Commentary

November 2, 2012

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Chief Master Sgt. Brian D. Randolph
412th Test Wing command chief


I believe it’s time to talk about driving and riding safely.

Let me start by telling you a true story that happened to me recently. I was driving to work one morning coming from base housing heading towards main base on Fitzgerald Boulevard. The sun was rising in the horizon directly shining into my eyes. I can tell you, even with the sun shade down it was hard to see in front of me. I was in no big hurry driving under the speed limit. As I passed by Burger King, where the crosswalk on Fitzgerald is located, I failed to see and give the right of way to several young spouses doing their morning walk. I didn’t see them until I was already in the crosswalk. Fortunately, they were paying attention and didn’t cross into my path.

Can you imagine how I would have felt if I would’ve hit one or all of these people? What I haven’t told you is I know every one of them – one was my wife. What if I had been talking or texting on my cell phone, how would I have felt then? Did you know it is illegal to use your cell phone without a hands free device on base and in the State of California? I have seen several people driving while talking on their cell phone. I can stop a few on the spot, but I need your help in this. First, don’t be the one doing it. And second, don’t be afraid to stop others from talking/texting while driving their vehicle. We can save lives.

Another road safety topic – bicycle safety. Did you know bicyclists have certain rules and regulations that need to be followed while riding? All bicycle riders, regardless of where they are riding (except the flightline), must wear an approved helmet. The following are the minimum Edwards AFB bicycle rules:

  1. Bicyclists are subject to the California Vehicle Code and must obey all traffic control devices and rules that apply to vehicle operators.
  2. Must, while operating a bicycle on a roadway, ride as near to the right of the roadway as possible, with the flow of traffic.
  3. Will not ride more than two abreast on any roadway or sidewalk
  4. Will not wear earphones/headphones with any type of radio/player device while riding
  5. Will yield the right-of-way to any motor vehicle
  6. Will maintain at least one hand on the handlebars at all times
  7. Be equipped with a headlight that emits a white light visible from at least 500 feet and a red reflector visible from 50 to 300 feet when directly in front of high beam headlights on a motor vehicle when riding at night. A red light visible from 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to a red reflector.
  8. All personnel, regardless of age (including dependents, contractors, retirees, etc.), who ride bicycles on a military installation must wear an approved (i.e., American National Standards Institute or Snell Memorial Foundation) bicycle helmet. Workers operating bicycles in areas that require the use of ANSI-approved helmets (hard hats) for protection from falling and flying objects are allowed to use those helmets instead of approved bicycle helmets. EXCEPTION: Workers operating bicycles in industrial/flight line areas designated no-hat area due to potential of Foreign Object Damage need not wear a bicycle helmet; operators of three-wheeled bicycles are not required to wear the bicycle helmet. This also applies to a person who rides a bicycle while in a restraining seat that is attached to the bicycle or in a trailer towed by the bicycle.

Did you know Edwards Air Force Base Instruction 31-280 paragraphs 4.8 through 4.10 lists these bicycle rules along with several others? If you or your dependents ride, please take time to read all the rules. It will take all of us working together to ensure we know, understand and follow these safety rules.

Thanks in advance for setting the right example and helping to enforce these safety rules. We need your help in keeping all of us safe.




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