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Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Motorcycle safety instructor says it's time for riders to brush up their own skills

post by Howard B. Owens in business, motorcycles, safety, Stan's Harley-Davidson

It's spring. It's traditional each spring to remind car drivers in WNY that motorcyclists are going to be out on the road again.

Look for them.

But a big part of Jon DelVecchio's message to motorcycle riders is you're the one most responsible for your own safety.

Yes, drivers of four-wheeled boxes need watch the roadways better, but there are things that alert and trained motorcycle riders can do to avoid crashes, even when confronted with the most inattentive drivers.

"Riding a motorcycle takes years of practice and effort to master," said DelVecchio, who will be teaching a motorcycle safety course at Stan's Harley Davidson at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 26. "You have to do something to improve your skills every year. A lot of people say, 'I'm going to go out, hope for the best. Those damn car drivers. It's always their fault.' "

DelVecchio, a Churchville resident, is a certified Motorcycle Safety Instructor who teaches the basic licensing course at Learn to Ride in Rochester. He's also started his own motorcycle safety business, Street Skills. He writes articles, produces videos and podcasts and sells a deck of flash cards riders can use to brush up on their skills each spring.

Too often, he said, riders take the basic riding course, pass the test, get their license and they think they're ready to ride. They never take another course, read a book or even watch a training video.

He doesn't take credit for the saying, but somebody once said that the typical motorcycle rider who has been riding for 10 years really only has one year of experience. They just keep repeating the first year over and over and over.

"Your skills are never fully mastered and in the spring you're off your game, so do something different this season," DelVecchio said. "Take a class. Read a book. Do something to improve skills, not just this year, but every year."

DelVecchio started riding in 2001. He had a wife and two toddlers, plus he taught driver's ed at Rush Henrietta High School, so he already took safety seriously (he's also a business teacher at RHHS). By 2007, he was offered a chance to teach at Learn to Ride and found that teaching motorcycle safety combined his two biggest passion -- teaching and riding.

During this time, he also formed a group through MeetUp.com of riders who shared a love of bikes, but also took their skills seriously. They ride together regularly and take trips together throughout the Northeast.

He's found riders have varied attitudes toward bike safety. There are the riders who get big bikes, like to ride without helmets or only with small helmets, and combine riding with maybe a few beers along the way, then there's the younger riders who get fast bikes, ride them fast and take risks.

DelVecchio was careful to not criticize either kind of rider. "To each his own," he indicated, but he would clearly like to see all riders take to improving their motorcycle skills more seriously.

The most common kind of motorcycle accident is the car turning left in front of an oncoming motorbike.

Drivers are reminded constantly this time of year to look twice, take extra care, but even that isn't enough, DelVecchio said.

Riders need to be aware that even careful drivers are going to have a hard time seeing you and if they do, it is difficult for drivers to gauge a motorcycle's speed and distance.

A video on YouTube demonstrates how a motorcycle coming down the road looks small in the distance and continues to look small to the driver until suddenly it looks very big. A bike and rider also have a greater likelihood than a car of blending into the background.

Motorcyclists need to be acutely aware of these visual impairments for drivers and either weave in their lane of traffic when approaching an intersection with a car present (making themselves more visible) or take other defensive driving action.

The second most common type of motorcycle accident involve riders coming into curves. They might be going too fast (relative to skills and experience) or they might not be familiar with the curve, or they might hit a substance on the roadway. The less experienced or knowledgeable a rider, the less aware they are of how to handle turns.

Turning a bike involves something called a countersteering. With a four-wheel or three-wheel vehicle, if a driver wants to go right, he or she turns right. Go left, turn left. But on a two-wheel vehicle, a rider who wants to go right needs to turn the front wheel to the left slightly and then lean into the turn.

Most of the time, riders do this instinctively, but when confronted with a new circumstance, the rider might pull the wheel in the wrong direction causing the rider to be ejected.

That's one reason extra training, knowledge and experience are so important for riders, DelVecchio said.

While acknowledging that helmets are controversial in the motorcycle community, DelVecchio believes riders should wear them, even full-face helmets, which offer the most protection.

He said he often tells his students that if they could talk to a person who was killed or suffered a serious head injury in a motorcycle accident, how do you think that rider would answer a question about going back in time and wearing a helmet.

"If you could rewind the clock and crash again but with the helmet, how many people out of 100 do you think would actually say, 'no I want to crash again without the helmet.' Right? None," DelVecchio said.

