Silenzio! Ruhe! Pass the earplugs!

Loud Pipes Save Lives. A statement a lot of bikers swear by. I have never really cared one way or the other about this heated and controversial argument. Roll what you feel good with. If you believe that your 110dB eardrum shattering ass end will keep you alive and well, go for it. I myself am of a more stealthy persuasion. I like my bike to purr like a kitten rather than sound like the end of the world is nigh. Although I wear earplugs most of the time when I’m riding, I couldn’t stand having to wear them because my own pipes are so freaking loud that I can’t hear myself think. It would annoy me, break my concentration, rob me of my inner peace. My bike isn’t really all that quiet in the upper RPM ranges either, but it’s not like I hang out there very often, given the kind of riding that I’m engaged in 90% of the time. I wear earplugs on the track, even though I hate it, because I can’t understand what people are saying unless I’m looking directly at them, which causes a lot of “Huh? What? Could you repeat that?” and a fair share of “I have not a clue what the hell is going on!”. Once I’m out there I prefer to have my ear canal blockage in place. It makes the world eerily quiet, but not completely devoid of sound.

Why don’t I like loud pipes? Personally, I don’t believe excessive noise saves our heinies. Cagers are too engaged in their own little bubble of cranked stereos, cell phones glued to ears, and engaged conversations with their passengers. They don’t even hear your thunder until you are right on top of them. Too late to be of any good other than to piss them off because now they can’t hear what their buddy on the other end of the 3G connection is saying. I also don’t want to listen to myself roaring down the street all the time. And I don’t want to attract any unnecessary attention. Needless to say I would wake the neighbors leaving home for work on my horrendous schedule about seven mornings per month. Even though one of my neighbors told me to blast my horn when I come home, since she can’t hear me ever since I got rid of my beautiful Harley Davidson. She’s an awesome woman. Always watching out for me and making sure I am safely inside my house in the wee hours of the night. She’s seen “some stuff” go down in her time, let’s leave it at that.

Have I considered getting a race exhaust for some performance enhancing fun? Sure I have. But I can’t find one I can live with and give me the performance increase that I would want to see when dropping that kind of money. I suppose the loud pipes will have to wait until I can afford a dedicated track/race bike.

I don’t really follow politics or am I a “motorcycling activista” but I think that the state of affairs is such that all that noise generated in honor of “loud pipes save lives” or “stupid fast performance for squidly street fun” is awfully close to turning into “loud pipes kill rights”.

When the douches wearing pinstripe suits and ties that are cinched way too tight, who never even rode a motorcycle, finally get around to banning our aftermarket pipes with the sweet exhaust notes and the delicious performance increases that come with those triple-digit decibels, I will cry in my beer next to the fella whose conviction was settled on the loud end of the noise spectrum. At least I can say that I wasn’t part of that particular problem. Maybe when they finally get to ban literbikes for public street use, you could point a finger at me… maybe.

I don’t think “majority rule” isn’t quite what the motorcycling public or the “biker subculture” need. The majority doesn’t even ride anything more than maybe the subway or the commuter train, yet we are ruled by them. Oh no… I’m getting politic! I need to leave and wash my mouth out with antibacterial soap! Stat!

S1000aRRgh: Show Me The Money!

The check BMW sent me for “being inconvenienced and missing out on the prime riding season” has arrived. No strings attached. More on that later. I’m taking that puppy to the bank once I have figured out wether to turn paper into fiberglass or carbon fiber or anodized red aluminum or wait a little while longer and buy an AMB Tran-X 260 transponder. Maybe I should say screw it, wait a real longish while and get a GPS transponder with a nifty little data collection module stuffed into the Pirate’s ass and do my own thang via wireless download to my MacBook hehehe… but then I still have to rent the freakin’ AMB box anyhoo. Crap. But I like numbers… I like a little crunch in the morning with my coffee. I hate creating spreadsheets, but I sure do love looking at them when they are automagically created for me and… ah, hell! Decisions, decisions… what to get first… I also have my sights set on a set of Chicken Hawk tire cozies with adjustable temp controllers. Yeah, I should really wipe the drool from my mouth right now and quit dreaming. But it’s so much fun… and frustrating… but fun… but frustrating… *sigh*

Oh, what I logged on here to say was this: The Suits & Skirts at Beemer Yankeeland USA have paid up and I can now unprotect the corresponding blog posts that would have been in violation of said unsigned agreement; apparently they couldn’t handle my little email I sent them when I gave them a deadline of my own in response to theirs… more probable of a scenario? It wasn’t worth the hassle. But, I am sort of proud of that one. It’s been a while since I played lawyer without a clue (nor a bar) and damn it, if that last time I tried it didn’t cost me 200 smackers extra in traffic court for dissing the judge. I guess I’m out of the hole and back into the green now.

