A 27-year-old Specialist assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia, died in a PMV-2 mishap 25 June 2022 in Fort Mitchell, Alabama, at 2122 local. The Soldier was operating his motorcycle when he collided with an SUV turning east off the highway. Alabama State Troopers and emergency medical services personnel responded and pronounced the Soldier dead at the scene. Initial reports state that speed was a contributing factor. The Soldier was wearing the required personal protective equipment and had completed Motorcycle Safety Foundation training. The involvement of alcohol or drugs is currently unknown.
Since 2017, the Army has lost an average of 25 Soldiers a year to off-duty PMV-2 mishaps. This mishap was the 20th off-duty PMV-2 fatality of FY22.Motorcycle Safety Tips
Here are a few ways to enjoy your motorcycle rides without compromising safety.Gear Up
Contrary to popular belief, looking cool should be the last thing on your mind when it comes to getting on your motorcycle. Regardless of how hot it is outside, sandals, shorts, and a T-shirt are inappropriate riding attire.
Jeans also offer little protection against road rash and injury if you happen to be in a motorcycling accident. You should opt for unrivaled protection with reinforced or leather boots, trousers, or jackets.
Goggles or glasses are a must-have for open-faced helmets, and gloves are an ideal option to protect your hands. There’s also uniquely designed gear that’s ideal for cooling and ventilation in warm weather.
As a rule of thumb, avoid riding without a DOT-approved helmet regardless of how unsightly it looks, as it could mean the difference between life and death.Safety Checks
Before hopping on your bike and speeding off to your destination, give it a thorough once-over. This entails checking out the lights, tire pressure, and mirrors. In doing so, you’ll notice if there are potential mechanical hazards such as leaks and loose bolts.
You need to be diligent when it comes to regular maintenance and care by staying on top of tire wear, suspension and chain adjustments, brake pad wear, and oil changes.Hit the Brake for Motorcycles
Being on a motorcycle doesn’t automatically make it easier to spot other bikes on the road. Therefore, along with hitting the brakes in all sorts of riding conditions, always double-check when turning or switching lanes.
To ensure that a quick stop won’t result in a grisly road accident, always give ample room to the cars ahead of you and master the art of stopping on a dime without locking the brakes. Alternatively, you can advance to anti-lock brakes.
Research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that ABS brakes on your motorcycle can lessen the likelihood of being in a tragic road accident by up to 37%.Spread the Love
Without a doubt, motorcycles are typically regarded as second-class road citizens or overlooked. However, as a rider, you can change the narrative by always driving as though you’re an ambassador for motorcyclists worldwide.
Ride with awareness, care, and courtesy, showing that you’re a great representation of motorcycles for those around you. Don’t let the urge to prove a point by retaliating against a reckless driver to overcome your better judgment. After all, it puts a damper on the joy of riding.Ride Defensively
Are you aware that one of the most common phrases drivers say after a collision with motorcyclists is, “I did not see them?” A driver is trained to keep their eyes peeled for other cars, not bikes. As a result of a rider’s narrow profile, they usually find themselves in a car’s blind spot.
Therefore, the best way to overcome this is to ride defensively. It entails assuming that you’re invisible by constantly scanning your mirrors, glancing around you, and being on high alert when you’re on the road.Be Aware of the Forecast
Given that weather is a regular foil to ideal driving conditions, the safety hazard of icy or wet roads increases when you’re on two wheels. You have the absence of a windshield, direct exposure to driving rain, and half the stability of a vehicle working against you.
Poor visibility is a biker’s worst nightmare, and until rain finds you on your bike, you’ll never fathom the pain that stems from being pelted by raindrops at 30 or 50 mph.Ride With a Clear Mind
One of the greatest dangers to riders is hopping on your bike and cruising on the road in the wrong state of mind. Riding when you’re drowsy, deep in thought, or distracted can be a recipe for disaster.
Keep in mind that you’re ultimately the only one looking out for you when you're on a motorcycle. Therefore, if your emotions and mind are anywhere other than on the road, you’re highly vulnerable to rookie mistakes that can end in adverse injuries or, worse, death.Pay Attention to the Road
As a rider, you need to keenly watch the road you’re riding on. When swerving, err on the side of caution by being vigilant for unstable road conditions, including gravel. Don’t throw caution to the wind when crossing railroad tracks as the paint may be slippery. The same applies to the white lines found at every stoplight.Use Your Head
Granted, the mirrors on a motorcycle serve a purpose. However, it’s not practical to solely depend on them for awareness of your immediate riding surroundings. You’ll need to use your head to keep mindful of your position concerning your surroundings and those around you.
Seasoned bikers understand the importance of keeping their eyes and head up while rounding corners. They also understand that the safest way of switching lanes involves turning your head and looking over your shoulder to ensure the coast is clear. Furthermore, you’ll get a feeling for whether other drivers are paying attention to you.Stay in Your Comfort Zone
Know your abilities and ensure that you don’t bite off more than you can chew when it comes to your selected route and motorcycle. Your bike should be a snug fit for you, meaning that your feet should comfortably touch the ground (no tiptoes) when you’re seated.
Moreover, it’s a no-brainer that if the bike feels overly heavy and bulky for you, then it probably is. To effortlessly get on and off your bike, the controls and handlebars should be easy to reach.
As a rule of thumb, the more familiar you are with a route, the easier it is for you to focus more on safety and worry less about missing a turn. Additionally, if you’re riding with a group of bikers, avoid pushing yourself to keep up with the pack. Always ride at your comfort level, rather than theirs.
Remember that just because your bike will go fast doesn’t mean you have to do it on the roadways, if you feel the need for speed take it to the track.Conclusion
Remember, as a biker, you have no control over what happens around you. However, you certainly possess the power to control how you react to everything, so ride with courtesy, awareness, and care.