The point is he said, "is how do you know when you're going to crash?"

That said, he isn't in favor of forcing anybody to wear a helmet.

"I'm conservative. I'm tired of the government trying to tell me how to do things, but in that conservative view, I think if a crusty old rider, who has 10, 20 years experience, wants to go riding without a lid and he knows the risk, to me, OK, knock yourself out," DelVecchio said. "But there are so many new riders out there (riding without a helmet)."

As for beer and biking, DelVecchio doesn't do it himself.

"I love a beer, but when I ride, I never even have one," DelVecchio said. "It could be that little edge I give up."

DelVecchio's last bit of advise for riders: Be nice. Riders who are rude just make car drivers care less about the safety of other riders.

"If somebody's a real jerk, they've got a real loud bike and they're doing a wheelie next to a car, that person is not going to necessarily be punished for that wheelie or loud bike," DelVecchio said. "It's the next person on a bike who comes to the intersection where the other driver thinks, 'they don't care about their safety and I'm going to worry about him.' They're not going to purposefully gun for him, but they're going to think he dosen't care about his safety and he's obnoxious and discount him a little more."

DelVecchio also sells flash cards for beginning car drivers on his Web site. The seminar at Stan's, located at 4425 W. Saile Drive in the Town of Batavia, is free and open to all riders.

Photo: DelVecchio on the front bike. Behind him are his friends, from left, Lennie Rugg, Paul Hendel, Matt Ostrowski and Gene Rinas. The riders meet regularly at the Leaf & Bean in Chili Center, which is owned by Bergen resident (and a motorcycle enthusiast himself) Bill Scharvogel.

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 9:18 am

Photo: A reminder about motorcycle safety on local roadways

post by Howard B. Owens in motorcycles, safety

Meet Trooper Mike Niezgoda, who is part of the State Police motorcycle detail out of Clarence.

Trooper Niezgoda was nice enough to meet me one day out in Pembroke for a photo and an interview to coincide with Motorcycle Safety Month. It was a great interview. Unfortunately, my recorder failed me and the interview was lost.

We've tried to arrange a follow-up phone interview, but it hasn't quite come together.

But it's still an important public service message: Be careful out there.

Car drivers, be aware that you share the road with two-wheeled friends. 

One thing Niezgoda emphasized is "look twice." Most car-motorcycle accidents occur at intersections because drivers simply don't see the approaching motorcycle so they pull out into traffic, especially when making turns.

Drivers need to be careful about following too closely behind motorcycles. Hitting a bike from the rear can be fatal for the rider, even if the speeds would have resulted in just a fender-bender for cars.

For motorcycle riders -- get as much safety training as you can, wear DOT approved helmets, and be alert for drivers pulling into your path.

A couple of notes about Niezgoda and his bike. Trooper Niezgoda is also a Marine. He served a tour in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan. He is passionate about motorcycles and rides a Harley in his off-time as well. The Harley he is riding was part of the factory output on Sept. 11, 2001. Harley-Davidson donated that run of bikes to NYPD and State Police.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 10:55 am

State Police remind drivers to be safe during period of extreme cold

post by Howard B. Owens in safety, State Police, weather

Press release:

The State Police in Western New York encourage motorists to exercise due care over the next few days.

The temperature will be hovering in the single digits in addition to somewhat windy conditions, which will result in subzero wind-chill temperatures.

State Police will be out across the region checking all major routes of travel to ensure that motorists are as safe as possible. The State Police need your assistance to make this possible. Use your best judgment to determine if driving is prudent and also be prepared in case you either become stranded or you encounter a long traffic delay.

Keep the following tips in mind:

-- Get the latest weather forecast before leaving – www.weather.gov , monitor radio or TV stations or contact your nearest State Police station;

-- Start with a full tank of gas and try to maintain it over half full at all times;

-- Make sure fluid levels are sufficient ( windshield washer fluid, anti-freeze);

-- Carry your cell phone in case of an emergency;

If you do go out, be prepared:

1) Is your trunk supplied to help you to be safe in case you are stopped or stranded in an area without assistance readily available?

2) Stock gloves, blankets, warmers, tool kit, first-aid kit, non-perishable foods, water, working flashlight and batteries, cell phone charger, etc.;

3) Have ready a shovel, ice scraper, de-icer, snow brush, rock salt or cat litter, tow chain or cable, jumper cables or battery charger, etc.;

4) If you have an exisiting medical condition, consider having a supply of necessary medication and, if possible, let someone know you are traveling.

