Army 1st Sgt. Thomas Abbott, checks the tire pressure of another motorcycle during a pre-ride inspection for a safety ride here April 26. (USCENTCOM photo by Sgt. Fredrick J. Coleman)
MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Motorcycle owners from U.S. Central Command and various MacDill Air Force Base units gathered to conduct a motorcycle safety class and ride April 26.
The event was organized to stress the importance of safe motorcycle practices in addition to providing some additional riding time for newer riders, according to Sgt. 1st Class Deontrez Albury, the event organizer.
“We are here to raise awareness about motorcycle safety and hopefully raise awareness to the younger riders to seek out the veteran riders in their units for guidance and mentorship,” said Albury. “Unfortunately, there are military riders who haven’t completed any of the basic courses, which are mandatory according to DoD order, who are still riding. Those are the guys we are trying to get out to these types of events.”
After a safety brief explaining the day’s activities, the group drove to a motorcycle range to practice some of the riding fundamentals, such as braking, turning and cornering. Following the range courses, they rode to a motorcycle shop in St. Petersburg, Fla., for classes on the care and maintenance of motorcycles before returning to the base.
“We don’t use this as an excuse to get out of work. We use this as an opportunity to teach younger riders the importance of consistency in motorcycle safety,” said Army 1st Sgt. Thomas Abbott, USCENTCOM Headquarters Commandant first sergeant. “The number of inexperienced drivers is growing, and it only makes for a dangerous situation for everybody on the road. We are trying to eliminate the ‘ghost riders,’ the military riders who don’t want to take the classes but still ride.”