Health & Safety

November 9, 2012

How can I ride a motorcycle on base?

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Senior Airman Michael Washburn
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Students of the Motorcycle Safety Basic Rider Course practice basic riding techniques on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The course consists of one day of in-class learning and two days of actual riding. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Timothy D. Moore)

Are you tired of riding around base on four wheels? Do you want to ditch the car and drive a motorcycle instead? If you do, there are steps one must take before you’re able to navigate the streets of Arizona.

“The first thing is to meet with a motorcycle safety representative,” said Matthew Anderson, 355th Fighter Wing Ground Safety. “The MSR will enter you into the motorcycle unit safety tracking tool program. This is a tracking system for all our motorcycle riders.”

After meeting with the squadron MSR, you have 30 days to have a face-to-face meeting with your commander.

Next, you’ll need to take the basic rider course. This is a course offered and paid for by the Air Force. As the name implies, it covers basic skills such as the proper way of taking corners, swerving and making quick stops and tight turns.

“I feel that anyone who wants to get a motorcycle should take this course first,” said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Campbell, 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs superintendent and recent graduate of the class. “It can be very difficult. Not only do you have to balance the bike, you need to figure out the controls for it as well. You find out whether you want to get a motorcycle, or if maybe a bike is not for you.”

After completion of the BRC, the next step is entering into the mentorship program.

“For this, you’ll be paired up with an experienced rider,” Anderson said. “Mentors have a checklist of all the things they’re checking the rider for, such as keeping a margin of safety, knowing how to ride on different surfaces, and hand signals. They’re also going to check to see if you’re safety oriented.”

Mentors will sign off on the checklist after they feel the rider knows what to do in the different situations. This should be done within six months of passing the BRC.

Congratulations. After completing all the required steps, you can now ride your motorcycle. The only other thing needed is to make sure you have all the required personal protective equipment. Over the ankle footwear, long sleeved shirt, reflective vest, helmet with full face protection or a helmet with eye protection is required while driving.

Personal protective equipment could end up saving your life. According to the 355th Fighter Wing safety office, in fiscal year 2011 D-M had 27 motorcycle accidents. In fiscal year 2012 the number rose to 33.

For any information regarding the steps needed in order to ride a motorcycle on base, reference Air Force Instruction 91-207.




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