How many motorcycles did you see today?

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- For people who don't own or know anyone who owns a motorcycle, they tend to be overlooked while driving around town. Motorcycles have a smaller profile and as a driver in a larger profile vehicle approaches, it seems slower. If you don't ride or associate with anyone that does, I'd like you to do me a favor: count how many motorcycles you see while driving home today. This will hopefully get you in the habit of looking for motorcycles and promote better awareness of them.

One of the most common mishap scenarios between two-and four-wheeled privately owned vehicles is that four-wheeled POVs either don't see or misjudge closing speeds, and then turn in front of the motorcyclist causing a collision.

Master Sgt. Steven Mutka, 17th Security Forces Squadron first sergeant and motorcycle safety representative, said drive defensive. That's the only way to drive safely on a motorcycle. According to AAA, most motorcycle collisions are caused by drivers who say they didn't see the motorcycle.

Make yourself and your motorcycle as visible as possible:
· Leave your headlights turned on at all times.
· Wear brightly colored clothing that makes you more noticeable.
· Always use turn signals and check to be sure your intentions are noticed by other drivers before you change lanes or pull out in traffic.
· Use your horn to alert others of your presence and your intentions if you think someone hasn't seen you
· Don't drive in the blind spots of other vehicles.

Have you inspected your bike?

If you are a rider, chances are you haven't ridden your motorcycle much during the winter season, and now that the weather is getting nicer, you will want to ride more often. There are some important things to remember even if you are a seasoned rider.

Pete Nusskern, 17th Training Support Squadron information protection office and MSR, advises riders to use the acronym T-CLOCKS (i.e., tires and wheels, controls, lights and electric, oil and other fluids, chassis, and sidestand (kickstand)) to complete inspections for any motorcycle that was stored during the winter months. Concentrate on the condition of tires (not the tread depth) as tire dry-rot and age can be deadly. Major tire companies recommend replacing tires at certain time period intervals. Usually after five or more years of being on a motorcycle, even with low riding mileage, you may be in a higher category for a blowout, which can be deadly.

Required briefings...

Commanders and MSRs should already be planning a commander's pre-season motorcycle briefing, which is required annual for your unit riders in accordance with Air Force Instruction 91-207, The U.S. Air Force Traffic Safety Program. Some of the key topics your commander should discuss during the brief are the same environmental hazards according to Tech. Sgt. Jared Whitecar, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs NCO in charge and 17th TRW Staff Agencies MSR. Wind is a huge factor when riding here in west Texas. Don't underestimate how quickly you can get blown off the road with the wind gusts we experience. Wildlife, different weather conditions between the daytime and nighttime and how slick the roads can become even with the slightest bit of rain are also significant hazards, especially in the spring time.

For more information regarding motorcycle safety, training or program requirements, contact your unit MSR or the Wing Safety Office at 325-654-3895.