Air Force Featured Stories

Roll into motorcycle season 2024 safely

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Lauren Douglas
  • Air Force Safety Center Public Affairs

The time is coming! Days will be longer and warmer soon which means more outdoor activities and motorcycles on the road. Understanding motorcycle safety is essential for all motorcycle riders. Awareness of hazards, personal protective equipment and safety precautions all contribute to mitigating risks. This Motorcycle Preseason, March 21 through May 16, motorcycle riders need to be aware and prepared to ensure 2024 is the safest riding season yet.

Motor vehicle mishaps are the most common threats to road safety. In 2023, there were 22 motorcycle fatalities across the Department of the Air Force. Of those, 16 were in excess of 25 miles over the speed limit, and seven involved an intoxicating substance. This preseason, the Department of the Air Force intends to contact and register 100% of its riders, then schedule and train all riders, followed by a unit sweep to identify any unregistered riders and get them up to code.

The Motorcycle Unit Safety Tracking Tool was designed to provide training data for DAF motorcycle riders. Ten of last year’s fatalities were found to have inactive MUSTT accounts or no account at all. This mandatory training and tracking system is vital to serving motorcycle riders and could save lives.

“Untrained riders, regardless of age or years of riding experience, are most susceptible to unsafe practices,” said David R. Brandt, Traffic Safety deputy branch chief. “Riding and training are two separate things. Training and practice help to make riding safer.”

As the motorcycle safety program manager and a 25-year rider, Brandt recommends that riders build skills through diligent practice and training. With training, riders will be able to avoid dangerous situations and prevent themselves from getting hurt, or worse.

Risk takers, who deliberately break rules, is another serious issue when riding. Lack of compliance to regulatory guidance is a main area of concern. Riding under the influence, riding with no personal protective equipment or proper training, directly leads to unsafe practices. When a member does break the rules, they are subject to a Line of Duty determination where they could lose benefits or must pay their own mishap costs.

Proper training gives Airman and Guardian riders an avenue to acquire skills, build a rider’s mentality, and educate other riders on current standards and techniques. Every DAF Rider should be physically capable, mechanically sound and mentally prepared to mitigate risks before riding a motorcycle.

Brandt’s top tip for riders is learn how to brake effectively.

“With all the data and research we have, effective braking could solve 75% of all motorcycle mishaps,” Brandt said. “Emergency braking and learning to trail brake in the corners would completely change the way you ride.”

The DAF Rider website is a one-stop shop for all things motorcycle in the Department of the Air Force. For questions that aren’t answered on the site, each unit also has a motorcycle safety representative who is knowledgeable of all requirements. Riders can also contact their Wing or MAJCOM Safety offices with questions. The Traffic Safety branch here at the Air Force Safety Center is also here to help answer any questions you may have. There is no reason a DAF member should be lost regarding motorcycle requirements.

For more information see the DAF Rider page at https://www.safety.af.mil/Divisions/Occupational-Safety-Division/Air-Force-Rider/ or contact your motorcycle safety representative.