By Debby Gonzales, USAG Bavaria Director of Safety
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria kicks off this year’s motorcycle season with motorcycle safety day at Grafenwoehr on May 3 and in Hohenfels on April 25.
“We want to help foster the Army’s Motorcycle Mentorship Program. This is a voluntary installation-level motorcycle program where less experienced riders and seasoned riders can create a supportive environment that fosters responsible motorcycle riding,” said Debby Gonzales, USAG Bavaria safety office director. “Motorcycle Safety Day increases awareness in the MMP and refreshes awareness of motorcycle inspections and safety drills. The day ends with a group ride across the beautiful Bavaria countryside.”
Hosted by the USAG Bavaria safety office, the safety day events apply to all motorcyclists who are Department of Defense ID cardholders at USAG Bavaria, which includes installations at Grafenwoehr, Vilseck, Hohenfels and Garmisch.
Grafenwoehr’s motorcycle safety day begins with a safety run-down May 3 at 8:30 a.m., Camp Kasserine, Bldg. 4114.
The safety event in Hohenfels begins April 25 at 9 a.m., in Bldg. 388, for a classroom training session followed by a mentorship ride at the Camp Albertshof Motorcycle Safety Range.
Both events conclude with an 80-kilometer mentorship ride off post.
Morning events include the introduction of unit motorcycle mentors and safety briefings. After lunch, participants split into sport bike and cruiser bike groups of no more than 15 riders. Riding drills and the extended group ride round out the day’s activities.
The drills include demonstrations and practice of components of total stopping distance, practice in obstacle avoidance, and evasive maneuvers providing riders with the opportunity to improve skills in breaking, cornering and swerving.
Many chip in to make the motorcycle safety day a success.
“We have a great motorcycle safety program here at USAG Bavaria. We receive outstanding support from our tenant units and host nation agencies,” said Wolfgang Pueschel, event organizer and garrison safety specialist.
Most units have volunteer mentors — capable and experienced motorcyclists — providing less seasoned riders with advice and information on safe driving.
“Without these mentors we would not be able to host these events,” Pueschel said. “They will help man our riding drill stations and accompany the groups of motorcyclists on the group ride. Our motorcycle safety day is also a great platform to get to know each other and to exchange information and experience among different motorcycle riders.”
At the Grafenwoehr event, the 405th Army Field Support Brigade ensures that a professional mechanic is on hand to inspect motorcycles. Representatives of the German police are available to answer questions concerning German law and motorcycle safety. A member of the Bavarian Red Cross even volunteered to participate in the day’s events providing first aid expertise.
“Of course, DOD ID cardholder motorcyclists are required to abide by German law, the Army’s and the Army in Europe’s safety program regulations, but there are additional requirements to wear reflective apparel for motorcycle operators and passengers,” Pueschel said.
“We want to build and improve on the current MMP and safety awareness of our two-wheeled drivers before the motorcycle season is in full swing,” said Gonzales.
This motorcycle season, events in Bavaria include the Sternfahrt bike rally April 27 and 28 hosted by the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior and the Upper Franconian Police Headquarters.
Edelweiss Resort’s annual Poker Run, where nearly 400 bikers from around Europe ride along scenic Alpine routes, takes place June 21 – 23, 2019.
The Safety Office is looking for rider coaches, mentors and volunteers to assist. For more details on motorcycle safety and the Motorcycle safety day, or if you want to volunteer, visit the USAG Bavaria safety page or contact the garrison safety office at DSN 526-2303, CIV 09641-70-526-2303.