Motorcycles- They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere! Mr. JT Coleman
Communication and Public Affairs
U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center
Every May, we celebrate Motorcycle Safety Month and by now, we have all noticed a marked uptick in the amount of motorcycles sharing the roads with our four-wheeled vehicles. With each motorcyclist we see, we are probably asking ourselves, ‘did they bring their bikes up to a level of safe operating after the long winter hibernation period using T-CLOCS’
; and ‘did they also awaken their riding skill set and get into some type of remedial training prior to hitting the road’. A safe, conscientious motorcycle rider knows that their riding skills can parish if not used for long periods of time. Therefore, it is highly recommended that riders, both novice and expert levels of ridership, review the motorcycle refresher exercise videos found on the USACRC web site.Just the facts please-
In 2016, 4,976 motorcycle riders and passengers died in crashes, and nonfatal injuries that year totaled 88,000, according to Injury Facts ®, the statistical compendium on unintentional deaths and injuries published by National Safety Council. Fatalities among motorcycle riders and passengers have increased nearly 3% from 2006, driven largely by an 8% increase in 2015.
A rider’s got to know their limitations-
- Motorcycles make up 3% of all registered vehicles and only .7% of all vehicle miles traveled in the U.S.
- Motorcyclists accounted for 13% of all traffic fatalities in 2016.
- 26% of riders who died in a motorcycle crash in 2016 were alcohol-impaired.
- 91% of riders who died in a motorcycle crash in 2016 were male.
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 80% of all motorcycle crashes resulted in serious injury or death.
- 36% of all fatalities in 2016 were ‘older riders’.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, so-called "re-entry riders," who rode motorcycles in their 20s and decided to take it up again in their late 40s to 60s face additional challenges. There is a lot more traffic to operate in, much more powerful motorcycles, an overabundance of distracted drivers and their own diminished physical skills. That’s why it’s so important when choosing a motorcycle get one that fits your skill level –NOT your ego.Proper PPE can save you-
A properly fitted helmet is the most important piece of PPE the rider and their passenger can use. You should NEVER buy a used helmet, and be sure to look for helmets with the DOT sticker. There are a lot of ‘fake’ helmets that offer little to no protection during accidents. According to Injury Facts ®, helmets have been estimated to be approximately 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries for the rider and 41% for the passenger.Army Training Sir!-
The Army Progressive Motorcycle Program is designed to consistently keep motorcycle operator training current and sustain or enrich rider skills. The program consists of the following courses: Basic RiderCourse, BRC2 (formerly Experienced RiderCourse), Military Sportbike RiderCourse (Within 12 months of BRC completion), Motorcycle Refresher Training (Required if the Soldier’s deployment is greater than 180 days, and on the individual’s motorcycle) and Motorcycle Sustainment Training (Every 5 years following completion of the ERC or MSRC). If you have questions about required training, contact your Garrison Safety Office or visit AIRS website for information or questions on courses at your location. For courses in your local area please use the Motorcycle Safety Foundation website at http://www.msf-usa.org
. You may also want to consider enrolling in a Motorcycle Mentorship Program at your installation. Their purpose is to establish voluntary installation-level motorcycle programs where less experienced riders and seasoned riders can create a supportive environment of responsible motorcycle riding and enjoyment.
No matter what kind of motorcycle you ride, the training you have received, or the PPE you wear, there are a few ‘extra’ things to consider before venturing out for your season-opener ride.
- Drive defensively, exercise extreme caution - especially at intersections.
- Watch for hazards like potholes, manhole covers, oil slick roadways, puddles, debris, railroad tracks and gravel. These can cause you to wreck if not properly addressed.
- Assume you are invisible to other motorists around you and position yourself to be seen. Never ride in someone’s blind spot, they can prove to be deadly.
- Always use your headlights - both during the day and at night.
- Be courteous to other drivers; don't weave in and out of lanes, or ride on the shoulder or in between lanes.
- Wear bright and/or reflective clothing: long-sleeved shirts, long pants, leather boots that cover the ankles and full-fingered gloves.
- Wear a DOT approved helmet with goggles, glasses or use a face shield that is ventilated to prevent fogging, and make sure it's clear if riding at night.
- Under any circumstance you should never drink and ride. There are too many other safer options to getting you home. Use Them!
So, before you grab a handful of throttle and hit the open roads, make sure to have your motorcycle checked out, your training current and the appropriate weather for your planned route. Remember, the most effective piece of equipment is your brain. Don’t leave home without it!
T-CLOCS Inspection Checklist https://safety.army.mil/Portals/0/Documents/OFF-DUTY/PMV-2/PAMPHLETSCHECKLISTS/Standard/Motorcycle_T-CLOCS_poster_web.pdf
Motorcycle Refresher Exercises https://safety.army.mil/OFF-DUTY/PMV-2-Motorcycles/Training/Motorcycle-Refresher-Exercises
Motorcycle Helmet Use in 2014https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812110
Unsafe and Fake Helmets https://safety.army.mil/Portals/0/Documents/OFF-DUTY/PMV-2/TRAINING/Standard/UnsafeHelmets.pdf