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United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: Military Rider 2013

May 01, 2012

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.

It's A Jungle Out There!!

By Don Borkoski
Naval Safety Center

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!

It's the drivers who are the texters, chow-hounds, shavers, make-up girls, talkers, kid-tamers and the sleepers, can't they just drive!!! It's the roads that are wet, oily, gravelly, bumpy and damaged. Everywhere you look there is debris, traffic, trees, guard rails, and slippery thermoplastic paint. Cars don't stop for us, use blinkers or respect our right-of-way. It is a conspiracy!!!

Riders do everything to make the car drivers hear the loud pipes, and air-horns. Surely drivers can see the shiny chrome, the multiple LED lights, pulsing brake lights, and always-on head and fog lights. Riders drive in packs to improve the bike visibility and stay out of blind spots as much as possible. Yet with all the bikers do, they can't seem to get through to the car drivers who make the road a battle ground. It's a jungle out there!!!
Sound familiar?

I'm sure we don't weave and bob in traffic decreasing the chances of a car seeing us. No way would we blast through an intersection without considering that the car in the left lane might turn in front of us. Riders don't speed, ride bumpers, or close the gap in groups so cars can get on the road…..OK maybe every once in awhile riders make mistakes.

Riders need to come to terms with the fact that we are the most vulnerable vehicle on the road. Tough as we are, we will most likely fly of the vehicle and impact a very hard object at high speeds out bones and skin will not hold up to steel bumpers, side beams, engine block, cables, or guard rails.

Risk management is our only defense. Identifying hazards and avoiding them is our insurance for a safe ride and long intact life. We can get into our car and rely on engineering to protect us. On our bikes all of our protection is in our head. From the PPE we put on to the decisions we make on the road. Yes it is a jungle out there! Don't take on the Cougars, Mustangs, and Jaguars, Rams, Impalas and other four wheel creatures of the street without all your senses about you. On a bike, only you can save your own life.

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