Patience, my lovelies, it’s in the works. The next installment is in final draft, should be going up before close of BusaBusiness today. =D

The Pirate and the Heroine (Re-enactment)

" the butt of her hero and the Pirate disappear around a sharp and hardened twisty…" ~Chesshirecat

Ok, so it's not really hardened and sharp, more like a lazy eastern Georgia sweeper on the soft side of the hilly twist.

Oh, hell I almost forgot to mention the reason for such a gadget: I am trying to figure out the most effective, fuel efficient but yet fastest route to work on a Monday morning. That is all. I swear. Uh-huh. Yes. That’s it. I’m also trying to set a new rec… oh, I mean, I’d like to shave about 10-15 seconds off that commute, so I can sleep in a little longer… Yeah. Can’t blame a girl for wanting to get a little advantage over the rest of the crowd. No, you can’t! Won’t! Oh, what’s that… NASCAR on TV?!? I gotta gooooo……. bye.

Traffic Court: A Day Late & A Dollar Short

This is definitely not my week! First I crash, then the next day I drag my battered, bruised, and drugged up body to the mailbox and what do I find? A letter from the Solicitor General: You are cordially invited to a High Performance Awards ceremony. Please RSVP. Ah crap! They haven’t forgotten about me after all. Shit! I got a bench trial scheduled in 6 days! How about a little more lead time? I smell a continuance. Last August I was  busted going an alleged 78 in a 55 on my way home from work. This was not two weeks after I got stopped by a motor officer for doing a similar speed in a 45 who also told me about a little speeding ticket avoidance strategy. And no, it wasn’t “don’t speed in the first place.” Enough said. Damn, that Hayabusa is quick, deceptively so! Maybe that’s one of the reasons I developed that blasted riding kink of constantly staring at my speedo. Anyway, I tossed the letter aside, I was in too much pain to even deal with that little inconvenience. Fast forward: Day before the trial. I take an online crash (no pun intended) course in criminal defense law and then take the BAR exam: Read: I ingest massive amounts of questionable legal info I find online and have myself a few cold brewskis. I’m gonna beat the rap! Stick it to the man! Save myself $84. My energy burns fast on an empty tank. I finally give up and decide I’m just gonna wing it. I have neither the patience nor the brain for it, my head is still hurting and I’m starting to get anxious. I’m not sleeping well at all. I’m practicing my ‘defense’ which now has been reduced to: “Your Honor, I move for a dismissal due to lack of evidence.” (copper doesn’t show) or “Your Honor, I would like to, at this time, change my plea to Guilty and not waste anymore of the court’s time. Here’s my 84 smackers, I’ll be on my way.” (copper puts in an appearance). So sad, considering I was a Criminal Justice major in college. Hahahahaa…. but damnit, all this crap always happens at the worst possible! Freakin’ Murphy and his law. No excuse, I could have had this shit prepared and ready to go a long time ago, but didn’t want to deal and as more time went by, I actually thought they decided $84 wasn’t worth their time.

