Fort McCoy News May 27, 2016

Motorcycle riders: Know rules, requirements

Warmer weather has arrived for 2016, which also means more motorcycles are out on the roads.

The Installation Safety Office (ISO) reminds all motorcycle riders to be ready to ride smartly and safely. ISO Safety Specialist Tim Cumberworth said his office can help riders prepare for the season.

"The ISO coordinates training for people new to motorcycle operations and has information available on safe motorcycle riding," Cumberworth said.

Special rules apply for service members operating motorcycles as well as for riders who drive on military installations. Department of Defense (DOD) Instruction 6055.4, DOD Traffic Safety Program, lists baseline training and operation requirements for motorcyclists within the DOD. Army Regulation 385-10 also identifies motorcycle-safety training requirements for Soldiers and, in some cases, DOD civilian employees.

Motorcycle graphic

At Fort McCoy, according to DOD and Army directives, all operators must be properly licensed. Prior to operating any motorcycle, service members must successfully complete an appropriate Motorcycle Safety Foundation-based Basic Riders Course (BRC).

Based on the type of motorcycle(s) owned and operated, service members also must complete either the BRC II or the Military Sport Bike Riders Course within 12 months of completing the BRC.

Motorcycles must have headlights turned on at all times while operated on Fort McCoy, and rear-view mirrors must be mounted on both the left and right of the handlebar.

Operators and passengers must wear required clothing and safety equipment. This includes an approved helmet that meets Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. All helmets must be properly fastened under the chin.

Also required is eye protection, which must be designed to meet or exceed (ANSI Z87.1) for impact and shatter resistance. This includes goggles, wraparound glasses, or a full-face shield properly attached to a helmet. A windshield or fairing does not constitute eye protection.

Riders also must wear sturdy, over-the-ankle footwear that affords protection for the feet and ankles; long-sleeved shirt or jacket; long trousers; and full-fingered gloves or mittens made from leather or other abrasion-resistant material. Riders also are encouraged to select personal-protective equipment that incorporates fluorescent colors and retro-reflective material.

The ISO coordinates the BRC and BRC II motorcycle training through Installation Management Command's (IMCOM) Army Traffic Safety Training Program. Riders can sign up for courses at https://imc.army.mil/airs/.

"The courses meet DOD and Army standards," Cumberworth said. "The Fort McCoy BRC sessions are free to active-duty, Reserve, and National Guard service members only, and the course is great for teaching the basic fundamentals about motorcycle riding."

The BRC II training, which also is available free to military members only, is designed to help riders with a minimum of 1,000 miles of riding experience and/or six to 12 months of riding experience to further develop the rider's skills to a level necessary to avoid accidents.

Cumberworth said civilian motorcyclists at Fort McCoy also should take a motorcycle safety course. "People who want to find the nearest course training site should check with the nearest Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles office," Cumberworth said. People also can go online to wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/motorcycles/mc-how-aply/training-loc.aspx#other-schools.

Civilian motorcyclists traveling on Fort McCoy must have valid driver's licenses with motorcycle endorsement (class M license), insurance, and wear the same personal protective equipment as military riders.

Outside of Fort McCoy, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WDOT) offers these tips for riders operating a motorcycle on Wisconsin roads:

• Only a single passenger is permitted on a motorcycle if the driver has a Class M license and the motorcycle is equipped with a seat and foot pegs for two people.

• Two motorcycles may operate in a single traffic lane if both riders consent. A staggered riding formation is strongly recommended.

• Operate your motorcycle within a single lane of traffic. White lining or riding the line in between lanes is illegal.

• Be aware of road hazards. Learn to "read" the road, looking far ahead to give yourself time to position yourself in traffic and plan the safest course of action. Take railroad crossings at a 90-degree angle if possible. Slow down before crossing the tracks, and stand slightly on the foot pegs. Also, maneuver around potholes if it can be done safely. If not, slow down, rise slightly on the pegs, and take the hole straight on.

• Slow down before entering a turn and look through the turn. Lean your body and the motorcycle into the turn. Accelerate through and out of the turn.

• Motorcycles may park at an angle in parallel parking areas. Up to three motorcycles may park in a metered stall unless signs indicate otherwise. If the meter expires, all cycles in the parking stall are in violation.

For more WDOT motorcycle safety tips, go to its website at wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/motorcycles/mc-safety/default.aspx.

For more information about overall motorcycle training and safety, go online to safety.army.mil or www.msf-usa.org, or call the ISO at 608-388-3403.

Motorcycle-safety courses offered

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation two-day Basic Rider Course (BRC) and the one-day BRC II training are offered free to active-duty, Reserve, and National Guard service members.

BRC training sessions will be held June 15-16; July 6-7; Aug. 1-2; and Sept. 8-9, 19-20, and 26-27.

BRC II training sessions will be held July 8, Aug. 3, and Sept. 6 and 28.

Register through the Installation Management Command Registration System at https://imc.army.mil/airs/.

For more information about the BRC or motorcycle safety, contact Tim Cumberworth at 608-388-7712 or stop by building 1678.

   (Article prepared by the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office and the Installation Safety Office.)