By Dan Toole, JTF-N Safety and Environmental Compliance Manager
The ride, held on Sept. 28, is part of a command safety initiative in an attempt to reduce the number of Department of Defense motorcycle accidents and serious injuries. In 2017, Fort Bliss had four motorcycle deaths with two in 2016, two in 2015, and three in 2014. In 2018, one service member died due to a motorcycle crash-related death.
Motorcycle mentorship rides aim at helping riders develop tactics, techniques and procedures to prepare them for any type of situation, which for a novice rider may lead to a crash.
The 110-mile ride had 80 percent of JTF-N motorcyclists, along with participants from Fort Bliss, travel to White Sands Missile Range and then Cloudcroft, New Mexico, following a safety inspection and brief addressing safety techniques. All participants had their motorcycle safety cards checked for currency as well their proof of insurance and current motorcycle driver’s license.
Following their departure from Cloudcroft, the motorcyclists traveled in smaller groups of 2-4 riders matching experienced riders with those less experienced in an attempt to share safety and navigation techniques.
Chris Hildebrandt, JTF-N’s deputy director of logistics, said although he has been a motorcyclist for more than 25 years, the ride provided him with an opportunity to sharpen his skills while helping newer riders. “It is very important that those motorcyclists that do not have as much experience riding in a group gain more skills riding in a controlled environment,” he said. “These type of rides will help them accomplish that.”
Army Brig. Gen. Laura Yeager, JTF-N commanding general, requires all command military motorcyclists to participate in two mentorship rides per year to develop and maintain rider skill levels. The command will conduct three mentorship rides and a motorcycle rodeo-training event each year to support the JTF-N motorcycle safety program.
For more information on JTF-N’s motorcycle safety program, contact Air Force Maj. Brian Hamilton, JTF-N’s motorcycle safety officer, at 915-313-7739 or email email@example.com.