Soldiers from First Army Division East's headquarters embark on an 80-mile round-trip jaunt to Sykesville in a motorcycle mentorship ride Friday. Prior to starting their trip, the group discussed safety procedures and personnel protective equipment.

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. - Military personnel at any time, on or off a DoD installation, are required to wear Personal Protective Equipment when riding as the operator or as a passenger of a motorcycle.

DoD civilian personnel in a duty status, on or off a DoD installation, are also required to wear Personal Protective Equipment when riding a motorcycle.

The following protective gear requirements are mandatory for motorcycle riders per Department of Defense Instruction 6055.4- DoD Traffic Safety Program and Army Regulation 385-55. These instructions apply to everyone, including military, DoD civilian, other agency personnel, contractors or visitors on a DoD installation.

* Helmets: Helmets must meet Department of Transportation standards and be properly fastened under the chin. Full face helmets offer the best protection. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that helmets reduce the likelihood of a crash fatality by 37 percent and brain injury by 67 percent. The DOT sets minimum standards that helmets sold for motorcycling on public streets must meet.

* Eye protection: A windshield alone is not proper eye protection. Impact- or shatter-resistant face shield, goggles or wraparound glasses that meet ANSI Standard Z87.1 are required. Tinted lenses may be worn during the day, but clear lenses should be used at night.

* Clothing: Dress for the slide, not the ride. Long-sleeved shirt or jacket, long trousers, and full-fingered gloves or mittens are required. Garments made from leather or abrasion-resistant fabric provide a high level of protection.

Most motorcyclists prefer pants that are similar to their jackets, and some are available that zip together. Pants should provide the same protection against abrasion as jackets. Gloves are intended to protect the rider's fingers in the event of a crash. The glove should be made for motorcycle use. Gloves that are not for motorcycle use provide less grip and protection and may come off.

* Garment visibility: A brightly colored outer, upper garment during the day and a reflective upper garment are required during the night. Vests made with high-visibility colors and retro reflective materials are best. Vests can be worn over jackets to increase the chance of being seen and allow drivers to better judge the speed and position of riders, especially in adverse conditions of dark and wet.

* Foot Protection: Over-the-ankle footwear is required. Footwear should be made of sturdy leather and have a good low-heeled, oil-resistant sole to reduce slipping hazards. Army boots meet the requirement.

Rain suits are not required by the military, but riding is much more comfortable and likely safer if you are dry.

For more information on the importance of protective gear and for answers to other motorcycle safety-related questions, visit the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center at https://safety.army.mil/ and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation web site at www.msf-usa.org.

For more information, or to register for upcoming motorcycle safety training on Fort Meade, call 301-677-7508.

Page last updated Fri July 1st, 2011 at 10:29