Motorcycle Forum banner

1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,342 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Here goes another rant. A while back I took a ride over to Mariposa, Ca. On my way home via highway 49 there is some pretty twisty road that has been cut out of the side of a mountain. No guard rails, and in some places 800 to 1000 foot cliffs. It is a road that can be fun to ride but one must be careful; especially in the summer time with all the tourist.

I’m about half way through the twisty section of road when I come upon a couple ridding a new Harley. Each 20 mph corner they came to they slowed to 10, and the rider seemed to be trying to steer the bike around the corner, it was scary watching this guy herd the bike through all the turns. I followed him to Coulterville where he stopped. I just had to stop and talk to him and his wife.

They had rented the bike from a rental company in Fresno that morning, not only did he not know how to ride, he was lost, highway 49 doesn't go to Yosemite. After talking to these nice folks I found they were from the Midwest and on vacation. I asked how much ridding experience he had, he really didn't answer but I could tell from the facial expression of his wife that it wasn't much, but I already knew that.

I didn't want to embarrass the man, but I knew he had no business trying to ride on up to Yosemite. I told him I thought they would enjoy themselves a lot more if they returned the bike to the rental company and then rented a car with GPS and returned to Yosemite. The gentlemen’s wife finally said, “that is what we are going to do.” I suggested a different rout back to Fresno.

My issue isn't with these two people wanting a ridding vacation. It is that the rental company rented them a bike without finding out if he could ride it safely. This guy was an accident looking for a place to happen. I did call the rental company and their response was. “If they have the endorsement we assume they can ride.” To me this just isn't right, these folks could have been seriously injured or killed themselves due to being way over their head on both motorcycle and riding environment.
 

·
It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye
Joined
·
8,668 Posts
Don't you at least have to have an M endorsement to Rent???
You've gotta learn sometime, but putting your life in danger is one thing, but carrying a passenger is just stupid.
 

·
Member Map
Joined
·
23,911 Posts
It's really hard to determine how much experience someone has without simply taking their word for it. Someone can have a license for decades and never own a motorcycle.

I suppose they could set up an obstacle course and make the customer prove their riding skills before renting.
 

·
It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye
Joined
·
8,668 Posts
Yeah and I suppose he could have been a scooter rider trying a cruiser for the first time. I'm not blaming the dealer by any means, they shouldn't have to do anything more than ask if the rider can pay.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,010 Posts
it's good that you stopped that ride from going on - someone could have got killed. the roads in and out of Yosemite are beautiful - but they need to be ridden competently. and definitely not at 10 mph around corners. :)

dunno who to blame for this. maybe the guy persuaded the rental company that he had a lot of previous riding experience ... maybe they didnt ask too many questions.

dT
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,342 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
it's good that you stopped that ride from going on
I didn't stop them, they decided on their own. Actually I think his wife had had enough.

If I owned or managed a motorcycle rental company I would want to make sure the person renting a bike could ride it safely. As I think about it, I believe both the rider and the company are at fault here. Anyway, I hope the remainder of their vacation went well.

I'm on the volunteer fire department and we do see a lot of motorcycle accidents up here in the Sierra foothills.
 

·
Member Map
Joined
·
23,911 Posts
I don't think they ask. The local Harley dealer here has a waiver that states the rider is "experienced with heavyweight motorcycles" before renting.

I guess insurance covers the rest.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,906 Posts
When I rented a HD in South Carolina a while back the rental guy had me take a few laps of the parking lot before he let me go on my own.

It wasn't much of a test, but it was at least something.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Very Famous Person
Joined
·
9,831 Posts
--

I would blame rental companies from being more diligent. They will when they get sued big. One thing is make sure the bike is understood and fits the rider.

For example, even after having ridden 75,000 miles, or so, I got on a Gold Wing and almost crashed it getting out of a driveway. First off, the gear shift was missing a lever which forced me to have to heel shift as toe shifting was very difficult. I didn't realize part was missing. And then, I couldn't fit the toe of my boot onto the rear brake to operate it as it was set up for a skinnier guy.

Had that been a rental (and I don't doubt many rentals are not "sized" for the temporary rider) and I had been somewhat of a newbie, I would have been in trouble. Only because of my current ability to balance, turn and hold up the weight was I able to get by.

I do think the ride around the parking lot is a good idea. It would bring out some of the problems like I mentioned I had.

--
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,010 Posts
yeah ... a test ride does make a lot of sense.

BUT if I were running a rental company ... I'd ask the potential client to do a demo on an older model bike - maybe with a few dings and a good set of engine guards. Its a pretty good bet that the bike will get scraped up quite a bit, so no sense risking the best models in the lineup.

dT
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,169 Posts
Not a rental, but when I wanted to test ride an HD Ultra I was required to sign a paper that said I had experience with a heavy motorcycle. I doubt it really meant anything but the dealer made me sign it. I had experience at the time on a 2007 1300 cc Yamaha so I signed it. It must have something to do with insurance requirements.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,743 Posts
Probably somebody tried to sue the dealership after wrecking on a test drive, and they never driven anything but 125 dirt bike.
 

·
ZAMM Fanatic
Joined
·
2,730 Posts
Boy, that's a classic "Brother's Keeper" scenario. I think ya did the right thing Blaine. His ego may be battered and bruised but at least he isn't having to look at his wife in Intensive Care and hate himself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,906 Posts
yeah ... a test ride does make a lot of sense.

BUT if I were running a rental company ... I'd ask the potential client to do a demo on an older model bike - maybe with a few dings and a good set of engine guards. Its a pretty good bet that the bike will get scraped up quite a bit, so no sense risking the best models in the lineup.

dT
The test ride was AFTER I had signed all the paperwork. Any damage was my responsibility. The company made sure they were WELL protected.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
228 Posts
I rented a Harley this past weekend, I also had to sign the waver and do the test ride around the parking lot. I can't even thing about someone renting a 8 or 9 hundred pound two wheeler with a 1700 cc motor, with little or no riding time on a motorcycle and putting his wife on the back. Man you did the right thing by talking to them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,342 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
In other threads many have stated they wouldn't want a stranger approaching them with safety concerns, and I do understand their point of view. I was very reluctant to say anything at first but I seen him as an accident looking for a place to happen.

They made the decision and I didn't tell them they should, I just pointed out the potential dangers the Sierra mountains can confront us with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,169 Posts
Danny, it happens. I have been riding bikes with dry weights over 850 pounds for over 8 years but how could a dealer ever determine that? What it comes down to is do they believe you when you say you are familiar with riding heavy bikes. If they believe you they will be happy to hand you keys for a late model big bike.
If they do not believe you, how could you ever challenge them? Do you have some kind of credentials to show you really understand riding a heavy bike? So far, thank god, there is no such thing to show you have such an experience.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top