FORT DRUM, N.Y. (April 18, 2019) -- The presence of motorcyclists on the road is a reminder that spring has finally arrived in the North Country, but it also serves as a wakeup call for motorists to drive with due caution.
Michael Tulley, deputy safety director in the 10th Mountain Division Command Safety Office, said that after months of winter driving, some motorists won't be accustomed right away to sharing the road with two-wheeled vehicles.
"Motorcycles are on the road again, so we want to remind motorists to look twice," he said. "Sometimes motorists don't expect them to be there, so they will look right at them and not even see them. If they look twice, normally they will pick up the movement."
And as much as motorcyclists look forward to bringing their bikes out of storage, Tulley said that the roads are not entirely clean of debris. Early in the riding season last year, there were two incidents when Fort Drum riders hit gravel and lost control of their bikes.
"Riders should be especially careful on the sides and corners of roads, because sand and gravel can be road hazards," he said.
The Fort Drum community hasn't suffered a Class A Motorcycle Accident (fatality) since 2014, when two separate incidents prompted a re-examination of how motorcycle safety is addressed on post.
That led to the establishment of Motorcycle Safety Day, which is scheduled the first Monday in May, and the division's Motorcycle Mentorship Program - to increase awareness, ensure compliance with Army regulations and decrease motorcycle accidents.
Tulley met with battalion mentors April 17 for a training workshop, and he reviewed the responsibilities of the mentorship program. He said that mentors are tasked with tracking how many motorcyclists are in their unit and verifying that they are licensed and have completed their mandatory training. Some unit mentors even take on the responsibility of registering their Soldiers for courses to ensure accountability.
According to Army Regulation 385-10 (The Army Safety Program), Soldiers are required to complete the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic Rider Course (BRC) before operating a motorcycle. Soldiers then have a year to complete BRC II, the Experienced Rider Course, which must be retaken every five years.
MSF courses, to include a Sportbike Riders Course, are free, and Soldiers can register at https://imc.army.mil/airs/usg_disclaimer.aspx.
Tulley also spoke about Motorcycle Safety Day on May 6 in the Multipurpose Auditorium, which features a guest speaker and Q&A session. All service members who own or operate a motorcycle are required to attend. Afterward, unit motorcycle mentors conduct a motorcycle-centric event for their riders that focuses on safety. Tulley said that these often include motorcycle inspections, mentorship rides or rodeos.
For more information about motorcycle safety, riding requirements or safety courses, call the Command Safety Office at (315) 772-5352, or the Garrison Safety Office at (315) 772-0322, or visit https://home.army.mil/drum/index.php/my-fort/all-services/motorcycle-safety-foundation-course.