Motorcycle riders on APG peddle safety awareness

Col. Peter Mueller, Command Chaplain, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command came out to support the recently held Motorcycle Safety Awareness training held on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Chaplain Mueller also opened the mid-day session with a safety message to live by. | U.S. Army photo by Mary Grimes, CECOM.

A well-known saying by an unknown author states that, “Most motorcycle problems are caused by the nut that connects the handlebars to the saddle.” While that may generate a chuckle, it is, from a safety aspect, a message worth driving home.

In support of that effort, Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Toolin, the newly-appointed Motorcycle Mentorship Program Manager for APG, along with motorcycle riders from across the post, recently participated in a motorcycle riding event aimed at promoting safety awareness.

“The purpose of this activity was to place motorcycle safety awareness in the spotlight,” Toolin said. “It provided an opportunity to build rider camaraderie, refresh critical skills. This event also brought awareness to motorcycle safety by providing proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and T-CLOCS demonstrations. T-CLOCS, which stands for tires and wheels, controls, lights and electronics, oils and other fluids, chassis, and stands, is an inspection process bikes go through. During the training awareness session, riders properly executed exercises around the track, in a controlled environment that promoted rider efficiency.”

Participants in a recently held Motorcycle Safety Awareness training event on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, maneuver an obstacle course that tested their skills and agility. |U.S. Army photo by Mary Grimes, CECOM

Toolin was not alone in the effort to promote safety awareness. Col. Peter Mueller, command chaplain, U. S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, helped kick off the safety event.

“Some people think you turn on a motorcycle the same way you turn on a car, just turn the thing in front of you,” Mueller said, “but that’s not the way it works. It’s all about posture and leaning and where you aim your head.”

“You go where you look. It’s kind of a rule of riding,” he add. “Well, in life, we get to choose where we put our attention, and you need to ask yourself, ‘where do I look at in life. Where do I put my emotional energy?’ The object of our attention, it can have a tremendous impact on the very direction of our life — and there’s another biblical principle that says –‘By beholding, by looking, we become changed.’ So, we become transformed by what we look at. What we give our attention to, changes the shape and the direction of our lives.”

Using the APG Science, Technology, Engineering and Maintenance (STEM) go-cart facility as their driving course, riders came out to support the event despite the absence of blue skies and sunshine. The grey weather, steady rain and falling leaves seemed to add realism to the challenges motorcyclists face when on the road.

Sgt. First Class Anthony Toolin (Left), explains the rules of the road to a participant attending a motorcycle safety awareness event on Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), Maryland. Toolin was recently appointed Motorcycle Mentorship Program Manager for APG.|U.S. Army photo by Mary Grimes, CECOM

Asked about myths often associated with motorcycle riders, Toolin said, “There is the belief that motorcyclists are always at fault. We hear this again, and again, and again– that the motorcycle must have been at fault, because they’re a motorcycle. This is simply not true.”

According to Toolin, a study at the University of Southern California found that in motorcycle versus car accidents, the car was at fault over two-thirds of the time. In fact, the majority of the accidents were caused by cars violating the motorcycle’s right-of-way. Even more of the time, accidents are caused by failure of a motorist to detect the motorcyclist.

In support of APG and CECOM safety initiatives, Toolin sees the way ahead as an opportunity to continue to push the motorcycle safety message as often as he can.

“In looking ahead, I’m working toward forming an APG Rider Committee. The committee will develop a safety campaign plan for FY18. Our goal will be, among other things, to provide training workshops, community outreach, and safety rides similar to the one we just had.”

To learn more about the APG Motorcycle Riders initiative, contact Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Toolin at 410-652-4540, or anthony.c.toolin.mil@mail.mil. More information is available at your unit Safety Office.

 

By Story by Mary Grimes, CECOM Public Affairs