FORT RILEY, Kan. - Spring is in the air and motorcycles thundered down the road during the “Big Red One” Motorcycle Mentorship Safety Ride on May 22 at Fort Riley.
Soldiers are getting back on the road after a long winter and 1st Infantry Division leaders and safety officials wanted to make sure their ride safely. A total of 302 riders from units across the division gathered near division headquarters the morning of May 22 as officials gave safety speeches to help supplement training by the motorcycle mentors assigned to each unit.
“The three ‘Rs’ is what I do: respect the conditions and vehicles on the road, reach out to other riders and always ride with a buddy,” said Col. Mike Morgan, chief of staff, 1st Inf. Div.
This group event was meant to help the Soldiers and civilians “ride to stay alive” throughout this riding season and Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, commander, 1st Inf. Div, also spoke to help the riders make the right decisions.
“The Army has had 19 motorcycle rider fatalities and 14 of those 19 have been noncommissioned officers,” Funk said. “We got to make sure we train our leaders first and those folks got to continue to train the Soldiers.”
Funk wasn’t just addressing the people who come to these events. Soldiers and civilians who ride by themselves are statically more likely to crash then those who ride in groups, according to information from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
“This group right here that comes to these events and does the mentorship program, which takes care of one another, is not who I am after,” Funk said. “What I am asking you to do is to reach out and find [those guys] who are riding by themselves and probably [are] not as experienced and help them out.”
The coordinator of the event was the 1st Inf. Div. Safety Officer Joe Zelko, who explained how the event was arranged to help the riders learn to be safer.
“The 1st Inf. Div. holds the motorcycle mentorship safety ride biannually in the spring and the fall with a 100-mile ride from all riders in the division,” Zelko said. “This event allows mentors to engage their new riders, do inspections on their bikes and spend a little time together to build brotherhood amongst each other.”
Soldiers and civilians who participated in the ride also went to another safety event held at Moon Lake on post.