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Air Force Safety Center annual preseason motorcycle safety briefing.
Ralph Crump, Kirtland Air Force Base ground safety manager, asks Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, Air Force chief of safety, a question concerning motorcycle training assistance during the Air Force Safety Center annual preseason motorcycle safety briefing held April 25 at the safety center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Keith A. Wright)
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Time to ride!

Posted 5/6/2013   Updated 5/7/2013 Email story   Print story


by Keith Wright
Air Force Safety Center Public Affairs

5/6/2013 - KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Every year more than 39,800 Airmen across the Air Force dust the cobwebs off their motorcycles and pull out their riding gear as the temperature rises. Before they hit the open road, Airmen are required to receive the annual motorcycle safety briefing, per Air Force Instruction 91-207, The U.S. Air Force Traffic Safety Program.

Motorcycle riders assigned to the Air Force Safety Center were treated to a little more than a briefing at this year's event, held April 25. Motorcycle riders watched a demonstration designed to encourage continuous skills development and mentorship as valuable tools to staying safe on the roads. Riders from the Albuquerque Police Department came out to demonstrate some of their skills and provide Air Force riders tips for safe riding practices.

The Air Force Chief of Safety and Air Force Safety Center Commander, Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, opened the briefing by stating the importance of managing risks associated with riding motorcycles.

"Since 2004, there have been 2,538 motorcycle mishaps; that's 162 Airmen that we've lost in that time period," Woodward told the audience. She also noted that the Air Force endured 2,165 lost time mishaps and a total of 44,492 production days lost, which equates to losing war fighting skills of 100 Airmen for 1.2 years.

Arthur Albert, the Air Force Safety Center motorcycle safety representative and Air Force Motorcycle Safety Program manager, followed with updated policies and regulations related to riding, and noted that 85 percent of Air Force motorcycle fatalities between 2008 and 2012 were caused by skill, judgment and behavior errors.

Riding motorcycles is a perishable skill, Albert said, and practice establishes the foundation for safe riding. "The most needed riding skills are not always accomplished during a normal ride. A couple of the most important skills a rider needs for a safe ride are stopping quickly and swerving safely."

Riders use the training and experience they develop over time to make sure they survive an inevitable situation. This can be demonstrated by successfully reducing speed in a short distance to avoid or reduce the severity of any injury, Albert said.

A valuable tool in developing a motorcycle rider's skills is feedback from a more experienced rider. This year's briefing relayed the experiences of motor patrolmen that ride every day in an effort to help start the motorcycle riding season safely. Riding a motorcycle is a high-risk activity and a tip from another rider could just save a life.

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