100 percent safety card checks fall by roadside

  • Published
  • By Amanda Creel
  • 78th ABW/PA
For members of Team Robins who prefer two wheels to four, the 100 percent safety card check that has been in effect since Feb 5 is coming to an end.

All riders are still required to have their safety cards on them when operating a motorcycle on the base and are subject to random checks.

"Bottom line, we think this 'trust but verify' solution strikes the right balance between ensuring safety and addressing the motorcyclists' concerns," said Col. Warren Berry, vice commander of the 78th Air Base Wing. "Unlike four-wheeled vehicles, we require a safety course to be eligible to drive on-base, and this is simply a spot check for compliance."

He said spot checks are nothing new in the Air Force, as checks are done in a number of ways, like urinalysis testing, DUI check points and additional documentation checks at the gates, such as when a driver is asked for an alternate form of ID or where all passengers are asked for IDs rather than just the driver.

The safety cards are issued after motorcyclists complete the one-time motorcycle safety foundation course. The course must be completed by military members and civilians before operating a motorcycle on a Department of Defense installation. Motorcycle riders who cannot produce a safety card during a random check will be denied access to the base and may incur other penalties.

"If you are not in possession of your safety card, you will be turned around and ticketed," said Tech. Sgt. Lisa Gonzalez, NCO in charge of installation security. She suggested all motorcycle riders find a convenient place to store their safety card, so that when they are asked to display it, it is readily available.

The purpose of the former policy of 100 percent checks was to ensure all motorcyclists had the required safety training, said Leslie Allen, safety and occupational health specialist.

"We are just trying to take care of our Airmen whether they are civilian or military," Ms. Allen said.

She said during the three-month 100 percent check, the safety office was able to determine that the majority of motorcycle riders had completed the course, but others didn't even know about it.

Motorcycle riders agreed on the importance of the safety course and identifying who completed it, but were convinced there was a better way to identify the riders. Many motorcycle riders, both civilian and military, expressed frustration with the 100 percent safety card check and are pleased by the change.

"When you are going through the gate, I personally hate to hold up traffic in the mornings," said Jarvis Smith, C-17 aircraft mechanic with the 562nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. "It's a pain trying to de-gear, even just a little bit, because you have to put your bike in neutral or a lot of time to put your kickstand up just to get your card out."

Others didn't mind the old policy and thought it helped protect the safety of motorcyclists.
"Motorcycles are dangerous and the course is important. I think they still need to be checking and identifying the motorcycles that are properly licensed for their own safety and for the safety of the other vehicle drivers," said Kelly Lemoine, C-17 functional test mechanic with the 562nd AMXG. 

To register for the motorcycle safety foundation course visit the Robins secure Web site and click on safety and on Motorcycle/ATV safety or call the 78th Air Base Wing Safety office at 926-6271.