News: Stand down for motorcycle safety
Story by Sgt. Lauren Twigg
PHOENIX – In 2010, 2,735 accidents involving motorcycles occurred in Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. Of those accidents, 83 were fatal.
However, with some basic driving skills and adherence to the rules of the road, traffic collisions can be avoided – and even save lives.
More than 90 military members and civilian employees of the Arizona National Guard participated in a safety stand down day here, Dec. 1.
“Due to a recent spike in the number of Arizona Guardmembers involved in motorcycle accidents, including one fatality, the Command saw a need to foster an environment of safety for our riders,” said 1st Sgt. Max Hamlin, the first sergeant for the 855th Military Police Company and one of the coordinators for this event.
To make this possible, the Assistant Adjutant General Alberto Gonzalez and the Chief of Staff Col. Jeffrey Tipton approved a mandatory block of time for instruction on safety and awareness for all of the Arizona National Guard personnel who ride, Hamlin said.
The four-hour course consisted of classroom instruction on accident statistics, awareness of proper use of personal protective equipment, and safe riding techniques.
“This event was intended to clarify the standards of Army Regulation 385-10 and National Guard Regulation 385-10 as they relate to members of the National Guard and the civilian employees who work on state installations,” Hamlin said.
Additionally, an outdoor activity instructed and observed riders’ capabilities to successfully maneuver offset weaves, quick swerves, and quick stops.
“This was to ensure riders’ confidence in their riding abilities and comfort on a motorcycle,” Hamlin said.
Although this was the first time the Arizona National Guard hosted a motorcycle safety day, Hamlin said this will most likely not be the last time and annual or semi-annual events can be expected in the future.
Motorcycle training courses are also made available to immediate family members and civilian contract employees at no cost.
Future safety day announcements and information on how and when to sign up will be made available through intra- and internet channels.