Commentary

April 5, 2012

Riders – drive to arrive alive

By Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Holiday
USAICoE and FH Command Sergeant Major
CSM-HOLIDAY-ACU001

Summer is approaching and with it comes the increase of motorcycle riders. Here in Arizona and on Fort Huachuca the moderate winters give us the privilege of riding year-round. As a motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle rider, I understand the increase the hot weather brings, so I’ve written about a few things I feel are important to remember when we ride.

Excessive speed is the number-one cause of motorcycle accidents. Most riders who speed have to overcompensate for stopping and negotiating turns and curves, thus leading to possible loss of control and therefore, a potential accident. Always drive the posted speed limit; it is there for a reason.

Wear the proper personal protective equipment at all times while riding. On Fort Huachuca, all motorcycle and ATV riders are required to wear PPE, but from my foxhole the problem is when we leave post.

Arizona does not require riders to wear a helmet, so many of our Soldiers remove them. The most important pieces of PPE are the helmet and eye protection.

A helmet saves lives by reducing the extent of head injuries in the event of a crash. Make sure it fits comfortably, snugly and is fastened while you ride. When you choose a helmet, look for the Department of Transportation label which ensures the helmet meets all required safety standards.

Eye protection is also a must. Riders must protect themselves against insects, rocks and other airborne matter. Wind is also a big factor as it can cause tearing or blurred vision; clear vision is an imperative when riding. Remember, PPE only works if you wear it!

Always ensure whatever machine you ride is both safe and in good working condition. This includes brakes, tires, turn signals, mirrors, headlights and tail/brake lights. A little preventative maintenance goes a long way to prevent accidents and saves high maintenance costs.

Ride defensively, and never take anything for granted. Practice extreme caution when approaching intersections and side streets. The increased use of cell phones and texting while driving is the number-one cause of vehicle accidents, so make sure you are always alert and in control of your machine.

Last thing, spring is here and summer is coming, so enjoy your ride, and please be safe.

“Always Out Front”




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