JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (may 24, 2012) Staff Sgt. Jerry Mahan leads a group of riders from 17th Fires Bde. during a recent motorcycle safety awareness ride to Point Defiance in Tacoma, Wash.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (May 24, 2012) Staff Sergeant Jerry Mahan likes to plan motorcycle safety awareness rides before holiday weekends.

The Soldier from the 17th Fires Brigade understands the importance of staying current on motor skills, and knows people enjoy the open road on long weekends when the weather is nice. Mahan organized the annual I Corps Safety Ride the day before Memorial Day weekend as part of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Safety Fair May 24.

"It's good to do safety awareness to try to get people to slow down, take their time and realize they're not the only ones on the road," Mahan said. "If you're not refreshed on it and you're not thinking about it, you're not really looking for it until it happens and then it's too late."

About 60 riders from a variety of JBLM units gathered outside of Carey Theater on Lewis Main for a controlled ride to promote motorcycle safety awareness. The month of May was the National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

This year's annual ride exited out of the DuPont Gate and traveled through Steilacoom, Chambers Bay and stopped at Point Defiance. Dressed in leathers, riding vests, bandanas and decorated helmets, riders took a break at the park and discussed the first half of the ride before returning to JBLM.

"There are a lot of new riders that don't really get out and ride a whole lot, especially in a group," Mahan said. "It's really beneficial for other riders to experience that. The experience comes from getting on a bike and riding and learning from other people, along with the experiences they have themselves."

Mahan has more than two decades of experience on his motorcycle and led the last group of riders off JBLM. The ride was split into three groups that traveled five minutes apart.

Master Sergeant Michael Kohlhorst of Bravo Company, 46th Aviation Support Battalion, dressed in bright yellow riding gear, attended the ride to support the Corps.

"It's great that we get senior riders out here with beginning riders," Kohlhorst said. "It's good to show that we are focused on motorcycle safety."

As the weather continues warm up and more people choose to travel by motorcycle, Mahan urges riders to be alert and to obey traffic signs.

"It's not so much your riding ability as it is everything else that is around you," he said. "The elements, a patch of gravel, construction. It's a hazard."

Page last updated Sun June 3rd, 2012 at 01:04