News: Riders club promotes motorcycle safety
Story by Lance Cpl. Mike Granahan
OKINAWA, Japan - Twenty five riders with Marine Corps Installations Pacific’s installation riding club participated in a motorcycle ride to promote safety July 25.
The group ride, which began at Camp Hansen, was conducted to practice motorcycle safety and gave participants a chance to learn from each other.
“The purpose of the ride was to meet requirements set forth by the commandant of the Marine Corps,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jorge Galvan, a member of the riding club and a radio chief with 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “Quarterly rides were established to introduce new riders to their mentors, teach and practice safe riding skills, and build trust and camaraderie with all riders.”
Riders completed safety inspections on each other’s bikes before getting on the road.
“Safety inspections are very important. You can identify problems your bike may have, which can potentially create a malfunction or accident,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Eliseo Garza, the leading chief petty officer with Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF.
It is very important to complete a safety inspection anytime a rider decides to operate his motorcycle, according to Galvan.
“Motorcycle safety is important no matter where you are, but Okinawa is an unfamiliar place to most riders and presents hazards such as simply driving on the opposite side of the road, congestive traffic, smaller roads, and the condition of the roads themselves,” said Paul Green, a representative with the installation safety office, MCIPAC, and an instructor at the basic riders course.
The group used a local track as its halfway point, which offered a safe area for novice riders to learn from experienced riders.
“The track (provided) opportunities for some to practice their skills away from cars,” said Garza.
Riders were grouped by experience during the event. Those with less than one year of riding experience were paired with those with five or more years, so the seasoned riders could look out for the less experienced.
“I hope that events like this will continue, and more Marines and sailors will become involved,” said Galvan.
Anyone trying to get involved in the program can contact the installation riding club at firstname.lastname@example.org