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Motorcycle safety should be top concern for riders

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- As I travel around the base doing my day-to-day routine, I see people wearing short pants and shirts with short sleeves. With the increasing temperatures here in the desert, folks are starting to soak up those rays and get their tan. 

I don't have a problem with people wearing shorts, tank tops and sandals. It's the ones who are dressed like this while operating their motorcycle or scooter that get my attention. I see people riding in short-sleeved shirts, low-top tennis shoes and even shorts. I see this sort of thing more times than I care to remember. These garments don't provide real protection to motorcyclists. It's also against Air Force regulations. 

As an avid motorcycle rider myself, I just don't see why we, as motorcyclists in the Edwards community, can't simply follow the rules. The following are the things we need to remember when riding a motorcycle:
  • Motorcycles and moped operators must use safety equipment and proper gear to protect themselves. 
  • Helmets must be properly worn and fastened under the chin. Helmets must meet federal standards imposed by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 218. They must also be Department of Transportation and Snell certified. 
  • Footwear must be over the ankle and sturdy with low heels. 
  • Operators must have shatter-resistant eye protection that won't allow objects from the other side. Face shields, goggles or safety glasses will work, but normal prescription eyeglasses or sunglasses will not suffice. 
  • During daytime hours, the upper outer garment must be of a highly-visible color and not covered. If backpacks cover the garment, they must meet the requirements. Motorcycles with fixed rear luggage must meet the requirements, either with reflective material or lights, if they cover the rider. 
  • During nighttime hours and limited visibility, wear a highly-visible reflective upper outer garment. At a minimum, the reflective material must be 30 square inches and visible from the rider's back. A reflective vest or highly visible belt or sash with two inches in width and 15 inches in length will meet this requirement. If backpacks cover the garment, they must also meet the requirements. Motorcycles with fixed rear luggage must meet the requirements either with reflective material or lights if they cover the rider. Reflective vests meet both day and nighttime requirements. 
  • Headlights must be turned on at all times.
  • People should wear full-length trousers and long sleeved shirts or jackets as well as full-fingered gloves. 
Military members are required to meet these standards both on and off base, anytime you are an operator or passenger on a motorcycle. Now that you know the rules, do the right thing and follow them. Enjoy riding your motorcycle, but for those individuals who are bending the rules, your actions affect all motorcyclists on base. Ride safe. 

For more information, call the motorcycle safety office at 277-4640.