Ride into the Danger Zone: Air Force Riders Perform Motorcycle Training on Fighter Jet Runways

At Yokota Air Base in Japan, riders in the United States Air Force (USAF) are learning the basics of motorcycle safety on the same runways occupied by fighter jets. Riders are using a runway with plenty of space, but every now and then, a jet taxis through the area and the safety course comes to a temporary halt. For some of the riders, practicing alongside fighter jets and other planes is fun.

One rider interviewed in Stars and Stripes, a military magazine, claimed he could outrun one of the planes on his Ducati. Although it was an interesting quote, drag racing a fighter jet is not a great way to promote motorcycle safety.

The USAF is not alone in taking motorcycle safety seriously. In fact, the Department of Defense (DoD) requires mandatory motorcycle safety courses for riders in all branches of the military. Fatal motorcycle accidents are common among service members. In the years between 1999 and 2012, 4,479 members of the US armed forces died in motorcycle accidents.

Does the Military Require Service Members to Take Motorcycle Training?

Members of the military are required by the DoD to take basic rider courses, and in some cases, both advanced and sport bike courses. All courses must be an approved Motorcycle Safety Foundation course.

Every couple of years, riders must retake the safety courses as part of their refresher training. Much like other activities in the military, motorcycle safety is a process of continued learning. The military expects riders to become almost perfect at using motorcycles.

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