JBLE promotes safety, camaraderie during motorcycle ride

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Chandler Baker
  • 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

To help promote safety and build camaraderie, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Operations, Plans, and Training directorates hosted a group motorcycle ride in the Hampton Roads area, April 16, 2021.

According to the National Highway & Traffic Safety Administration, 5,172 motorcyclists were killed in traffic accidents in 2019. For every 100,000 motorcycles registered, there were 61 deaths; comparatively, passenger cars and light trucks come in at 10 and eight deaths per 100,000 vehicles registered.

“First and foremost, we want to promote motorcycle safety and awareness for every person who joins in our rides,” said Bradley Helmick, TRADOC training ammunition management chief. “We also want to promote esprit de corps not just within our own TRADOC organization, but as a whole within the military and civilian workforce within the Hampton Roads area. On previous rides, we have had personnel from the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Coast Guard participate. It is a great time to get to know others within the community that have the same likes and interests of riding motorcycles, safely of course.”

Now in its fifth year, the TRADOC Safety Ride supports responsible riding for not only TRADOC, but the Hampton Roads military community as a whole.

“Our leadership realized as with most things of enjoyment, there is potential for accidents and mishaps, just like going swimming or boating in the ocean or on the vast waterways that surround the Hampton Roads area,” Helmick said. “Riding motorcycles would be no different, yet there wasn’t a venue to support education, awareness and safety involved with riding motorcycles. [Our leadership] asked a few of us if we could do some research and organize an event that would be beneficial to TRADOC as well as promote esprit de corps within the organization.”

The event began with a safety brief, discussing the route, groupings to keep the riders spaced out properly, and breakdown recovery procedures should the need arise during the ride.

A total of 36 riders participated in the route from Yorktown, Virginia, to Tappahannock, Virginia, and back to Yorktown, riding through the northern neck of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The ride consisted of 130 miles of twisting roads, providing the riders with a way to put safe practices to use such as proper following distance, group riding techniques, and proper hand signal communication.

“It starts off as ‘hey, let’s go ride motorcycles’ but it becomes a training event,” said U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Randy Rodriguez, Echo Company first sergeant, 58th Transportation Battalion. “The knowledge you share with everyone here [can be beneficial]; maybe some of us have never been through those experiences and we all learn from it.”

TRADOC hosts these rides semi-annually. The next one is tentatively scheduled for October 2021. For more information on the next ride, contact Bradley Helmick at bradley.s.helmick.civ@mail.mil.

On JBLE, the 633rd Air Base Wing Safety Office conducts motorcycle courses required to meet the advanced, intermediate and refresher training requirements of DOD, Air Force and Army regulations. These courses are provided at no cost to qualified participants. For more information about the courses, contact the safety office at 757-501-8226.