Story and photo by Spc. Mark Sasamoto
43rd Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Office
More than 40 Fort Carson Soldiers participated in a motorcycle safety ride from Fort Carson to Cripple Creek, Aug. 29.
Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno recently sent out a motorcycle safety message noting the Army has lost 14 Soldiers to motorcycle fatalities since the beginning of June, which accounts for half of all Army motorcycle fatalities for fiscal 2013.
In response to Odierno’s message, Col. Kirk Whitson, provisional commander, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, organized what he has coined as the R3, or “Rough Rider Ride.”
The 40-mile ride started with the riders meeting in the 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 43rd SB, parking lot to conduct a pre-ride safety check.
The check ensured that all riders had the appropriate personal protective equipment, and a thorough inspection was conducted on each motorcycle.
“As a motorcycle rider myself, with over 15 years of experience, I wanted to have leadership presence and show that I am no different than the lowest (ranking) private, in that I need to have my bike checked out as well for all the appropriate safety checks,” said Whitson.
Every safety ride has been led by a road captain. Planning is required both before and during the ride. The road captain pre-determines the route and conducts a safety brief prior to the day of the ride.
During the ride, the road captain is responsible for aspects to include riding speed, when to ride single file or in staggered formation, when to proceed from traffic and stop signs, lane changes and deciding to pull the group over to the side of the road for any reason.
The road captain for the R3 was Sgt. Todd Miller, Operations and Schools noncommissioned officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 43rd Special Troops Battalion, 43rd SB, who has been riding for 15 years.
“The ride served to enhance both safety and esprit de corps,” said Miller. “The safety side was shown by ensuring all Soldiers were wearing the appropriate equipment, acting appropriately on motorcycles, riding within the rider’s personal limits and being alert and aware of other vehicles and hazards on the road.
“It was also a chance to get all the motorcycle riders of the brigade together to have fun while practicing safety,” he said.
Whitson plans to conduct motorcycle safety rides to various destinations, while weather permits, in the months to come.