Fall safety ride sends bikers to Franklin

Published 10:27 am Friday, September 19, 2008

Fort Monroe will host a Fall Inter-service Motorcycle Safety Ride to Franklin on Oct. 3 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

All Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard military and government civilian personnel, and Department of Defense contractors who are registered motorcycle riders at any installation in the Hampton Roads area are invited and highly encouraged to participate.

This event is limited to riders and passengers who are 18 years of age and older.

The start point is the parking lot near the post Bowling Center, Building 201, Stilwell Road. Participants are asked to arrive by 7:30 a.m.

Anyone arriving after the safety inspection station has closed will not be allowed to participate in the ride. Participants should also show up with a full tank of gas. The round trip to and from Franklin is just over 100 miles.

Upon arrival that morning, each bike will be inspected to ensure all safety equipment is functioning properly. The Directorate of Public Safety and traffic safety course instructors will be on hand to answer questions.

Event volunteers will also inspect Motorcycle Safety Foundation Cards and ensure riders are wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment.

The actual motorcycle journey will begin at approximately 9 a.m., right after a short welcome ceremony and route safety briefing.

Local motorists should anticipate traffic delays as the procession departs the installation and passes through Phoebus en route to Franklin.

The anticipated arrival time back at Fort Monroe is 2:30 p.m. For accountability and traffic control reasons, all riders are asked to complete the entire journey.

The event will conclude with prize drawings sponsored by Fort Monroe’s Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation for items from local motorcycle retail shops.

According to Delinor Vantree, the installation’s director of public safety, the overall purpose of the event is to emphasize the military’s commitment to rider safety and potentially reduce the number of motorcycle accident deaths involving members of the DoD community.

“In fiscal year 2007, 38 soldiers were killed in motorcycle accidents, according to U.S. Army Safety Center statistics,” Vantree said.

“Sixty-five percent of those accidents involved troops above age 25, and 60 percent were Soldiers in the grade of E-5 or higher.

“All in all, it’s that situation that makes an event like our inter-service ride so important,” Vantree noted. “It shows command emphasis of motorcycle safety.

It’s an opportunity for riders to share information and demonstrate support of safe riding practices.

This is the sixth safety ride Fort Monroe has conducted, and each one has drawn an increasing number of participants.

Vantree said new riders especially appreciate the opportunity to learn from the more experienced folks and the chance to go out and see more of the Tidewater area.

Free registration is now being accepted for the safety ride.

The sign-up deadline is close of business Oct. 2.

For more information, contact Velora Bland at 788-2069 or 2646.