Share Your Story, Why I Ride - Preseason Motorcycle Kick-off

  • Published
  • By Lisa Gonzales
  • Air Force Safety Center

As warmer weather rolls in, for many motorcycle riders the anticipation of hitting the open road and enjoying that first ride of the season is euphoric. Every rider should be committed to riding safely.

Every year the Air Force Safety Center develops messages and materials for motorcycle safety.

This year is no different; however, this year’s Preseason Motorcycle Kick-off is focused on you, “The Rider” and the commitment it takes to be a motorcycle rider, from the right training to the correct fitting personal protective equipment for every climate and performing maintenance checks, T-CLOCS for every ride.

Riding a motorcycle is inherently dangerous, from vehicles not seeing you, to bad weather and debris on the roads or not having the right training for the bike you ride.

Make the commitment to defend yourself. Choose to get the training needed for every motorcycle you ride and ride distraction free. Distractions happen quickly and injuries or death with it.

Mental preparation is crucial when riding a motorcycle. Get plenty of rest before you hit the open road, and always stay alert and focused while riding.

Ensure your motorcycle is mechanically sound before you intend to use it; do a T-CLOCS inspection: tires and wheels, controls, lights and electronics, oil, chassis and stands.

Dave Brandt, the motorcycle safety program manager for the Department of the Air Force has created “Share your Story, Why I Ride” series to encourage riders to submit their near miss stories through videos or articles to learn from other riders in avoiding hazards that could have caused injury or death.

“I believe every rider values their life, but when I hear about the accidents and deaths occurring, it makes me wonder if it was peer pressure that made them ride the way they did or lack of knowledge, said Dave Brandt, motorcycle safety program manager for the Department of the Air Force. “That is why I am asking you to send in your near miss stories and make a commitment to ride your own ride and come back alive.”

The Department of the Air Force Chief of Safety and commander, Air Force Safety Center, Major General Jeannie Leavitt, along with Dave Brandt introduced the series as part of the Preseason Motorcycle Kick-off focus where they ask every rider to make a commitment to ride safely and use proper risk management before every ride.

The intent of the year-round series is to give Airmen and Guardian riders another avenue to learn from other near miss stories and to stay committed to riding safely and to ride their own ride, don’t follow the crowd or take the mentality of, “I’ve been riding for years, and nothing has ever happened.”

The Department of the Air Force has had 10 motorcycle fatalities this fiscal year alone and from FY18 to FY22, a total of 54. The leading cause of those fatalities was the lack of risk management, limited or no personal protection equipment, speeding, and alcohol. Why would they take that risk? Would they have taken that risk if they had seen or heard from other riders near miss stories?

The DAF has also seen an increase in E-scooter and E-bikes injuries. E-scooters and E-bikes provide a convenient and easy way of getting around in a crowded city, they are compact, lightweight, and environmentally friendly, but they can also be dangerous if not used with the proper training and the right personal protective equipment. Just like any motorized vehicle you should always follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines when it comes to use and PPE.

“I want to encourage all motorcycle riders to make a commitment to riding safely every ride and get the proper training to make it home.” said William Walkowiak, Chief of occupational safety, Air Force Safety Center “Just because you can accelerate a motorcycle like a rocket doesn’t mean you should! Don’t take unnecessary risks when riding and always wear the proper gear because you are important to me, your families, and to the Department of the Air Force.”

Mother Nature is unpredictable in any season, always be prepared for the unexpected, floods, lightning, spring showers, and wind can happen without warning. The National Weather Service is an excellent tool that can help you stay informed of bad weather in your area and tips to help mitigate any weather situation.

Staying prepared is essential when you decide to ride, think ahead of what could happen, carry the right gear and extra for any situation, stay committed to safe riding this season.

For other riders near miss stories check out the #DAFRider webpage:

Check out the introduction video: 2023 Preseason Motorcycle Kickoff - YouTube