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United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: Military Rider 2013

May, 2013

The Defense Department marks the start of prime motorcycle riding weather by designating each May as Motorcycle Safety Month. This special report highlights DOD and service-related efforts to enhance the safety and overall riding experience for service members and veterans through training, mentorship and education.

Top Stories

Air Force Riders Receive Annual Safety Briefing

Every year more than 39,800 Airmen across the Air Force dust the cobwebs off their motorcycles and pull out their riding gear as the temperature rises. Before they hit the open road, Airmen are required to receive the annual motorcycle safety briefing, per U.S. Air Force Traffic Safety Program. Story

Momentary Lack of Judgment Claims Rider's Life

A Fort Knox, Ky.-based Army officer can recall his days as an Arizona highway patrolman when a fatal motorcycle accident helped him realize the importance of always using good judgment and safety while on the road. Story

Protective Gear Saves Rider's Life

Retired Army Master Sgt. Martin G. Barrett credits the safety tips he learned during the Basic RiderCourse in helping save his life after a small pickup truck crossed three lanes of traffic, causing him to hit the truck broadside. Story

Poor Weather Nearly Claims Rider's Life

Army Staff Agt. Jorge Perez said the skies were clear when he decided to ride his motorcycle to work one summer evening. However, the weather soon changed, and the ride nearly cost him his life after he hydroplaned through a puddle after encountering a tractor-trailer. Story

Deer Pose Dangers for Motorcycle Riders

Army Staff Sgt. James Strasser had three incidents with deer on the road while riding his motorcycle, managing to avoid injury each time. The fourth time he suffered serious injuries and since recovering, he warns motorcycle riders to expect the unexpected in such encounters. Story

Rider Stresses Need for Safety On Motorcycles

Joseph Fentress, of the Army Corps of Engineers, encourages military riders to remember their safety training when riding off post, noting risk management and situational awareness are crucial because even the smallest mistakes can be life threatening. Story

Rider Thanks Wife for Stressing Safety Training

Marines Corp Staff Sgt. Vincent L. Wilson promised his wife he would take motorcycle safety training before even purchasing a motorcycle. After witnessing a friend have an accident on his motorcycle, Wilson said he realizes that decision to take safety training may one day save his own life. Story

Riders Should Share Lessons Learned on the Road

Every rider has a story to tell and more than a few lies to cover up bone-headed mistakes, all riders can take a cue from naval aviators who learned long ago that sharing stories about experiences just may save a buddy's' life, said Don Borkoski of the Naval Safety Center. Story

No Reset!

Riding a motorcycle is one of the most dangerous things you will do in your lifetime. The drivers that pass us are reckless, and the ones who go slower in front of us are inconsiderate. Or so we say. Of course we motorcycle riders are the perfect operators on the road! Story

It's A Jungle Out There!!

The drivers that pass us are reckless, and the ones who go slower in front of us are inconsiderate. Or so we say. Of course we motorcycle riders are the perfect operators on the road! Story

Tumbleweed Takedown

"When I woke up in the ambulance, the paramedic took my helmet, shoved it in my face and said, 'If you hadn't been wearing this, we would be scraping your brains up off the pavement.' " Story

Mojave Solitude

We all have those special places that have unique meaning, that evoke our best memories, and that can take us back to another time in our lives every time we visit them. For me, one of those special places is a part of the Mojave Desert—the portion north of Castaic, California, to a small town right out of the pages of the old west: Trona, California. Story

Marine riders train with professional racers

Fort Leonard Wood's Marines had the unique opportunity to ride side-by-side with some of the most renowned professional motorcycle racers in the world. Jason Pridmore's Skills and Techniques for Advanced Riding Motorcycle School was on post to help the Marines become more proficient and more confident riders. Story

Motorcyclists attend Fun Day on the Runway

Marines with the Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton and Marine Aircraft Group-39 attended Semper Ride's Fun Day on the Runway at MCASCP. The purpose for the day-long event was to raise awareness of motorcycle safety, as well as provide multiple levels of motorcycle training, said Jeff Tilton, project manager for Semper Ride. Story

Colonel Encourages Drivers to Watch Out for Bikers

Air Force Col. Dana Morel knows the dangers of motorcycle riding as well as anyone. A biker herself, Morel was a lieutenant at Mather Air Force Base, Calif., in 1986 when a young airman she knew with the base honor guard took off speeding one night. Distraught over the end of a romance, he missed a turn and crashed his motorcycle into a telephone pole, and died at the scene. Story

Skills, Training, Attitude Keep Motorcycling Safe

Have you ever wondered why a terrible event, such as a motorcycle mishap, could end well in one situation, but in tragedy in another? Sometimes it's just sheer luck. Most often, what influences the outcome is whether or not the motorcycle rider had the right skills, training and attitude. Story

Motorcycle Tragedy Offers Life Lessons

As Air Force supervisors and mentors, we have enormous responsibilities and a strong sense of dedication when it comes to duty, honor and country. We hear all the time how airmen are really doing some remarkable things, and how airmen are making a difference all around the world. We also hear about protecting our loved ones and fellow airmen. Story

Semper Ride Takes to Runway

The sound of screaming motorcycles, the smell of burnt rubber, and the sight of dozens of motorcycles cornering sharp turns filled the runway here as service members and civilians participated in the Semper Ride Fun Day on the Runway. Story

Semper Ride Film Premieres

The United States Marine Corps' motorcycle safety orientation film, Semper Ride, premiered to 22,500 Marines stationed at MCB Camp Lejeune, MCAS Cherry Point, and MCAS New River. On May 19th, the film also premiered to 3,000 Marines at MCAS Miramar near San Diego, California. Along with the film premiere, Marines were provided the opportunity to interactively learn more about motorcycles. Story

Semper Ride Teaches Marines Motorcycle Safety

Going away to fight battles overseas is not the only thing that can kill service members. Accidents at home are often the most preventable, yet they still pose a threat and many people are not equipped with the knowledge to take control of their safety at home. Story

More stories

Rider Experiences

Rider's Legacy Saves Lives

Cruising from coast to coast on a Harley in the summer of 2006 was a dream come true for 46-year-old Scott Johnson and his son, Michael. While traveling with fellow bikers from the Lighthouse H.O.G. Harley-Davidson group out of Huntington Station, N.Y., the pair saw America firsthand in a way others rarely get to do. Story

Airman Rides Motorcycle After Losing Leg

Lying there in the road with the cold bite of winter making him shiver, Air Force Staff Sgt. Kevin Barton couldn't understand why this lady didn't want him to get up. He knew he'd been in an accident, but he wanted to stand and do a quick inventory of his Sportster 1200. Story

Airmen Recalls Life-changing Accident

I love motorcycles, sport bikes in particular. I'm attracted to the sense of freedom and adventure they provide. When I put on my riding gear to go for a spin, I can actually feel myself becoming more centered, more focused. Story

Rider: I Didn't See Accident Coming

How fun is it to be in your bed, injured, on your 21st birthday? Well that's what happened to me when I had a dirt bike accident on June 22, 2010. My injuries consisted of a concussion, shattered collarbone, road rash and leg laceration. Story

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