By Lally Laksbergs (Fort Carson)April 28, 2016
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- More than 350 motorcycles of all makes and models were part of the Iron Horse Kickstart 2016 Motorcycle Safety Rally in the McMahon Auditorium area April 21, 2016.
The event was hosted by Division Artillery, 4th Infantry Division, and organized to foster unit esprit de corps and motorcycle safety for the 2016 riding season.
The main focus of the event was to make riders aware of the importance of safe motorcycle operations and the safety of the motorcycle riding community.
"We know bikes can be fun but they can be dangerous when negotiating the highways around here," said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Crosby, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson. "Be safe today, embrace it; bring the lessons learned back to your organizations. Let's show not only the 4th ID but the community that we are safe riders and we participate in events like this to build cohesion and teamwork."
The event was coordinated to highlight safety statistics and emphasize the importance of leaders and mentors in changing the culture of riders toward safety and safe motorcycle operations.
"The enemy we train to fight is not a yellow and white line on a black asphalt highway, it is the enemy that threatens our freedoms and what we stand for as a country," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Shane A. Chisholm, event organizer and chief financial officer, DIVARTY. "Please reach out to all of your riders and ensure that everyone is doing the right thing on the roads. Do not let an accident aid the enemy afar by reducing our forces at home."
The rally featured motorcycle inspections, safety briefs, prize drawings, safe riding clinics, bike games, local food trucks, motorcycle club representatives and a safety ride from Gate 1 through Pueblo and back to Gate 20.
Prior to departing Fort Carson, Chisholm spoke to the riders about safety awareness and mentorship.
There were 545 traffic fatalities in Colorado in 2015. Of those, 104 were motorcycle deaths. The primary cause of those were speed, said Chisholm.
He emphasized appropriate spacing between riders, staying visible to other bikers and motorists on the road, slowing down and flashing brake lights when traveling in a group, dressing appropriately for the ride, being prepared for changing Colorado weather and the requirement for Soldiers who have been deployed for more than 180 days to take a motorcycle refresher course upon return.
Chisholm reminded everyone about the Colorado law requiring use of hand signals for motorcyclists. "You don't have to have turn signals on your bike, but you have to use hand and arm signals," he said. "It's the law and you will be stopped and ticketed.
"Know your bike and how to use it," said Chisholm. "We want to see everyone back here tomorrow."
More than 230 bikes participated in the 105-mile safety ride, for a total of more than 24,150 miles driven that day with no injuries.