FORT JACKSON, S.C. (July 3, 2014) -- More than 60 military and civilian motorcycle riders gathered at Hilton Field Friday to participate in this year's Victory Thunder motorcycle rally. The rally promotes safety and camaraderie for riders of the Fort Jackson community.
Each rider's motorcycle was inspected, and riders took part in a discussion about motorcycle safety led by Wayne Smith, motorcycle safety foundation instructor and an industrial hygiene technician at Moncrief Army Community Hospital.
Smith said, he has been involved in motorcycle safety for 15 years and he also had a major accident in September 2011, while living in Heidelberg, Germany.
"My wife and I were riding to work with a decent staggered gap between us. We were heading into our last turn coming out of a town or village. (A car driver) was in the left-hand turning lane coming toward me," he said. "At the very last second he took off."
Smith said he was driving about 50 miles per hour and had approximately 10 feet to react.
"All I remember doing is grabbing (the handle bars)," he said. "I hit the back left quarter panel of the car and bent (the) axle. The bike and I both went over the car. If (the driver) had been driving any slower I would have hit him in the middle of the car and I would have been dead."
He said both vehicles were totaled, but he is fortunate to have walked away from the accident.
Fellow rider and Fort Jackson Safety Specialist David Peters educated Fort Jackson riders about Army and Fort Jackson motorcycle safety standards.
"In order to ride a motorcycle, riders must meet U.S. Army and Fort Jackson motorcycle safety requirements," Peters said. "(Military) motorcyclists must have a state license and take the Basic Riders Course to ride on the installation. Then there are several classes riders will take afterwards to become more experienced, but they must start with the Basic Riders Course."
The post also promotes motorcycle safety by offering mentors to riders, Peters said.
"We want riders to know they can reach out to any mentor here and receive good riding safety tips," he said. "These are people who have been proven to be safe riders. All of our mentors have been to all of the classes that are required."