Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month kicked off nationally May 1, but Army leaders are encouraging riders to be aware of motorcycle safety every day, year-round.
As of May 4, Soldier motorcycle deaths were up 56 percent from the same date in fiscal year 2013, a marked contrast to the decline seen at the end of last year, according to a news release by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center, May 5.
Indiscipline remains the single-greatest threat to Army motorcycle riders, according to USACR/Safety Center statistics. Speeding, alcohol, lack of training or personal protective equipment, or a combination thereof have been cited in at least eight of the 15 fatalities reported this fiscal year.
While Fort Huachuca in particular has not had a Soldier motorcycle death since 2010, it is still vital for leaders to ensure their Soldiers are trained adequately.
“With the resources the Army provides our motorcycle riders, it’s astounding that we’re still losing Soldiers to indiscipline,” said Brig. Gen. Timothy Edens, director of Army Safety and commanding general, USACR/Safety Center. “There’s no excuse for it; progressive training, mentorship programs, and many other tools are available to help our riders stay safe. This is where leaders need to step in and hold their Soldiers accountable to the standard.”
In order to ride a motorcycle on Fort Huachuca, Soldiers must attend the Basic Rider Course. This training must be maintained through additional courses such as the Experienced Rider Course, and the Motorcycle Sports Bike Course.
Dan Orta, Fort Huachuca installation safety director, explained that commanders are encouraged to establish and promote a Motorcycle Mentorship Program in their units, as well as encourage group rides and use all available tools offered through the Army Combat Readiness Center.
“Currently, every brigade and separate company on the fort has a Motorcycle Mentorship Program and some go the extra mile to promote motorcycle safety in their units by conducting motorcycle rides, motorcycle awareness days, and our annual safety fair,” Orta said.
When riding on Fort Huachuca, or any other military base, Orta recommends that riders be more vigilant, wear the proper gear and ensure they are visible while on the road. Avoid vehicle blind spots and always maintain the bike in excellent working condition.
“I feel Fort Huachuca is doing a good job in ensuring Soldiers are trained, considering the last motorcycle fatality was in 2010,” said Orta. “I feel that it is mainly due to more motorcycle classes and leaders that care.”
To register for a motorcycle rider class, visit https://imc.army.mil/airs/usg_disclaimer.aspx and select the desired course. For more information, contact the Fort Huachuca Safety Office, 533.3697.