JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD Because of the risk of injury and death from motorcycle accidents, the Department of the Army has established the Motorcycle Mentorship and Safety Emphasis Program.
Within the 7th Infantry Division, program leadership goals are to increase the safety awareness of motorcycle riders while building esprit decorps through regular, organized rides.
More than 100 riders from throughout 7th Inf. Div. participated in a division safety ride May 22, to promote safe riding practices, enhance individual rider skills and build confidence through group riding.
What we want to do is build a positive motorcycle riding environment and culture within the unit, said Master Sgt. Dewayne Darling, 7th Inf. Div. primary motorcycle mentor.
With this ride, were accomplishing a couple of things were providing an opportunity for riders at all levels of the division to interact with one another and practice safe riding techniques, Darling said. Were also providing a forum for experienced feedback to the division motorcycle safety program before the beginning of the prime riding season.
Following the ride, the divisions motorcycle riders should have a better understanding of the mentorship program.
Its also a way to celebrate the start of the 2014 riding season, and start developing those safe habits in time for summer riding, said Sgt. Kerry Keels, 7th Infantry Division.
Keels has been riding motorcycles for six years. He said he always goes through the mental checklist to be sure hes wearing everything needed for a safer ride: gloves, over-the-ankle shoes, helmet and a reflective belt or vest.
Riders have to take the motorcycle safety course, but a program like this Id recommend just because you can learn a little something from more experienced riders, Keels said. Plus, when the weathers right, riding with others is just a lot of fun.