Famous US car hire company Hertz has widened its business network to include a motorcycle hire and tour service in Europe and the USA called Hertz Hire.
It offers hire services of a range of BMW GS, RT and R nineT models in Spain, Portugal and France, with Italy to be added this year.
Together with adventure motorcycle accessories company Touratech AG of Germany, Hertz Ride also operates road and off-road tours.
They offer up to a dozen self-guided and guided tours, from four to nine days in Belgium, France, Italy, Morocco, Portugal and Spain.
Marketing spokesman Michael Pereira says it is “not another Hertz Collection”.
“Hertz Ride was launched as a startup activity independent from the traditional rent-a-car business,” he says.
“The motorcycle industry and its set of values are indicative of an urban tribe, a highly emotional community engaged through its main passion.
“The understanding of this concept is key to the success of this new venture for Hertz.”
Hertz Ride started in 2011 as a motorbike collection in Portugal only. It was later registered in the USA and launched in Spain in 2015 when they signed an agreement with Touratech AG for protection parts and accessories.
In 2016, it was launched in France and this year will extend to Italy.
Michael says their plan is to to be the “biggest and the most successful rent-a-bike and moto touring provider in the world”.
Plans to mandate hi-vis clothing for learners and raise the motorcycle learner permit age to 18 have been slammed by a South Australian rider representative group.
Ride to Review spokesman Tim Kelly (pictured above) says the group has prepared a lengthy submission to the government over new licensing proposals, some of which they agree with and others they oppose.
They also make several counter proposals such as allowing novice riders to lane filter to protect themselves from rear-enders.
They include raising the rider age to 18 and mandating L & P plates, high-vis clothing and a night curfew for novices.
The deadline for public submissions has now passed.
Age limit plans
The Ride to Review submission says there is no research to support plans to increase the age limit for learner riders.
They propose that learner eligibility remain at 16 years “with additional focus on cognitive development and higher-order-thinking skills as part of the training processes”.
Plates and filtering
While the Ride to Review submission agrees with mandatory L and P plates, they say novice riders will be put a greater risk of rear-end collisions in traffic, as they will be ineligible to lane filter if required to display a ‘P’ Plate.
They propose that current lane-filtering legislation be updated to permit riders displaying P plates to filter.
The submission opposes plans to follow Victoria’s mandatory high-visibility closing for learner riders.
They point to several studies that find no conclusive proof that hi-vis reduces “Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You” (SMIDSY) crashes.
Ride to Review’s submission recommends more comprehensive road craft training for riders to increase their conspicuity on the road.
“Being more aware of other road users’ blind spots in a variety of on-road situations … will provide greater assistance towards motorcyclist conspicuity,” their submission says.
They also recommend that novice motorists be trained to look out for vulnerable road users.
The submission agrees that night time riding poses greater risks, but objects to the proposed midnight to 5am curfew as it does not reflect peak crash times and days.
It posts to Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) research that show peak motorcycle crash times are on weekends between 2 and 6pm.
Ride to Review proposes a weekend-only night time curfew with an exemption for riders using a motorcycle for transportation to and from work where public transport is not available.
For those interested we have published the full Ride to Review submission to proposed Centre for Automotive Safety Research changes in the motorcycle graduated licensing system (GLS).
It was compiled by the group’s management committee with input from more than 2100 members and supporters, and research from Road Safety, Education and Psychological experts from within Australia, and internationally.
This is the full text of the Ride to Review submission to proposed South Australia Centre for Automotive Safety Research changes in the motorcycle graduated licensing system (GLS).
It was compiled by the group’s management committee with input from more than 2100 members and supporters, and research from Road Safety, Education and Psychological experts from within Australia, and internationally.
GLS Elements Recommended by Christie (Austroads, 2014)
Recommendation: As South Australia already has a three stage hierarchical model in place, which parallels the car GLS and is consistent with other Australian jurisdictions, there is no need for change.
Motorcycle licensing should follow the requirements of Learner, Red P, Green P, full licence, as is currently for obtaining a car licence.
