2010 Motorcycle season information

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jack M. Tucker
  • 55th Wing Safety Office
Riding a motorcycle can be exhilarating, exciting, fun and carefree, but without the proper training, mentorship and personal protective equipment; it can also be deadly.

The 55th Wing Safety Office reminds all military members and Air Force civilians who intend to ride a motorcycle that they must have the required training and PPE to ensure safe riding and comply with Air Force Instruction 91-207, the Air Force Traffic Safety Program.

Every year people anticipate the riding season. Every year unfortunately, we also unnecessarily lose good Airmen.

The Air Force lost 19 personnel in fiscal 2009 due to motorcycle mishaps. Of those 19 fatalities, at least two involved alcohol. Other leading contributing factors or root causes included excessive speed, operating above the rider's skill level and failure to comply with traffic laws.

So, what can you do to help ensure a safe riding season? First, take the required training. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain. All motorcycle training courses here meet Motorcycle Safety Foundation criteria. These courses are taught by professional, experienced instructors certified by the MSF who have years of riding experience. Anyone interested in attending this training isn't required to take leave for any MSF course as this training is a Department of Defense training requirement per Department of Defense Instruction 6055.4.

The courses available here include the Basic Rider Course, a three-day course that provides excellent hands on training for first timer riders; the Experienced Riders Course, designed for individuals with more than a year of riding experience and a Military Sport Bike Rider Course for sport bike owners.

Because sport bikes have so much torque and can accelerate at a moment's notice, many consider them to be more hazardous than a standard bike or cruiser. The MSRC will help enhance skills specific to riding a motorcycle of the sport bike variety.

After completion of any MSF course taught here, participants will receive a MSF completion card and an Offutt Rider Card from the safety office. The Offutt Rider Card can and should be used to gain access to the base and is required for all motorcyclists stationed or working here. The card is also proof of MSF course completion.

The MSF course completion card is extremely difficult to replace. In many instances, people have been required to retake an MSF course just to replace a lost or defective MSF completion card. All motorcyclists here are highly encouraged to use the Offutt Rider Card in place of the MSF card to access the base.

As a rule of thumb, respect your motorcycle, other motorists and the traffic environment. Furthermore, as a military member or Air Force civilian, you are required to comply with the training and PPE requirements identified in DODI 6055.4 and AFI 91-207.

Below are the PPE requirements that pertain to all members of Team Offutt regardless of status while on base, as well as all military members at all times on or off-base regardless of location.

1. Helmet: A helmet that's designed to meet or exceed Department of Transportation standards shall be worn and properly fastened under the chin.

2. Eye protection: Goggles, wrap around glasses or a full-face shield properly attached to a helmet designed to meet or exceed American National Standards Institute Standard Z87.1 for impact and shatter resistance will be worn. A windshield doesn't constitute proper eye protection.

3. Garment and motorcycle visibility: Motorcycle riders will wear a brightly colored outer upper garment during the day and a reflective upper garment during the night. Outer upper garment shall be visible and not covered. Wearing a backpack is authorized if it's brightly colored. At night, a backpack must have reflective properties if worn while riding.

4. Protective clothing: The wear of a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, long trousers and full-fingered gloves is required. Gloves should be sturdy, non-slip type to permit a firm grip on the controls. Wear of a motorcycle jacket and pants constructed of abrasion resistant materials such as leather, Kevlar or Cordura containing impact-absorbing padding is strongly encouraged.

5. Foot protection: Riders will wear sturdy over the ankle footwear that affords protection for the feet and ankles. Durable athletic shoes that cover the ankles may be worn; however, sandals, low-quarter sneakers and similar footwear will not be worn.

For more information about Offutt's motorcycle safety classes, call 294-6357.