Motorcycle Safety: Share the road this Memorial Day and every day!

Lt. Katherine Voth, a pilot at Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., instructs a student during a motorcycle safety course at the air station Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. The course is a requirement for Coast Guardsmen who operate motorcycles. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cynthia Oldham)

Lt. Katherine Voth, a pilot at Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., instructs a student during a motorcycle safety course at the air station Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. The course is a requirement for Coast Guardsmen who operate motorcycles. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cynthia Oldham)

Together we can reduce motorcycle mishaps and safely share the road!

As we approach the kick-off to summer, we must all take a moment to review motorcycle safety – even if you don’t ride a motorcycle.

Leaders at all levels have a professional and personal responsibility to promote motorcycle safety. Equally important, it is the responsibility of every individual to practice safe behaviors as part of personal risk management when operating a motorcycle. By focusing the same Coast Guard tenacity for mission accomplishment to motorcycle safety, we can end these preventable mishaps.

Commands:

Motorcycle riders cannot be supervised at all times but command involvement can exercise prudent measures to ensure their personnel know and comply with all motorcycle safety requirements. Just one motorcycle fatality is one too many. And just as tragic, a motorcycle accident that causes life-changing injuries will forever impact a member and their loved ones. The specific causes of motorcycle mishaps vary. However, immaturity, excessive or inappropriate speed, alcohol use, fatigue, and lack of proper personal protective equipment seem to predominate.

We cannot let our guard down!

  • Identify riders within your command, help them seek out training, and mentor younger riders. This type of all hands effort will greatly reduce the risks associated with riding motorcycles.
  • As a unit, review Commandant and command policies, make sure your riders have the appropriate training and PPE, and their training is documented in the Training Management Tool (TMT).
  • Click here for information on how to enter a member and their training in TMT.

 

Riders:

As motorcycle season is now in full swing, it is time to for riders to reassess their training, personal protective equipment (PPE) and skills.

  • Take the time to review the policy outlined in the Safety and Environmental Health Manual, COMDTINST M5100.47A (series) found on the motorcycle safety portal page.
  • Coast Guard policy requires active duty military members who ride motorcycles to take a formal motorcycle safety course. Additionally, all riders must take a refresher course every five years. The training is required regardless of whether you choose to ride on base. A list of Coast Guard training sites can be found on the Health Safety and Work Life motorcycle safety portal page.
  • Along with taking the training, ensure you wear the appropriate PPE.
  • Use the Travel Risk Planning System (TRiPS). Make sure to indicate that you are riding a motorcycle on your trip and provide the type of motorcycle, PPE, training level and experience. It is a well documented fact that riding a motorcycle exposes you to high levels of risk for a mishap. Make sure you use TRiPS to find out how to reduce your own personal risk.
  • Never drive a motorcycle after drinking alcohol or while taking prescription medicines.
  • Remember: Give yourself space. People driving cars often just don’t see motorcycles. Even when drivers do see you, they may have never been on a motorcycle and can’t properly judge your speed.

 

Drivers:

All drivers are asked to please share the road and look twice for motorcycles. Because of their smaller size compared to other vehicles they are often difficult to distinguish in traffic and appear to be farther away than they actually are. This misperception has led to more than a few cars moving over on or merging into motorcycles’ lane of traffic causing mishaps. Remember that there is no such thing as a fender-bender for a motorcycle rider. They are completely exposed.

 

If you would like to get involved or need additional information on improving you unit’s motorcycle safety program, please contact Dale A. Wisnieski via email or at 202-475-5206.

 

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