1.2 Requirement for 12 months car licence tenure
Recommendations: In Victoria, a prospective motorcyclist must be 18 years old before being able to apply for a learner motorcycle permit. The required age for a car learner permit is 16; the required age for a probationary car licence is 18. The Victorian system most likely effectively encourages people to learn to drive a car before a motorcycle but does not mandate it. This option would appear to be fairer for those who wish only to ride a motorcycle. It is also likely that the greatest benefit of the car licence prior to attaining a motorcycle licence class is by-product of a delay in exposure and greater maturation at an older age. These can be achieved by simply mandating an older learner permit age without mandating a car licence first. It is therefore recommended that South Australia follow the Victorian system. Accordingly, the minimum age for a motorcycle learner permit in South Australia should be raised to 18 but a minimum tenure with a car licence should not be a requirement for applying for a motorcycle permit.
– While Queensland’s motorcyclist GLS requires applicants to have a minimum tenure of one year on a car licence before being eligible to obtain a motorcycle learners permit, “no specific evaluation of the measure has yet been undertaken” (Christie, p 25, 2014), so arguing that this has had a positive impact on fatalities and/or serious injuries to the under 18 age bracket is a tenuous link at best.
– The recommendation that the applicant minimum age be raised to 18 when, statistically, South Australia rider deaths in this age bracket are negligible, especially when compared to the 30 – 45 year age bracket, or the ‘returning rider’ group, predominantly in the over 45 year age bracket, is one that RTR is unable to support.
– Raising rider eligibility to 18 is a move that will have a negative impact on economic, social and sporting access and opportunities.
– Access to employment opportunities for young people with limited funding for a car, and being unable to access public transport due to geographical factors, will be reduced.
– Access to participation in many off-road motorsport pursuits will be denied if applicants are unable to obtain a learners permit at the current entry level, as many of these pursuits require transit via public roads or use public roads as part of their courses.
– Access to social pursuits for many regional and rural young people will be denied through lack of public transport options.
– While it is acknowledged that young people often lack the cognitive skills and neurological development to navigate the complexities of cause and effect in, potentially, higher risk situations, than that of being in a car, training and support as outlined by Glendon (An approach to novice driver training, 2014) with strategies such as testing for ‘risk taking’ propensity, competence in dealing with hazards and hazard perception, ‘fast tracking’ the development of mental imagery appropriate to high hazard environments, and including the role that mentoring can play in supporting young people with appropriate decision making in high risk situations in a ‘safe’ (supervised) environment has the same potential to mitigate the risk of fatality and/or serious injury that is being proposed by a nominal 2 years of maturation for a young person.
– While CASR has acknowledged, through research that is now almost 20 years old and not based on the Generation Y cognitive development, that “riders older than 25 had less than half the risk of those aged 15 – 19”, the researchers, Mullin et al, concluded that greater riding experience was the reason for this, without acknowledging the role that cognitive neuroscience plays in the risk assessment and decision making process (Glendon 2014, Westwell 2011 – Cognitive Neuroscience: implications for career development strategies and interventions) With cognitive supports and training as part of the rider safe courses for licensing, or as part of a post learner mentoring/coaching program, the negative impacts of raising the eligibility age to 18, as listed above, need never need to be felt.
– RTR counter proposes that learner eligibility remain at 16 years with additional focus on cognitive development and higher order thinking skills as part of the training processes.
– RTR proposes a consultative and collaborative approach to the re-development of RiderSafe courses for Learner and R-Date riders.
1.3 Minimum tenure periods for learner and intermediate phases
Recommendation: The aim of a GLS is to ensure that novices obtain experience in low risk conditions for a considerable period before advancing to less restrictive licensing phases. Having a minimum tenure period for each phase of a motorcycle GLS would help serve this objective, along with the imposition of various restrictions advocated in the present report for the learner and intermediate phases. It is recommended that the learner phase should have a minimum tenure of six months, and intermediate phase (R-Date licence) should have a minimum tenure of three years. These periods should apply regardless of other licences held, and regardless of age.
