Rising motorcycle mishap deaths among Airmen during fall/winter months alarm Air Force leadership

  • Published
  • By Tim Barela
  • Air Education and Training Command Safety

Seven Airmen have lost their lives to motorcycle mishaps this fiscal year, including four in the past three weeks, according to the Air Force Safety Center. Two of those deaths occurred in Air Education and Training Command.

According to the National Safety Council, colder weather during the fall/winter months typically results in fewer motorcyclists on the road and a corresponding drop in motorcycle mishaps and fatalities, making this negative trend all the more alarming.

Preliminary reports show these mishaps had contributory factors such as excessive speed, alcohol consumption, insufficient training, and improper or no personal protective equipment (PPE); and most – if not all – of these mishaps were preventable if members would have used proper risk management and personal accountability.

Consider the following tips to curb this trend:

  • Take personal accountability and use off-duty risk management.
  • Control impulses to prevent speeding or driving erratically around other vehicles on the road.
  • Complete proper motorcycle training.
  • Wear PPE. Remember that helmets are mandatory on and off base for Airmen and Guardians. Consider Airbag vests which can reduce blunt force trauma by up to 60 percent. The use of proper PPE, including the airbag vest, could reduce mishap severity or maybe even prevent injuries altogether.
  • Consider a local motorcycle awareness “pause” in the next few days to address this negative trend with your fellow riders.

 “Motorcyclist risk management is about learning to manage the exposure to danger and the requisite skillsets to aid in reducing those dangers,” said Robbie Bogard, AETC’s chief of occupational safety. “Not riding impaired, matching your speed to the conditions, using situational awareness, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, and continuing to learn advanced motorcycling skills through the motorcycle training classes offered by the Air Force will aid in keeping riders safe.”