By Robert Tanner, Fort Wainwright Garrison Safety OfficeApril 29, 2011
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - My generation survived bicycle riding without helmets or knee and elbow pads. Footwear' For sissies!
However, sandals were cool in the summer, except when you caught your toe on the black top, or the back side of your flip flop got caught on the pedal and came off. It hurt a little when you had to stop with your bare feet. Not to mention the black top was pretty hot! But hey, chalk it up to experience! That is how we learned. If it hurt, you didn't do it again...most of the time. Pain was a result of not doing something right.
So you did it again until it didn't get you hurt! Ok, so I still have the scars on my hands from flying over the handlebars and introducing myself to the pavement multiple times. Let's not forget the scars on my arms and knees from when my front wheel came off while I was imitating Evel Knievel (age identification) on my home-built bicycle. That's a day I will never forget. Then there was the three-speed bike I had with no brakes! Really wasn't an issue as long as there was a lawn or other soft surface to jump off. Success was measure on whether or not you could keep your feet and not tumble!
Now you might say that it only proves the point of not needing all that safety stuff or making sure your bike is in good working order. The truth of the matter is I was lucky. However, I had friends who were not so lucky, with broken bones and hospital visits for stitches. Fortunately, I don't know any gory or traumatic stories of not wearing the proper safety equipment or where a bike has failed (other than my own) that resulted in death (I only thought I was going to die). That doesn't mean it hasn't or can't happen. As I have stated before, safety is there to protect and the ideas don't' come from the good idea fairy. They are derived from actual events (injury) and someone's initiative to try and prevent further injuries or deaths.
Here are the rules.
Garrison Commander's policy #9 requires:
Aca,!Ac The wearing of helmets that have been approved by the Department of Transportation, Snell Memorial Foundation or the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) when operating a bicycle
on the installation.
Aca,!Ac During the hours of darkness and restricted visibility, bicycle riders will wear reflective vest or band. It must be worn on the upper body and be visible from the front and rear. They must also be equipped with headlights and taillights that are visible for 300 feet.
Aca,!Ac The use of headphones or earphones is prohibited while riding on roads and streets.
Aca,!Ac Riding on handlebars, carrying racks and center bars is prohibited.
Aca,!Ac Bicyclists must comply with all state traffic laws while operating on an Army Installation.