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Contrast is key with new motorcycle regulations

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - The 30th Space Wing ground safety office is scheduled to host their Motorcycle Skills Rebuilding Course at the base’s Motorcycle Range from 8 a.m. to noon Tuesday, May 25, 2010. For more information about the course or to register for the course, call Staff Sgt. Michael Ferguson at 605-2607. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Vanessa Valentine)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - The 30th Space Wing ground safety office is scheduled to host their Motorcycle Skills Rebuilding Course at the base’s Motorcycle Range from 8 a.m. to noon Tuesday, May 25, 2010. For more information about the course or to register for the course, call Staff Sgt. Michael Ferguson at 605-2607. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Vanessa Valentine)

30th Space Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Cari Kent poses with her husband, Larry, during a motorcycle ride down the Vandenberg AFB coastline .  (Photo By Staff Sgt. Denoris Mickle)

30th Space Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Cari Kent poses with her husband, Larry, during a motorcycle ride down the Vandenberg AFB coastline . (Photo By Staff Sgt. Denoris Mickle)

30th Space Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Cari Kent and her husband, Larry, take a motorcycle ride down the Vandenberg AFB coastline. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Denoris Mickle)

30th Space Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Cari Kent and her husband, Larry, take a motorcycle ride down the Vandenberg AFB coastline. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Denoris Mickle)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- New motorcycle standards are now being enforced on Vandenberg with the activation of a safety gear standard revision.

The new Air Force instruction more clearly states the type of reflective gear to be worn during times of darkness as well as daylight.

"The old AFI left too much to personal interpretation," said Bryan Eiler, 30th Space Wing ground safety manager.

AFI-91 207 3.4.2.4.5 states that, "Motorcycle riders will wear a brightly colored outer garment during the day and reflective upper garment during the night."

The changes have left some motorcyclists out of regulation and down some cold hard cash.

"Outer garments can not be dull blue and reflective...or just one bright color, we want a variety of contrasting colors," said Mr. Eiler. "This does mean some people will have to purchase new outer garments."

Contrasting motorcycle jackets, like the Icon contrasting motorcycle jackets that are featured as an example by Vandenberg's 30th Space Wing Safety Office, can cost more than $300 dollars.

One Vandenberg commander came up with a cost effective alternative to buying new riding gear.

"I understand some riders are spending hundreds of dollars to buy new jackets that meet the contrasting colors guidelines," said Lt. Col. Christina Anderson, 30th Space Wing Communication Squadron commander.

"Another option, and one that I have already started, is to wear a bright colored shirt over my black leathers when I ride on base," she said. "That way I improve my safety stance in accordance with the latest guideline while minimizing costs."

Whether you reach into shallow pockets and purchase new gear or follow the lead of Colonel Anderson, following the new safety instruction is crucial.

"Following this safety instruction is crucial because we must be seen and visible," said Command Chief Master Sgt. Cari Kent, 30th Space Wing command chief.

"We have more Airmen die in motorcycle accidents than anything else and this is our way of protecting them as much as we can."

Every little bit of protection helps because half of Air Force fatalities are motorcycle related, said Mr. Eiler.

In 2006, Air Force reported 17 motorcycle fatalities of active duty personnel, one of which was a 30th Space Wing Airman.

"When the Air Force sees a negative trend, we have a responsibility to protect them," said Chief Kent. "We have to keep our Airmen safe; they are our most valuable weapons system."

For more information on the changes to AFI 91-207 go to www.e-publishing.af.mil/shared/media/epubs/AFI91-207.pdf.