Friday, June 14, 2013



You all know Matt Gardner, the owner of Long Ride Shields. Well, his Dad, Guy Gardner had been wanting to come out and join us on our rides, so last summer he went out and got his motorcycle license. He passed the class quite easily, but hadn’t had much practice from then until now.

LRS had an upcoming motorcycle event coming up called Ride for the Tatas, and we were all going to be there. As the date came closer and closer, I knew Guy needed a lot more practice before he was going to ride with a large group. So, we all set out one Saturday for a nice long ride into California to some great scenic, winding roads near Markleeville.

All was going great. Guy was doing really well with us. The first half of our ride was pretty strait foreword with limited bends in the road. After lunch, we set out to some more winding roads into Markleeville. My wife and I were riding up the rear. We had 2 other riders in front of us, then Guy, and then Matt in the lead.

As I approached the top of a hill, and started curving downward to the left, I noticed 2 of our riders pulled off to the shoulder and I knew it right then...... Guy was down. There they were, struggling with Guys Sportster, trying to pick it up out of the ditch. And there was Guy, sitting on the hill on the side of the road. I was scared for him. I stopped as fast as I can, jumped off and immediately went to help the other two riders with the Sportster. My wife, Kim went straight to Guy and began checking him over.
Chunk my bosses skin 
Guy was lucky. In the end, he had some bad road rash on his forearm, a broken wrist and quite a few thorns from the bush he went straight into, stuck into him pretty deep. All in all, he was okay and in fine spirits.
Matt who had been in front noticed that we weren't behind him and soon rolled up to see his dad laying in a ditch, Luckily he had a first aid kit on his bike, and Kim began cleaning him up best she could. The bike was an unrideable mess. Forks are bent pretty bad. Fender bent. Turn signal shattered. Oil all over. The oil cap had come off during the crash and was nowhere to be found.
A person who lived in a nearby town was driving by and we flagged him down. We needed a phone and had no cell phone reception where we were. He was kind enough to take Guy into town so he could call his wife to come get him. My wife road with, and they were off. We all followed and ended up in town at the local fire department. There, he took an ambulance to the hospital toget properly patched up. A decision that haunts him now as this experience cost him over 4 thousand dollars. Kim and I decided to ride back to the crash site to be sure the bike got picked up by the tow company. Once getting there, I was determined to find that oil cap and began searching again. Just when I was about to give up, there is was, buried deep, in the ground behind the thorn bush that had left many thorns in Guy’s arms and legs.

Guy was fine. He did have to return to the hospital later that night to get more thorns removed that were so deep, he needed to be cut to get them out.

So, why did this crash happen? Obviously, Guy is a beginner, but was doing very well. Guy knew what he had done wrong. He was unable to make the bike turn in the corner because he was going too fast and was braking in the corner. In the end, he went straight into the embankment. He was lucky. The bike can be fixed. Things could have been a lot worse. A tough lesson to learn the hard way.
This got us to thinking. What are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents? I’m certain this is one of them. A friend of Guys is a Sheriff in Jefferson county and wrote an article regarding this information. I’d like to share this article with you all and to remind you to be safe out there!
Motorcycle's have limits. Know them.    - James F.   Manager at Long Ride Shields

By Sheriff Ted Mink
When you earn your motorcycle endorsement the letter "M" is stamped on your driver's license right next to height, as if 'motorcycle' was just another part of your physical characteristics, or maybe a mental condition. You see, cars deceive us into thinking we're safe, and in control. The air-conditioning fans murmur a sense of tranquility. Motorcycles tell us we are small and exposed, and probably moving too fast for our own good, but that's no reason not to enjoy every minute of the ride.

In Jeffco

Since January 2011, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has responded to 44 serious injury, or fatal, motorcycle crashes. Of those:

98% were rider error
75% occurred in the foothills
70% were caused by excessive speed or failing to negotiate a turn
40% of all fatal motorcycle accidents involved unendorsed riders
14% were DUI related

In 2013, Jefferson County has already had two fatalities; one on Hwy 74 between Morrison and Evergreen, and one on Hwy 72 in Coal Creek Canyon.  Hwy 74 was caused by the rider failing to negotiate a corner and the Hwy 72 accident was caused by excessive speed.

As a result, our motorcycle traffic unit is increasing their accident reduction efforts. Comprised of six highly trained deputies, the traffic unit is proactively exploring the issues and working towards solutions. They recognize that even a seasoned rider must know their limits.

Top Ten Motorcycle Safety Tips:

Eye contact. Never assume others see you. Always try to make eye contact with drivers who may be about to pull into your path.

Read 'vehicle language'. Even when drivers, cyclists and pedestrians see you approaching, they often misjudge your distance and speed. Don't rely on them.

Turning left. Getting hit by an oncoming vehicle while turning left is the most common type of motorcycle crash. Watch your mirrors.

Be cautious of hazardous road conditions. Wet roads, fluid spills, sand, gravel, highway sealant, railroad tracks, and potholes reduce traction and may cause falls.

Take it easy on curves. You could overshoot or cross the center line into oncoming traffic. Slow down and choose the correct lane position before entering a curve.

Wear a good helmet. Helmets prevent head injuries in 67% of crashes. Helmets must meet current CDOT safety standards. Avoid buying a used helmet, especially one that has been in a previous accident.

Be visible. Avoid blind spots and always use headlights day or night. Wear bright, reflective clothing.
Protective gear. Gear can provide some protection during a crash, as w
ell as shield you from weather and debris. Wear protective eye and face gear. Never ride in lightweight pants or shorts.

Keep your distance. No one likes a tailgater. Keep a safe distance between your bike and other vehicles.

Use both brakes. When braking use both brakes at the same time by applying them slowly and steadily.


  1. Or maybe the reason he crashed was because he didn't have a LRS mounted to that Sporty and the sun was in his eyes coming over that hill..

  2. Whenever I ride, I follow my golden rule of life:
    The most important safety device ever invented in the one that resides between your ears.

  3. Thorns! OW! Adding insult to injury!

    I'm glad Guy is fundamentally OK. Like you said, the bike can be fixed. If your shop can't straighten the fork tubes, Forkings by Frank will set you up.

    I'd buy a new oil cap, and mount the one you found on a plaque!