Hi, I'm Ax!
OK, this is always a bit awkward. I'm supposed to tell you why anyone should listen to what I have to say about motorcycle riding and safety issues. I'll do my best to keep it brief and hopefully entertaining. Here we go… My first exposure to riding was when my bicycle paper route (remember when kids had paper routes on bicycles?) got too big to handle with pedal power. It just seemed logical to "upgrade" from a 10-speed to a moped (yes – back when they had pedals…).
Several years later I got a 1977 Yamaha 360 twin. My skills and knowledge hadn't gotten much better, but at least I was wearing a little bit more gear. Over the years, I went from the Yamaha 360 to a Honda Ascot VT500, a retired police Kawasaki KZ1 000, a Honda Nighthawk 650, a Suzuki Bandit 1200, to what I ride now-a Honda Valkyrie Tourer 1500 and a 2006 VFR 800. I've also had the pleasure of riding dozens and dozens of other bikes from just about every manufacturer along the way. My first exposure to motorcycle safety came in 1991 when my insurance agent suggested I take a rider training class to get a discount on my premium. So I did. I was so blown away by what I didn't know that I asked how I could be an Instructor. I have been teaching ever since. Since that fateful day when I filled out the Instructor application, I have "served the cause" in a variety of roles:
- Instructor/mentor instructor
- Instructor trainer
- Statewide training manager
- Curriculum developer (for Basic, Intermediate, Experienced, Advanced level rider training)
- Curriculum field test administrator
- State program director
- Consultant to other state programs
- Chair of Idaho's Strategic Highway Safety Plan Motorcycle Safety Committee
- Commissioner for the Idaho Traffic Safety Commission
- Presenter at numerous national conferences
- Motorcycle Riders Foundation Awareness & Education (MRF A& E) board member and assistant to the board
- National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators (SMSA) Executive Committee Member
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Technical Working Group member on the project to develop national administrative standards for state motorcycle rider training programs
What I have learned along my path is that while training and learning is great (it REALLY is!), what matters most is what happens in the moment of truth. "The Moment of Truth" is a phrase I use to represent those moments while riding where things can or do go south quickly. For example - the car turns left in front of you, the car you are following slams on its brakes, the curve you are riding suddenly gets tighter, etc. My goal in ALL my roles in motorcycle safety is to help riders to be prepared for those moments of truth.
I live in Idaho with my lovely wife and son. They are the light of my life and whenever I ride, they are with me. I know that what happens to me when I ride can affect them in a big way (and for the rest of their lives). I believe that we all have people in our lives who we care about and want and need us to come home safely - this is what motivates my work.
Be Crash Free,