Posted on Jan 21, 2014
SSG Artillery Mechanic
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I understand the need for some protection while riding a motorcycle, but there is a trend among commands policies that go far beyond what "Big Army" requires. I know the usual answers, such as you can add to but you can't take away.

In my experience as a rider, paying attention, and riding defensively is what saves your butt. Not what color you're wearing. The person driving down the interstate with their nose in their cell phone can't see you regardless if you're wearing an orange vest or riding in the nude.

I just don't feel as though wearing more is going to save you. I have ridden for many years, and my motorcycle is my primary means of transportation, even in the winter. As I am seeing more and more younger riders, I see them wear much less actual safety gear. I think it may be due to the amount of "other" gear that commands are requiring personnel to wear. It's almost as if they feel stifled, so they get by on the bare minimum of actual protective clothing, to wear all the other required "ppe".

I am beginning to think that I may just be biased, being a rider myself. Yet the more POM accidents I read about, the more I am seeing that it doesn't matter what you wear, but how you operate your motorcycle. Looking for some thoughts on this.
Posted in these groups: Policy Policy31m8esm34pl Safety
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Responses: 3
SFC James Baber
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Very enlightening statements SSG, and many that I agree with, but if you have been around long enough you also know most of the command directives are more CYA on their part than it is sometimes the reality of safety for seasoned and knowledgeable riders.


You are correct on many levels in everything you stated, good luck, take care and stay safe. 

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SSG Artillery Mechanic
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I suppose, haha, but it just gets old quick.
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SSG Section Leader
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As far as Im concerned as a rider the Armys requirements are a little crazy. In the 2.5 yrs Ive been in Southern California on recruiting duty I've had a close friend pass away from an accident, and the other lose his leg below the knee. Both of which were wearing proper attire. Myself included have been in 2 MC accidents while here. Both of which I was wearing proper PPE. To an extent I believe in the PPE. But in another aspect I really don't think it will make a difference.
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SSG Robert Blum
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You're right, I'm no rider myself (ATV only) but over the years becasue of my MOS, I have seen incident Reports (photos included), and have responded to a couple fatal, and non fatal Motorcycle accidents. The PPE (pants, jacket, elbow, knee pads, gloves), is inteneded to reduce injuries in low speed accdients. From what I hear, road rash is no laughing matter. Reflective Vests, and belts, well the Army lives for that, but to me is no more effective than wearing bright collors that dont blend into the enviroment. The helmet and Eye wear, again Low to mid speed accdients they should reduce the risk of serrious injury and even death. Most of the fatals I have seen were caused by High speeds, alcohol,  inattentiveness, and ridding like a Jackass. PPE or no PPE.  The safest way to ride seems to be to Slow down, dont drink and ride, pay attention, and dont be stupid. I beleive the Army only requires Boots over the ankle, Long pants, long sleeves, gloves, Bright Colored Clothing (Daytime), Reflective vest (Night), DOT Approved Helmet, and eye pro if wearing an open helmet.  Commanders add more if the feel it necessary.  Its all in an attempt to save lives and reduce injury, a bit overboard some times, in some locations, but in the end we do what were told.
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