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Did your spouse express concern when you became a motor?

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  • Did your spouse express concern when you became a motor?

    I have been offered a position as a motor starting in November. I am thrilled, but my wife, less so. When I told her that I was thinking about putting in for a motor spot, she supported me. But now that the chance is here, she’s less enthusiastic. She’s worried about two things primarily; 1) The risk of an accident, and 2) Me being so much less protected.

    How have others provided assurance to their spouse that they aren’t crazy for wanting to be a motor? Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

  • #2
    I'm going to offer two very off the wall things.

    Many years ago when I got promoted and sent to Sergeants school, one of the first things they taught us was to stay away from the motor cops because they were all crazy. It was advice well taken.

    Next, many years ago my department had to investigate a fatal TC involving a motor from another agency. He was responding to a call (no lights or siren), a woman made a left turn in front of him, failed to yield right of way, he center punched her vehicle with his BMW and was killed. Our investigation revealed something that was very interesting not only to the his agency, but which made us double check all our motor officers as well.

    The officer in question was grossly overweight, well in excess of the safe riding weight for his bike. When you added in the weight of his uniform, helmet, leather, boots, belt, weapon, etc., he was close to 150 pounds in excess of the safe riding weight for his bike. We were able to determine that if he had been within the safe riding weight, he would have been able to stop the bike in time, there would have been no crash and he would have been alive.

    This was something we never thought about with respect to our own people until this investigation. All of our motors were skinny people, yet when we weighed them with all their gear on, they came up just a couple pounds shy of the maximum safe riding weight for our BMWs. It was that close. If any of our perople had been overweight, we would have taken them off motors. I have always been conscious of this and to this day, look carefully at motor cops every time I see one to check their weight.

    Check your weight with all your Batman crap on. Then add a few pounds for motor leather, boots, helmet, etc., and see how that compares for the safe riding weight of the bikes your department issues. Doing that may give you a little more to think about.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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    • #3
      Not a motor myself, but I used to ride on my own time.

      After a few crash investigations involving bikes I decided to sell my bike and buy a Jeep Wrangler.

      No matter how safely YOU ride, your safety depends on the stupidest driver on the road that day.
      "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

      "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Lemos View Post
        I have been offered a position as a motor starting in November. I am thrilled, but my wife, less so. When I told her that I was thinking about putting in for a motor spot, she supported me. But now that the chance is here, she’s less enthusiastic. She’s worried about two things primarily; 1) The risk of an accident, and 2) Me being so much less protected.
        There's no sugarcoating it: Your wife's concerns are well-founded. I don't recall the statistics, but I believe the chances of being injured in a crash are somewhere between 5 and 10 times greater for a motor cop than someone driving a cruiser. Much higher fatality rate too.

        Your wife is probably already worried every time you go to work. Even more so in the current anti-police climate. Now you're volunteering to multiply that risk even more. That's a lot to ask of a loved one.


        Comment


        • Aidokea
          Aidokea commented
          Editing a comment
          I rarely agree with My Town, but on this I do...

      • #5
        Originally posted by Lemos View Post
        I have been offered a position as a motor starting in November. I am thrilled, but my wife, less so. When I told her that I was thinking about putting in for a motor spot, she supported me. But now that the chance is here, she’s less enthusiastic. She’s worried about two things primarily; 1) The risk of an accident, and 2) Me being so much less protected.

        How have others provided assurance to their spouse that they aren’t crazy for wanting to be a motor? Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.
        What kind of motorcycles will you be riding?

        Comment


        • #6
          You asked for wisdom- I'll give it to you.

          I am a retired cop approaching 60 years old. That means that I have survived both a law enforcement career AND being young. It of course also means that I have investigated and assisted with countless motorcycle crashes.

          I also was an expert-licensed motorcycle road racer, motorcycle road racing instructor, and motorcycle road racing official, so I have a pretty good handle on motorcycle riding.

          And I also had a very successful second career in vehicle repair, so I have a firm grasp of the mechanical aspects of this subject.

          So I'm telling you straight up, that riding a motorcycle on public roads shared with other motorists, is far and away the most dangerous thing you will ever be called upon to do as a police officer.

          Your wife is absolutely right to be concerned.
          Last edited by Aidokea; 10-04-2020, 09:44 AM.

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          • #7
            And if your agency uses Harley-Davidson motorcycles, your wife has even more reason to be concerned.

            You are only as safe as the weakest link in your "chain of safety", and Harley-Davidson motorcycles are the equivalent of trading your Glock for a Nerf gun, and then being involved in nothing but gun calls, non-stop, every single day.

