FORT STEWART, Ga. - During the summer months, as temperatures rise, experienced riders pull their motorcycles out of their garages more often, and future riders begin to consider their first investments to get them out on the road. And as gas prices continue to increase, so too has the popularity of Soldiers riding motorcycles. Currently more than 33,000 motorcycles are registered on Army installations, according to the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center; subsequently, motorcycle accident rates have increased proportionately.

"We are losing too many Soldiers to motorcycle accidents," said 188th Infantry Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph F. Mayfield. "I encourage you as riders to stop, think, plan and prepare for all your trips. As leaders, we must protect our most valuable resource, our Soldiers. We have many tools in the Army to help minimize those risks. Motorcycle mentorship programs are one of the ways leaders can provide training and guidance to riders."

The Army hasn't had a single fatality among riders participating in a group ride sponsored by a motorcycle mentorship program, according to USACRSC.

"Riding a motorcycle is inherently more dangerous than driving a car," said Col. Robert A. Warburg, 188th Infantry Brigade commander. "But by taking precautionary measures and ensuring safety is at the forefront of the minds of our drivers and riders alike, we can mitigate some of the risk involved."

Experienced riders and future riders should consider many things when deciding to ride their motorcycles, including wearing personal protective equipment and planning how they increase their chances of having a safe ride.

The 188th Infantry Brigade, along with the other training support brigades in First Army Division East, provides and facilitates theater-focused training for deploying National Guard and Reserve formations. Based out of Fort Stewart, the 188th has been training deploying National Guard and Reserve units for Iraq deployments continuously since 2003.