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by Eric Dameron, 47th Flying Training Wing safety

Living in south Texas allows us to experience many things: excessive heat, mild winters, threatening storms, long periods of sunshine and for those of us that ride motorcycles, an almost year-round riding season.

With the exception of a few cold, rainy days, if you want to ride, you can ride.

Riding a motorcycle comes with a lot of responsibility, including knowing and riding within your limits and the limits of the bike, staying alert and constantly watching for inattentive drivers and other road hazards, but probably most important; wearing your personal protection equipment.

Representatives from the 47th Security Forces Squadron and Wing Safety will be conducting safety equipment inspections of motorcycle riders entering Laughlin May 5 from 6:30 to 8 a.m. The inspections are not meant to be harassing in nature. They are meant to ensure riders are meeting the safety equipment standards.

Riders not in compliance will not be allowed to ride onto the installation until discrepancies are corrected.

In addition to the safety equipment, military riders must also show proof of completion of an Air Force and DoD approved Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course. The Basic Riders Course or the Experienced Riders Course are the only approved courses. Riders are required to carry their completion cards.

The following list of safety equipment applies to active duty military riding both on and off-base and Department of Defense and Non-Appropriated Fund employees who ride on base.

First is the helmet. Helmets must meet or exceed Department of Transportation (DOT) standards and must be securely fastened under the chin. Riders must have proper eye protection.

Goggles, wrap around glasses, or a full face shield designed to meet or exceed American National Standards Institute Standard Z87.1 for impact and shatter resistance will be worn. A windshield or wind screen does not constitute proper eye protection. Riders must also wear a long sleeve shirt or riding jacket, long trousers, and full-fingered riding gloves.

Sturdy over-the-ankle footwear that affords protection for the feet and ankles must be worn. Riders can also wear durable athletic shoes that cover the ankles. Sandals, low quarter sneakers and similar footwear will not be used.

One of the most common excuses vehicle operators give after they've smashed into a motorcycle rider is that they didn't see them. Visibility is important to a rider because other drivers are often distracted by other more important things. Riders must wear a brightly colored outer upper garment during the day and a reflective upper garment during the night. Outer upper garments shall be visible and not covered. Riders can wear a backpack as long as it is brightly colored or reflective.

Protective equipment is required for a reason; to keep you safe.

Contact 47th Flying Training Wing Safety at 298-5975 for further information.


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