So after a sleepless night and a coffee-deprived morning of digging through my closet to find a few pieces of clothing worthy of State Court, a stop at the ATM to get some cash out, we finally arrive at the court house. We are directed upstairs and the familiar spiel begins. They don’t call my name. I’m beginning to think we’re in the wrong court room when a bailiff sticks his head in to announce that if we got a letter in the mail to go to the other room. We get up, letter in hand, and do as instructed. We end up in a court room where a lot of the word ‘sentencing’ is thrown around. Shit! Whatever happened to the part in between? I could have sworn there was something going on between arraignment and sentencing, but what do I know. I ain’t no stinking lawyer. After the first two cases are called, I can’t shake the ‘there’s something wrong here’ feeling, so I get up and ask the bailiff at the door. He looks at my letter and says I’m in the wrong place but he’ll find out where I need to be, he takes the letter and leaves. He speaks with a woman in the hall, she points out that the letter states that my court date was yesterday, and that I missed it. WTF?!? What do we do now? Downstairs to the Solicitor’s Office. I could have sworn today was the 31st AND Thursday. I had it half-right, but now I might have a bench warrant out for my arrest. Holy Helena! I’m such a dumbass! After about 15 minutes of kicking around in this little room that serves as the reception area of the Solicitor’s Office, I am told that I owe them TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY stinking dollars! So an $84 68-in-a-55 speeding ticket has turned into $280 worth of forfeiture by failure to appear in court. For that kind of money, I want to at least get an opportunity to flip off a judge! Hubby and I only have $260 between the two of us, so we have to go make yet another cash run! They should really install an ATM in the Law Enforcement Center, then they could charge us desperados a $10 ATM fee and make some more money for the State of Georgia. Oh crap! I just gave them an idea…

Miss Busa’s Lessons Learned in Speed Demon Law:

  • If you are a CDL holder in the fine State of Georgia the 13mph and under rule does not apply. Any speeding ticket gets reported, whether I go 1 mile over or 13. So, I’m going to have to make it worth my while next time: 38 in a 25, 58 in a 45, 68 in a 55, and 83 in a 70. 😉 (“But, Your Honor, I wasn’t using my Class A, I was, at the moment in question, using my Class M…”)
  • Up to 13mph above the speed limit carries no points. (83 in a 70! Wooooohooooooo!)
  • If you don’t show up in court it is going to get REALLY expensive, so make sure you got your date straight and check it twice.
  • They take cash AFTER the court date but not BEFORE. WTF?!?
  • A speedy trial in GA is considered getting around to it within two years after the fact of legally witnessed rocketeering on public streets. So much for that 45-day thing, huh? And even if you are able to assert the ‘right to a speedy trial’ defense, you better put your request in writing, return receipt requested. And it is only available in a court that can impanel a jury. (I had that one covered, but failed to assert my right with a letter.)
  • It’s easier to defend against radar than it is laser. (Laser jammers are legal in GA, but radar jammers are not. This one gets a lot of peeps off the hook, the probs with radar, read up on it, very useful!)
  • Next time, don’t stop. ;P
  • You can find out what they got on you with a little process called ‘discovery’. What a shame, I didn’t know that option was available in traffic court.
  • Do your research first, go to the scene, take pictures, get your shit together. It doesn’t go away, just because you ‘don’t want to deal with it’ and have other crap in your life to deal with. Get it out of the way, have a game plan, then at least you got your case prepared while it’s fresh in your memory and then who cares how long it takes. Or you can just go ahead and mail in your fee for a guaranteed loss.
  • I’m going to plead ‘not guilty’ again, if… no when the time comes. I’ve learned a lot from this ‘epic fail’ of an experience. My ticket, had I shown up 24 hours earlier and got my ass spanked by the prosecution would have still only been $84 and had I won my case, I would have been stuck with a free ride and no insurance premium increase, all you’re out of is your personal time and you get to exercise your brain. =)

Oh, and that one little thing…. don’t speed in the first place…. hmmmm….. that’s cruel and unusual punishment on a Hayabusa. Cruel! I tell ya, cruel!

On the way out, one of the two officers at the  security checkpoint yells at me as I come down the stairs: “You’re going to jail! … (shortish pause) … April’s Fools!” I don’t miss a beat as I hop down the last few steps and round the corner around the checkpoint: “I have just paid 280 bucks that say: Not a chance!” He replies: “Ran a stop sign?” I smile and say: “Nope!” as I push my way through the double doors to smell the sweet air of warrant-less freedom.

Learned something else: Apparently running a stop sign in GA sets you back around $280. I’m sure there’s probably 3 points on that, too.

This concludes Miss Busa’s Epic Fail in her first trial experience. I should really fire my attorney!!!

