Fort Rucker officials urge safety during outdoor recreation
Cub Scout Pack 50 members line up at their annual bicycle rodeo behind the Post Exchange Sept. 27. The Cubs learned about bike safety and rode around Fort Rucker with their parents and Scout leaders. Bike safety is again becoming an issue at Fort Rucker as the weather gets better.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- As the weather continues to warm, more and more bicycle and skateboard enthusiasts are hitting the roads on Fort Rucker.

Riding bicycles and other non-motorized recreational vehicles should be fun and safe for all choosing to ride on post, according to Directorate of Public Safety officials.

It is the responsibility of those riding and those driving on Fort Rucker to make sure safety remains the top priority, said Peggy Contreras, Fort Rucker Community Police supervisor.

"More and more people are going to be out riding bicycles, or skateboards or just out for a walk," she said. "Safety is the responsibility of everybody on post, including those riding and those driving on post."

According to Fort Rucker Regulation 190-5, any person riding a bike must wear brightly colored clothing as an outer garment in the daylight hours and a reflective garment in hours of limited visibility.

Bicycles must also be equipped with a front lamp and a rear red reflector. Helmets must be worn at all times when riding a bicycle or using a skateboard, roller skates or roller blades on post.

Contreras added that Soldiers and parents should research the post regulation for outdoor recreational activities and should lead by example when it comes to riding bicycles or using any form of skating equipment.

"Most people automatically think of children when talking about bicycle safety, but it's important for adults to use protective equipment, too," she said. "That's all part of leading by example. The regulation applies to everyone on Fort Rucker."

More than 500,000 people in the U.S. are treated in emergency rooms, and more than 700 people die as a result of bicycle-related injuries, according to a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Head injuries are the main type of injury that occurs in bicycle accidents. That's why helmets are required," said Bob Saliewicz, Aviation Branch Safety Office safety and occupational health specialist. "If we can limit the number of people getting hurt, we've done a good thing."

Saliewicz pointed out how important it is for everyone, especially Soldiers, to follow the regulations in order to maintain good health.

"If Soldiers get hurt, they can't do their job and somebody has to pick up the slack for them," he said. "That's a very negative impact on the Army's mission."

Wearing any kind of headphones while riding or walking on post in areas where cars are regularly present is also prohibited by FR Regulation 190-5, said Maj. Jay Massey, DPS deputy provost marshal. If someone can't hear what's going on around them, it can put their lives and others in danger.

"The wearing of headphones or earphones by any pedestrian is prohibited on roadways or shoulders of roadways," Massey said, citing U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence Pamphlet 600-2. "The only places people are allowed to wear headphones while exercising on post is at predesignated tracks and courses that are enclosed, or inside one of the physical fitness facilities after 7 a.m.; however, only when in civilian attire. Headphones are not authorized to be worn with any Army Improved Physical Fitness Uniform. This applies while wearing the IPFU in or outside of the gym."

Contreras added drivers on post need to be even more alert now that warmer weather has arrived because more people will be outside at various hours, especially in the housing areas.

For more information on FR Regulation 190-5 or rules for biking, skating or jogging on post, call 255-2222.

Page last updated Thu March 31st, 2011 at 11:41