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Motorcycle Safety: New Season, Old Policy

May 2009 -- The sun is shining, the weather is getting warmer, and for most motorcycle riders the bikes are on the road. However, let us not forget motorcycle safety while on the road and do our individual duties to protect ourselves as well as our Wingmen. 

During fiscal year 2008, 124 motorcycle fatalities were reported by the Department of Defense, 50 of which were reported midway through the "101 Critical Days of Summer. This number may not seem large in comparison to the more than 1 million service members DOD wide, but a life lost by one is a major loss to the DOD family. 

"Every airman is a critical piece of the weapons system known as the 180th FW," said Col. Mark Bartman, commander, 180th Fighter Wing. 

Motorcycle safety polices and procedures have been suggested to decrease the amount of fatalities. Here at the 180th Fighter Wing, our goal is to maintain a perfect safety rating. 

"I need all of you to be 100 percent present in mind and body for the great challenge we have in 2010, and beyond," said Col. Bartman. "I ask that in every activity you engage in, whether riding a motorcycle, driving a car, riding in a boat, or playing a sport, you all follow approved safety guidelines." 

To help facilitate that goal, members are notified of off-base motorcycle safety training. These courses are currently being scheduled for September and provide riders with basic instruction on the cycle and in the classroom. It is an opportunity for riders of all levels to get the training needed to prevent accidents. 

"The motorcycle safety course is an excellent course for anyone who wants to learn to ride a motorcycle, or who has been riding one and just wants to brush up on some of their skills," said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Haas, flight services manager, 180th Fighter Wing. 

As a reminder, all riders are encouraged to wear a helmet, reflective gear, long sleeves and appropriate personal protective equipment both on and off base. 

"Not wearing protective gear while riding a motorcycle is akin to going into battle without body armor, or going to the merge in an F-16 without missiles and bullets," said Col. Bartman. "You might survive the first incident, but your chances of long term survival is greatly diminished." 

Although we have entered into a new season, old motorcycle policies are still recommended. Motorcycle safety is imperative in protecting the United States military's greatest asset: its personnel. 

With motorcycle season kicking into full gear, everyone should be aware of the motorcycles on the road," said Chief Master Sgt. Haas. "Be extra observant." 

Let us work together to ensure motorcycle safety is adhered to by all. 

Please contact Chief Master Sgt. Haas at (419) 868-4031 at for more information regarding motorcycle safety and training courses.

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