Directorate of Communication and Public Affairs
U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center
It was just after sunset on a cold December night when the Soldier’s motorcycle crashed into a pickup that turned in front of him. He died at the scene. The investigation revealed the Soldier was traveling at a high rate of speed with his helmet improperly secured. Additionally, the victim had not attended the Army-mandated Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic RiderCourse.
While this tragedy added to the toll of Soldiers who’ve died while riding motorcycles, it came at a time when such deadly accidents are on the decline across the Army. The drop can be tracked to the Army’s focus on a successful safety program that is saving lives, and then making it even better.
"We’re adding enhanced behavior training to our basic motorcycle course," said Lt. Col. Joseph Harvey, director, Driving Directorate, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center. "The 2014 update to the Basic RiderCourse contains a more robust behavioral classroom component and some changes to range exercises that develop a rider’s skills more quickly."
The update is the product of $2.4 million in research the MSF began in 2010. The new course includes approximately 40 percent more content on rider perception and escape paths, 30 percent more instruction on negotiating curves and cornering, and 15 percent more practice time for swerving and other crash avoidance skills.
With a motorcycle safety training investment of more than $6 million per year, accident and fatality reports show the Army’s efforts in basic, advanced and sport bike training have reduced the totals. Proof is in the numbers — motorcycle fatalities involving Soldiers fell 15 percent between fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013.
"One rider fatality is one too many, but we should still recognize our successes," said Walt Beckman, program manager, Driving Directorate, USACR/Safety Center. "A total of 13,170 individuals went through the basic motorcycle course in fiscal 2013, and the year ended with 40 fatalities, representing a 99.7 percent success rate."
For more information on the Army’s motorcycle safety courses, visit https://safety.army.mil.