– Agreeto 6 months tenure for Learners Permit
– Agreeto 3 years tenure for R-date licence for riders under the age of 21 years and 6 months (if learner entry remains at 16 years of age)
– RTR counter proposes If a learner rider is already over the age of 21 and 6 months, the R-date tenure should only be 2 years as this reflects their greater maturity level, cognitive abilities and potential for having greater road user experience through holding a car licence previously.
– For riders who complete their 3 years tenure on R-date but are still under the age of 21 and 6 months, they will obtain full unrestricted user conditions, with the exception of the ability to ride a non-LAMS motorcycle, as this is comparable to young drivers being unable to drive high powered vehicles until reaching the age of 25
– Full unrestricted licence conditions will only be achieved if the end of the R-date tenure falls after the rider has obtained 21 years and 6 months of age
1.4 Clean record for graduation to next GLS level
Recommendation: Currently, in South Australia, as elsewhere in Australia, behaviour during the GLS for car drivers and motorcyclist is controlled through lower demerit point limits than apply for full licences. The demerit point limits are likely to be sufficiently low that they effectively require very low rates of nonoffending. If these low limits are also applied to the longer minimum periods of tenure in the different GLS phases recommended above (2.3), then novice riders will have to maintain long periods of nonoffending in order to progress through the GLS. For this reason, it is not necessary to recommend minimum offence-free periods before graduation to subsequent GLS phases.
1.5 Display of distinctive plates
Recommendation: South Australia should require riders with an R-Date licence class to display P plates whilst riding.
– Agreed that Learner riders need to display an ‘L’ Plate while riding
– Agreedthat R-date riders display a Red P for the first 12 months, if over the age of 21 and 6 months, or first 24 months, if under the age of 21 and 6 months (given that the learner eligibility age remain at 16 years).
– All R-date holders must display a Green P for the final 12 months of their R-date tenure
– As this will put a far greater number of riders at risk of rear end collisions while travelling in traffic, as they will be ineligible to undertake lane filtering if required to display a ‘P’ Plate, RTR proposes that current lane filtering legislation be updated to permit riders displaying P plates to filter
As it is currently part of the R-date course that riders are required to control their motorcycle while travelling at low speed (the situation for lane filtering), riders holding an R-date licence have been taught the necessary skills to undertake this manoeuvre safely.
1.6 Mandatory carriage of licence
Recommendation: Strict mandatory carriage of licence laws could be considered in South Australia for all operators of motor vehicles, which includes motorcyclists. These laws would remove the opportunity for motorists to produce their licence at a later date or time and may help deter unlicensed motorcycle riding.
1.7 No carriage of pillion passengers
Recommendation: As a pillion is likely to make riding more difficult for a novice, both in terms of maintenance of balance and as a potential source of distraction, and as pillions have a greater risk of serious injury than riders in the event of a crash, it is recommended that South Australia prohibit riders on learner permits and R-Date licences from carrying pillion passengers.
– Agreedto no carriage of pillion passengers for Learner riders
– Partially agreeto no carriage of pillion passengers for R-date riders
RTR counter proposes If R-date tenure is to be extended, pillion passengers should only be permitted in the final year of tenure (whether this be year 3 for a rider under the age of 21 and 6 months, or year 2 for a rider over the age of 21 and 6 months), while the rider is displaying their Green P plates
– The R-date course must include the training of riders in both how to be a pillion, and how to train a pillion, so that safe carriage will be undertaken once licensing conditions permit, exemplified in the Northern Territory’s intermediate course to obtain a restricted motorcycle licence.
