STAFF SGT. EDENS A. PIERRE-LOUIS
Headquarters and Support Company
209th Aviation Support Battalion
Wheeler Army Airfield
I remember like it was yesterday. It was Nov. 12, 2017, and a few friends and I decided we wanted to go for a ride on this beautiful Hawaiian day. We met at my house and headed toward Highway 3. I was riding my Suzuki Hayabusa to get the fluids running through it. Since it was a show bike, I didn’t ride it much. Out of my motorcycle collection, the Hayabusa was my favorite because of all of the custom work I put into it. Sadly, I wouldn’t be riding it back home.
When we made it to Highway 3, we split into two groups. I decided to stay in the back because I did not want any debris to hit my Mona Lisa of sport bikes. My buddy rode with me in the rear of the second group. Both of us were in the far left lane with him in front. We decided to change lanes so we could be away from an upcoming median that was going to be on the left.
My buddy went first. When it was my turn to change lanes, I put on my right signal and looked over my shoulder to ensure the driver of a white Kia saw my indicator. He did not because he was texting while driving. When he finally looked up, he got spooked and abruptly grabbed the steering wheel, causing the Kia to veer toward my motorcycle. I slowed to get out of the way, but he slowed as well. When he hit the brakes, I attempted to accelerate to get ahead of him.
The road began to curve and I knew I had to switch lanes. I tried again, but his front bumper was too close to my rear tire for me to get over safely. I saw the guardrail ahead and realized I was out of time. I stood my motorcycle upright and braced for impact.
The next thing I remember was sitting on the ground, looking at a gaping hole in my left knee. My back was tingling. The paramedics said the impact with the guardrail was so violent that I blacked out. They told me had I not worn my helmet and the rest of my personal protective equipment (PPE) that I very likely would not have survived. While I always wear a helmet when I ride, I appreciate it a lot more after it saved my life.
I still have that helmet and look at it every day. It makes me realize that there is a reason why the Army puts so much emphasis on proper PPE for riders. Even if you are an experienced motorcyclist, you must never get too complacent or confident and deviate from the use of all the proper safety equipment. There are times when drivers don’t pay attention to what’s happening on the road around them. If you’re ever in a situation like mine, you’ll be glad you have that PPE. Ride safe!
Did You Know?
Since fiscal 2016, the Army has lost an average of 28 Soldiers a year to motorcycle mishaps. Wearing PPE greatly reduces your chances of joining that statistic.