Arnold Police remind motorists and motorcyclists to 'share the road'

(Photo by Charles Cook)

(Photo by Charles Cook)

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, TENN. -- In recognition of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, I would like to reach out to AEDC motorists and motorcyclists alike, encouraging them to "share the road" in order to reduce motorcycle deaths and injuries. Motorcycles are among the smallest and most vulnerable vehicles on the road, putting riders at greater risk of death and serious injury in a crash. In fact, according to the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 30 times more likely than occupants of cars to die in a crash, and five times more likely to be injured.

The latest statistics from NHTSA display this tragedy in stark numbers. Motorcycle deaths have increased every year for 14 of the past 15 years, except in 2009, which saw a decline. In 2012, 4,957 motorcyclists died on America's roads, accounting for 15 percent of total highway deaths. Motorcycle crash-related injuries also increased from 81,000 in 2011 to 93,000 in 2012.

One way we can decrease the number of fatalities and injuries, and make the roads safer is if we work together, motorists and motorcyclists alike. Adhering to the following rules will improve highway safety for everyone.

Drivers should:
  • Be on the lookout for motorcyclists at all times;
  • Signal all lane changes and turns, and constantly check mirrors and blind spots before proceeding;
  • Be fully focused on the task of driving and in control of their vehicles at all times; and
  • Never drive impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Riders should:
  • Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed;
  • Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and use reflective tape and gear to be more visible. NHTSA estimates helmets saved the lives of 1,617 motorcyclists in 2011; and
  • Never ride while impaired or distracted.

Please join me in reaching out to other motorists and motorcyclists this month to encourage safe driving every day of the year at AEDC and in the local area. Specific AEDC rules and requirements are provided in the accompanying information box.

For AEDC riders, Motorcycles, Motor Scooters, Mopeds PPE requirements include:

Requirements for wear of personal protective equipment (PPE), moped requirements, and two-wheeled vehicle safety requirements apply to military personnel on and off the installation. Nonappropriated Funds (NAF) and Department of the Air Force (DAF) civilians must comply with the above requirements when operating any vehicles on base and when in an official duty status off base. Dependents and contractors must comply with the above when operating any vehicles on base.
  • Only operators may ride mopeds - no passengers.
  • Headlights (when equipped). All motorcycles, mopeds, motor scooters, three wheeled vehicles and ATVs will have headlights turned on at all times when operating on a DOD installation on or off-road, except where prohibited during military mission or by state, local or host nation law.
  • Rear View Mirrors. Motorcycles will have both left and right rear view mirrors mounted on the handlebar or fairing.
  • Head Protection. A helmet, certified to meet current Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218 (DOT) or Snell Standard M2005 or higher, shall be worn and properly fastened under the chin for the operator and passenger.
  • Eye Protection. Goggles, wrap around glasses, or a full-face shield designed to meet or exceed American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard Z87.1, or UNECE 22.05 or BS6658 in effect when manufactured, will be properly worn by the operator and passenger. A windshield does not constitute proper eye protection.
  • Protective Clothing. Wearing of long sleeved shirt or jacket, long trousers and full-fingered gloves or mittens is required for operator and passenger. Gloves or mittens will be made from leather or other abrasion-resistant material. Wearing of a motorcycle jacket and pants constructed of abrasion resistant materials such as leather, Kevlar® or Cordura® containing impact absorbing padding is strongly encouraged. Riders should select PPE that incorporates fluorescent colors and retro-reflective material.
  • Garment Visibility. Motorcycle riders and passengers must wear brightly colored or reflective outer upper garment when the motorcycle is in operation.
  • Foot Protection. Sturdy, hard-soled shoes, over the ankle footwear that affords protection for the feet and ankles.