Summer Safety Observe motorcycle safety this summer

Military members from Headquarters Pacific Air Forces and 15th Wing ride across the installation after receiving a motorcycle safety briefing during Motorcycle Safety Day on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, April 1, 2016. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich

Compiled by Ho‘okele Staff

During the “101 critical days of summer,” there are many aspects of safety to consider. According to a safety sheet from the Division of Highway Safety for the Department of Transportation, “HS 807 709,” operating a motorcycle is different from operating a car, and takes more skill.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 5,286 motorcycle-related deaths nationwide, as of 2016. This is a 5.1 percent increase from the previous year.

“(Military) motorcycle riders are professional warfighters,” said Adm. W.F. Moran, the vice chief of naval operations, in Naval Administrative Message 135/18.

“They should never underestimate the risks they take on a motorcycle. It is ultimately their responsibility to be a qualified operator, to constantly manage their risk, to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment, and to ensure their bike is mechanically sound.”

In NAVADMIN 135/18, eight motorcycle accidents involving active-duty Sailors were reported so far this year.

Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (nhtsa. gov) and Motorcycle Safety Foundation (

Owning a motorcycle

Be aware of the type of bike you need for your purposes. There are various bikes designed for different rider needs. Weight, speed and size and whether or not you will have passengers will affect your bike choice. • The owner ‘s manual can be useful for maintenance, repair and riding guidance.

• Know the motorcycle’s limitations. • Familiarize yourself with traffic rules and regulations and any special requirements for motorcycles.

• Don’t take on passengers until you’re completely comfortable on your bike. • Never drink and ride. Alcohol slows reflexes and greatly limits your ability to operate a motorcycle.

What to wear

Be sure to have proper motorcycle attire that also complies with base regulations. Wear a helmet that fits comfortably and snugly, and is fastened for the ride. Look for a Department of Transortation label, which means the helmet conforms to the federal standard. Protect your eyes against wind, insects, dirt and more with goggles, glasses with plastic or safety lenses, or a helmet equipped with a face shield.

Wear durable material (e.g., special synthetic material or leather). Wear long-sleeved jackets and long, non-baggy pants. Wear, bright, lightweight reflective material for visibility.

Wear non-slip gloves for a firm grip on the controls. Wear leather boots or durable athletic shoes that cover the ankles. Avoid shoelaces.

When riding

• Once you complete a motorcycle training course, practice in an off-highway area or vacant parking lot to get comfortable riding before going on the street.

• Avoid riding between lanes of slow moving or stopped traffic.

• Know and obey traffic laws, including ordinances in your community.

• Avoid excessive noise by leaving the stock muffler in place or using a muffler of equivalent noise reduction.

• Signal when appropriate.

• Be visible. Use your headlights all day.

• Be wary at intersections, where most motorcycle-vehicle collisions occur. Be prepared to react quickly.

• Respect fellow drivers. Some rider practices are offensive to other motorists (e.g., weaving in and out of stalled traffic, riding on shoulders).

• Watch for vehicles that may unexpectedly turn in front of you or pull out from a side street or driveway.

• Check the rearview mirrors before changing lanes or stopping.

• Watch the road surface and traffic ahead to anticipate problems and road hazards such as potholes, oil slicks, puddles, debris and more.

• Be cautious when riding in inclement weather, on slippery surfaces, or when encountering obstacles on the roadway.

• Don’t tailgate, and don’t let others tailgate you. Following too closely behind another vehicle may make it difficult to brake suddenly.

• Pass only when it is safe to do so.

• Use both brakes together. Brake firmly and progressively and bring the motorcycle upright before stopping.

June schedule of motorcycle safety classes

You must acquire a motorcycle license to ride. Attend a motorcycle rider-training course. The Basic Rider Courses are held at the Navy’s motorcycle range on Ford Island and at the Leeward Community College (contractor’s) motorcycle range. The Basic Rider Course (BRC), Experienced Rider Course (ERC) and the Advanced Rider Course (ARC) are held on the Navy’s motorcycle range on Ford Island. The classroom portion is held in Bldg. 39 on Ford Island.

June 16 to 17 — 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)
Basic Rider Course (BRC)
Pearl Harbor

June 18 — 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
MSF Advanced Rider Course (ARC)
Pearl Harbor

June 19 to 20 — 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
MSF BRC, Pearl Harbor

June 25 — 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
MSF ARC, Pearl Harbor

June 29 — 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
MSF Experienced Rider Course (ERC)/BRC 2, Pearl Harbor

June 30 to July 1 — 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
MSF BRC, Pearl Harbor

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