A Florida National Guard Staff Sergeant on active duty for operational support died in a PMV-2 mishap 23 November 2021 in Flagler County, Florida, at 2300 local. The Soldier was riding on Interstate 95 when he struck a semi-tractor trailer traveling in the same direction, reportedly ejecting him from the motorcycle. The Florida Highway Patrol indicated other vehicles may have struck him while in the roadway. Local authorities responded and the Soldier was pronounced dead at the scene. It is unknown at this time if the Soldier was wearing personal protective equipment, if speed or alcohol were factors, or if he had completed the proper Military SportBike RiderCourse. This mishap is still under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol.
Since 2017, the Army has lost an average of 25 Soldiers a year to PMV-2 mishaps. This preventable mishap is the fifth PMV-2 fatality of FY22, above the number of fatalities for the same time period last year.
While motorcycles can be a fun, quick and convenient way to travel, there are higher risks involved compared to driving cars. Due to having less impact protection, many motorcycle accidents become fatal. Should a motorcyclist get into a crash, they are 27 times more likely to die compared to those who get into car accidents. Accidents happen, but sadly, many are preventable.Here a few simple tips to improve your chances and increase motorcycle safety. These tips could be the difference in preventing a fatal motorcycle accident.
1. Be Aware, Be Focused, Be Alert - It is important that you eliminate as many distractions as you can when riding a motorcycle. Be mindful of your surroundings and other cars around you. A sudden stop, change in traffic speed or other obstacles could spring up at any moment. Never operate a motorcycle drunk, sleepy or sluggish. Even small distractions can lead to serious motorcycle injuries.
2. Assume No Car Can See You - Riding a motorcycle makes you less of a viewable obstacle on the road. Many motorcyclists tend to fall within a car driver’s blind spot. In addition, car drivers are subconsciously paying more attention to other cars on the road than motorcycles. Many motorcycle accidents were caused because a car driver did not see a motorcycle and thought a motorcycle “came out of nowhere,” even though the motorcyclist was nearby for miles. It is best to believe that none of the other cars on the road can see you so you do not make a poor decision based on assumption.
3. Pay Attention to the Wheels of the Cars in Front of You - One useful tip for motorcyclists is to pay attention to the wheels of the cars in front of them. Seeing where the wheel pivots will help you discern where they are going if the car decides to change lanes or make a left turn. It also lets you know what direction the car is going if it decides to back up near you.
4. Make Sure Your Path is Clear - While you’re observing the wheels of the cars in front of you, check to make sure your path is clear. Many motorcycle crashes are caused by running over fallen tree branches, rocks, potholes, oil spills or other hazards on the road. While a car could possibly run over these hazards without a problem due to its weight and four-wheel drive, a motorcycle weighs significantly less and requires more balance on two wheels. Look ahead to avoid hazardous paths or pull over to a stop at a safe place if you see such obstacles ahead.Night Riding:
Quite often, you will have to ride at night. After all, it is dark 50% of the time. Dusk is really the worst time, when people’s eyes are adjusting from daylight to headlights. Be especially careful just after sunset. The following tips might help:
-Slow down a little when riding at night, especially on any sort of winding road.
-Use your own headlight, and those of other traffic, to keep an eye on the road surface. It is more difficult at night to see the patch of sand or something that fell out of a pickup.
-Distance between you and the vehicle in front becomes even more important at night. Give yourself room to react.
-Wear a clear face shield without scratches. A scratched shield can create light refraction that might confuse you; two headlights can look like four, and you do not know who is coming from where.
One of your biggest hazards at night may be a “who” coming from a few hours of drinking.
-Be especially alert for drivers and vehicles doing odd things, like weaving in and out of traffic, and give them lots of room.