Motorcyclists should prepare for cool weather
October 7, 2010
FORT SILL, Okla.-- Because of Southwest Oklahoma's mild weather, motorcycling is pretty much a year-round activity in the Lawton-Fort Sill community. With the fall weather rolling in, here are some safety and cold weather riding tips from Garry Gaede, Fires Center of Excellence Field Artillery Branch safety manager.
-- Check the weather forecast before riding. Know if it's going to be raining or snowing and ride commensurate with the road conditions. If it's wet, slow down. Watch out for black ice and shaded areas of roads which may be icy.
-- Foot placement. When you stop, look where you put your foot down. There could be gravel or frost on a paint line, which can be slippery.
-- Avoid riding in the center of your lane. This is where all the lubricants of cars drip and can seep through asphalt when it's wet making the road slick. The right and left sides of the center are cleaner and are "swept" by car tires.
-- Wear personal protective equipment in layers. You can add or take away layers to find the optimum comfort level. Wear a full-facial helmet because it will keep your face warmer, Gaede said. A scarf will aid in warmth for riders wearing lids or half-helmets. Full-fingered gloves are required for riders all the time, according to Army policy.
All military motorcyclists; and DA civilians, contractors and family members who ride on Fort Sill, are required to attend the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course, a three-day classroom and riding course.
"There is a riding portion, where riders have to do a figure-eight, learn how to lean their motorcycles and brake their bikes," Gaede said.
Military riders who have completed the Basic Rider Course, must complete also complete the Experienced Rider Course within 240 days.
Fort Sill also offers a Military Sport Rider Course for those who have completed the BRC and ERC and who ride sport bikes, he said.
Soldiers returning from deployments of six months or longer are required to attend the Motorcycle Refresher Training within five business days of their return.
"They've been off the bikes for so long this gives them the opportunity to get back on the motorcycle and go back to the basics to ensure they're going to ride safely," Gaede said.
To sign up for motorcycle classes, visit the Fires Center of Excellence home page and clink on the ISO (Installation Safety Office) link, or visit https://airs.lmi.org/.
The post's motorcycle policy, Commanding General Policy Memo 09-17, is also available through the safety office's web page.
For more information about motorcycling, Soldiers can contact their battalion motorcycle safety mentor or visit the Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center at <b>https://safety.army.mil/.</b>