1.8 Night-time Curfew
Recommendation: Night time curfews for novice drivers have been enacted in South Australia without a marked loss of mobility, and initial results are suggestive of a decline in night time crashes among this group. Currently, riders with an R Date licence who are under 25 years of age, and who are without a car licence or only hold a P1 car licence, are prohibited from riding between midnight and 5am. This restriction would ideally be expanded to include all riders without a full motorcycle licence. However, as the car GLS specifies only those under the age of 25, it would arguably be inequitable to apply the motorcycle night restrictions to riders of all ages. However, it should be applied to all appropriately aged riders with an R Date licence regardless of other licences held. It should also be applied to all riders with a learner permit, regardless of other licences held and regardless of age
– while it is accepted that night time riding poses greater risks to a rider, not only from other vehicles who may ‘look but fail to see’ a rider, but also from wildlife and other road hazards that are not present during the day, the total restriction from night time riding from midnight to 5am is not reflective of peak crash times and days.
– The Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) outlined in their Motorcycle Safety fact sheet of May 2012 that peak crash times occurred on the weekends, and between 2 and 6pm.
– “Crashes involving a motorcycle fatality peak in the day (9am to 3pm) and evening (3pm to 9pm). One third of fatal motorcycle crashes occur on a weekend between 9am Saturday and 9pm Sunday.” Motorcycling Safety BITRE May 2017.
– RTR counter proposes that a weekend night time curfew be put in place (from midnight until 5am) for learner riders, irrespective of other licences held, and R-date riders displaying Red P plates and being under the age of 21 and 6 month, to be comparable to the rules for probationary car drivers. This is also reflective of peak crash times and days for motorcycle riders.
– Exemptions to this need to be made for those riders using a motorcycle for transportation to and from employment only, where alternative opportunities, such as public transport, do not exist.
1.9 Zero BAC
Recommendation: There is a strong relationship between alcohol consumption and crash involvement among motorcyclists, and a zero BAC when riding a motorcycle is a requirement as part of the GLS in the majority of Australian jurisdictions. Therefore, it is recommended that all
riders with a learner permit or R-Date licence, irrespective of other licences held, must have a zero BAC when riding.
1.10 No towing of Trailers
Recommendation: Given that towing may increase risk for novice riders and that few riders would be negatively affected by prohibition of towing, is recommended that a towing restriction be put in place for riders with a learner permit. It would be reasonable to permit towing for riders with an R-Date licence.
– Agreed for Learner riders
– RTR counter proposes that R-date riders should only be allowed to tow a trailer in the final year of their R-date tenure, while displaying Green P plates, if tenure is extended beyond current terms.
1.11 No use of mobile phone or other communication device
Recommendation: Mobile phone use, whether hand-held or hands-free, is known to impair driving related tasks. All phone use while driving has therefore been prohibited for novice car drivers within the South Australian GLS. This should be extended to all novice riders (learners and R Date) within the motorcycle GLS, irrespective of other licences held
– Agreed regarding mobile phone use – hands free or hand held
– RTR counter proposes that other communication devices such as rider to rider communication and GPS navigation should be permitted as these have benefit to a rider when being mentored/coached, and for navigation purposes.
– Novice car drivers are able to take GPS navigation instruction and communicate with passengers, so this will keep restrictions comparable.
1.12 Lower demerit point threshold for licence disqualification
Recommendation: It is recommended that the lower demerit point thresholds that are applied in the learner phase also be applied when the rider holds an R Date licence. However, if a minimum three-year tenure is required for R Date licences, then consideration should be given to demerit point limits per year rather than across the entire tenure of the R Date phase.
1.13 Automatic transmission restriction for novice riders
Recommendation: There is a sound theoretical basis for requiring that a rider demonstrate competency on a manual motorcycle before being licensed to ride one. South Australia should adopt the restriction to an automatic motorcycle if tested on one that applies in the majority of other jurisdictions in Australia. This should be the case for both the learner permit and R-Date licence
1.14 Enhanced visibility requirements
Recommendation: Requiring learner riders to wear high visibility clothing should provide a benefit not only in aiding conspicuity but also would alert other motorists to the inexperienced nature of the rider. As such riders are likely to still be learning road craft (including positioning), their feeling complacent about their visibility is less likely. South Australia should follow the lead of Victoria and require that motorcyclists with a learner permit wear high visibility clothing when riding.
