News: Standing Down for Motorcycle Safety
Story by Sgt. David Edge
FORT POLK, La. - A Motorcycle Safety Stand Down was held to provide a focus on motorcycle safety, the importance of protective gear, safety inspections, safe riding techniques, and post policies at the Fort Polk PX parking lot, May 3.
The safety stand down wasn’t all rules and regulations. The event organizers added some fun by bringing some friendly competition to the event.
“We had a couple of different rodeo style events for the riders. The first event was the slow ride event; the object was to go from point A to point B as slow as the rider can go without putting their feet down. The second event was a slalom competition where the riders had to swerve their motorcycles back and forth through cones without hitting the cones and it was a timed event,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Randall Haddox, 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division Brigade Motorcycle Mentor. “Events like this also help to create an atmosphere of comradely between the rides of Fort Polk.”
Safety was the constant theme of the day while the soldiers displayed their riding skills. The Army announced its 10th motorcycle fatality this year the day prior to the rodeo.
“Army wide we have way too many people that are not operating their motorcycles properly. We have lost soldiers and continue to have accidents that probably could be avoided if people understood how to safely operate their motorcycles,” said Sgt. 1st Class Theodore F. Honeycutt, the operations noncommissioned officer-in-charge, 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. “That’s why events like the Motorcycle Safety Stand Down are so important for the community as a whole.”
The Patriot Brigade and each of its battalions have motorcycle safety mentors that coordinate safety meetings and rides.
“The battalion mentors conduct a quarterly ride with all the riders in their battalion and the Patriot Brigade hosts a ride twice a year. The brigade rides are a little more difficult because there are so many riders involved, so we try to keep it down to the battalion, that way we are not putting so many bikes on the road at one time,” said Haddox. “There is a garrison ride, with all the bikes on post scheduled for May 22. The riders that want to participate need to get in contact with their battalion mentors for more information.”
The safety of soldiers while on their motorcycle is a major concern for the Army. Events like the Motorcycle Safety Stand Down help the soldiers learn how to be safe while giving them an opportunity to have fun.