Be prepared. Be safe.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 11:32 am

Safety Was Main Topic at Board of Education Meeting

post by Kathie Scott in batavia, safety, schools

Highlights from the Batavia City School District (BCSD) Board of Education meeting on December 18, 2012, include the following:

• Security Procedures Reviewed

• Last BOE Meeting for Retiring Superintendent of Schools Margaret Puzio

Security Procedures Reviewed

Superintendent of Schools Margaret Puzio reported that she met with the District Management Team to review safety procedures that are currently in place, discuss ideas to improve safety, and make recommendations for items to be addressed by the Board’s Safety Committee. All principals have been reviewing safety protocol with staff to ensure that the policies that are already in place are understood and followed. In addition, the District Facebook page had several parents comment, asking questions and raising concerns about the safety of students. One concern mentioned by a few parents was the current practice of holding public votes at school buildings during school hours - because this grants the public unrestricted access to the school building. While this and other similar issues will need to be addressed by the Safety Committee, the District did release this statement earlier, posting it on its Facebook page, in order to correct misconceptions and update the Facebook participants as to what measures are being taken to address security:

“Security procedures at BHS are the same as all other district school buildings with the exception of times. Exact times vary depending on the start time for the school day. At BHS, three doors are open and supervised during student arrival time from 7:00 until 8:05. At 8:05, all doors automatically lock and remain locked throughout the school day. Visitors to the building can enter the vestibule at the main entrance, but must press the intercom to be seen by a staff member on a monitor and must state their business before being allowed entrance into the main office, where sign-in and temporary visitor badges are issued. At the end of the day, doors automatically open and remain open until a designated time in the evening. This allows athletic and other extracurricular participants to enter the building, along with pre-approved community users. We are in the process of reviewing all safety protocols at this time. Our district Safety Committee plans to meet Thursday 12/20.”

A second statement was prepared later and shared with the Board at the evening meeting:

“Our district staff and students have expressed their shock and sympathy in light of last week’s school shooting in Connecticut. Batavia Middle School students are writing cards to be delivered to the students in the Sandy Hook School District as a part of the middle school mindset – be connected.

Many parents have requested information about steps the district is taking to ensure the safety of our school buildings. As part of our last capital project, all buildings received a technology upgrade that included automatic locking outside doors that operate on timers, cameras on doors, and intercoms and monitors to control outsider access to the building. During the last two days:

• Principals have reviewed safety protocols with staff.

• We reviewed our safety procedures building by building at our Management Team meeting and highlighted several areas where we can make immediate changes to create safer environments.

• Some items were referred to a meeting of the District Safety Committee that will occur on Thursday 12/20 at 3 p.m.

• We have invited Batavia Chief of Police Shawn Heubusch to participate in this meeting. In our conversation early on Monday morning, he assured me that he and his team were meeting today to discuss the tragedy in Connecticut and steps that need to be taken here in Batavia to decrease the likelihood of a tragedy here in Batavia.

We all play a role in guarding the safety of our children. If parents or students see something out of the ordinary or if they have a suggestion, they are asked to please share it with either their school principal or Mr. Dailey, our incoming superintendent, or me. It is by working together that we will achieve the highest level of safety.”

~

Previously, the District had posted the following letter from Superintendent Puzio, then the update previously mentioned:

Dear Parents and Members of our School Community,

We extend our sympathy, thoughts, and prayers to our fellow educators, students, parents, and community members in Connecticut. Our children are our hope for a better future and protecting them from danger is our top priority.

As we try to make sense out of this unthinkable tragedy, please know that we take every possible precaution to ensure the safety of our school buildings and we will be especially vigilant during this week. School violence can happen anywhere, but it is still extremely rare. This will be a busy week with many classroom celebrations as our students share their excitement about the holidays and upcoming winter break. Staff members will be sensitive to students who may wish to talk about what they have seen and heard and our counselors are available for additional support. Don't hesitate to ask your principal for support or guidance if needed.

We will be reviewing all emergency procedures and safety protocols with our staff and confirming our procedures for controlling outsider entrance to the school. We will work with the Batavia Police Department as well. Ask your building principal if you have any questions about building procedures.

Thank you for your support and cooperation in keeping all of our students and staff safe.

