By Garrison Safety Office
Guidelines offered for motorcycle safety
May was Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month as designated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the “101 critical days of summer safety” that runs through Labor Day.
During this period, highway and roadway travel are typically at their peak. Summertime is also the high point of the motorcycle riding season, although the early part of the riding season has been delayed due in the area to the pandemic restrictions in the region.
“Riders throughout the region are anxious to hop on their bikes and enjoy some highway air, especially since many states have implemented travel restrictions over the past several weeks,” said Aaron Rowell, safety and occupational health specialist at the Fort Meade Garrison Safety Office.
“Although returning to work will be a gradual process, it is important to remind riders that they must wear the required personal protective equipment prior to riding on post.”
Motorcyclists must adhere to the following guidelines: Helmets: Helmets must be certified to meet Department of Transportation standards and be properly fastened under the chin.
Eye protection: This includes goggles, wraparound glasses or a full-faced shield properly attached to a helmet. A windshield does not constitute eye protection.
Foot protection: This must be sturdy over-the-ankle footwear.
Protective clothing: This includes a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, long trousers, and full-fingered gloves or mittens made from leather or other abrasionresistant material.
Motorcycle jackets and pants constructed of abrasion-resistant materials (such as leather, Kevlar or Cordura) and containing impact-absorbing padding are strongly encouraged. Riders are urged to select personal protective equipment that incorporates fluorescent colors and retro-reflective material.
The Garrison Safety Office is preparing to move forward in its motorcycle training season once conditions and guidance allow.
“Because of the changing circumstances due to COVID-19, the training calendar will undergo continuous changes throughout the remainder of the training season,” Rowell said.
“Our first priority will be providing training for those riders needing to meet existing refresher training requirements —Experience Rider, Basic Rider 2 and Military Sportbike Rider courses.
“We will, however, make every effort to provide ample training opportunities for beginner courses as well.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U. S. Army Combat Readiness Center has stated that expired training cards are valid. “All Motorcycle Safety Foundation training cards that have expired or will expire due to the cancellation of training should be considered valid.”
According to the MSF, riders are also allowed to ride through Oct. 2 or until their next training can be scheduled. This extension applies only to Soldiers who have completed the Basic Rider Course. This is not a waiver of initial training requirements of the BRC. Air Force, Navy, Marine and Coast Guard personnel should check regarding extensions or waivers.
Rowell asks that riders be patient as the Garrison Safety Office attempts to bring back a successful training season.
To comply with social distancing, reduced numbers of students may be required.
“Training may be delayed, but don’t let the delay carry over into your sense of staying safe on the roads,” Rowell said. “Ride safe so you can ride again.”
For more information, contact the following representatives:
Army: Aaron Rowell at firstname.lastname@example.org
Air Force: Tech Sgt. Vong Lee at email@example.com and Tech Sgt. Stephanie Metts at firstname.lastname@example.org
Navy: Richard McBride at Richard.email@example.com
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Willie Merriweather at firstname.lastname@example.org