Warmer weather increases risk on roadways

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
With spring fast approaching, more people will be outside to run and ride bicycles, skateboards and motorcycles. As a reminder to everyone, the 157th Air Refueling Wing Safety Office encourages the use of proper protective equipment to perform each of these activities safely.

Air Force Instruction 91-207 and DoD Instruction 6055.04 require that motorcycle operators and their passengers wear proper protective clothing while operating on a military installation; this requirement applies to both military and civilians.

"All motorcycle operators and passengers who ride on Pease Air National Guard Base must wear a helmet, eye protection, over the ankle shoes or boots, pants and a long sleeved upper garment," said Senior Master Sgt. James Roberts, 157 ARW ground safety manager. "The upper garment must be highly visible during the day and retro-reflective at night."

He also reminds members of the community that a motorcyclist is much more vulnerable than a passenger vehicle occupant in the event of a crash. Research from the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that, per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are more likely than occupants in an automobile to die in traffic crashes.

Motorcycle training is required for all military, and encouraged for civilian personnel, in order to ride on a military installation. It is highly encouraged that military personnel carry a copy of their motorcycle training cards with them as proof of training during random motorcycle checks. Dependents and contractors are exempt but still must wear a helmet.

Base motorcycle operators are encouraged to visit the Air Force Rider website at www.afsec.af.mil/airforcerider/index.asp or Department of Defense Rider website www.defense.gov/militaryrider/ for additional safety-related information.

The following are tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on the roadways:

· Remember, a motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle.
· Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width--never try to share a lane.
· Perform a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic and at intersections.
· Always signal intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
· Don't be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle - motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
· Allow more following distance - three or four seconds - when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
· Never tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
· Never drive while distracted.

Motorcyclists can increase their safety by:

· Avoiding riding in poor weather conditions.
· Wearing brightly colored protective gear during the day and reflective gear during hours of limited visibility.
- Wearing a DOT-compliant helmet.
· Using turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks no one will see it.
· Combining hand signals and turn signals to draw more attention to themselves.
· Using reflective tape and stickers to increase visibility.
· Keeping high beams on during the day.
· Positioning themselves in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers .
· Never driving while impaired.

All bicyclists and their passengers, scooter riders, skateboarders, roller bladers and roller skaters must wear a properly fitted helmet with a secure head strap fastened while on base. Approved helmets are those that meet the American National Standards Institute or Snell Memorial Foundation standards. The use of additional safety equipment is optional; however, everyone is encouraged to follow equipment manufacturer recommendations.

While jogging, use paths and sidewalks. If no sidewalks are available, personnel are encouraged to run against the traffic flow.

It is also important to remember that besides hearing aids, the use of portable headphones, earphones, cellular phones, iPods or other listening and entertainment devices, including those with single ear-pieces or non-ear-bud external speakers, while walking, jogging, running, bicycling, skating or skateboarding on roadways is prohibited for the sake of ensuring good situational awareness. These devices can also impede the hearing of emergency signals, alarms, announcements, approaching vehicles and verbal warnings. It is highly recommended they not be used on jogging paths or outdoor tracks, as well.

For more information, contact the Safety Office at 603-430-2345.