For some reason my butt hurts…

The Birth of Road Guardians & the BBC

POSTED BY REQUEST of a dear friend:

Some may wonder why the Road Guardian Program was created. Last summer, out of the blue, I got an e-mail from someone in California who asked me a simple question, “In your opinion, how come Wisconsin has such a low fatality rate while California has such high rate?” He asked me not to cite statistics or other people’s opinions but to give my personal opinion. I told him that I’d need a couple days to think about this and that I’d get back to him. I knew that behind his question was another issue. How come a state that allows a biker the right to choose whether or not to wear a helmet can have such a low fatality rate while a state that requires helmet use has such a high fatality rate?

My answer was that in my opinion, Wisconsin is not single focused where motorcycle safety is concerned. We do many things for motorcycle safety. In addition to rider education we also have programs that deal with impaired riding programs, motorist awareness activities like share the road programs, awareness rallies, yard signs, enhanced penalties for right of way violations, support to families whose loved ones were killed due to negligent motor vehicle operators and accident scene management (ASMI) education. In my opinion, all of these things together have lowered our fatality rate.

I started wondering if other states have this same kind of aggressive approach and have to say that it was really hard to find information on the web. Have you ever googled “motorcycle safety”? Try it sometime. 17 million hits came back. ASMI’s BOD were talking about how to better market Accident Scene Management because the name is often negative and you don’t get past the word Accident before people have their defenses up. We have a new business officer, a former ASMI student from Minnesota, Chris Hawver. Chris is amazing and has a Masters degree in marketing. He is a tremendous asset to ASMI with a background in technology and he gets joy out of assisting businesses with start up and proficiency. We worked together to create a program of Resources, Rewards and Recognition to encourage people to want to be trained. We also intentionally created a program that brought ASMI into motorcycle safety.

More background: ASMI was created in 1996 after a similar program was highlighted in Wisconsin. ABATE of Wisconsin invited Slider Gilmore to present his Two Wheel Trauma program (ABATE paid for him and two other presenters) at the Governor’s Conference on Highway Safety. As a nurse I was inspired by the information I learned and was grateful that Slider was willing to talk about helmet removal and other motorcycle specific information. I called Slider one week later and asked if he would allow me to use the information I learned in his class to put together a class for my friends. Little did I know that this would lead to what Accident Scene Management is today; 16,000 students trained and 130 instructors in 26 states.

After two years of training using DOT 402 funds it was time to be on our own and I was forced to start charging for the program. We were also starting to get requests from other states to bring the program to them and people were asking if I would teach them to be instructors. With 18 million motorcyclists in the United States it was obvious that this was a job too big for just me and a few friends or even too big for Slider alone. I had lunch with Slider and talked with him about my desire to take the program nationwide and train instructors to teach. He told me that a project like this would require a lot of energy so if I wanted to do it I should go for it.

Using the American Heart Association’s (AHA) CPR & First Aid as a model, I began to create an organization that would be to motorcycle trauma what AHA is to Heart Attack. An ASMI student who was a Certified Public Accountant offered to help me apply for 501(c)3 non-profit status and even paid for the filing. Michael Hupy offered to help keep the cost of classes low by subsidizing $10 per student. ABATE of Wisconsin helped advertise classes and later donated money each year to our fundraiser to help the program grow. Through the years we used  evaluations from students to improve the program and grow professionally.

Funding for operational expenses continued to be an issue since we simply were not eligible for grants and because we were not a children’s charity or a disease, we were not well funded by biker efforts either. A fundraiser based upon Tommy Thompson’s Ride was created to help fund ASMI called Women in Motion. A number of my female friends who rode motorcycles did what the guys would typically do, road guard intersections.

By 2003 the ride had grown to 300 people. This ride was important in allowing us to create better materials, trademarks, develop a solid BOD and do more promotional travel. It also allowed me to move the office out of our home in 2001. Funding for the organization also came from Tony and me teaching classes. Unlike other instructors, when we taught our instructor fees were donated back to ASMI. The demand for administrative time was exhausting since not only was I administering, teaching, developing and coordinating things but was also I dealt with all of the fundraising that needed to be done to keep the business alive.

