Army-wide, motorcycle accidents contribute to Soldier fatalities and serious injuries during off-duty hours. Recent accident trends suggest excessive speed, reckless operation and operator inexperience as the most common reasons. Training, leader involvement, enforcement of standards, Soldier mentorship, in conjunction with the integration of composite risk management, can assist in mitigating ongoing issues with motorcycle operations.
- There are an estimated 7 million motorcycles on United States roadways, compared to approximately 130 million passenger cars.
- Motorcyclists are more than 30 times more likely to be killed and nine times more likely to be injured in an accident compared to a vehicle driver.
- During fiscal year 2012, there were 49 motorcycle fatalities compared to 45 for fiscal year 2011. The latest fatality involving a Soldier occurred Sept. 29. There was one motorcycle accident involving a Fort Irwin Soldier during fiscal year 2012 that resulted in permanent, partial disability.
- The latest motorcycle accident involving a Soldier assigned to Fort Irwin occurred on Oct. 17.
FALL SEASON RIDING TIPS
- Avoid tailgating other vehicles. Cars ahead can’t see you behind the vehicle in front of you. Cars behind may not see you because you blend in with the car in front.
- Increase your visibility in low light by adding reflective tape to your helmet and bike. Wear bright colors. Never trust that a motorist can see you. Be prepared for every car to turn in front of you.
- Stay out of automobile blind spots on the road. In cold weather, drivers are less likely to turn their heads to clear the lane next to them and with the seasonal decrease in motorcycle traffic, car drivers are less likely to notice motorcycles. When you pass, move through the danger zone quickly, but safely.
- If your tires are older than five years, it is time to replace them, even if there is still tread remaining. Tires tend to get hard with age and do not grip as well as new tires.
- Fall weather means the danger of hypothermia is present. Specific seasonal gear to ride safely is recommended, such as: light, windproof layers that don’t bunch up at the joints covering torso, arms, and legs; a neck gator; warm, but flexible gloves; a full face helmet with a non-fog shield; thick socks, and; boots.
Taking Motorcycle Safety Foundation-based training can give novice and experienced riders enhanced skills for safely navigating streets, roads and highways.
Take advantage of the experience offered by more seasoned riders by joining a Motorcycle Mentorship Program.