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Motorcycle-safety training reinforces risk management

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Ed Staton
  • AFNORTH Public Affairs
Focusing on Airman and Air Force civilian-worker safety was full throttle during motorcycle-safety training held May 29 here.  The half-day course is an annual requirement that included classroom instruction for more than 20 motorcyclists.  The day's training also focused on mentorship and featured a 'refresher' group ride to help riders prepare for the busy summer season.

"This is a preseason safety brief," said safety instructor Master Sgt. Michael White.  "As the weather gets nicer, more motorcycle riders will be coming out.  This is an opportunity for them to get them back on their bikes and refresh some of the skills they may have forgotten over the last few months."

Because motorcycles are less stable and less visible than cars, extra caution is necessary.  Given the lack of protection provided by a motorcycle, the federal government estimates that per mile traveled in 2013, the number of motorcycle fatalities was over 26 times the number in cars.   Therefore, it's vital that cyclist take every precaution possible to maintain high visibility and situational awareness of their surroundings.

"The danger is increasing because distracted drivers are paying more and more attention to their phones and electronic devices capable of playing music, maps, texting and so on," White said.  They're not looking out for us so we have to me more cognizant and looking out for them."

Course material showed new lines of motorcyclist safety wear items are available to enhance a rider's visibility.  Following studies showing how reflective gear is significantly easier seen by drivers than bright colored or white apparel, merchandisers now offer full lines of such gear.  High visibility jackets and helmets project increased visibility further enhanced when an individual also uses reflective tape on the front of the cycle's forks and around wheel rims.

Although much of the safety training steered toward a rider's outward appearance, time was also spent on what's taking place inside a motorcyclist's helmet.  Targeted topics included the importance of a rider keeping emotions in check and always being aware of the road conditions.  Following AFI 91-20 guidelines directing motorcyclist to always wear a helmet was also reinforced by the class instructor.

Individuals seeking to hone their riding skills can do so throughout the year at Tyndall's Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) certified range.  For more information about the range, contact Master Sgt. Michael White (850) 523-0844 or Lt. Col John Taylor (850) 742-4157.  Group classes and individual training are available.