Facing Fear with Frances Lin: Springfield motorcycle group shares riding experiences, safety tips

Face Your Fears With Frances Lin

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — On this next Facing Fear with KOLR10’s Frances Lin segment, Frances spoke with motorcycle bikers who have been riding for decades.

Some have been riding for their entire lives.

They talked about why they love this sport, and how they feel on the road.

“I myself been riding since I was 5 years old. Started out with dirt bikes, and got a street bike when I was 25 years old. I turn 55 this month,” said Rick Hart, a biker.

“We all do it for those cliche things like freedom of the open road, wind in your hair, once you start riding, you kind of join into a brotherhood a little bit, it’s people you’ve never met that ride motorcycles, they’re just, automatically gravitate towards each other, and we’ve even taken it a step further. When we joined the riding club, it’s a family. It’s kind of your chosen family,” said Mark Kane, a biker.

“I rode as a passenger at first, I had a friend who said she rode her own bike, I thought that was pretty cool, I had never ridden a motorcycle in my life, even as a child, and I went to OTC, took the motorcycle safety foundation course, and been riding since then,” said Mandy Weaver, a biker.

“I ride because of the freedom. No matter what’s going on, no matter where you’ve been all day, you go on a bike and it all goes away. Everything’s good,” said Brad Snyder, a biker.

“The excitement. The thrill,” Hart said, “the adrenaline rush. It is an adrenaline rush, I used to race motocross. Got into scrambles as well. And it was just, a rush. Dogs and bikers have a lot in common. Dogs will hang their head out back the tail end of a truck and get the wind in their face. Bikers are the same way.”

Bikers said when they’re on the motorcycles, on the open road, feeling the wind in their faces, is when they feel the freest.

“You kind of forget about everything. It’s peaceful and you’re enjoying the scenery, and it’s kind of an escape. You get away from everything,” said Kane.

“It’s something that if you’re interested in it at all, you should try it. Might not be for everybody, but it is definitely a lifestyle that people should check into,” said Snyder.

“The best way I can describe it is freedom. It’s an amazing feeling of freedom, I love it, I’m pretty much addicted to it. Once you ride your own, I don’t think you’ll ever look back,” said Weaver, “I can see myself doing it for the rest of my life.”

But with everything amazing about biking, there are also risks bikers have to take every day.

“It’s sad but true nowadays, I speak for myself to say there’s a bit of worry that comes in now because there have unfortunately been so many motorcycle accidents, so we’re increasingly more aware these days,” Weaver said.

“I’ve been riding so long, and there’s been so many deaths and accidents here lately, that I’m almost afraid to even get on this bike and ride out into the country. The city is the most dangerous part,” said Hart.

They told KOLR10’s Frances Lin what they have to do to ensure their own safety, “never ride in blind spots,” said Hart, “riding in a blind spot, the drivers don’t know where you’re at. Try to speed up a little bit to get out of the blind spot, sometimes the driver speeds up themselves, swallow your pride and back off. Treat other drivers like I’m invisible. A lot of times you hear about bikers getting hit or killed. You have to drive offensively sometimes just to avoid an accident. If you realize that someone is merging in, say like an interstate highway, they have to yield the right of way to you, but a lot of people don’t. So, if you see somebody’s coming up real quick, it’s more dangerous to ride defensively, to apply a brake or anything, nail it, get on out there the hammer lane and get around it. That’s an offensive maneuver. Don’t stop too close to the vehicle in front of you at a stop line, I realized that motorists don’t see motorcycles even with a brake light on. They’re seeing the car in front of them, and that’s when you hear about people getting rear-ended. Stop does not mean slightly tap on pedal. It means stop. Always treat everybody like they’re getting ready to pull out in front of you. Chances are, they are. Look twice, both directions. Not glance. I myself have almost pulled out in front of a motorcycle because they were behind my mirror. In a tractor-trailer. I drive a tractor-trailer for a living, and they were right behind the mirror, couldn’t even see them. And almost pulled out in front of them, so now I realized, when people look out their windows, they’re seeing mirrors, look around your mirror. Because they will hide a motorcycle.”

“Is it safer to ride in a group?” Asked KOLR10’s Frances Lin.

“Yes, a lot more headlights,” Hart responded.

Hart also talked about their group B.A.D.D., “bikers against dumb drivers, I’m the founding member we started this club in April 2007, we’re chartered, we’re a family-friendly club. We have women, officers, women members. Our little nickname we gave it is “ERRE”, eat and ride, ride and eat. Because we’re bikers with eating problems. A lot of people say it’s not the destination it’s the ride, well it is the ride but it’s also where are we going to go eat.

They do charity events every year, “We’re very charitable. We do charity work with other groups whenever they have a fallen rider or child that hurts or child that needs help or family that needs help,” Hart explained, “always after easter, we have an actual egg that we decorate, you get $250 if you find the egg, it could be anywhere from six stops to ten stops, you don’t know where the keg is at. We do it all by riddles rather than just a regular poker run. We’ve had a lot of compliments on it, we’ve been very successful with it. The money that we gather, 100% of it goes to children that normally wouldn’t have a Christmas. There is underprivileged families out there, we get the schools, talk to the counselors, we get permission from their parents that we’re able to show up at their house and buy for their children. And we get a list of their ages, sizes, and boy or girl, so we go out on a big shopping spree, and we shop, we wrap them up, the week before Christmas, usually the week of Christmas, we go deliver the gifts to the children. It’s a charity that we wholeheartedly believe in, we put everything we have into it, and when you’re able to bless children that normally wouldn’t have a Christmas, it really feels good. And to see parents’ cry. It makes it worthwhile.”

If you’re interested in being a part of this charity, visit their Facebook page.

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