14 July 2011
Summer Motorcycle Safety

With summer here, the Fort Detrick Provost Marshal Office would like to remind Fort Detrick personnel of the likely increase in motorcyclists on the road during the long holiday weekend. With a rise in Department of the Army accidents, it is important to be aware of our surroundings and implement safe practices to prevent future accidents.

Please remember, motorcycles are vehicles with the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle on the roadway. One of the most common causes of motorcycle crashes is being cut off by another vehicle. Motorcyclists are vulnerable as they can easily go out of control with changes in the road surface.

An accident can mean serious injuries or death for the rider. Motorcyclists have responsibilities to ride safely, such as:

• Follow the rules of the roadway.

• Always be alert to other drivers.

• Do not drive in a vehicle’s blind spot.

• Wear proper protective gear.

The below articles are required Personal Protective Equipment for all persons operating a motorcycle on Fort Detrick.

• Helmets. Certified to meet Department of Transportation standards properly fastened under the chin.

• Goggles and Face Shields. Impact or shatter resistant goggles or full-face shield properly attached to helmet. A windshield or eye glasses alone are not proper eye protection.

• Sturdy Footwear is mandatory. Leather boots or over the ankle shoes must be worn.

• Clothing. Long sleeved shirt or jacket, long trousers, and full-fingered gloves or mittens designed for use on a motorcycle.

• Garment Visibility. A brightly colored outer upper garment during the day and a reflective upper garment during the night. Outer upper garment shall be clearly visible and not covered. Military uniforms do not meet this criterion. The outer garment shall be clearly visible and not covered. Items may be worn on top of the outer garment, but they must meet the same visibility requirements of the outer upper garment.

• Always drive defensively; never "hot dog."

• Look over your shoulders to check for oncoming traffic before lane changes and turns.

• Do not dart in and out of traffic, putting yourself in danger from larger vehicles.Too often in a crash, the drivers of other vehicles involved say they never saw the motorcyclist and failed to respond in time. This is no excuse.

Drivers of other passenger vehicles should always remember to follow these steps to help keep motorcyclists safe:

• Allow a motorcyclist the full lane width. Although it may seem there is enough room in a traffic lane for an automobile and a motorcycle, the motorcycle needs the full room to maneuver safely. Do not share the lane.

• Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows the motorcyclist to anticipate traffic flow and find a safe lane position.

• Remember that motorcyclists are often hidden in a vehicle's blind spot or missed in a quick look due to their smaller size. Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.

• Don't be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle. Motorcycle signals usually are not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.

• Remember, road conditions that are minor annoyances to passenger vehicles often pose major hazards to motorcyclists. Be aware that motorcyclists may need to change speed or adjust their position within a lane suddenly in reaction to road and traffic conditions such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings, and grooved pavement.

• Allow more following distance, three or four seconds, when following a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. Do not tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.

Posted by PAO

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   - the official newspaper for Fort Detrick.
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