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New policy enhances Airmen and motorcycle safety

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Michael Gibson
  • 178th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
All motorcycle riders at the Springfield, Ohio Air National Guard Base will be required to wear protective gear in accordance with Air Force policy and Ohio laws, May 1.

Motorcycle riders not meeting the appropriate standards will not be allowed to enter the base.

"This is not about making motorcycle riders do things they may not do in other locations," said Col. Gregory Schnulo, wing commander. "This is about protecting our most important assets - You."

According to Master Sgt. Gregory Angstadt, wing safety NCO, the Air Force has already reported nine motorcycle related fatalities this fiscal year.

"Our goal is zero fatalities," said Maj. Gen Deborah Ashenhurst, adjutant general for Ohio, in a policy memo. "Motorcyclists will wear helmets and other personal protective equipment as required by applicable Army and Air Force regulations and instructions."

The previous policy only required AGRs and duty status Airmen to follow Air Force Instruction 91-207. This new policy now applies to federal technicians, in addition to those previously affected.

AFI 91-207 requires riders to use the following protective equipment:
· Department of Transportation approved helmet
· Goggles, wrap-around glasses or full-face shield attached to the helmet that meets or exceeds the American National Standards Institute standard for impact and shatter resistance
· Long-sleeved shirt or jacket and long trousers
· Full-fingered gloves or mittens made from leather or abrasion-resistant material
· Sturdy, over-the-ankle footwear for ankle and foot protection
Motorcyclists are also required to wear highly-visible, fluorescent colors during the day and reflective garments at night.

"This does not include simply wearing a reflective belt," said Senior Master Sgt. David Arthur, wing safety NCOIC.

Arthur encourages riders "to use other methods of increasing conspicuity such as headlight and brake light modulators, auxiliary running lights, reflective tape to the sides of your motorcycle and installation of position/marker lights"

Arthur said riders are allowed to wear backpacks, as long as they are highly visible with reflective properties and do not block their upper garment reflectivity.

In addition to wearing proper protective gear, all riders will soon be required to complete a motorcycle safety course.

"We offer a basic riders course the first weekend of every month and an expert rider's course the last Saturday each month," said Arthur. "The courses are free but members will be required to provide their own motorcycle and protective equipment."

Riders will also have the option to attend Ohio's Basic Rider Course, where helmets and motorcycles will be provided. This course costs $50, but is a reimbursable expense according to Arthur. He added to say that Airmen and technicians attending a motorcycle safety course will not be charged leave during their training.