FORT DRUM, N.Y. (May 9, 2019) -- Nearly 150 riders from the 10th Mountain Division (LI) gathered May 6 for the 5th annual Motorcycle Safety Symposium at Fort Drum in support of Motorcycle Awareness Month.

The first Monday in May is designated for division Soldiers to spend the day reinforcing safe riding practices and to share knowledge within the riding community.

"This is a good check on your buddy, even guys who are seasoned and have been riding 10, 20 years," said Lt. Col. Stefan Bandas, 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade deputy commander. "We're a community, and we want to be looking out for each other."

The guest speaker for the symposium was Jim Farney, a safety and occupational health specialist in the Garrison Safety Office. He had previously instructed the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) courses on post for several years, and he has been riding for more than 30 years.
Farney said that his first experience riding was while on active duty with the U.S. Air Force, when he borrowed a friend's motorcycle. He nearly toppled over on a turn but managed to keep it upright.

Two days later he purchased his own bike, but it would be much longer before he ever took the required training course to ride on post.

"Why was I not willing to take that class? Because I didn't want to fail," he said. "I had that shocking experience, though I didn't crash, but I didn't want to look bad in front of others."

Farney said that other people simply feel that enrolling in a course is a waste of their time, or they think they have all the experience needed to ride. He said that Soldiers should seek out the "ghost riders" within their ranks. These are motorcyclists who have never checked in with their unit motorcycle mentor or are riding without having completed the mandatory training.

"The question you should be asking is why they haven't taken the course, and then how can you get them into the course," he said. "We need to get them past that hurdle of resistance that is keeping them from doing the right thing."

Farney said that no one ever thinks he or she will be a victim of a motorcycle accident. Therefore, it is important to have the mindset of being prepared for when someone else gets into an accident. Farney provided some tips for how Soldiers can do that, to include riding with an emergency aid kit and making sure the bikes that they and anyone they ride with have been inspected.

T-CLOCS is the term used for personal motorcycle inspections, and it stands for "tires, controls, lights, oil, chassis and stands. Farney said that, ideally, a person should conduct an inspection before every ride.

Realistically, he knows that isn't going to happen.

"Even though we know what it is, and we say we do it, do we really do it? Do we make the effort?" he asked the audience.

A T-CLOCS checklist can be downloaded at https://safety.army.mil/Portals/0/Documents/OFF-DUTY/PMV-2/PAMPHLETSCHECKLISTS/Standard/Motorcycle_T-CLOCS_poster_web.pdf.

After the presentation, unit motorcycle mentors opted to use the time to conduct bike inspections, safety classes, a check ride, or a combination of activities.

To learn more about motorcycle safety, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycle-safety or https://safety.army.mil/MEDIA/Risk-Management-Magazine/ArticleID/6366/ArtMID/7428.

Soldiers who need to register for a free MSF course can visit https://imc.army.mil/airs/usg_disclaimer.aspx or call (315) 772-5352 for more information.