• Chaplain (Maj.) William Wehlage, U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School, judges a bike during the Bike Show portion of Tuesday’s event.

    Post bikers ride for safety

    Chaplain (Maj.) William Wehlage, U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School, judges a bike during the Bike Show portion of Tuesday’s event.

  • Dozens of motorcyclists head out for a ride during Tuesday’s annual Victory Thunder Motorcycle Rally.

    Post bikers ride for safety

    Dozens of motorcyclists head out for a ride during Tuesday’s annual Victory Thunder Motorcycle Rally.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- More than 50 military and civilian motorcycle riders took advantage of the sunny weather Tuesday to embark on a 17-mile ride around Fort Jackson. The ride was part of this year’s Victory Thunder Motorcycle Rally at the Solomon Center. The annual event invites bikers to learn about motorcycle safety, enjoy camaraderie and participate in a bike show.

Staff Sgt. Kevin Foxworth, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 120th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception), said he learned his lesson about motorcycle safety soon after he started riding six years ago.

“I got cut off and laid my bike down,” Foxworth said. “The injuries I sustained, I wouldn’t have had them had I worn my protective equipment.”

Foxworth said he escaped with bruises and lacerations, but has made it a point since to wear his protective gear and advises fellow riders to do the same, even during the summer heat when it might not be the most comfortable thing to do.

Whereas Foxworth attended the rally as a bike safety inspector, fellow rider Sgt. Scott Saucier, HHC, 187th Ordnance Battalion, said he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to ride with fellow Soldiers. He said he thinks keeping safety in mind when riding a motorcycle is his duty as a Soldier.

“You see a lot of people wearing their military vests with T-shirts and shorts,” he said.”That’s the one time you’d probably get into an accident.”

The leading problem with regard to motorcycle safety among Soldiers is speeding, said Col. James Baker, executive director for operations for the Combat Readiness/Safety Center at Fort Rucker, Ala.

“Most recently, our concern has been excessive speed,” said Baker, who was the guest speaker at the rally. “It’s about people making bad decisions in the moment on the motorcycle.”

Baker said that, statistically, Soldiers are 10 times more likely to be involved in a serious motorcycle accident than car accident. He said the standard profile of a fatal motorcycle accident involves a Soldier riding a sport bike by himself and going too fast. He recalled a recent deadly accident that involved a Soldier speeding at more than 140 mph.

Baker said he thinks that motorcycle rallies can help prevent accidents by emphasizing safety through the command and through peers.

“It’s a command-sponsored event that sends the message to people on Fort Jackson that the command cares about motorcycle safety,” he said. “And, the people who are going to ride, by and large, are senior folks who demonstrate responsible motorcycle habits to (other) Soldiers.”

Page last updated Thu May 26th, 2011 at 00:00