Truck vs. motorcycle...who wins?

  • Published
  • By Mark Schaffer
  • 82nd Training Wing Safety Office
Good question, right? How many times have you "missed" that motorcycle or bicyclist when you changed lanes? 

If you've driven for any length of time, you know that defensive driving includes motorcycle awareness. 

Many times when an Air Force motorcycle fatality is briefed, we immediately think "what did the motorcyclist do wrong?" More realistically, many motorcycle mishaps are caused by inattentive drivers and their actions. 

I remember vividly one time in 1987, as a young Airman Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, with my first new pickup truck. Proceeding down the main base inbound lanes, I was in the right lane of two-lane setup. I decided to change to the left lane, looked in the mirrors (all clear!) and then changed to the left. Immediately I caught a glimpse of a single headlight and realized that I had nearly run over a motorcyclist that was beside me in the left lane as I was changing lanes.

You know that feeling that comes over you when you barely missed a very bad situation? Well, I had it. This motorcyclist proceeded to follow me all the way to the supply facility
where I worked. We both parked and then I saw them - chief master sergeant stripes. 

"Oh man! There goes my life," I thought. 

This highly-agitated and glad-to-be-alive professional then initiated due counseling upon my being, a life lesson that has stuck with me since.

At the time, I was guilty as charged, almost killing or seriously injuring a Chief. you drive your car, truck, SUV, whatever, please be aware of motorcyclists and bicyclists. The smaller profile they present can be hard to see sometimes. That's why the Air Force Traffic Safety Program has motorcyclists wear high-visibility YOU and I can see them. Don't trust only your mirrors...physically
turn you head and note your blind spots. 

For more useful information about this topic, please visit and learn what tips from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation lists.