Preliminary Loss Reports (PLRs)

About Preliminary Loss Reports (PLRs)

PLRs are intended to be used as an engagement tool for leaders to discuss the hazards and trends impacting Soldier safety and readiness. A PLR contains only basic information, as the investigation is ongoing, but provides sufficient background to allow leaders an opportunity to communicate risk at the Soldier level.


PLR 23-042 - PMV-2 Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life

A 31-year-old Staff Sergeant assigned to Fort Shafter, Hawaii, died in a PMV-2 mishap 15 April 2023 in Honolulu, Hawaii, at 0300 local. Two Soldiers were riding their motorcycles when Soldier No. 1 veered off the highway, impacted a guardrail and was ejected from his bike. Soldier No. 2 was following behind at an unknown distance and observed Soldier No. 1 impact the guardrail. Soldier No. 2 attempted to avoid the debris but crashed and sustained minor injuries. The Honolulu Police Department (HPD) responded and Soldier No. 1 was pronounced dead at the scene. Soldier No. 2 was transported to a local hospital for further treatment and discharged. Both Soldiers were wearing the proper personal protective equipment and completed the required Motorcycle Safety Foundation training. It is currently unknown if speed or alcohol were contributing factors to the mishap. The unit/safety points of contact are waiting for HPD to release its final report.

Since 2018, the Army has lost an average of 24 Soldiers a year to off-duty PMV-2 mishaps. This mishap was the 14th PMV-2 fatality of FY23 and above the number of fatalities for the same time last year.

Is it Safe to Motorcycle at Night?
When it comes to motorcycle riding at night and its safety challenges, different people have different opinions. Some think driving at night is safe since there are fewer road users and traffic congestion. However, there are still others who view that night riding should be completely avoided due to the associated risks.

No matter the opinion, there are some challenges associated with motorcycle riding at night.

Low visibility
This is the most critical challenge facing motorcycle riding and other road users at night. With low visibility, it becomes very difficult to maintain focus and speed. As a result, most road accidents occur at night.
This could either be that riders can’t see other objects clearly or other road users do not see them. However, this can have an easy fix by using motorcycle glasses for night riding that enhance low-light visibility.

Obstacles on the road can pose a great safety risk to riders at night. It could be in the form of debris, roadblocks, potholes, manholes, loose gravel and others. In addition, due to darkness, the obstacle could become less visible to the rider. In such a case, his maneuverability will also reduce, and a potential collision could be life-threatening.

Drunk riders and drivers
When you decide to ride in the night, you should know that you’re not the only rider. Some other riders and drivers might be drunk. When a drunk driver is behind the wheel, they can’t maintain good road safety tips. Moreover, if the driver has limited vision, they’ll pose dangerous risks on the road for others.

Most animals that run in the night will naturally freeze once they gaze into oncoming headlights. If the animal’s eyes emit a glow, it will be a signal to you of its presence. However, if the eyes don’t, you may not notice their presence in time. Therefore, running through them or trying to maneuver around them at close range could lead to an accident.

Motorcycle Safety Tips for Riding at Night
Riding in the night could be inevitable in most cases. Many people do it as part of their hobbies or enjoyment. But some will engage in it as their only available means of commuting. Getting motorcycle safety tips for riding at night will protect you and your bike in whatever category you are. See them below.

1. Enhance your visibility

Low visibility is a critical safety risk for motorcycle riding at night. But you can make yourself more visible during your night rides in the following ways:

  • Wear high-visibility gear/clothing – Making yourself be seen in the night is a great means of reducing accidents. So, wear brightly colored clothing or a jacket before your ride. Wearing fluorescent colors such as green, yellow, orange and white will make you seen by other riders and drivers. When you dress in all black or dark colors, it keeps you hidden and limits your safety.

  • Use a white helmet – Wearing a helmet with safety certifications will give you protection in case of accidents. However, while gearing up, select a white helmet. This helps other road users to pick you out with ease.

  • Include reflective tape – You can increase your visibility by adding reflective tape to your clothing. Such tapes emit reflective lights at night and will help you increase your safety.

  • Use a loud exhaust to be heard – Not only should you make yourself more visible, but you also should be heard. Using a loud exhaust for your motorcycle will cause other road users to hear your approaching movement even before seeing you.


2. Increase your motorcycle visibility

Keeping your motorcycle more visible for your night rides will serve as great safety tips. You can also go for any of the motorcycle glasses for night riding to enhance your safety.

Here are some of the ways you can make your bike more visible:

  • Switch on the headlights and clean them when necessary– Riding in the night with a faulty headlight is risky. Instead, ensure your headlight is on and functioning properly. This will help to illuminate your front space. Never ride your motorcycle with streetlights. Also, the lenses of your headlights can get dirty over a long time of usage. With debris and dirt particles on the road, the lenses can become fogged and cloudy. However, with the use of water and a clean, non-fluffy cloth, you can easily clean the lenses to make the lighting brighter during your ride.

  • Ensure your brake handle and lights are functional – Before you embark on a ride in the night, you should check your brake and the brake lights. If other road users can see your brake light, they will know when you're slowing down. This will increase your safety.

  • Clean or replace your visor – Your bike visor can undergo wear and tear. Also, it can become dirty, which will invariably reduce your visibility. Therefore, ensure you regularly clean the visor. When it becomes too old, replace it.




Previous Article PLR 23-041 - PMV-2 Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life
Next Article PLR 23-043 - PMV-Pedestrian Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life