Share the road for motorcycle safety
June 20, 2012
FORT BENNING, Ga. (June 20, 2012) -- Motorcycles are the smallest and most vulnerable type of motor vehicle on the road, according to the U.S Department of Transportation -- they also provide little protection in a crash.
In Georgia, 127 motorcycle riders were killed in 2010, accounting for 10 percent of all fatal traffic accidents, according to the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.
To ensure the safety of motorcycle riders on post, Fort Benning has policies for military personnel, civilians, and contractors.
Current post policy lists certain requirements only for military personnel-- regardless of whether owning and operating a motorcycle on or off duty and on or off post. Service members must undergo mandatory motorcycle safety training, including the Basic Rider Course, Experienced Rider Course, Motorcycle Sports Rider Course and the Motorcycle Refresher Training.
Although, not everyone has to attend the MRT, said Brian Blanton, safety and occupational health specialist, it's only for people who come back from deployment after six months or more.
Guidelines for service member motorcycle riders for operating and/or owning a motorcycle is:
•Maintain a valid state driver's license with a motorcycle endorsement to operate a motorcycle and a valid insurance card meeting state minimum insurance requirements.
•Complete a Department of the Army approved motorcycle safety foundation course and carry the issued Motorcycle Safety Foundation card when operating the motorcycle.
•Complete a National Crime Information Center background check waiver signed with attached driving history record stamped by the Directorate of Emergency Services. Refusing to consent to the release of the driving record history will result in denial of operating a motorcycle on the installation.
• First-time new riders will register their motorcycle for the first year, then every four-years on post, as applicable. The first time the motorcycle is registered, the NCIC check must be completed.
•Operators and passengers must wear the following personal protective equipment when operating a motorcycle.
•Any helmet that meets or exceeds the DOT standards is acceptable; at all times the chinstraps must be fastened under the chin. Novelty helmets do not meet this requirement. It is illegal to purchase "aftermarket" DOT stickers for placement on novelty helmets.
•Impact or shatterproof goggles, wrap-around glasses, or face shields attached to the helmet. Eyewear must meet or exceed ANSI Safety Code Z811 for impact and shatter resistance.
•Sturdy over-the--ankle footwear. The Army Combat Uniform canvas boots are acceptable.
•Long-sleeved shirts, jackets, long trousers, and full-fingered gloves.
•During daylight hours, operators and passengers must wear reflective or brightly colored outer garments (vests, shirts, or jackets) that are clearly visible and not covered. During hours of limited visibility, operators or passengers will wear a highly reflective outer garment that is visible and not covered. If the operator or passenger wears a backpack, the rear of the backpack will be conspicuously marked with reflective material such as reflective belts, vests, sewn material. Reflective belts may be used in a "crossing" pattern on the rear of the backpacks; however, the reflective belt alone is not authorized to be used as a reflective outer garment for the rider.
Civilians, contractors, dependents, and retirees must maintain a valid state driver's license with a motorcycle endorsement, as well as an insurance card that meets the minimum insurance requirements. If they are first-time new riders, they must also register the first year and then every four years. They must also wear similar protective clothing and reflective gear as military personnel.
Visitors to post should have valid state driver's license and insurance. They must also wear similar protective clothing and reflective gear.
Failure to comply could result in the loss of motorcycle privileges. In the event the motorcycle rider is in an accident and found not to be following motorcycle regulation, the person may be held liable.
Because of the risks of riding motorcycles -- riders and passengers are required to wear proper helmets in both Georgia and Alabama.
In 2010, 42 percent of motorcycle fatalities wore no helmets at the time of the crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2009, an estimated 1,483 lives were saved by motorcycle riders wearing helmets, although 732 more lives could have also been saved if the motorcyclist wore a helmet.
Other general safety tips motorcycle riders can use, according to DOT, include:
•Avoiding riding in a car or truck's blind spot.
•Driving defensively. Do not ride in between lanes of traffic or share a lane with another vehicle.
•Conducting regular safety inspections of your gear and motorcycle.
•Watching your speed, especially during bad weather, at night and around trucks.
For more information on motorcycle policies on post, call 706-545-8275.