Motorcycle safety in Germany
To obtain a motorcycle endorsement on a USAREUR, SETAF, SHAPE or USAFE-issued license, military personnel, dependents and civilians must be at least 18, have a motorcycle endorsement on their valid license issued by a U.S. state territory or host nation, and a current Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) training card. Riders must carry their valid licenses, bike registration, International Driving Permit, proof of insurance, ownership and MSF card. Regulations frequently change; contact the local licensing and testing center about MSF course regulations, mentor rides and other local, base or country requirements.
Attire can save life & limb
U.S. active duty, civilian and dependent riders and passengers are also required to wear crash helmets with ECE 22.05 regulation, brightly colored gear (and reflective shirts or vests at night), long-sleeved shirts, long pants, eye and hand protection, and boots that cover the ankle. Riders should consider for added protection: gear designed with body armor to protect vulnerable shoulders, elbows, back, knees and ankles; full-face shields or goggles with safety glass; gloves or gauntlets that cover forearms; and sturdy boots with non-skid soles and reinforced toes. See your local Exchange for motorcycle safety apparel.
Check your bike
Inspecting your bike before each ride ensures equipment is working, fluids are adequately filled and tires are without cuts, foreign objects and filled to the proper pressure.
Be alert, stay visible
Nearly half of motorcycle accidents happen in intersections.
Be alert to vehicles approaching, stay out of blind spots, keep headlights on and always signal. Constantly watch the road for hazards and stay ready to execute the proper maneuver to avoid them. Distractions to the side increase the risk of dropping your bike. When coming to a stop, maintain your gaze ahead to keep your bike balanced and upright.
Adjust to the change
Ensure that your bike is designed and equipped to carry a passenger. Proper foot pegs and backrests will increase safety and comfort for your passenger. Extra weight will affect procedures including braking, passing, maneuvering around corners and starting from a stop. Instruct the passenger in proper balance on the bike and to refrain from sudden movements.
Know the plan
Discuss the route, schedule, rest/fuel stops and establish hand signals before setting out. Experienced riders in group rides should take the lead and tail positions. Smaller groups are better controlled. The leader should ride in the left third of the lane, the second rider stays a minimum of one second behind, and the rest of the group follows this pattern. Ride in single-file formation on curves or in limited visibility. Riding in diagonal or file formation allows time for reacting to hazards.
For more great safety tips, visit www.msf-usa.org.
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