KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — In fiscal year 2012, the Air Force lost 18 Airmen due to motorcycle mishaps.
Eleven of those 18 operators were found to be at fault. Additionally, there were two Private Motor Vehicle-Motorcycle mishaps resulting in permanent total disability.
More than 200 motorcycle mishaps (Class A, B, C and D) have been recorded in the Air Force Automated Safety System for fiscal year 2012. The difference between a Class C or D mishap and a fatality, is a matter of inches or timing.
Sport bikes were the primary type of motorcycle involved in these fatal mishaps. Enlisted members account for 100 percent of the fatalities, with an average age of 25. Ten of the 18 Airmen fatalities were under age 25 and all were wearing a helmet. The majority of mishaps involved a solo vehicle, where the rider lost control from inattention, speed, or misjudging a corner. Human error was the leading cause of these senseless deaths.
With fair weather remaining, riders are trying to get as much seat time as possible before parking their motorcycles for the upcoming winter months. We need to remind our Airmen that during the changing of seasons, the weather is unpredictable and may result in sudden environmental hazards. This can lead to poor judgement and mishaps.
Please reach out to all Air Force riders and make one last push to promote safe riding. Some suggestions for spreading this message would be through commander’s calls, informal discussions in units and work centers, roll calls, flyers, unit web sites and unit motorcycle safety representatives.
Working together allows us to find a way to encourage the use of sound judgement and safe behavior.
I know you’re doing your very best to keep our Airmen safe and I sincerely appreciate your efforts toward promoting safety and mishap prevention.
Thank you for all you do.