The Rally coverage starts about halfway through.
Motorcyclists from across the GTA gathered Sunday at Square One and Yorkdale shopping centres to remind drivers to be cautious when sharing the road with bikes.
About 200 bikers attended the Road Awareness Rally, which began at Yorkdale at 10 a.m. Participants then rode to Square One at 10:30 a.m., where they rallied for an hour before breaking into smaller groups and riding to Woodbridge AMC Theatre.
Shaun de Jager, a Toronto motorcyclist who led a similar rally in March near Hurontario St. and Eglinton Ave., told The News earlier that there have been too many fallen riders on the roads this season. He said the ride and rally was meant to remind people to drive more cautiously when sharing the road with motorcyclists. “One motorcycle can be hard to see, but when over 200 bikes ride together, that stops traffic,” said de Jager.
As a team, we are still far from our goal and I emplore you to reach deep for this great cause. As a direct result of the funds that we have raised, medical break-throughs have been made and sight is being restored to those who have fought with degenerative eye disease.
In 2008, our team raised over $35,000, which added to over $300,000 raised in Ontario alone.
By sponsoring me in the Ride for Sight, you will be contributing to finding a cure for blindness. One hundred percent of funds raised by riders go directly to The Friends for Fighting Blindness, which continues to fund significant research breakthroughs.You can help support me by making a secure online donation using your credit card.
Click on the link below:http://my.e2rm.com/personalPage.aspx?SID=1986527
Each Spring, more and more people take up motorcycling and they do so for a wide range of reasons. As such, motorcycle training schools across the country quickly fill up with students who are new to riding or those who are returning after taking many years off.
Whether you are new to riding or someone who is taking up riding again, the question that is often asked is “Why take a course? Isn’t it just like riding a bike?”
The short answer is no…it’s not.
Riding a motorcycle comes with risk, just like driving a car does. However, making a mistake on a motorbike can have far greater consequences. The point to taking a safety course is to mitigate and reduce those risks. Instructors start you with the basics of where the controls are and how to use them and rapidly move you up to required skills like emergency braking, obstacle avoidance and proper vision techniques.
Even for those who have ridden before and are returning to riding, much has changed in the past decade and so have the bikes that are now available today. For those who have many years of riding dirt bikes, riding on public roads is a very different experience since trees don’t tend to simply jump out in front of you (only those who drive/ride drunk would disagree with that statement).
In general, people take up riding for many reasons ranging from a childhood fantasy to a mid-life crisis, peer-pressure from their friends or family, to wanting to save on gas, or simply wanting to indulge in the pure joy and sensation that riding provides and that they’ve heard about. Many of the joys of riding are foreign to new riders until they actually get out on their own bike and discover the thrills, adventures and excitement on their own.
I recently spent some time at a local motorcycle safety course and talked to some of the students and their instructors. The students shared the opinion that they wanted to learn the basics of motorcycle riding and one student went so far as to say that he took the course to “stay alive”, despite his many years of riding a dirt bike. He recently purchased a new BMW F800GS and wanted to go adventure riding but since that meant riding on public roads, he wanted to get a better understanding of what was involved in riding on them.
Another student was very new to riding and when asked how long he had been riding, he replied “Oh…about four hours”. I asked what motivated him to take up riding a motorcycle and this middle-aged student answered that many of his friends and family rode motorcycles and he figured he would take it up too. Although he had already purchased his cruiser, he wanted to take a safety course first before taking it out on the road. Wise choice.
The instructors already understand what’s involved in riding on public roads and are there to pass down their knowledge much like native cultures pass down knowledge from one generation to the next by showing them first hand. We all start out the same as newbies, without a clue what we are doing and it’s the instructors passion for riding and willingness to “pay it forward” that makes taking a course enjoyable. Just observing the instuctors running along side the students and taking extra time talking to those who required some extra tutelage, showed how much they cared about arming new riders with the basic knowledge and skills that they would need to head out on the open roads. One instructor stated that he chose to teach new riders because of the instructors who taught him. He had been riding for seven years and teaching for two and wanted to give something back.
Whatever your reasons are for taking up riding, please take the time to do it safely and take a safety course. It’s worth far more than it costs and should be considered a personal investment in you. Most riding schools offer not only a basic course for those who are new to riding but also advanced courses too. Some regions have graduated licensing and local schools, who are certified by their local governing body, offer weekend courses that focus on the skills required and actually administer the ministry tests that are required to graduate to the next level.
Time and time again, I hear about kids touching motorcycles in a parking lot or worse, parents sitting their kids on bikes without at least getting permission first. A parked motorcycle isn’t some mall ride that shakes back and forth when you insert a couple of quarters and shouldn’t be treated as such. It’s also someones personal property and should be respected.
Ok…kids love motorcycles. I get that. To them they are big bicycles with engines, that go fast and make noise and have all those cool shiny bits. Of course…some of those shiny bits are very hot and can cause serious injuries to young hands and legs. Now I have no problem with a parent who wants to please their child and prop them up on my bike but please ask me first. Sometimes motorcycles can easily tip over depending on the turf or asphalt they are parked on and if I’ve just arrived, the exhaust can cause painful burns if touched.
Of course there is that respect of peoples propery to consider too. How would you feel if you came back to your convertable and some kid was sitting in it while daddy was taking their picture? Pissed? Violated? Of course! It’s an invasion and it’s disrespectful.
Parents…please…respect that a motorcycle is someone’s property and not a toy. Ask first and if the rider isn’t around to ask, please don’t allow your children to touch any parked motorcycle.