By Natalie LakosilDecember 15, 2011
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- Some regulations for operating motorcycles on Fort Huachuca have changed, impacting training requirements and the need to show proof of training at the gate.
Under current rules, according to Army Regulation 385-55, Fort Huachuca's motorcycle regulations include the operator obtaining and owning the proper license for motorcycles. It also states riders must attend and complete an Army-regulated motorcycle safety course.
Motorcycles must have headlights on at all times when operating, except when signs designate not to. Soldiers must wear a properly fastened approved helmet on and off post while operating a motorcycle.
Civilians are required to wear a helmet on post but can choose to remove it once they leave the installation. Arizona has not made wearing a helmet a state law. Soldiers must wear eye protection, full-finger gloves, long pants, long sleeve shirt or jacket, high visibility garments with reflectors and leather or over the ankle boots.
Civilians are also required to follow these same laws while riding on the installation. The use of headphones is prohibited while driving a motorcycle.
"If an individual is not wearing the proper riding gear, the guards at the gate can tell them to turn around and come back when they have the correct attire," Prince said. "If we catch them on post, then we will either cite them or inform their unit leadership."
"I am fine with the regulations changing because I race bikes wearing all the reflective gear, boots, gloves and helmet so I am pretty safe. The regulations on Fort Huachuca are better than the regular Arizona laws," said rider William McElroy, a civilian contractor on fort.
In the All Army Activities 381/2011 pamphlet, it states that motorcycle training is mandatory for all Soldiers who ride on and off the installation.
One change that took effect in October is that more training is needed beyond the basic motorcycle training. Soldiers will now follow a progressive training model that includes three distinct courses. The advanced training will be determined by the type of motorcycle being operated. All riders must take the basic riders' course prior to operating a motorcycle, which is a one-time requirement.
Now motorcycle riders will be required to complete advanced motorcycle training consisting of either the experienced riders' course or the military sport bike riders' course within 12 months following the completion of the basic motorcycle training course.
Motorcycle refresher training is also mandatory for riders who have been deployed for more than 180 days.
"I do not know, but my best guess is that with all the numerous deployments and accidents, I think that is why they changed the regulations," said Provost Sgt. David Prince, Directorate of Emergency Services, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison.
Prince said. "Soldiers are gone for an extended period of time, and a course can help to refresh them."
"Most wrecks with motorcycles involved have been [with individuals who have been] riding for less than three years," McElroy said.
"Motorcycle riders are also no longer required to show motorcycle safety cards at the gate," said Prince.
Before the change, Soldiers were required to show proof of training before they entered the installation. Now, while they are required to carry the cards, they only have to show them if requested by law enforcement or if they are pulled over.