            There are only three things that a motorcycle can do- brake, turn, and accelerate, and you need to be able to do ALL three of those things to a degree of competency that is reasonably survivable. Harley-Davidson motorcycles cannot do ANY of those three things well. They are morbidly obese, utterly impotent, and have crap tires, crap brakes, crap suspension, crap geometry, crap ergonomics, and it's all held together by a flaccid tubular steel frame with all the rigidity of a soggy salad.

            The Michigan State Police tests all police vehicles (including motorcycles) every year and publishes a detailed report. The top speed of the current Harley-Davidson police motorcycles is less than the electronically-limited top speed of a Toyota Prius. My last motorcycle would go faster in first gear, than the absolute top speed of some Harley-Davidson police motorcycles. As it is with many things that have to do with motorcycle riding, the result is very counter-intuitive- it means that you will spend MUCH longer, in terms of time and distance, going wide-open at high speeds, struggling to catch up to speeders. And you'll be doing it on a motorcycle that is incapable of turning or braking well. In the current report, the Harley-Davidson FLTHP took .41 mile to reach 100 mph, but it only took .13 mile for the Yamaha FJR1300 to do it.
            Last edited by Aidokea; 10-03-2020, 10:24 AM.

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            • #8
              Lemos, can I ask what your level of formal rider training and/or objectively quantifiable riding skill set is?

              Comment


              • #9
                I also have MAJOR concerns about the "rider training" that most police officers receive- it often focuses heavily on low-speed handling, and ignores everything else.

                Police officers aren't dying because they couldn't turn a 900-pound motorcycle around inside a parking space at walking speed- they die for the same reasons that most other motorcyclists die- because they lack the skill to effectively steer and brake at road speeds.

                Without doing high-speed track days, under the direct tutelage of a skilled instructor, those skills are EXTREMELY unlikely to ever develop to a degree of competency that is reasonably survivable.

                Last edited by Aidokea; 10-03-2020, 10:25 AM.

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                • #10
                  And the "safety gear" the most officers wear is NOT proper safety gear at all- if you go down, you're going to get hurt much worse than if you were wearing proper safety gear.

                  There is no real solution for this- you can't sit for any length of time in sunny weather in an armored leather riding suit, and it's very dangerous to ride at speed without one.

                  The only compromise would be something like an Aerostitch armored textile riding suit- they're survivable while stopped in warm-ish weather without needing IV fluids, and they offer protection up to about 45 mph, as long as you understand that you're gonna lose SOME skin when you go down...
                  Last edited by Aidokea; 10-03-2020, 10:36 AM.

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                  • #11
                    I am not a local and when I was, wasn't too interested in motors but have been riding for over 15 years and teach basic riding courses here in CA. What Aidokea days is all good information. All I will add is that the late great Nicky Hayden had a great line something to the effect of "people say hitting water (as in jet ski, wakeboarding whatever) at 100 mph feels like hitting concrete. Try hitting concrete at 100 mph. "

                    When I started riding I made sure my future wife knew that was something I do non negotiable. If it was a problem the relationship wouldn't happen. If you dont already ride, then trying to get the wife to accept it as part of work is a tough one. And if you do ride then enjoy that and don't turn it into a 40 hour a week job.

                    Comment


                    • Aidokea
                      Aidokea commented
                      Editing a comment
                      God bless you for taking time out if your life to teach the BRC. The MSF does a better job than anybody in taking non-riders and getting them up and going with important stuff like counter-steering and the SIPDE threat management system. Thank you for your service...

                    • Aidokea
                      Aidokea commented
                      Editing a comment
                      And regarding Nicky, we met him at the Laguna Seca AMA/WSB double-header years ago. My young wife and I were doing our honeymoon there.

                      Superbike racer Jake Holden's sister knew my young wife, who had done a little liquor modeling, was a sponsored bikini model, and was invited to be featured in a bikini calendar. His sister knew that we were doing our honeymoon at Laguna Seca, so she recruited my wife to serve (alongside his sister) as her brother's umbrella girls. That got us into the VIP party, and my wife was able to get her picture taken sitting on many of the racer's bikes, including Nicky, Team Hooters, Team Michael Jordan, and many others.

                    • 9L81
                      9L81 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I met him once at the D store in SF. My brother and I happened to be the only two people on the inside of Rahal straight at Laguna at the conclusion of qualifying at the 2005 MotoGP when Nicky had just set pole position. On his cool down lap, he is coming up Rahal at maybe 30%, looks over at us and waves with the left hand as he does a power wheelie with only his right hand on the clip on/throttle. Nobody else around but me and my bro, almost like he knew us. He was that kind of dude. Three of my friends found their way to the Red Bull after party after the 2006 round and were drinking with him, DP and several other Red Bull sponsored athletes till the wee hours. It was at the Monterey Fairgrounds. Great story with that one but a bit long to tell. I was already on the road back to my brother's for a few days before heading back to NM.