– RTR does not agree with this recommendation
– As outlined in the CARR-Q ‘State of the Road’ fact sheet, 2012, 58% of fatal motorcycle crashes involved another vehicle. In multi-vehicle crashes, the other vehicle was most often at fault. Commonly, this involved violations of the motorcyclist’s right of way – highlighting the importance of defensive riding skills and active risk management for riders.
– At no point is the use of HiViz suggested as a way to mitigate these violations.
– A Victorian parliamentary enquiry into motorcycle safety in 2014 failed to find conclusive correlation between the wearing of HiViz clothing on a motorcycle and increased conspicuity on the road, as the confounds of studies such as HURT and MAIDS, and the, now over a decade old, NZ study used to justify this recommendation, are that those who voluntarily wear HiViz clothing are likely more conservative by nature in their riding style to maintain conspicuity on the road.
– Recent research by the Australian National University has purported the ‘look but fail to see’ phenomenon towards motorcyclists, irrespective of headlights or clothing worn.
– Motorcycles, being small and often faster moving than other vehicles, are not perceived as a ‘threat’ when information from the eyes is processed by the amygdala (lizard brain – area that processes the ‘fight or flight’ response), thus often producing the ‘look but fail to see’ reaction from car drivers.
– Cognitively a person will retain approx. 80% of what they have personally experienced, thus alerting the brain to its relevance – meaning that those who have ridden motorcycles, or have them as part of their ‘awareness’ will be far more likely to see them in traffic and on-road situations. This is supported by research conducted by numerous insurance companies in the UK, concluding that those who ride motorcycles are 30% less likely to make a claim for a car incident. The University of Nottingham concurs in its 2012 paper “Driving experience and situation awareness in hazard detection” that motorcyclists have up to 50% greater hazard detection when in a car than those who only drive a car.
– Australia Post, who’s delivery staff are all required to wear HiViz, has no significant data to support the wearing of HiViz either. Some regions report no significant change in incidents. Some report a reduction in incidents – it’s subjective. Australia Post reports a reduction overall, but they can’t account for whether it was the hi viz, the extra safety training or whether reporting has dropped due to disincentives of more detailed investigations and remedial programs following a reported incident.
– As the brain detects movement before registering colour it is recommended by RTR that more comprehensive training be undertaken on-road at learner and R-date level to instill road craft skills and the necessity for greater conspicuity on the road. Being more aware of other road users blind spots in a variety of on-road situations, eg dual carriageway, multi-carriageway, in filtering situations, etc, will provide greater assistance towards motorcyclist conspicuity to other road users than the wearing of HiViz clothing – particularly in urban areas where there is a plethora of visual distractions and colours along carriageways.
– In addition, since, as reported by CARRS-Q, and outlined above, in over half of motorcycle fatalities another vehicle is involved, and overwhelmingly, in these cases, it is the fault of the car driver violating the motorcyclist’s right of way – providing opportunities for car drivers to be more aware of motorcycles on the road by adding greater emphasis on specifically looking for them as part of the on-road learner phase (whether this is through formal instruction, or parental instruction) will share the responsibility for conspicuity in incidents between cars and motorcycles.
1.15 Mandatory protective clothing requirements
Recommendation: The use of protective clothing is a proven countermeasure for particular types of injury and its wider use by motorcyclists would be likely to have a benefit for road safety outcomes. However, the rating of the protective benefit of particular articles of motorcycle clothing has yet to be established and such guidance for choosing protective clothing would be essential for the effective operation of a mandatory system. Therefore, mandating the use of protective clothing at this time cannot be recommended, although developments in this field need to be monitored so that such a requirement can be introduced in the future
– While it is acknowledged that protective clothing has effectiveness against some motorcycle injuries, and is strongly encouraged by Ride to Review, the mandating of protective clothing other than helmets (as is currently the case) is highly unlikely to be supported by RTR in the future.
– Standards of protective clothing vary wildly in Australia, and even the adoption of European standards will not bring high quality, affordable, purpose built for motorcycling..
Motorbike Writer contacted several relevant Brisbane councillors and planning, transport and infrastructure committee chairs to ask why motorcycles are ignored in the plan while bicycles are targeted.
