Editor’s note: Watch the full video of the riders taking off and heading out of the gate on Fort Knox’s YouTube channel HERE.
FORT KNOX, Ky. – About a dozen motorcycle riders took to the Kentucky and Indiana roadways April 22 for their first official Fort Knox safety ride of the 2022 season.
According to installation motorcycle mentor Sgt. 1st Class John Pushard, safety check rides are conducted to allow riders from the Fort Knox community an opportunity to get to know and learn from one another.
“This ride is really just to get out there and show the support and the safety that coincides with the motorcycle mentorship program,” said Pushard.
Pushard, who led the day’s ride, said the event serves many purposes.
“There are a lot of benefits to this ride,” said Pushard. “It gets the inexperienced riders out so we can hone their skills and improve their capabilities, and it shows support within the motorcycle organization.
“It also fosters the esprit de corps that is so important to the Army.”
Riders met Friday morning at Lindsey Golf Course, where Pushard gave a safety brief before they began their ride to Tell City, Indiana to have lunch together. Installation Safety director Joe Colson said these group rides are about more than just safety, however.
“When you bring a group of riders together, they collaborate,” said Colson. “Some are more experienced than others and during the ride, once they make their stops, they talk to the inexperienced ones and make sure they’re doing stuff safely.”
Colson pointed out how important it is having riders of all different skill levels participate.
“It’s truly about coaching and mentoring the younger riders,” said Colson. “It provides a balance between the experienced and inexperienced riders. By putting them together, that mentorship is gained.”
Colson said there are three more installation safety rides scheduled in 2022. With approximately 200 certified riders on the installation, he hopes to see even more participation – especially due to an unfortunate Army-wide statistic.
“There have been 133 [motorcycle] fatalities since 2017,” said Colson. “The Army has said ‘We’re losing too many of our individuals.’ Now, we have coordinators mandated starting at battalion level in order to make sure we have safe riders across the Army.”
Colson said riders must complete the motorcycle certification course every five years to remain in compliance with installation regulations. Information about upcoming courses can be found by clicking the motorcycle banner on the Safety homepage HERE.
Both Colson and Pushard agreed that between the certification courses, mentorship program and check rides, riders within the Army community have a better chance to stay safe.
Pushard said leading these rides allows him to enjoy his passion all the more.
“I love riding,” said Pushard. “Riding, for me, is an escape from the daily normal. Rides like this help continue to grow the program and make it that much stronger.”