Motorcycle safety: The last ride of fall

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt Jack Richardson
  • 509th Maintenance Group MXO safety representative
As the riding season winds down and the weather turns to a more wintery mix, many of us riders find ourselves compelled to ride on the few clear, albeit cold, days remaining before winter fully strikes.

Keep in mind that it's only the end of the riding season; next spring will bring a new one and it is only a few months away. Don't go out and take unnecessary risks because you think you're running out of time. Be safe so you are able to ride again next season and always ride within your means.

All motorists must take caution with the abundance of the Missouri wildlife. More importantly, November starts the beginning of the rut; deer crossing roads will become more common. The month of November has the highest amount of deer involved motorcycle collisions out of the entire year, according to the American Automobile Association.
Also keep in mind as the trees continue losing their leaves and the weather get wetter, a patch of road surface coated in wet leaves is extremely slippery and can cause serious traction issues for a motorcyclist. Those hazards combined with the reduced daylight hours affects your visibility and in turn decreases your reaction time to all these hazards, making for possibly the most dangerous time of year to be on a motorcycle.

As for the riders who believe because a wreck will only affect you, you are wrong. Think about your family, your friends and loved ones. Keep them in mind next time you find yourself riding "spirited" down a stretch of road or taking unnecessary risks with yourself and your machine. As long as you're in the military, you will always have a family and your injuries or worse your death will always affect others.

So have fun out there but be safe, ride responsibly and don't let yourself become another statistic.

Remember that you represent the military in every decision you make. Speeding and passing cars is dangerous not only for you as the rider, but also for those around you. Just because your bike may be capable of triple-digit speeds doesn't mean you should do it. Making one bad decision can change your life forever; it can also affect the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance and your surviving family members.

So get out there and enjoy the final days of the 2013 riding season, but before you head out for that last ride, be mindful of the weather, the road conditions and most importantly, the safety of yourself and everyone around you.