JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD With spring showing its brightest colors and weather warming up, its easy to see how the topic of safety can get lost among thoughts of summer trips to the beach.
For motorcyclists, however, safety is at the forefront of traveling ideas. Thats why one McChord Field unit is making sure riders are prepared for the obstacles of the vacation season.
Airmen of the 62nd Maintenance Squadron kicked off the riding season with a group ride focused on safety. Taking a route up to Mount Rainier, led by squadron motorcycle safety representatives and assisted by the Green Knights Military Motorcycle Club, riders from across the 62nd MXS, and some others in the 62nd Maintenance Group, benefited from the instruction of seasoned motorcyclists.
Technical Sergeant Todd Spencer and Staff Sgt. Adam Kies, 62nd MXS motorcycle safety representatives, have more than 29 years of motorcycle experience.
It is important to start off a riding season with a mentor-led ride to build the confidence of riders and ensure that the bikes are in proper operating conditions, Spencer said. By having a group ride at the beginning, the motorcycle safety representatives can have a controlled environment to mentor riders on skills that may have fallen away during the offseason.
There is also the added benefit of building a network of riders within the squadron.
This event gave us a chance to get the 62nd MXS motorcycle-riding community together to meet one another and build rapport, so the next time someone wants to take a trip, they have a list of fellow riders to invite along, Kies said. Its safer to be in a group when youre on a motorcycle.
In addition to the seasons kick-off ride, the squadrons motorcycle safety representatives also headed this years Springerization Seminar. This is a tech day that instructs riders on how to prepare their bikes for the riding season.
The seminar covered all power sport vehicles, including quads, scooters and dirt bikes. The course showed them how to inspect tires, brakes, and safety features of the bike and emphasized the importance of easing into riding a motorcycle again.
In 2011, 49 percent of motorcycle fatality accidents involved two vehicles, and 43 percent were caused by a vehicle hitting the motorcycle, Spencer said. By attending this seminar, riders will learn how to ensure their motorcycle is road ready and get a refresher about lane positioning to maximize their visibility on the road.
Seeing as this information is crucial for all riders, the squadrons motorcycle safety representatives reached out to motorcycle safety representatives from across the 62nd MXG, and more than 20 Airmen attended the course.
I want all our riders to enjoy the riding season, and my goal was to start the season off on the right foot, said Maj. Clinton Varty, 62nd MXS commander, who initiated the spring kickoff group ride with a preseason riders brief. By supporting a group ride and Springerization seminar, we were able to get seasoned riders together with less experienced riders, and if that helps prevent even just one accident, then its worth it.