Airman 1st Class James Mason, 28th Civil Engineer Squadron, rides his motorcycle around Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., on Aug. 3. While riding a motorcycle, it is important to wear clothing easily seen by other drivers. (Airman 1st Class Anthony Sanchelli/Air Force)
More information for military motorcycle riders:
The Defense Department's Military Rider website provides news on motorcycle riding from around the services
Air Force RiderArticles and information on training courses for new riders and coaches
Army Motorcycle Safety HandbookA PDF version outlining DoD and Army regs with both leaders and riders in mind.
Navy Motorcycle Rider
The Navy's portal allows troops and Navy civilians to search for and enroll in training courses provided at no cost in order to obtain on-base riding privileges as well as to complete the required Motorcycle Census.
Marine Corps Motorcycle Safety Guidelines
When it comes to the rules of the road for military motorcycle riders, every base can be a little different.
Whether they’re riding off base or on, all military motorcyclists are required to follow the same basic set of rules, including:
* Complete an approved Motorcycle Safety Foundation driver’s course.
* Wear a DOT-approved helmet, regardless of off-base laws.
* Wear personal protective gear, including shatterproof eye protection, full-fingered gloves, over-the-ankle boots and a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
From there, however, the services and even local base commanders are free to tighten things up as they see fit.
The Air Force, for example, requires all riders to wear reflective clothing. The Marine Corps does not. The Army, as a service, does not, but individual bases often do. So, if you’re riding at Fort Hood, Texas, you’ll need a reflective vest, but at Fort Benning, Ga., you won’t.
Still, Fort Benning is known as one of the strictest — and most involved — bases in the country when it comes to motorcycle safety.
“We do things a little bit different. We make it a little more stringent,” says Jill Carlson, the installation’s chief of safety. “We’re not trying to deter people from riding — it’s just about the safety of our soldiers.”
Before any military riders are even allowed on post, for example, even the most experienced riders have to sit down with a commander and sign paperwork promising to be safe. New riders also have to get a background check done by the provost marshal to make sure they don’t have any outstanding tickets or a driving record that suggests reckless behavior.
Once approved to ride on post, if you make the mistake of getting a speeding ticket, you lose your privileges for 90 days, she says.