As an avid rider for more than 30 years, it never surprises me to see the â€œotherâ€ drivers not paying attention to the task at hand. It is important for us as two- and four-wheel vehicle operators to be aware of, not only what weâ€™re doing, but what others are as well.
We live in what may be considered by many to be the No. 1 riding venue in the continental United States. Whatâ€™s not to like about motorcycling in spring-time in Arizona and enjoying Arizona Bike Week, Westgate Bike Nights and other riding events. With gas prices on the rise, motorcycles provide a viable alternative means of transportation.
However, as a motorcycle mentor focal point for Luke Air Force Base and Green Knights chapter president, I feel it is important we are all singing off the same sheet of music when it comes to safe riding.
Military personnel at all times, on or off a Defense Department installation, are required to wear personal protective equipment when riding a motorcycle, as the operator or passenger.
DOD civilian personnel in a duty status, on or off a DOD installation, are also required to wear PPE when operating a motorcycle.
The following protective gear requirements are mandatory for motorcycle riders per DOD Instruction 6055.4 – DOD Traffic Safety Program and Air Force Instruction 91-207. These instructions apply to everyone, including military, DOD civilians, other agency personnel, contractors or visitors on a DOD installation.
Helmets: Helmets must meet Department of Transportation standards and be properly fastened under the chin. Full face helmets offer the best protection. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that helmets reduce the likelihood of a crash fatality by 37 percent and brain injury by 67 percent. The DOT sets minimum standards for helmets sold for motorcycling on public streets.
Eye protection: A windshield alone is not proper eye protection. Impact- or shatter-resistant face shield, goggles or wraparound glasses that meet American National Standards Institute Z87.1 are required. Tinted lenses may be worn during the day, but clear lenses should be used at night.
Clothing: Dress for the slide, not the ride. Long-sleeved shirt or jacket, long trousers, and full-fingered gloves or mittens are required. Garments made from leather or abrasion-resistant fabric provide a high level of protection.
Most motorcyclists prefer pants that are similar to their jackets, and some are available that zip together. Pants should provide the same protection against abrasion as jackets. Gloves are intended to protect the riderâ€™s fingers in the event of a crash. The glove should be made for motorcycle use. Gloves that are not for motorcycle use provide less grip and protection and may come off.
Garment visibility: A brightly colored outer, upper garment during the day and a reflective upper garment are required during the night. Vests made with high-visibility colors and retro reflective materials are best. Vests can be worn over jackets to increase the chance of being seen and allow drivers to better judge the speed and position of riders, especially in adverse conditions of dark and wet.
Foot protection: Over-the-ankle footwear is required. Footwear should be made of sturdy leather and have a good low-heeled, oil-resistant sole to reduce slipping hazards. Standard issue boots meet the requirement.
Rain suits are not required by the military, but riding is much more comfortable and likely safer if you are dry.
For more information on the importance of protective gear and for answers to other motorcycle safety-related questions, see AFI 91-207 and visit the Motorcycle Safety Foundation web site at www.msf-usa.org.
For more information, or to register for upcoming motorcycle safety training on Luke, call Brian Seabury at (623) 856-5788. For those interested in the Green Knights Motor Cycle Club Chapter 28, call (623) 856-8433.
Basic Riderâ€™s Course: Every weekend, in downtown Glendale
The following courses will be taught based on interest every other Friday behind Bldg. 245
- Experienced Riderâ€™s Course
- Military Sports Bike Course
- Advanced Riderâ€™s Course
The Basic Riderâ€™s Course is required for military members to ride on and off-duty. Itâ€™s highly recommended for civilians and dependents.
The Experienced Riderâ€™s, Military Sports Bike and Advanced Riderâ€™s courses are highly encouraged for military and civilians alike.