Posted on May 27, 2014
SGM Matthew Quick
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During a periodic social media spot check of your Soldiers, you notice a few pictures of your Soldier (or a Soldier you know) riding a motorcycle with proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). What action(s) would you take?

As a caveat, what if the picture was sent to you by another peer?
Posted in these groups: Ethics_logo EthicsSocial_media_logo Social Media
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Responses: 13
SSG Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Operations Specialist
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First question, do you ride? What kind of bike was she on? How little gear was she wearing? How experienced is she? Are we talking about fooling around on a dirt bike in the back yard or street racing nude?

These are important facts to calibrate a response.

Before I give my advice I should state my qualifications:

I am a 365 rider (ok I really don't like to ride in the snow) I put between 25k and 40k miles/year on my motorcycle.
I ride dirt, commute and street (but can't afford track time)
In the past 7 years I have traveled 250,000 miles on two wheels on two continents and through at least 14 countries, almost all of that solo, to include South American cities and crossing the Uyuni desert.
I have had three minor injury collisions in two of those it I became a ballistic object and only the proper gear prevented major injuries.
I have also done some instruction.

I put this out there because in general people who ride have some level of contempt for those who do not. If you bring the legal hammer down most likely get the behavior that got her in trouble ended. She will no longer post incriminating photos or will lock her Facebook profile.

Think of the response a soldier coming in from a COP to Camp Victory has about wearing reflective belts. The goal is to change the behavior, not to punish the soldier.

I will assume that the soldier is wearing only a helmet, on the street. In which case a verbal counseling is appropriate, than show her the hammer. (All the things that can be done.)

In exchange for dropping not taking any legal or written action she needs to go for training with a mentor.

As a mentor I would first provide her with the correct gear. Gauntlets, Jacket with KE inserts, spine board, pants and show her where she can buy the right boots. My current riding gear cost more than $2500. That is more than my first motorcycle. I have spares and any experienced rider will have the same.

Next I would introduce the soldier to MY riding peers. Take her on rides, clinic her technique, acculturate her to the importance of good gear and proper techniques. My riding peers use the time honored tools of insult an derision to encourage people to gear up.

Female soldiers are a special challenge, because they in general want to look like girls when in their riding gear. This is harder than might be imagined at first. Higher end and thus more expensive gear is better at this than budget rate gear.

The take away is to treat this as an opportunity to bring the soldier into the fold, not as a behavior problem.

As an example I met 'Donut' when he was riding an R6 in a helmet, tank top and shorts. A small amount of mocking and a large amount of demonstrating that I was more skilled caused him to begin to model good behavior on his own. Now he rides with me in full gear (almost always) and has begun learning how to ride dirt also.

Be, Know, Do applies not just to the military behaviors of an NCO.
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MSgt Lancia Stewart
MSgt Lancia Stewart
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THANK YOU.
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MSgt Vehicle Operations Superintendent
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Awesome response Sgt. There is an opportunity to correct the behavior or have the member hide the behavior. The difference is all in the leadership approach.
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CW3 Systems Architect
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That would never be a picture of me. While I may eschew a reflective belt, I will always wear PPE when riding a motorbike...ESPECIALLY a full face helmet.

The ground is harder than my face. That is a fact, and there's no getting around it. If I really have to feel the wind in what little hair I have, I can rent a convertible car.
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MSG Combat Engineering Senior Sergeant
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Not just the ground, but those Junebugs too..
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SFC Brigade Career Counselor
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If she is an NCO it sounds as if you have yourself a new motorcycle safety NCO!! After, counseling and retraining of course.
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