                      Anyway I teach for Total Control who has had the CMSP contract in CA for about 5 years now. Used to be MSF before TCT. But when I originally was licensed it was MSF in NM where I started riding. My understanding is MSF has changed their program a lot and that it is nearly indistinguishable from TCT at this point. Some of our instructors teach both and that's what they have told me. Apparently the military still uses MSF courses. I am like you in that I ride for fun when the roads and weather cooperate and the traffic is flowing or non existent. Barely have ridden at all this year with winter then covid then wild fires. All my favorite routes have burned at least a little. Probably spent more time on training bikes and moving them than riding my own since March.

                  • #12
                    The typical pattern that I have seen, over, and over, is someone who "learned" how to "ride" a bicycle through trial and error, as a small child.

                    They had no understanding of counter-steering, and if they "learned" on training wheels, crippling their skill set for life, because every time a training wheel lifts off or touches down, the steering reverses. When it's on two wheels, it turns in the OPPOSITE direction that the bars are pushed, but when it's on three or more wheels, the steering reverses and it steers in the SAME direction that the handlebars are pushed.

                    They may have fooled around on dirt bikes when they got a little older, but again with literally zero understanding of how to ride.

                    Then when they grew up, they just assumed that they knew how to ride, and so they ventured out onto public roads on a motorcycle.

                    Through trial and error, they figured out how to operate the clutch well enough get it rolling without killing the engine. At that point, they simply stopped learning. What they mistook for an advancing skill set over time, was simply them getting more and more comfortable with not knowing how to ride.

                    This brings us to the last moment of their life, when they were confronted with a challenge that exceeded their zero-skill "skill" set, quite often a very minor one that a real rider would have been able to manage easily.

                    It is tragic, every single time it happens...
                    Last edited by Aidokea; 10-04-2020, 09:39 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      I spent over half of my 30 year career on a motorcycle. When my department decided to increase the size of the motorcycle traffic unit, I applied for a position and my wife actually never voiced a strong opinion either for or against it. She was so busy with her job, we just sort of waved to each other whenever we were both home.

                      Except for the time we had a freak cold front come through the area and the rain turned to ice, I never went down. In that incident I fell over in my driveway! (Nothing bent, scratched or broken!)

                      I worked a lot of motorcycle accidents in my career..... and that was even before everyone driving had a cell phone. Talking and texting was pretty much the reason I got off of the unit. I could see how the future of riding was changing so I went to another traffic squad and drove an SUV. Heck I even sold my "play" bike that the wife and I enjoyed cruising around and sightseeing from.

                      I still get calls from old buddies that want me to get a bike and go on a fun trip, but there is NO WAY I'd get on a two wheeled machine in today's world. I had too good of a career on a motorcycle to ruin my good record now.

                      In my retirement, I do a fair amount of traveling and it scares me to see how many people get hurt on their bikes. I have no idea whether the bikers or a car drivers cause most of the crashes, but does the reason really matter? The pain of hitting the ground hurts either way.
                      If your biggest work-related fear is getting a paper cut, don't try and tell a cop how to do his job.

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Lemos, don't get me wrong- I absolutely LOVE to ride motorcycles. But for all of the reasons listed above, I no longer ride for transportation purposes- I will only do track days or recreational rides up in the mountains on my MV Agusta.

                        I was recruited for our traffic division's motorcycle unit, but understanding the risks involved, the position simply didn't pay enough for me to be willing to take on those risks, ESPECIALLY on a Harley-Davidson.

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Originally posted by not.in.MY.town View Post

                          There's no sugarcoating it: Your wife's concerns are well-founded. I don't recall the statistics, but I believe the chances of being injured in a crash are somewhere between 5 and 10 times greater for a motor cop than someone driving a cruiser. Much higher fatality rate too.

                          Your wife is probably already worried every time you go to work. Even more so in the current anti-police climate. Now you're volunteering to multiply that risk even more. That's a lot to ask of a loved one.

                          Back in my youth I wanted a motorcycle..........................I was a very young EMT and it was just happenstance I guess that at the beginning of spring about 5 yrs in a row I was called to a bad motorcycle accident . That would stop my wanting a motorcycle for that year. I finally forgot about buying one.

                          About this same time my older sisters oldest Brother in Law was a motor officer for the California Highway Patrol (this was during the C.H.I.P.S era) 5 crashes in 7 yrs before he got out. He later retired early after a car accident aggravated his already injured (from the motor crashes) back


                          Yea your wife has reason to be worried
                          My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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