Motorcycle safety: 'No such thing as a minor collision'

U.S Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson (Air Force photo)

U.S Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson (Air Force photo)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Motorcycle crashes are a leading cause of death for our U.S. Air Force members. While motorcyclists represent only 10 percent of our active duty force, they account for approximately 40 percent of our fatal crashes. At the Academy, we experienced our most recent motorcycle fatality in 2012 and have recorded 12 motorcycle mishaps since 1990.

Motorcycle safety remains a top priority at the Academy. Even if you are not a rider, each of us has a role in motorcycle safety.

Commanders
Know who your riders are. Ensure they have the required training and personal protective equipment. Support and emphasize lifelong learning -- continuous skills development through additional training and mentorship.

Supervisors
Talk to your riders. You are in the best position to help develop safe behavior. Promote defensive riding and risk management. Aggressively engage those you feel may be at risk due to reckless actions and attitudes.

Riders
Be a lifelong learner. Put your training and experience to use every time you ride! Know your limits, your bike's limits, and the environmental limits, and ride within them. Be a good wingman, set the example, and engage others who are riding beyond their limits. Finally, seek advanced training courses to refine your skills.

All drivers
Watch for motorcyclists and be aware of your vehicle's blind spots. There is no such thing as a minor collision between an automobile and a motorcycle.

Air Force policy requires all military members (civilians are highly encouraged) who ride a motorcycle to complete a motorcycle safety course. Contact your motorcycle safety representative to learn more about additional training courses.

No activity is without risk. With proper training, preparation and decision-making, we can reduce those risks. Identify, assess and manage the risks -- on every ride and at all times. Remember, a safe ride is a great ride!