NameAbdil Mahdzan
AboutDrilling Engineer at Petronas
DisciplineStreet luge
LikesFood and nutrition, gym, traveling the world, movies, reading, thought-provoking conversations with close friends
DislikesMalaysian gutter politics

Which helmet(s) do you wear ?

ZG Vector M-6

What protection do you use ?

Spirit Leathers, motorcycle gloves

What safety precautions do you take when riding on open roads ?

Staying in your own lane is common sense, not just for your own safety, but also for the reputation of our sport. We do not want to be perceived by motorists as reckless dangerous individuals seeking a death wish.

When I ride, not only do I stay in my own lane, but I also anticipate that an oncoming vehicle in the uphill lane can potentially illegally cross the middle double white line and come into my lane. By anticipating their illegal maneuver, I remain alert and can hug the white line at the edge of the road when required and still negotiate the narrow space between the edge of the road and the car!

Have you been into any serious accidents ? If so, did protection help you there ?

The most serious injury was my broken metacarpal in my right hand at Teutonia 2013.

Maybe special motorcycle gloves with a hard backing that protects the metacarpals would’ve helped, I was just using normal gloves that don’t have them. The predator did save my life, I don’t know what would’ve happened if I was wearing my Charly when I came off my board.

What’s the best (safety) advice someone gave you ?

Bob Swartz, one of the first guys online who helped me get into the sport back in 1998, has always given a safety talk at every event I’ve been to in the USA when I was living / studying there from 2001-2005. His number one advice has always been to avoid target fixation. When you are trying to make a tight corner, and you find yourself going wider and you think you’re not going to make the corner, continue to focus and look into the inside of the corner. If you look at the outside of the corner, you are going to end up going to the outside (and hit the hay bales, or worse a guardrail if it’s an open road). Target fixation means you are fixating your eyes on the thing you want to avoid. Rather than avoiding it, you will actually end up hitting it!

We were riding an open road during a fun run in Pennsylvania back in 2003, and I found myself in a situation where my rear outside wheel suddenly lifted up in the air during a tight corner. Remembering what Bob told me, I told myself “No target fixation!” so I continued to lean my board thru the corner until I regained traction and I made the corner. Best advice ever given by Bob, because it actually worked!

Have you ever refused to ride an event, because safety measures weren’t taken (enough) and if so why ?

I don’t think I’ve been to a race where the safety measures weren’t adequate. The only time I’ve refused to ride an event was when it rained at Newtons Nation in 2010.

What changes would you like to see/propose in terms of safety regulations (during events) ?

I think the riders need to be briefed about racing carefully in close quarters, they need to be reminded that there are riders next to them going thru a tight corner, so that nobody gets taken out. I’ve been involved in crashes where I have accidentally taken others out and had others take me out as well. Lucky nobody got hurt during those crashes, but that doesn’t mean nobody will get hurt the next time! I try to be careful when I race so as not to take anybody out, and I hope those racing with me will be careful as well.

What do you think of the current helmet policies from IGSA/IDF ?

I think the IGSA/IDF are not in a position to ban certain helmets, or to enforce certain helmets. If they were to do so, the lawyers might come after them in case someone sues after a really bad accident.

I have heard that it is expensive for helmet manufacturers to get a specific certification for gravity sports because they would need to send a lot of helmets to the certication body for destructive testing. On the other hand, some riders think that the EN 1078 certification is suitable for gravity sports. I can’t comment on that as I am not an expert on helmet certification.

What do you think of introducing a motorcycle helmet policy on IGSA/IDF events ?

Just because a motorcycle helmet has better certifications, doesn’t mean that it is appropriate for gravity sports. Again, I think that mandating a motorcycle helmet for use in a gravity sport application will expose the IGSA/IDF to a potential lawsuit in the event someone suffers a traumatic head injury.

Is there something you would like to say about safety which hasn’t been addressed in the previous questions ?

Safety isn’t just confined to the protective gear that you wear, or to your common sense and judgment. Safety also lies in the setup of your board.

I find that the most common advice given to beginner street lugers, is to tighten their trucks so that they don’t get speed wobbles. This works fine when you’re only riding on a straight road with little to no corners. However, once you ride that same tight setup on a fast straight leading to a tight hairpin, those tight trucks will be detrimental to your cornering ability. If you can’t make the corner, you can potentially crash into a guardrail at high speed!

I would recommend that riders use double trucks in the front of their luge, and use soft bushings in both front trucks to improve their cornering ability while still being stable. Riptide Bushings has a great selection of bushing shapes, duros, and urethane formulas for you to try out. Come get some!

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