A Specialist assigned to Fort Bliss, Texas, was involved in an off-duty PMV-2 mishap 5 April 2021 in El Paso, Texas, at 0100 local. The Soldier was operating his motorcycle at night at a high rate of speed when he hit a center road barrier on the road. He was ejected from his motorcycle, suffering severe injuries and transported to the local hospital for medical attention. It was reported that he was wearing a helmet. It is unknown at this time if the Soldier had completed the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Basic RiderCourse or if he was wearing full personal protective equipment. The Soldier died due to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the hospital on 10 April 2021 at 2000 hours. The mishap is under investigation.
Since 2016, the Army has lost an average of 27 Soldiers a year to off-duty PMV-2 mishaps. This mishap is the 12th off-duty PMV-2 fatality of FY21.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
Inspect Lights Prior to Trip
If you know ahead of time that you will be riding at night, it’s a good idea to inspect all of the bike’s lights prior to a trip. Knowing if there are issues with any of the lights will allow you to make repairs before hitting the road, keeping you from an accident that has the potential to cause traumatic injury. It is a good idea to make sure the headlight, taillights, and indicators are operational and not burnt out. Also, make sure that they are bright enough to let other motorists see you. Clean the lens of a headlight of any dirt, dust, or other debris that have accumulated from recent rides.
Watch for Wildlife
When riding at night, you must be extra vigilant for wildlife. It’s not that you won’t encounter wildlife during the day, but they are more active at night. Be on the lookout for deer, possums, bears, and any other wildlife that could run out in front of your motorcycle while on the road at night.
Dress for the Dark
Motorcycle riders should always dress appropriately when on their bike and this includes wearing reflective clothing. This is a habit you should get accustomed to in the daytime so that it becomes second nature if you decide to ride at night. In addition to a hi-resolution reflective vest, you should also wear your helmet, closed-toed shoes, and clothing that covers as much of your body as possible. If you don’t want to wear a vest, place hi-resolution reflective stripping on your jacket and helmet. This will help other motorists see you as they approach.
Be Aware of Other Motorists
As focused as you have to be on your own driving habits when riding a motorcycle at night, you must also focus on the other motorists around you. Other drivers might not turn off their high beams as they approach you, might not notice you in your lane, and could be driving drunk. These are all issues that you must be aware of when riding a motorcycle at night.
Be Mindful of SpeedMotorcyclists should be mindful of their speed no matter the time of day they ride, but even more so when riding at night. You should only ride as fast as you can see the road in front of you. If you can see plenty of the road ahead of you, drive at a speed you feel comfortable with, but know that hazards can appear without warning.