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Altus AFB motorcycle safety rally

ALTUS, Okla._Warmer weather is finally here and that means more motorcycle riders will be hitting the roads.

Altus Air Force Base hosted a safety rally to prepare those riders for the many dangers they could face on the road. The base has around 100 riders and about half of them participated in today's rally.

The airmen were learning what hazards to look for on the roads and what to if they encounter them. They also learned the importance of inspecting their bikes before every ride. Whether they were seasoned riders or not, there was something they could all learn.

Every airman who rides a motorcycle is required to get a safety briefing each year. Senior Airman Christopher Spencer says last year's event taught him a lot of things he didn't know.

"The amount of braking to use on each brake, because I thought it was use as much of the back brake as possible and that is very wrong. It can cause you to have an accident," said Senior Airman Spencer.

That's why the person in charge of ground safety on base says it's so important to have these briefings.

"We have a lot of new, younger airmen that get out on the roadways and they just aren't used to getting out on motorcycles so we take this opportunity to get them with experienced riders to learn what hazards they might come into and what maneuvers they can do to try to avoid those hazards," said Tech. Sgt. Melissa Cadle.

Merritt Pike, the base motorcycle safety instructor, says it's the little things that riders sometimes forget that could save their lives.

"Most motorcycle accidents are in the position we call from the eleven o'clock to one o'clock. So your accident happens right here, which tells me most motorcycles have the opportunity to avoid that accident if they recognize the hazards," said Pike.

Search, evaluate, and execute is the key strategy they teach all riders to avoid hazards. Spencer has two pieces of advice for riders.

"I don't know how many times here in Oklahoma there have been bugs that fly and they'll hit you pretty hard and as long as you're wearing a jacket or full sleeves it will help you out a lot. A helmet will save your life hands down," said Senior Airman Spencer.

All 50 bikers ended the rally Friday afternoon with a ride. The more seasoned riders teamed up with the younger riders and they took off in groups on scenic rides.

Altus Air Force Base will also begin their '101 critical days of summer' campaign next month. The goal is to ensure airmen have an injury-free summer because that is the time they experience the most accidents.

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