For at least a decade, the U.S. military has focused on reducing motorcycle crashes among its service members. In the meantime, more bikers died on Texas roads than in any other state in 2018, the most recent year of data available.
The Armed Forces generally credit their rider-training programs for any successes in turning the statistics around. Their requirements for rider training as well as regulations for gear and operation are often stricter than the rules across the civilian United States.
Defense Department sees some success
Late last year, the U.S. Airforce reported a nearly 70% drop in fatalities and a 42% drop in “lost-time” injuries over the past 10 years. At the same time, however, civilian motorcycle deaths have generally been on the rise in the United States.
Department of Defense requirements a bit depending on the branch, level of riding experience and license status, whether the ride is a sportbike, and so on.
But regardless, any employee on DoD property, and every service member no matter where they are, must follow the regulations.
Military focuses on rider training and best practices
Maybe riding a motorcycle will always be more dangerous than getting around in a car, but motorcycle deaths are not inevitable.
Gear requirements include an approved helmet, quality eye protection, gloves and other apparel. Most riders must get training and, in some cases, must refresh their training regularly.
Much of the training offered by the DoD and the Texas Department of Public Safety focuses on sane and defensive driving as well as proper bike maintenance and safety gear.
Fellow users of street and highway also play a role
Last year offered a terrible reminder that not every motorcycle crash is avoidable through rider training.
In June 2019, seven motorcyclists were killed on a rural New Hampshire road by a 23-year-old truck driver with a history of drug abuse and legal problems. The bikers were members of Marine JarHeads, a group of Marine Corps veterans and their spouses who ride motorcycles and raise money for veterans’ groups.
The crash appears to have been entirely the trucker’s fault, a reminder that even the safest biker needs responsible car drivers to share the road with them.