By Staff Sgt. Kelly S Malone (Leonard Wood)July 9, 2015
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (July 9, 2015) -- Motorcycle Basic Rider Course graduates have probably heard the adage "all the gear, all the time," but there are indications and sightings that some riders are not adhering to this safety rule.
Wearing the prescribed personal protective equipment, or PPE, is required for all military and Department of Defense civilian motorcyclists, as stated in DOD Safety Program doctrine DOD Instruction 6055.04, as well as U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood's motorcycle safety policy letter.
Service members must follow these PPE rules whether on-or-off duty, according to the policies.
"A big part of my job is to remind all riders of the safety measures and policies in place to help everyone remain safe and healthy, while enjoying their motorcycles," said Maj. Robert Paul, Fort Leonard Wood's senior motorcycle mentor.
As motorcycle mentor, Paul is part of a DOD-backed Motorcycle Mentorship Program that aims to establish voluntary installation-level motorcycle associations where less experienced riders and seasoned riders can create a supportive environment of responsible motorcycle riding. The program serves as a force multiplier promoting positive conduct and the commander's motorcycle accident prevention program, according to the DOD Safety website.
Paul is speaking out, as some riders have been observed on post wearing less than the minimum PPE.
"'My boots are hot or it's too hot to wear gloves' are some common reasons I hear from riders for not wearing their gear," said John Cobleigh safety manager, USAG Fort Leonard Wood.
Cobleigh explained why wearing PPE is not just a rule, but also a safety benefit in case of even a minor crash.
"Helmets with eye protection can prevent serious brain injury," Cobleigh said. "Reinforced motorcycle gloves protect hands and fingers. Abrasion resistant protective clothing can offer several advantages in a crash, such as lessening shoulder injuries, reducing heavy bruising, or limiting severe lacerations."
Paul stressed the importance of following the standards.
"Wear the required PPE and enforce the standards. Don't let riders ignore the policies or you just set a new standard. Fort Leonard Wood leadership will aggressively enforce the standards both on-and-off post, so don't be the example," Paul said.
The potential for punishment lies with each unit commander and Fort Leonard Wood regulation 190-5, Motor Vehicle Traffic Supervision on Fort Leonard Wood, authorizes enforcement.
"A verbal warning or a written warning, or Armed Forces Traffic Ticket, DD Form 1408, can be issued to violators," said James Stewart, officer in charge of Traffic Accident Investigations, Directorate of Emergency Services. "The ticket requires commanders to take action and report back to DES."
Stewart said that each brigade commander has the authority to process a violator in his or her unit under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or UCMJ. He specifically mentioned Article 92. The UCMJ generally states this article as a failure to obey an order or a regulation.