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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Brian J. Davis, 17th Communications Squadron Communications Security manager, cruises by on his motorcycle at the multimedia center here April 30. Davis practices motorcycle safety by wearing a certified helmet, gloves and other protective gear. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Devin Boyer)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Brian J. Davis, 17th Communications Squadron Communications Security manager, cruises by on his motorcycle at the multimedia center here April 30. Davis practices motorcycle safety by wearing a certified helmet, gloves and other protective gear. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Devin Boyer)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Brian J. Davis, 17th Communications Squadron Communications Security manager, rides his motorcycle here April 30. Davis keeps his headlights on during the day, so other drivers on the road have a better chance of seeing him to avoid potential wrecks. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Devin Boyer)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Brian J. Davis, 17th Communications Squadron Communications Security manager, rides his motorcycle here April 30. Davis keeps his headlights on during the day, so other drivers on the road have a better chance of seeing him to avoid potential wrecks. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Devin Boyer)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Brian J. Davis, 17th Communications Squadron Communications Security manager, wears a certified helmet, sunglasses and vest at the multimedia center here April 30. Davis makes sure he wears the appropriate protective gear required to ride his motorcycle on a Defense Department installation. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Devin Boyer)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Brian J. Davis, 17th Communications Squadron Communications Security manager, wears a certified helmet, sunglasses and vest at the multimedia center here April 30. Davis makes sure he wears the appropriate protective gear required to ride his motorcycle on a Defense Department installation. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Devin Boyer)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- May is the start of Motorcycle Safety Awareness month, and motorists should take a moment to remind themselves of the importance of safety.

According to looklearnlive.org, in Texas, most motorcycle incidents occur in the month of May.

"Everyone needs to be aware of motorcycle safety; drivers and motorcyclists," said Staff Sgt. Ashleigh J. Parr, 315th Training Squadron course manager and motorcycle safety representative. "It's important that drivers are aware, but also that motorcyclists are being safe when they ride."

According to the Air Force Safety Center, 18 motorcycle incidents resulted in fatalities Air Force-wide during 2013, and Goodfellow had two fatalities of its own.

The Goodfellow members killed in the motorcycle crashes had families, and one was a week away from getting married.

"It is important to remember not to stereotype motorcyclists as single renegade guys riding off into the sunset with no ties to anyone or anything," mentioned Parr. "The majority of riders are people with families; fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers and children. Keeping an eye out for them should be a priority to drivers, not just to keep them safe but also to keep you safe."

Motorists need to take safety measures, not only because it prevents fatalities such as these, but because it's their job.

AFI 91-207, The U.S. Air Force Traffic Safety Program, states that motorcyclists must wear a certified helmet and other protective gear. It also states that all motorcycles will have headlights on at all times when operating on a DOD installation.

It is also a motorcyclist's job to take any mandatory motorcycle courses to legally ride a motorcycle. It also sharpens their skills and makes them a safer rider.

According to AFI 91-207, All military personnel who operate a motorcycle on a roadway any time, on or off-duty and on or off military installations and all Air Force civilian personnel while in a duty status on official business, who operate a motorcycle on a roadway, and all operators of a government owned motorcycle, are required to attend and complete an approved motorcycle rider education course.

"Here at Goodfellow, there are both contracted-and volunteer-instructed one-and two-day Motorcycle Safety Foundation basic rider courses," said Peter M. Nusskern Jr., 17th Training Support Squadron Information Protection officer and motorcycle safety representative. "Both courses teach riders basic and advanced skills to make them safer motorcycle riders."

He also expressed the importance of motorcycle training.

"Being a volunteer Motorcycle Safety Foundation certified rider coach and a rider with over 23 years of riding experience, I will share that you can never have too much training to ensure your riding skills do not deteriorate," said Nusskern. "I personally try to take a motorcycle training class at least every other year. This helps keep you sharp and can help reduce your insurance as well."

Nusskern is living proof that protective gear can improve safety.

"It is not a fable that the proper wear of personal protective equipment can save lives," added Nusskern. "I was wearing mine when I was hit by an inattentive driver, and my PPE reduced my injuries to a few bumps and bruises."

For more information or facts about motorcycle safety, visit the following links:
http://www.msf-usa.org/
http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles
http://www.txdot.gov/driver/share-road/motorcycles.html
http://www.looklearnlive.org/look/look-twice-campaign-kicks-off/

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