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NEWS | March 4, 2010

Spring Spike Focus aims to reduce motorcycle mishaps

Recent studies at the Air Force Safety Center indicate that motorcycle fatalities double in the spring. This sudden increase in motorcycle fatalities is often called the "spring spike." With this in mind, the Air Force is conducting a "spring spike focus" March through May for all motorcyclists and their leadership.

Education, training, and commander and personal responsibility are all key to the safety campaign. Communication throughout the chain of command will help deter the spring spike while preparing Airmen to make appropriate personal risk management decisions and creating a positive cultural change for all riders.

Riders preparing for their first ride must maintain a safety mindset. This mindset includes staying up to date with Air Force motorcycle training requirements.

The Air Force Traffic Safety Program established procedures for Airmen to follow before riding on or off base. All Air Force personnel must attend a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course prior to riding and civilians must attend the course before riding on base.

In addition to training, riders are required wear all personal protective equipment outlined in Air Force Instruction 91-207 including a brightly colored outer garment during the day and reflective upper garment during the night. Riders must also wear a helmet meeting or exceeding Department of Transportation standards, along with proper eye and foot protection.

Commanders and supervisors also have several obligations. They should prepare their riders by talking to them about the hazards of the road and helping inexperienced riders get ready for the season.

Discussions should be targeted, based on the number of mishaps, speeding, and the average age of fatal motorcycle riders. Collaboration with other organizations is also encouraged to share best practices and strengthen motorcycle safety programs.

Unit commanders are required to maintain a roster of the riders assigned to their unit, ensuring each rider is briefed on the requirements of AFI 91-207 and other applicable guidance. The roster should include training completed, motorcycle make and model, engine size, and operator experience.

The safety office is planning various activities throughout the spring, including vehicle displays, motorcycle seminars, motorcycle inspections, motorcycle classes, dissemination of prevention materials, mishap updates, and a motorcycle rally. For more information about motorcycle safety, contact the safety office at 671-3967.