Margaret Puzio

Superintendent

~~

Superintendent Puzio Retires

With this being her last official Board meeting, Superintendent Margaret Puzio thanked the Board, sharing the following:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board, staff, parents, students, and friends of the Batavia City School District. It has been my honor and pleasure to be an educational leader in this community. I can truly say that our students are the best kids I have ever worked with in my educational career. The staff is outstanding - professional, dedicated, knowledgeable, caring, and fun. The Board of Education has changed some of its members over the last eleven years, but one thing has stayed the same - the exceptional level of leadership and dedication to doing what is right for kids.

I am looking forward to retirement, but please know that you will always have a grateful and enthusiastic cheerleader for the Batavia City School District looking on from the sidelines.

Thank you and God bless.

~

Likewise, Board President Wally Guenther thanked Mrs. Puzio for her years of dedication and service, noting that he respected and appreciated her commitment to the District and to the students.

Monday, January 24, 2011 at 10:48 am

Cold weather safety tips from city fire chief

post by Howard B. Owens in safety, weather

While the current temperature in Batavia is hovering around zero, it is expected to warm to a balmy 20 degrees later today.

Meanwhile, City Fire Chief Jim Maxwell sent along these cold weather safety tips.

With the temperatures dipping to lows not seen for the past several years, a few simple reminders on cold weather safety may be in order:

Cold weather can be hazardous, so take steps to dress properly if you are venturing outside. The American Red Cross issued these reminders:

  • Limit your time outside, dress in layers, wear gloves or mittens, and wear a hat that covers your ears. Wear waterproof boots and keep your clothes dry.
  • Do not leave pets outside for extended periods.
  • Check on vulnerable neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and others who may require special assistance.
  • If using a space heater, don't overload electrical outlets and keep the heater at least 3 feet from materials such as curtains, furniture and bedding. Never leave space heaters unattended.
  • Never leave a fire burning unattended in a fireplace. Be sure the chimney is regularly cleaned and inspected.
  • If your furnace vents through walls rather than the chimney, make sure the air intake and exhaust are not blocked by snow. Blocked vents can cause carbon monoxide to build up inside the home.
  • Check on pipes that may be prone to freezing. If sink pipes run through enclosed cabinets, try opening the cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around pipes. A slow trickle of water in pipes helps reduce the risk of freezing. Consider wrapping pipes that are exposed to the cold.
  • Keep your car's gas tank full, which will help prevent the fuel line from freezing.

The following is an Extreme Cold Safety pamphlet from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/pdf/cold_guide.pdf

Car Safety Tips: http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/beforestorm/preparecar.asp

Be sure to have, at a minimum, one functioning Smoke Alarm and one Carbon Monoxide Detector.

You Can Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure:

  • Do have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do install a battery-operated CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds, leave your home immediately and call 9-1-1.
  • Do seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseous.
  • Don't use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, garage or near a window.
  • Don't run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
  • Don't burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn't vented.
  • Don't heat your house with a gas oven.
Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Deputy reminds us to be safe on the roads

post by Howard B. Owens in safety

Deputy Brian Thompson e-mailed this reminder for drivers to slow down and be mindful of road conditions:

Please remember to drive with headlights on in inclement weather. Especially fog and rain. Conditions for black ice and hydroplaning are peaked right now. Please slow down and don't use cell phones or text message. Keep eyes on the road, reduce speeds and increase following distances. The life you save may be your own. Thanks! NY State VTL 375 2a1 is applicable.

The vehicle and traffic law mentioned by Deputy Thompson refers to having two working headlights.

Headlights are required a half-hour before sunset (today, at about 4 p.m.) through a half-hour after sunrise (tomorrow, that will be about 8 a.m.), and any time conditions require windshield wipers.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Pair of Megabus accidents puts company's safety record in spotlight

post by Howard B. Owens in megabus, safety, travel

megabus.jpgEuropean-based Megabus, which a year ago started service in the Northeast U.S., bills itself as the eco-friendly, high-tech, inexpensive and safe way to travel between major cities.

It's that safety part that raises an eyebrow or two recently.

Two Megabus motor coaches have been involved in Thurway crashes in the Gensee County area in the past two weeks.

In both cases, buses tipped over. In one, high winds are a likely factor. In the other, the bus driver is accused of falling asleep.

WBTA spoke Edward Hodgson, president of Megabus, who said Megabus has a good safety record.

A search of Google didn't uncover prominent documentation of ongoing safety issues, either.

Megabus operates passenger service between Toronto and Buffalo to New York City using the New York State Thruway.

