AETC surpasses 2 years without motorcycle fatality
By Staff Sgt. Clinton Atkins, Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs
/ Published November 08, 2011
RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Air Education and Training Command has surpassed a significant safety milestone - no service member fatalities have occurred as a result of operating a motorcycle in more than two years.
The last time the command hit such a streak was Aug. 8, 1998. On that day, the no-fatalities run hit 786 days. The current record is 769 days.
"Teamwork made this happen," said Colonel Creig Rice, AETC Safety director, "Commanders set the tone, our safety offices provided training and education, our motorcycle mentorship clubs aided our inexperienced riders, and our motorcyclists exercised sound risk management. As long as leaders stay involved and individuals continue to use sound risk management, we can continue this positive trend."
The milestone resulted from the efforts of everyone involved in AETC's motorcycle safety program, from top leaders down to brand-new riders. And in that mix is a group of expert volunteers teaching the Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses located at many of the bases across AETC.
"Training is important. Motorcycle safety courses provide the basic level of safe motorcycle operation," said Bryan Bailey, 81st Training Wing Safety. He also serves as an MSF course instructor. "The basic rider's course does provide the mechanics and skills of riding a motorcycle but more importantly, it provides the rider with a strategy on how to avoid mishaps."
Motorcycle safety courses aren't the only way to keep riders alive, he said, mentorship also plays a big role.
"Mentorship is a great way to ensure this streak continues," Bailey said. "Riders should talk to other riders about the importance of making good decisions and the consequences of using bad judgment. We have a great wealth of experience out there; we need to take advantage of it."
Tech. Sgt. David Roller is an active duty motorcycle rider. He said the focus on motorcycle safety has to do with much more than policy.
"Many riders think the motorcycle safety program is just a bunch of rules written down on
Paper," he said. "I can assure it is not. It is a people program, designed to keep our wingmen safe."
There are 4,300 Airmen in AETC who ride motorcycles and they deserve a lot of the credit for this streak, said AETC Safety Manager Robbie Bogard.
"Our service members are better educating themselves about motorcycle safety, wearing the proper protective equipment and exercising better risk management," he said. "Hopefully this steak will continue."