So far, the only reply is from Chairman for Infrastructure Cr Amanda Cooper who says submissions are accepted from all transport users, including riders.
She didn’t address why motorcycles were not mentioned in the draft plan.
Motorcycles Riders Association of Queensland president Chris Mearns says it is “extremely disappointing” that motorcycles and scooters are again ignored in another level of Government planning.
MRAQ president Chris Mearns
“This lack of inclusion is happening at all levels of Government starting at Federal level which continually ignores two-wheel powered transport in the mix for transport plans with the lack of consideration then trickling down to all other levels,” he says.
He points out that the draft plan states: “Traffic congestion is a major cost to business and industry. Road management and travel demand strategies aim to free up road transport capacity for more efficient movement of commercial and freight transport.”
“It is hard to understand why two-wheeled powered transport is not included as it offers considerably reduced vehicle space on the road as well as better fuel efficiency with corresponding pollution reduction,” Chris says.
“As the plan is focussed on the CBD and other business areas and with the clear goal of achieving a reduction in personal vehicle mass the use of two-wheeled powered vehicles seems opportune.
“With other capital cities now including motorcycles and scooters into their forward planning it is the right time for the Brisbane City Council to review the current plan proposal and to include these realistic alternatives as part of the solution instead of completely ignoring them.”
It seems BCC has a fixation on bicycles with their 25 references to them in the draft transport plan.
That’s probably because BCC persist with their ill-conceived and little-patronised CityCycle bike hire scheme.
There is actually one mention of “scooter” in the draft plan. However, it refers to children’s push scooters!
To their credit, BCC has been working on securing more free footpath parking for motorcycles.
Brisbane CBD motorcycle parking
Cr Cooper points out that “Council has nearly doubled the number of new free motorcycle parks in the CBD and installed dedicated motorcycle parking bays and lockers in Council’s King George Square Car Park”.
Suzuki in America has been successfully sued for $US12.5 over a motorcycle crash caused by a brake failure which was later the focus of a global safety recall.
Rider Adrian Johns crashed his 2006 GSX-R1000 in 2013, shattering his spine, breaking his back and leaving him with mobility problems which ended to his postal career.
He had sued for $14m, but after a three-week trial, a Georgia jury awarded $10.5 million to Adrian and $2m to his wife, Gwen. The jury found 49% of the responsibility for the crash was due to rider error.
Adrian claimed his crash was caused by a front brake defect that Suzuki knew about months before his crash, yet did not warn its riders or issue a recall notice.
Two months later, Suzuki in the USA recalled 200,000 various GSX models made between 2004 and 2013.
Suzuki Australia recalled the GSX-R1000 and some other GSX models in 2013 and again in 2015 over the same brake issue involving a fluid leak in the front master cylinder.
2015 Suzuki GSX-R1000
Adrian’s lawyer, Randy Edwards, said it was the “worst failure-to-warn case, not that I have ever seen, but that I have ever heard of”.
“This is like a landlord not telling a new tenant that your heater spits out carbon monoxide, and a family dies the first night. This is outrageous.”
The defence counsel said the rider had changed his mind about the cause of the crash after immediately blaming a patch of gravel.
However, skid marks, the evidence of a crash reconstruction expert and post-crash brake testing proved the brake failure caused the crash.
Two other crash victims who rode Suzukis also gave testimony that the same thing had happened to them.
It doesn’t matter how long you ride for, you’ll never forget your first tour. It’s the maddest. It’s the one that makes your heart-pound the most, the one that gets you hooked, the one that is peppered with as many hard times as good, the one that you’ll always look back on with a smile. Of course, with every new trip, you’ll get better at it. Experience pretty much guarantees that. Still, there’s nothing worse than having a bad first experience. Luckily, there is a simple way to avoid this happening; it’s called preparation.
So, if you want to revel in those “hell yeah” moments from the moment you first kickstart your motor instead of enduring years of trials and errors, we recommend you read these insider tips and tricks and learn how the lifelong tourers do it.