As ASMI grew so did the expenses and the demand for more time than I was able to give while working at the hospital. Through the years I continued to cut my hours until I now work only one day a week to keep my foot in the door. Currently I donate about 40-60 hours a week to Accident Scene Management as a volunteer. It’s hard for people to believe that I would do such a thing because they would not volunteer 40-60 hours week. They would not give up a good career with benefits to be of service to the motorcycling community. I have not felt that I needed to explain this or make a big deal about it. Only my Board of Directors and close friends know that I do all of this without compensation. I never felt I had to explain until now. There are rumors and e-mails circulating that I am in this for “the money”. There are rumors that say that ASMI must have “rolled over” and is somehow in bed with “the enemy” for some mysterious government grant or ulterior motive. Rumors say that I am in this for the glory and not to help bikers. Rumors are especially painful when they untrue and vindictive. I can tell you for a fact that I have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars and possibly even a comfortable retirement because I believe in my heart that ASMI is an important part of motorcycle safety and needs to be recognized as an important partner in motorcycle safety. The stories of the good that has been done are so rewarding that I find it odd the people who benefit most from this training are having such a hard time supporting these efforts. While rider education is charging up to $300.00 for one day of training on your own bike, ASMI charges only $55.00 for a full day of training with materials provided. That is less than First Aid and CPR.

Finally I want to discuss the Biker’s Betterment Conference (BBC) controversy. The BBC is a resource initiative from the Road Guardian program. It is open to any and all bikers. Through the years I have had the good fortune of meeting many people who are interested in motorcycle safety. All of them are passionate about what they do. I don’t agree with all of them but they have a right to their opinion. As long as their opinion is just that, I am not affected. If they try to force their opinion on me then I will fight back, but as I was thinking about the “multipronged” approach of ABATE of Wisconsin, my thoughts were, let’s invite the safety community, including MSF and NHSTA, and let’s compare our programs and records with theirs. Let’s show them that what we do works and that we are in control of our own reduction of injuries and fatalities.

I invited ABATE of Wisconsin to speak about their programs and I invited Hardtail, president of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, to speak about getting involved in motorcycling by getting involved in rights organizations. Even though the BBC is in Illinois, I did not ask A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois to speak about any of their programs because there was nothing they did that was unique (they offer MSF Rider Education classes and Share the Road). As a National Conference I was working at getting recognized National Guest Speakers and unique programs.

The line up for the conference is phenomenal, a star studded cast, but unfortunately the suspicions and innuendos mentioned above have led to a cancerous effect within some rights groups. The MRF BOD refused to allow Hardtail to speak at the conference citing Michael Hupy’s involvement as the reason. Hardtail went to the ABATE of Wisconsin BOD and suggested that they should not attend, send speakers or support the event because by attending they were supposedly subscribing to the thinking and opinions of the speakers who did not share Rights Activist’s opinions.

Though this conference is meant to be purely educational and not political at all, Hardtail was concerned that attendees were asked not to use the conference to turn guest speaker’s presentations into a debate. He complained that there are no “bikers”  presenting there (funny how the bikers pulled out then complained that they are not there). It was also suggested that ASMI must have accepted a government grant and must have been involved in planning the event with NHTSA. Hardtail poisoned the ABATE board’s rationale by saying that ASMI must have been working with NHTSA for at least 6 months to have been able to get them to participate. This is simply not true. I presented our initiative to Michael Jordan, NHTSA, after we launched the program January 7, 2010 and asked at that time if he would like to attend. I suggested he relate what studies NHTSA is involved in and what free resources are available to bikers through the DOT.

To set the record straight ASMI has not accepted any government money for this conference or for any part of the Road Guardian Program. The conference is completely self funding and no speakers are being paid. Most conference presenters are even paying their own way (including Michael Jordan) to show support for this new safety initiative that broadens our concept of motorcycle safety and brings people together to present topics that may be of interest to bikers so that they can be safer riders.

I would like to ask cyclists out there to think for themselves. Do you really believe it’s your right to choose? Wouldn’t you like to know the difference between DOT and Snell standards for helmets? What free resources are available to you though the DOT? What’s the difference  between ABS and regular brakes? How did the military reduce fatalities by 75% in one year?  Why would rights groups be so concerned about being seen at a motorcycle safety conference? Do you believe in Education not Legislation? Who is the Totalitarian in this situation? Is it the person who comes on their own dime to share their knowledge or the person who tells you that you can’t attend?

I challenge you to make up your own mind.

Vicki Sanfelipo, RN/EMT – Executive Director ASMI

Co-founder, Road Guardians

Life Member, ABATE of Wisconsin

Member, MRF, AMA