Friday, September 11, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Assemblymen Steve Hawley & Dan Burling Announce Free Hunter Education & Safety Course

post by Steve Hawley in education, free, hunting, public, safety, steve hawley

 

***NOTICE OF PUBLIC EVENT***

 

HAWLEY & BURLING ANNOUNCE FREE

HUNTER EDUCATION & SAFETY COURSE

Free 3-Course Series Begins October 1 at Batavia Rod & Gun Club

 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) and Assemblyman Dan Burling (R, C, I – Warsaw) will be hosting a free Hunter Education and Safety Course, taught by Carl Hyde, Jr., beginning October 1, 2009 at the Batavia Rod and Gun Club.  Space is limited so interested persons should sign up today.

 

“I have worked hard to protect and promote our rural traditions, such as hunting, from excessive and overbearing legislative mandates, but I am a firm believer in responsible gun ownership.  That’s why I am pleased to help promote this free Hunter Education and Safety Course and look forward to offering more opportunities like this in our region,” said Hawley, who, as a member of the Assembly Tourism, Arts and Sports Committee, brought a number of individual sportsmen and groups to Albany to ensure their voices were heard during this year’s annual “Gun Day.”

 

“As passionate as I have been in fighting for Second Amendment rights, I have been equally passionate regarding gun safety and education.  Having firearms is not only a right, it is a responsibility.  When it comes to hunting or protecting our families, we owe it to our families and communities to ensure gun safety is practiced by all,” said Burling.

 

            The first Hunter Education and Safety Course, a three-part series, will begin on October 1 and participants must attend all three classes (Thursday, October 1 from 6 pm to 9 pm; Saturday, October 3 from 8 am to noon; and, Monday, October 5 from 6 pm to 9 pm).  All courses will be taught at the Batavia Rod and Gun Club.  Those interested in signing up should do so in person at Batavia Marine and Sporting Goods, located at 411 West Main Street in Batavia.

 

            For more information or other inquiries, please contact Assemblyman Hawley’s office at (585) 589-5780 or Assemblyman Burling’s office at (585) 786-0810.

 

###

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Assemblyman Hawley Invites All to Attend Free Boater Safety Course

post by Steve Hawley in Event, monroe county, recreation, safety, steve hawley

        ***NOTICE OF PUBLIC EVENT***

 

 

HAWLEY INVITES ALL TO ATTEND

FREE BOATER SAFETY COURSE

 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia), in conjunction with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Parks and Marine Unit and New York State Parks Police, is hosting a free Boater Safety Course for the public.  The course will be held on Saturday, June 20 at Hamlin State Park.

 

“We are fortunate to live in one of the best tourist destinations in the Northeast.  This summer, I encourage everyone to rediscover their own backyard and am inviting all boaters to join me at this free and informative event,” said Hawley.

 

New York State law requires that all boaters pass an 8-hour boating safety course if:

 

§         You operate a personal watercraft, such as a jet ski, and are at least 14 years of age;

§         You wish to operate a motorboat (other than a personal watercraft) and you are at least 10-years-old and less than 18-years-old;

 

Steve Hawley’s free Boating Safety Course is an officially-recognized 8-hour safety course, as required by law.  Subjects covered include: proper equipment, the rules of the water, buoys, safe operation, accidents and special activities.  Although the course is free, there will be a $10 fee for processing a permanent boating safety certificate with the New York State Department of Parks.  Anyone caught boating without a safety certificate may face fines and or imprisonment.

Details of the course include:

 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s Boating Safety Course

Hosted in conjunction with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department

 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Participants should bring a bagged lunch

 

Hamlin State Park, Shelter 1

1 Camp Road

Hamlin, NY 14464

 

RSVP by calling Assemblyman Hawley’s office at 585-598-5780

 

 

###

 

Thursday, May 22, 2008 at 8:59 am

News roundup: No working smoke detectors in Byron apartment that burned

post by Philip Anselmo in fire, food, safety, wbta

Check out WBTA for these and other stories:

• No working smoke detectors were found in the apartment complex in Byron that burned down Monday, according to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office. A family four died in the fire that looks to have started in their kitchen, possible near the stove.

• Smoked "Kuta Fish" and "Boney Fish" purchased from the African Caribbean Market on North Clinton may be tainted with botulism, according to the Department of Agriculture and Markets. No problems have yet been reported, but the fish should be thrown out.

• Local law enforcement will be holding a child safety seat inspection between 10:00am and 2:00pm — WBTA reports the date of the event as "next Saturday," which we assume to mean two days from now.

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