Comfort Is Key
Not all tours are born equal. Some people want to test their legs, arms and spine by riding the off-road for three days straight while others prefer big, open highways. Whatever you are doing, pick a bike that will make you as comfortable as possible.
Break Your Habits
Especially your eating habits. Why? Because the thing with a tour is: you want to cover as much tarmac as possible on any given day. That means you won’t have time for busy restaurant stops. Our advice: plan your day so that you get hungry when everyone else doesn’t. Have breakfast either earlier than 7am or later than 10am, and get used to mid-afternoon hotdog stops.
The Sensible Thing To Do
Nothing is going to get your blood boiling more than wet clothes and a lost spare key. That’s a fact. To avoid this happening, either tape your spare key to your bike or hand it to someone you’re riding with and, when it comes to keeping your bits n’ bobs dry, wrap your belongings in the thickest garbage bags money can buy. Trust us, it works wonders.
Drink Lots And Often
And the best way to do this is to ride with a Camelbak rucksack so that you can stay hydrated while still moving. It doesn’t matter whether you’re riding through an arid desert or an ice-packed salt-plain, keeping hydrated is crazy crucial.
The Morning Once Over
It doesn’t matter if you bought your bike from a highly-praised company like the American Motorcycle Trading Company or from a guy called Jimbob that lived in the woods, you should always check your bike over in the morning. Check the air pressure, oil level and look for any missing fasteners, that sort of stuff. Yeah, it’s simple, but it could save you from getting into trouble.
Road Assistance Always
It doesn’t matter which roadside assistance service you opt for, don’t leave until you have signed up for something. And even then, make sure you always keep a note of where in the world you are so that they can quickly locate you should something happen. It’s one of those little tricks that could save you big time.
“For me, riding helps my recovery and I also need that fellowship which is a big part of Alcoholics Anonymous,” he says.
ARM was founded in 1986 by Judy and Jack Jensen of Wisconsin and now has more than 100 chapters in the USA, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Guam, England, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Thailand and Netherlands.
Saying the “Serenity Prayer”
Australia has had a chapter in Western Australia since 2005 and has a new Chapter forming in NSW.
“One of the original members in WA was directed to an alcohol counsellor by police after an incident and that counsellor directed him to an AA meeting that was founded by ARM members; he is still sober today, nine years later,” says Warren who is also proud of being sober himself for over 20 years.
Warren says he was a “blackout drunk” when he was in the military in his 20s.
“I came out of blackouts in other countries. I’d start drinking in one country and wake up in another and not know how I got there and that can be extremely dangerous in the military,” he says.
“The military didn’t help me at all with my drinking problem, and at the end when I was at my rock bottom, I made a desperate phone call to AA.
“An AA member spoke with me, and then arranged for three other AA members to visit me at home, and the next day took me to a meeting and thankfully I have been sober ever since.
“But I still had this void because I loved riding and there were no other sober bikers that I knew of to form that brotherhood and bond with.”
Warren says ARM was formed because AA and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) told recovering alcoholics to cut their hair and sell their motorbikes and live a “normal lifestyle”.
“To a biker, riding and brotherhood is a normal lifestyle.
“We didn’t fit the norm of what AA portrayed, so ARM was born out of necessity,” says Warren, 55, who has been riding all his life.
He started riding a Honda CB350 twin, has owned numerous bikes over the years and now rides a 2000 Harley-Davidson Night Train and has a Kawasaki 650 Vulcan S.
Warren got sober in 1992 and became a full member of ARM in 2005.
ARM has more than 1000 members globally. Warren is unsure about Australian membership but says there is “always room for one more”.
“We are bikers who have chosen to remain clean and sober without forsaking the lifestyle of brotherhood in the wind,” he says.
“We are not associated with any other group, nor are we a 1% club.”
ARM owns no property or clubhouses, claims no territory and rides “free of inter-club politics”.
Australian members do not wear the international ARM back patch to ensure there is no conflict with 1% clubs.
