Combat Aggressive Driving Motorcycle Safety

by Chris Huffman, past President of the American Institute for Public Safety



“You don’t tug on superman’s cape,
You don’t spit into the wind,
You don’t pull the mask off the Old Lone Ranger
And you don’t ride a motorcycle without your helmet!! "  

The motorcycle riding season is upon us and everyone wants to get out in the fresh air and ride down the road feeling the freedom and exhilaration of riding their bike.  

Unfortunately within FORSCOM we already have lost 10 soldiers due to motorcycle fatalities and 7 have suffered severe injuries since the beginning of the fiscal year. It is important to notice there have been more deaths than injuries when it comes to accidents with motorcycles. Unlike auto crashes where you are better protected with tons of sheet metal surrounding you, when you are on a motorcycle there is very little protection and the consequences of a collision are always much more severe. The death rate for motorcycle riders is 9 times higher than persons riding in a car.  

Over the past few years several states have actually repealed mandatory helmet laws regarding motorcycles. This trend is disturbing for several reasons. First it creates the impression it is “safe” to operate a motorcycle without a helmet. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is also a paradox to what is happening legislatively with seat belt laws. More and more states are passing mandatory seat belt laws and at the same time repealing helmet laws. One of the reasons given for repealing helmet laws has to do with “freedom of choice”. This flies in the face of logic when compared to all the good work at increasing seatbelt usage and saving lives. The main reason why the helmet law may change is usually due to a highly paid lobbyist representing a special interest group. As a matter of fact, in Florida , one of the main promoters of the successful repealing of the helmet law in Florida was killed two weeks after the law took effect when she chose not to wear a helmet while riding her motorcycle.  

Bottom line is, why increase the risk of an already high-risk recreational activity by making the choice to not wear a helmet? As we all know, there is positive risk taking and negative risk taking. The next time you ride your bike, whether the law mandates it or not, make the CHOICE to “ALWAYS WEAR YOUR HELMET!”  Army Regulations mandate that soldiers wear a helmet whether on or off the installation, regardless of state laws.  


How can you have the best of both worlds? Enjoy the freedom and excitement of riding while reducing the risk of injury or death? COMMON SENSE goes a long way. Treat the bike (potential killing machine) with respect and adhere to the following:  

  1. Ride with extreme care, steering, accelerating and braking take skill and a high degree of coordination.
  2. Avoid the center of the lane where debris and oil accumulate.
  3. Wear protective gear, always wear a helmet, gloves, jacket, long pants and boots as required by Army Regulation.
  4. Do not assume cars see you or will get out of your way or give you right of way.
  5. Never ride under the influence of alcohol, drugs or your own emotions.

Intoxication (greater than .08) rates for fatal motorcycle accidents is 45%. In addition, 62% killed in week-end night, single vehicle crashes, were intoxicated. Helmet usage for intoxicated motorcyclists are lower than for those who are sober. Impaired riders are more likely to be speeding than those not drinking. Impaired decision making contains fatal flaws. MAKE THE CHOICE, DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE.  

All motorcycle riders feel a brotherhood with other riders. Let’s all pull together and use our heads (emotionally intelligent decision making) to reduce risks and support safe and supportive driving habits.  

 Live to Ride and Ride to Live. Keep alive and alert while enjoying the open road.  

Chris Huffman has been a motorcycle owner and rider for many years.