Joint Base Andrews Air Force Base Motorcycle Safety Day
Did you know more of our service men and women are injured or killed in motorcycle related accidents than in combat? This is troubling statistic is taken seriously by our armed forces commanding officers. For instance, members of our military are required to complete an approved Motorcycle Safety Foundation riders course and wear a DOT-approved helmet regardless of off-base laws. Some military bases takes this a step further and require riders to wear reflective gear, undergo a driving history background check and to meet with his or her Commander to sign a Motorcycle Safety Promise document.
Unfortunately, in the DC area the Pentagon Motorcycle Safety Day has taken a hiatus during the last few years. This is unfortunate as it provided an opportunity offering the National Capital Region a single event that included a Pentagon motorcycle unit rodeo, a custom motorcycle show, safety demonstrations, vendors, and educational outreach opportunities such as showcasing SEMPER RIDE — in my opinion one of the best films produced in the name of safety awareness with Ben Bostrom, James Stewart, Josh Herrin, Chris “Teach” McNeil, Jason Britton, Sara Price, and many others.
Although the Pentagon Motorcycle Safety Day has been absent, local National Capital Area bases have kept up the mission of motorcycle safety such as the Advanced Cornering course at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling’s outreach with guest speaker Rickey Gadson (see coverage here) and Joint Base Andrews’ annual Motorcycle Safety Day, which is open to all service personnel to attend.
When I received the invitation from Millennium Sport Rider and Safety Day event coordinator Waynenetta “MsWeezy” Johnson to check it out I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I wasn’t going to miss anything that involved supporting motorcycle safety. The event consisted of a rodeo competition from local law enforcement as well as a competition open to non-law enforcement attendees. Also, putting riders skills to the test was a slow ride competition that had some of the crowd favorites going out in the first 10-20 feet.
Beyond the riding skill competitions, the day also included vendors such as Coleman Powersports, Bob’s BMW, Cycle Gear, and WillPower Mobilecycle Services as well as entertainment from the United States Air Force’s own Max Impact band. If that wasn’t enough, door prizes and gifts were distributed and professional road racer Jeremy Cook provided riding tip and suggestions which aptly put the abilities of today’s sportbikes in perspective. “Average riders are generally riding at 40% of today’s current sportbike capabilities whereas professional Moto GP racers are using 95-97% of their bike’s abilities” said Jeremy. “I encourage everyone to sign up for a track day. This is the best way to learn the capabilities of your bike in a safe controlled environment while improving your skills even if you’re on a cruiser” he concluded.
Although I may not be a member of our armed forces, this is now an annual fun and informative event that will be locked on my calendar.
Leon L. Brittain