoured every book I could get my hands on. I practiced what I learned. And I found two generous men willing to be my motorcycle mentors.
But I quickly became frustrated with how the mainstream motorcycle mega books glossed over some of the most important topics like lowside and highside crashes (what are they, what triggers them, and how can riders avoid them).
In the basement of my house back in 2007, I pulled out a perfectly typed set of notes ten pages long and placed it in front of my motorcycle mentors, Fred and Pete.
With more confidence than I deserved, I proclaimed:
“Someday, I’m going to explain motorcycles my way.”
I’m a mechanical engineer, and I love dissecting how motorcycles work. I also enjoy taking complex ideas and making them simple to understand.
I’ve worked at NASA (the space place) as an engineer for more than thirty years.
With three books complete, my mission is to educate riders in a way that mainstream training and motorcycle mega books are missing.
Here’s an email I recently received.
|I’ve completed several rider training courses here in New Zealand, and not one instructor has ever talked about lowside, or highside crashes or what causes them—or the importance of using your front brake. Nor did they in any of the basic rider courses I’ve completed along my journey. Several riders in my riding group are in the process of completing more advanced courses and have told me the same thing.|
KR from New Zealand
Without going into all the data here (see my books), nearly half of all crashes are caused by rider error.
Riders are crashing and dying in RIDER-INDUCED single-vehicle crashes at the same rate (or higher), making the same mistakes our grandparents did decades ago—even with better brakes and tires.
Something’s not working. We need a fresh approach to explaining how motorcycles work—and why they crash.
My purpose for writing the Motorcycle Smarts book series was never financial. Honestly, if the motorcycle mega books hadn’t glossed over some of the most important topics, I probably wouldn’t have written a single book.
Mandatory ABS and Electronic Stability Control
If you’ve read Motorcycle Smarts or Motorcycle Hacks, you know that I’ll only own a motorcycle if it has ABS and Electronic Stability Control (ESC).
Why? Because ABS and ESC prevent riders from locking up (skidding) their rear tire—which is the trigger for most single-vehicle lowside and highside crashes.
Let me say it another way. Nearly all lowside and highside crashes are rider-induced (and preventable) with ABS and ESC. It’s just that simple. Talk about changing the crash data.
I explain these crashes in more depth in my books. But suffice it to say, I’m a huge advocate that all on-street motorcycles should have ABS and ESC.
Today, I’m asking Congress to mandate ABS and ESC on all street motorcycles.
Congress mandated ABS and ESC on cars and light trucks back in 2012. Why shouldn’t motorcyclists have these same advantages? ABS and ESC are just as beneficial on motorcycles—possibly more.
If someone wants to champion this effort to Congress, I’d be happy to do what I can to help.
Motorcycles fascinate me. I learn something new every time I ride. And I don’t think that will ever change.
Part geek, part engineer, part teacher—my passion is learning something new and teaching others what I discovered along the way.
In the end, my purpose is to help one rider—which is exactly what my motorcycle mentors did for me.
P.S. The single best thing you can do right now is to sign up to receive the Motorcycle Smarts Quick Tips Newsletter. It’s a free weekly email delivered to your inbox on Thursday morning. In it, I cover some of the most important topics about motorcycles—nuggets that made it into my books—and nuggets that didn’t.
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Don’t let your riding buddies know more than you.