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NEWS | July 29, 2009

Requirements to operate a motorcycle: Do you know them?

By Master Sgt. Erwin "Wes" Arguilla Master Sgt. Erwin "Wes" Arguilla

According to the Air Force Safety Center, the United States Air Force has already experienced 18 fatalities during the 101 Critical Days of Summer. Of those 18, five were motorcycles, and unfortunately, Air Mobility Command owned two of those five fatalities.

After AMC experienced it's second motorcycle fatality, wing safety conducted a motorcycle spot check ensuring riders had their Motorcycle Safety Foundation and Sport Bike training cards, all personal protection equipment and motorcycle in a safe riding condition.

Our inspectors found three riders not carrying their MSF and Sport Bike training cards and four riders did not have a date on their waiver. There are requirements Airmen need to accomplish before they can become a rider. But first, Airmen need to know the definition of a motorcycle.

What is a motorcycle? According to Air Force Instruction 91-207, US Air Force Traffic Safety Program, it defined a motorcycle as any motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of its operator and is designed to travel on not more than three wheels. This includes mopeds and seated motor scooters but doesn't include all terrain vehicles.

Here are the requirements Airmen need to become a motorcycle rider:

First, Airmen need to identify themselves as a motorcycle rider to their supervisor, unit motorcycle safety representative, first sergeant, or unit commander to get the required training. Riders need to identify themselves immediately. Members who are thinking about becoming a motorcyclist needs to identify themselves as well. Airmen who have purchased a motorcycle and have not identified themselves, are not authorized to ride the motorcycle. Are you seeing a trend? Identify yourself.

Once riders are identified, the unit commander or designee will conduct a one-on-one interview with the new rider and review the AMC Form 91, Commanders Motorcycle Safety Interview. The intent for the AMC Form 91 is to identify potential risks leading to injury or death of a motorcyclist. After riders have been identified and interviewed, they need to sign up for the motorcycle course based on the type of motorcycle you operate.

Before we talk about the training courses, the waiver needs some explanation. Technically, riders are not allowed to operate a motorcycle on the road until they receive a waiver from their unit commander and are scheduled to attend the required motorcycle course(s). According to AFI 91-207 AMC Supplement 1, installation and unit commanders may authorize riders awaiting training to ride on and off base for up to 30 days. Once the 30 days expire and they have not received training, they are not allowed to ride their motorcycle, on and off base, until they have completed their training. The wing commander will not grant an extension to the 30 day wavier.

Second, riders are required to attend and complete an approved motorcycle rider safety training course. They are required to attend either the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider's Course or the Experienced Rider's Course. If riders operate a regular street bike, they are only required to attend the MSF course. If the rider operate a sport bike or upgrade to a sport bike, they are required to attend AMC Sport Bike courses after you completed the MSF course. Any rider who decides to trade-in their sport bike for another, 200cc or more powerful sports bike, we highly encourage them to retake the AMC Sport Bike Course. All motorcycle courses taught at Charleston AFB and the Charleston Naval Weapon Station are free.

Finally, all active-duty members are required to wear their PPE 24/7 on and off base. As for civilian employees, dependents and contractors, they are required to wear PPE on base.

Please contact the 437 AW safety office at 963-5598 or 963-3445 for any further questions.