Motorcycle safety a must for Airmen

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Brandon Fetterer
  • 90th Operations Support Squadron
It is that time of year again when two wheels become the preferred method of travel for those who own a motorcycle.

Air Force Instruction and Department of Defense motorcycle safety requirements have changed as of September, 2013, no longer requiring the wear of bright colors or reflective material, but rather encouraging it.

Other safety requirements have not changed, however. This means the wear of long sleeves, over the ankle footwear, full-fingered gloves and long pants are required.

Recently, more and more riders have become aware of the removal of the bright colors and reflective material requirement, but at the same time seem to have forgotten the rules of the road. This holds true with people in "cages," another term for cars or trucks. It seems that a large majority of people leaving the base from Gate 2 have neglected to realize that the posted speed limit of 15 mph extends all the way to the base perimeter (the fence line) when exiting. When Gate 1 was open, the same held true regarding the exit there.

There was a painted white line that designated when the speed limit changed, but most folks sped up to 30 mph as soon as they crossed over the second speed bump, not realizing or ignoring that the speed limit was 15 mph until they reached the white line.

While most of us would like to think that we are relatively safe drivers, I see people every day breaking the law, causing an unsafe condition for all of those around them. I see people talking on their cell phones while driving, on and off base. I see people speed by me while I am traveling at the posted speed limit. I see illegal lane changes, "rolling stops" and texting while driving.

A recent culprit was an Airman riding his motorcycle down I-80 while in uniform. When we wear the uniform of the U.S. Air Force, we are representing not only the Air Force itself, but we are also representing F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. This Airman was observed with the following five traffic violations: exceeding the posted speed limit on I-80, exceeding the speed limit in a construction zone, passing a vehicle in a no-passing zone, failure to use the turn signal when changing lanes and failure to use the turn signal when exiting I-80.

Like it or not, this is risky, illegal behavior. It would be risky in a "cage," but it is even riskier on a motorcycle. If taking unnecessary risks like this are the norm for this individual, eventually one of the risks this Airman decides to take will not end well. Such a risk could impact, not only the Airman, but their family and his squadron as well.

My intention is to simply identify that we are all human, and that we make mistakes. If no one helps us correct our mistakes, we will continue to make them, and we will eventually suffer an undesirable outcome from them. I hope that whoever this Airman is, reads this article, and knows that they are only being singled out based on one occurrence. Hopefully this is not the norm for this Airman.

The citizens of Cheyenne, Wyo., are no different. Every day, the occurrences of speeding, cell phone use while driving, reckless driving and running stop signs/lights are fairly common. This does not permit such behavior from the men and women in uniform. While it may be the norm for the local populace, we are held to a higher standard and it's about time someone spoke up to remind us all that we have a responsibility to follow the rules.

There are more motorcycles out on the road every day, and we are in the Critical 101 Days of Summer. Please, for your own sake, and the sake of those around you ride smart, and ride safe! For everyone who drives a "cage" on a daily basis, please, pull over if you get a text or call, and don't forget to look twice and save a life!