from 21st Space Wing Safety Office
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — To all of our fellow bikers: we lost a wingman last week. By all accounts, the motorcyclist was doing everything right and riding in a safe manner. Unfortunately, the rider lost control of the motorcycle and suffered a fatal injury when he hit a patch of loose gravel as he entered a downhill turn. The fact is, a mishap on a motorcycle is more severe than an auto mishap because the rider is much more exposed to the impact of the crash.
n According to Air Force Instruction 91-207, Traffic Safety Program, the Air Force has stringent rules regarding personal protection equipment to help our military and Air Force civilian personnel prevent and survive an accident.
n All military members must wear a helmet regardless of being on or off duty. The helmet must meet or exceed U.S. Department of Transportation standards and be properly fastened under the chin. All for good reason; according to the Colorado Department of Transportation, in 2009 over two thirds of the motorcyclists killed were not wearing or improperly wearing a helmet.
n Operators and passengers must wear eye protection. Goggles, wrap-around glasses, or a full-face shield (properly attached to helmet) designed to meet or exceed American National Standards Institute Standard Z87.1 for impact and shatter resistance must be worn. A windshield does not constitute proper eye protection.
n Wearing a long sleeved shirt or jacket, long trousers, and full-fingered gloves are required. Gloves should be sturdy, non-slip type to permit a firm grip on the controls. Motorcycle jackets and pants constructed of abrasion resistant materials, to include impact absorbing padding, are strongly encouraged.
n Riders will wear sturdy, over the ankle, footwear that affords protection for the feet and ankles (durable athletic shoes that cover the ankles may be worn). Sandals, low quarter sneakers, and similar footwear will not be used.
n Motorcycle riders will wear a brightly colored outer upper garment during the day and a reflective upper garment during the night. Outer upper garment shall be visible and not covered. Wearing a backpack is authorized if it has brightly colored/reflective properties.
n These rules apply to all military personnel riding a motorcycle on or off duty, and all civilians while riding on an Air Force installation.
What may sound like a laundry list is actually common sense, because what can happen, given enough opportunities, will happen. Therefore, the more protection we wear while riding a motorcycle, the greater chance we will survive a mishap.