Luke Air Force Base has more than 420 motorcycle riders. As a rider on Luke, it is required to complete a basic rider’s course. It is also mandatory to wear personal protective gear. It never hurts to be too safe especially with the number of deaths and injuries from motorcycle accidents.
In 2012, Luke had 12 accidents occur involving base Airmen, one resulting in a fatality, according to Staff Sgt. Timothy Noel, 56th Fighter Wing Safety ground safety technician.
There are three main issues that contribute to vehicle mishaps and all are preventable, he said.
“We hear quite often from people driving cars and involved in motorcycle mishaps that they didn’t see the motorcycle or motorcyclist at all, making visibility the key,” Noel said.
By way of their design vehicles have more to protect occupants than motorcyclists do. The only protection motorcyclists have for protection is the gear they wear, making personal protective equipment the key factor.
“Riders are like the modern day cowboy; they love to show their individuality,” Noel said. “There are many styles of gear out there but riders need to wear gear that is outlined in our instructions and that give proper protection. PPE can be the deciding factor in the severity of the injuries.”
PPE is designed to help protect you especially at high speeds, Noel said.
“Speeding is the prime cause of vehicle mishaps, especially motorcycles,” he said. “The riders are not protected by restraints or a metal frame like in a car. The rider becomes an extension of that motorcycle.”
The lack of protection while riding a motorcycle makes going to courses and keeping up with training that much more important, leading to the final point to motorcycle safety.
“Constant training to keep your skills up to date and to handle a variety of situations that may occur on the road is crucial,” Noel said. “Although you can’t prepare for everything, training will tremendously increase your chances of survival.”
All of these things are what motorcycle riders need to keep in mind when on the road for any reason.
“Lastly, remember to give yourself space, said Randall Voy, 56th Fighter Wing Inspector General representative and motorcycle safety class trainer. “People driving cars just don’t see motorcycles sometimes. Even when drivers do see you, chances are they’ve never been on a motorcycle and can’t properly judge your speed. So, know your bike and how to use it. Receive formal training and take refresher courses. They’re offered right here on Luke.”
For more information on motorcycle safety classes, call 56th Fighter Wing Safety at (623) 856-6104.