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Motorcyclists learn safety, share stories | Chicago Composite Squadron

Motorcyclists learn safety, share stories

Photos Motorcyclists learn safety, share stories

Lt. Col. Jeremy Jennes, AFNORTH Chief of Safety, checks out the tread depth on his tires prior to the “Motorcycle Mentorship Ride” on August 21. U.S. Air Force photo by Mary McHale

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Motorcyclists learn safety, share stories

Posted 9/6/2013   Updated 9/6/2013
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by Mary McHale
AFNORTH Public Affairs

9/6/2013 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Reducing risk is a decision away.

That was just one of the messages delivered by Deb Eyre, a Rider’s Edge Support Specialist who addressed a group of motorcycle riders from Air Forces Northern and the 601st Air and Space Operations Center. They were gathered to hear Eyre give a safety briefing before they went on a “Motorcycle Mentorship Ride” sponsored by the AFNORTH Safety Directorate August 21.

“The reason I requested Deb Eyre to be part of the motorcycle mentorship day is for several reasons,” Joe Crum, AFNORTH motorcycle safety specialist said. “Riding a motorcycle is inherently dangerous. The Air Force and DoD leadership have recognized this for quit sometime and now provide guidance and instruction for mishap prevention to encourage safe motorcycle riding to protect our people.”

He continued, “Ms. Eyre has an extensive background in motorcycle safety so I considered her qualities as a rider and safety instructor to be remarkable and her message would most likely enhance AFNORTH’s motorcycle safety program. She brings a refreshing aspect of safety that is well accepted and her experience allows her keep the audience’s attention.”

Not only did Eyre brief motorcycle safety messages during the interactive 60-minute presentation, she also challenged the audience members to carefully and truthfully analyze their riding abilities.

One tool she used to do this was a questionnaire to rate their ability. On it were questions like: “A riding maneuver that I did recently that some would consider reckless (or stupid) was:”

In fact, many in the audience shared their stories – from riding 28 hours straight to hitting a deer riding at night.

“The primary challenge to be safe is choosing to ride within personal and situational limits,” she explained. “There are a lot of distractions on a bike that aren’t in a car – wet roads, other vehicles, debris in the road.”

She talked about how riding is a mental, physical and social task and how the two communities of vehicle operators – motorcycle riders and other vehicle drivers – interact.

“Motorcycles are two percent of the vehicles on the road and 10 percent of the mishaps,” she said and went on to share one study that found 69 percent of other vehicle drivers attempted no collision avoidance. The average driver simply doesn’t look for motorcycles.”

But she explained there is also the matter of perception in each community and it’s a perception that riders can control. She cited negative examples like a rider weaving in and out of traffic or popping wheelies down a busy highway.

“We play a role in the perception and how we are perceived,” she explained. “The goal is to reduce risk factors and apply the SEE principle – search, evaluate, execute.”

She also stressed the importance of evaluating each ride, looking at who was involved, ensuring the riding abilities were compatible. She urged each audience member to constantly evaluate their rides, whether beginner or experienced.

“You have to ask yourself: Do you respond or react to a situation? If you respond, you have more time and space to control the situation. If you react, you find yourself braking and swerving.”

She then suggested tips for riders to get the most from the motorcycle experience like finding others to ride with, set goals to practice on, and talk with other riders about their experiences. One participant shared that he learns something new every time he rides.
As the riders readied to depart, she bid them farewell with a warm message, “Welcome to the family.”

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