Motorcycle safety keeps Airmen alive

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Montse Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Rider fatalities as well as accidents have been on the rise for many years and to this day, remain the biggest threat for Air Force personnel, according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Unfortunately, accidents this year have already taken the lives of 10 Airmen throughout the Air Force.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported Motorcyclist fatalities reached 5,290 in 2008, accounting for 14% of total crash fatalities.

High fatality and injury statistics are all the more reason why motorcycle safety is essential to everyone.

There are several steps riders can perform in order to help reduce the statistics mentioned above by keeping themselves and others safe while on the road.

"Military members who want to ride on base must first let their unit motorcycle safety representative know and they will set up a one-on-one interview with their commander," said Master Sgt. Paul Masterson, 509th Bomb Wing Safety Office superintendent. "Then the MSR will schedule them for the motorcycle safety foundation basic rider course taught at UCM safety center in Warrensburg."

Sergeant Masterson said once the course is completed, riders will be able to obtain a card that allows them to get a motorcycle license with only a written test from the DMV. With their license and proper gear, riders will then be able to ride on base.

Once they get all the requisites accomplished, many Air Force members join the Green Knights Club, a base-recognized motorcycle club involved in numerous charities around the local community, according to Staff Sgt. Brian Muller, Green Knights vice president.

"We encourage ongoing rider education and skills development to help reduce the potential of motorcycle mishaps," said Sergeant Mueller. "We try to set the example for all personnel according the standard, traditions and customs of the United States Armed Forces."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that helmets saved 631 motorcyclists' lives in 2000, and 382 more could have been saved if all riders had worn them. Helmets are expected to be 29 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcyclists.

"We continue to ensure the safety of the riders on base, making sure all riders wear brightly colored outer garments or reflective clothing, gloves, a Department of Transportation approved helmet, eye protection, and sturdy footwear," said Sergeant Muller.

"Riders need to remember that the most dangerous thing on the road for a motorcycle rider is other automobiles," he said. "Whether a person takes their eyes off the road for a second, or is talking on a cell phone, or even changing the radio station, a spit second could be the difference between life and death."