“We have been able to grow through our respect for other MCs in the areas we live and ride and by respecting the individuality of our members,” Warren says.
“We do not require members to ride a specific brand of motorcycle nor do we ridicule the member’s personal choices.
However, motorcycles must be 500cc or more.
“We do not claim our modified lifestyle to be the only truth, nor do we suggest that any other lifestyle is inappropriate,” Warren says.
“We are bikers who have chosen abstinence from alcohol and drugs because it is what we believe in for ourselves. For some of us, it is the only way we can continue to survive.”
Warren says they have regular monthly get-togethers and rides in the fledgling NSW Chapter while the WA Chapter has weekly rides to and from AA and NA meetings and get-togethers.
The sister organisation for recovering female riders is called Recovering Women Riders. Warren says ARM and RWR membership varies from 22 years of age to over 70.
Recovering Women Riders
To be a member of ARM or RWR you must be active in recovery from alcohol or drug dependence.
“Our members are not affiliated with any particular 12-step program, however our members attend AA and NA meetings and respect the traditions,” Warren says.
“We are not part of the Salvos or any other particular charity although we support many other charities around the world.”
Harley-Davidson has launched two new Sportster variants – Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special – and applied for the trademark name H-D Revelation which could be the name for their electric bike to be released next year.
CEO Matt Levatich last month defrayed concern about their fourth consecutive year of sliding sales by announcing they would have an electric motorcycle available within 18 months.
This brought forward the previously announced due date by two years.
While their electric bike concept unveiled in 2014 was the Livewire Project, the company has not been talking about releasing the Livewire, but an “electric motorcycle”.
So it could have a different name.
H-D Revelation would be a suitable name for their electric bike as many of the riders – both public and moto journalists – who have tested it have described it as a “revelation”.
MBW riding the Harley LiveWire in LA
The name is also similar to the Evolution engines in their Sportsters and the Revolution X in the Street family.
This is the fourth new name Harley has registered in the past few months with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The others are Pan America, 48X and Bronx.
Pan America could be a new Tourer model, while the 48X and Bronx are believed to be Sportsters, a family which hasn’t had a significant drivetrain upgrade in years.
The new model names may not be used this year, as companies have a couple of years to use them before they expire.
However, we do expect about 10 new Harley models in 2018 as part of Harley’s “100 models in 10 years” policy announced early last year.
In the first year of the policy, Harley released 10 new models including nine new Softails which now include the Dyna family and the Street Rod.
Meanwhile, Harley has announced two new variants with hardly any changes.
Harley-Davidson Iron 1200
The Iron 1200 is basically the blacked-out 883-powered Iron, but with the 1200 Evolution engine.
It also features satin-black Mini Ape bars, Café Solo seat, black nine-spoke wheels, black belt guard and black rear sprocket.
The Iron 1200 arrives at the end of April and prices start from $16,495 ride-away in Australia and $16,995 in New Zealand. That makes it the cheapest 1200 Sportster.
The Forty-Eight Special has a wide front tyre, wide forks, gloss-black Tallboy handlebars and black split nine-spoke cast aluminium wheels.
Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Special
It arrives at the end of April and prices start from $18,995 ride-away in Australia and $19,750 in New Zealand. That’s the same price as the current Forty-Eight.
The 8-litre “peanut” tank features rows of bold, horizontal stripes framing a simple Harley-Davidson text logo. The fuel tank come in three colour options: Vivid Black, Wicked Red, and Billiard White.
Both Sportsters comes standard with ABS and the Harley-Davidson Smart Security System.
They are not exactly a revolution or revelation in new models, but new models all the same.
It is typical of Harley to release a couple of “mid-year” mild variants around this time of the year.
We still expect a substantial upgrade in the Sportster line-up in August when they usually announce their major upgrades.
This year it will coincide with Harley’s 115th anniversary celebrations in its hometown of Milwaukee.
And here’s our wild tip: Like the Street family, which is made in both the USA and India, the new Sportster may also be produced in two countries.
Harley is building a plant in Thailand, so they could also be produced there.