Health & Safety

June 21, 2012

Mentorship ride promotes motorcycle safety, fun

By Caroline Keyser
Warrior editor

Soldiers ride from Fort Irwin to Kernville, Calif., during the 1916th Support Battalion’s motorcycle mentorship ride June 8.

Soldiers with the 1916th Support Battalion got an opportunity to hone their motorcycle riding skills while bonding with fellow Soldiers earlier this month.

The battalion hosted a motorcycle mentorship ride from Fort Irwin to Kernville, Calif., June 8.  The purpose of the ride was to promote motorcycle safety and esprit de corps, said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul Dustin, the 1916th’s safety officer.

“The basic idea is to point out to people to keep safety in mind,” he said.  “Sometimes riders will get overconfident and forget to pay attention.  Riding is fun, but you can still really hurt yourself.”

The mentorship ride, which was the battalion’s first in 2012, Dustin said, began at 7:30 a.m. at the Fort Irwin Commissary with an overview of basic safety checks.  At 8 a.m., the 15 participating Soldiers rode out of the post, arriving at Cycle Smiths bike shop at about noon for a briefing from staff about common maintenance and riding mistakes.  The Soldiers arrived back at Fort Irwin at about 6 p.m.  In all, the route covered more than 320 miles over mountains, drops, and straight-aways.

The route’s varied terrain and changes in elevation were one reason organizers chose it, said Warrant Officer 1 Benjamin Ridenhour, who helped organize the ride.

“This particular one, right before Opportunity Leave, was meant to get people back into riding longer distances than just a few miles around post,” Ridenhour said.

While Army policy states that all Soldiers who ride motorcycles must participate in the mentorship program, not all do.  There have been 33 motorcycle-related fatalities in the Army so far in fiscal year 2012, compared with 25 this time last fiscal year.

Ridenhour encouraged Soldiers to participate, saying that the program can make a difference in safety.

“It’s not there to regulate everyone or to call anyone out,” he said.  “It’s there to make sure everyone is riding safely.”




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