FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – The Fort Campbell Installation Safety Office staff is encouraging all drivers of vehicles and motorcycles to share the road, slow down, and look twice to prevent accidents and possibly save a life.
Before hitting the road, the Fort Campbell Installation Safety Office has several tips and suggestions for how drivers of vehicles and motorcycle riders can safely share the road.
“A lot of folks develop second Families and comraderies among others who ride motorcycles,” said Chris Croley, installation safety specialist. “It can give them a good outlet for them to get out and explore off post. We’ve seen a lot of motorcycles out, especially with COVID-19.”
Riders should wear proper personal protective equipment, especially helmets and reflective clothing. Croley said.
“Reflective gear is highly recommended, if there is an accident, it’s very important to be seen,” he said. “I always say, dress for the slide, not for the ride.”
If motorcyclists are unsure about their PPE, they can bring their gear to the Installation Safety Office for inspection or ask the dealer when purchasing the equipment.
Gear should be Department of Transportation approved or Snell certified.
Croley recommends motorcyclists keep paper copies of their insurance, registration and license. He also suggests taping down emergency contact information onto your motorcycle for first responders to use in the case of an accident.
Fort Campbell active-duty Soldiers are required to take motorcycle safety courses to ride on post and off. The military motorcycle training courses on post are certified through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Program, a national, not-for-profit organization, and are taught at the Installation Safety Office.
“As an active-duty Soldier, you must take the Basic Rider Course if you are planning to operate a motorcycle,” said Susanne Hansen, safety inspector for Child Youth Services and Army Safety Training Program specialist. “We offer the Basic Rider Course, and within 12 months you need to take either the Military Sportbike Rider Course or the Experienced Rider Course depending on the type of motorcycle you have. You also need to take a refresher every five years.”
Croley and Hansen said these courses help protect Soldiers while out on the road.
“For Soldiers going through the course with us, they will have a very good foundation for safe operation of a motorcycle, rules of the road and how to avoid crashes,” Croley said. “We give you the tools to safely enjoy the hobby. We’ve had numerous Soldiers return to us telling us the things they learned in our courses ended up saving their lives.”
Hansen said by giving Soldiers the tools to enjoy their downtime safely, they remain mission ready. Soldiers can enroll in the motorcycle courses by visiting https://safety.army.mil/OFF-DUTY/PMV-2-Motorcycles. To register, Soldiers must also include the email address of their supervisor. Although civilians are not required to complete motorcycle training to ride on post, taking the rider courses can be beneficial. That same training is available off post and can be found at https://www.msf-usa.org
Croley and Hansen also have suggestions for things drivers of vehicles need to remember while out on the road this summer.
“Always look twice, motorcycles are very small in your rear or side view mirrors of your vehicle,” Croley said. “They can end up in your blind spot when they are trying to pass. Always be observant, especially in the morning or evening. Peak traffic is also a time when you need to put the cellphone down, keep your head on a swivel, and maintain operational awareness.”
Hansen said accidents often happen because a driver of a vehicle did not see the motorcyclist in his or her blind spot.
“Accidents tend to happen when someone ends up pulling in front of a motorcyclist, and unfortunately, it doesn’t end well when you put a motorcycle up against a car,” Hansen said. “It does worry me when I see some of the reckless driving that goes on, and I hear it when they are zipping up the main roads. It could end very quickly if someone were to pull in front of them when they’re speeding, they would have almost no reaction time at all.”
Motorcycle safety mentors also are available within each brigade for Soldiers to seek instruction and guidance.
“I’ve been riding for 22 years, but I’ve been riding dirt bikes ever since I was a kid,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Cameron, motorcycle safety mentor for 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). “I’ve been the battalion motorcycle safety mentor at 1st Brigade for several months. At previous installations, I was a company mentor and an assistant mentor for the battalion. I often had riders come to me for guidance and questions about their bikes.”
Cameron helps riders prepare for any situation they may encounter out on the road by watching how they navigate on the motorcycle track on post.
“I often see the new riders acting more gung-ho and excited, they don’t really think about the dangers or understand that,” Cameron said. “I usually like to ride behind them, that way I can see their body positioning and the way their heads are turning, are they looking through each turn. Then I’ll give them tips for what they can do differently, you want to make sure they go through all kinds of scenarios.”
Cameron said it is important for motorcyclists to continually brush up on their skills through the motorcycle safety courses, practice and by seeking guidance from mentors.
“Motorcycle safety is very important and paying attention to what is going on around you is even more important,” Cameron said. “I often say you need to ride like you’re invisible, because sometimes no one can see you. I can help riders brush up on skills before they actually head out on a 50-mile ride, and more experienced riders should also be brushing up on their skills often as well.”