A new website launched this winter aims to help riders who are in need of assistance while they’re traveling.
The site, AssistanceList.com, was put together by Steve Barnes, and it’s something that should have been done a long time ago. Lists like these have been in existence for a long time on web forums like ADVRider.com, FJRForum.com and hdforums.com; however, Barnes’s new site provides a central database for all that list information.
All those sites have their own lists on his new site, and users can join as many of those lists as they want, whether they ride a BMW duallie, a Yamaha sport tourer, or a Harley-Davidson cruiser.
Here’s how it works. When you sign up, you give the Assistance List your email address and phone number, your first name, your forum handle, your city, tell them which list or lists you wish to belong to, and finally, what assistance you are willing to provide.
Your information will then be visible to anyone else who is on the same list as you. So, everyone on the Stromtrooper list will see your details, if you sign up for it, but if you don’t sign up for the TwoWheelFemales list, your info won’t be displayed there. Users can sign up for as many lists as they want.
Now, say you’re on the road, and you break down. You should be able to use the list to find help to get back on the road. There are several ways of doing this – you can print the list and carry it with you, you can install it on your GPS, you can access the site on a smartphone or computer, you can send a text message to the site that will trigger a help request to your contacts, or you can press the HELP button on your Spot device, which sends a request to your emergency contacts, as well as any participant within a 100 mile radius.
The site will send out an email or text message to whoever you contact. Hopefully, that should help you find someone with the wrenches needed to put you back on the road. And, it’s a global list – the site has a deal with telecommunications providers in 160 countries, to send text messages, so whether you’re in Flagstaff, Vancouver, Dresden or Moscow, the site will work for you.
It’s free to sign up for the list, but if you use the service to send a text message for help, it’ll charge you $5. The money raised goes towards paying for the site.
Really, it’s quite impressive, and even more so when you find out it’s basically the outcome of programmer Barnes’s Christmas break. It turns out Barnes, a rider for 35 years, has also been working at a 911 centre for 25 years. He’s got the experience needed to put something together like this.
He used to run the FJR Assistance List on FJRForums, but says he wasn’t able to keep it as up-to-date as he liked, due to all the work involved. So, he took his spare time during the holidays to create Assistance List.
The site’s biggest need right now seems to be sign-ups. Assistance List has only been online a short time, and a few hundred folks have signed on. They’ll need many more people to sign up for this to really become a success. It sounds like the site has a lot to offer to traveling riders, so take a peek at it – it could be the difference between a ruined trip, or a grand adventure.
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Thanks for the write up CMG!
I carry a CAA Plus membership at about $130/yr. I’ve never had to use it (touch wood) but I do use CAA for maps and out of country medical. The Assistance List isn’t mean to replace roadside assistance, but lots of members have the means to transport your bike, or, get to places where CAA/AAA just won’t go, or will charge you extra to haul your bike beyond their mileage limit.
I’ve run the FJRForums list for years now and the number of changes with 500+ members, on a monthly basis quickly dates the list. I’m familiar with BMWMOA list, and I can pretty much guarantee that at any point in time, that a significant number of their listings are incorrect, despite their best efforts. This is one the benefits of the Assistance List, it’s ‘live’. Participants manage their own data.
One last thing about the $5.00 fee. It is usage based, your free to print or store the list on your GPS and use it how you see fit to get the help you need. The fee only comes into play if you use any telephony based service of the Assistance List. Lets be clear about this, I don’t care if you call a 100 people or send 200 text messages to get the help you need, in fact, you could talk for over 2.5 hours and you would still be charged only $5, or actual cost. Oh, and our telephony provider now services 196 countries, not a 160 🙂
Since the article was researched I’ve added the ability to ‘protect’ your phone numbers should privacy be a concern for you. Your protected telephone number (good idea with landlines that are easy to reverse lookup) will be replaced with a unique code. Should another participant need to call you, they would call our published number voice, then enter your code. Their call will then be forwarded to you with caller id data hidden.
I think this Assistance List will tie the BMWMOA stuff in with a lot of other similar lists ….
The BMW Motorcycle Owners Association has had a similar type of listing since at least ’78. Very comprehensive and very helpful. Booklet is published and updated every year. And its free for all members.
Sounds interesting.. how wouldnt CAA or AA or the international equivalent be much faster?
I think this is meant to tie people together for free, instead of having to pay CAA dues.