The warmer weather means more motorcycle riders are taking advantage of Germany’s scenic roads. Riders should also take time to reacquaint themselves with the garrison and U.S. Army Europe-Africa motorcycle policies.
Some rules may seem obvious: “Motorcycle operators will ride only on the permanently attached seat,” according to the joint U.S. Army Europe-Africa Regulation 190-1/U.S. Air Force Europe-Africa Instruction 31-202, Section 5-6, b, 1, (June 18, 2020). But, there may be some other “guidance” which has been passed down from other riders that may not be exactly accurate.
“Active-duty service members, civilian employees, contractors and family members are required to have a U.S. state-issued motorcycle license or endorsement on a current U.S. state driver’s license to operate a motorcycle in Europe,” said Herbert Nold, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Safety specialist. “Additionally, riders are required to complete a four-hour approved U.S. Army in Europe motorcycle orientation course and pass a 30-question written test to receive a USAREUR-AF motorcycle license.”
The joint regulation also states that motorcycle riders will wear: “a helmet fastened under the chin, which meets all the American National Standards Institute” guidelines and, shatter-proof or shatter-resistant eye protection.
Besides a helmet and eye protection, anytime a Soldier, civilian employee, family member or contractor pulls out of a parking spot, they are required to wear full-finger gloves made of leather or other abrasion-resistant material and over-the-ankle footwear “of sturdy leather and have a good, oil-resistant sole.”
Riders must also have on a long-sleeved shirt or jacket and full-length trousers any time they’re riding the motorcycle, according to the regulation. Those requirements apply both on and off a military installation.
“One of the things that’s popped up recently is what riders have to wear when they come onto an installation,” said Larry Strickland, USAG Rheinland-Pfalz Safety chief.
The regulations stipulate all Soldiers will wear “a vest, jacket, upper garments or motorcycle clothing that incorporates fluorescent and highly reflective material when operating or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle, moped, motorbike, ATV or similar vehicle at all times on or off post. Military uniforms, including physical fitness gear designed to be reflective, do not meet the criteria.”
“Army civilians, family members and contractors will wear fluorescent and reflective outer garments at all times when riding on an installation,” according to the same regulation.
“We highly encourage all civilian employees, including our local national employees, to wear fluorescent safety gear when riding on post as well,” Strickland said. “It’s just good motorcycle riding common sense.”
The U.S. military motorcycle regulations differ greatly from the host nation laws, Nold said.
“Unfortunately in Germany, there is only an obligation to wear a helmet,” he said. “But, more and more Insurance companies are beginning to reduce their accident payouts when riders are found not to have protective clothing but obvious injuries, which could have been prevented with protective attire.”
Strickland said the regulation also applies to “other vehicles with motorcycle-type engines” like Spyders and other three-wheeled vehicles.
For those who have questions on proper safety attire and equipment for motorcyclists riding on Army installations, please check with the garrison safety office at DSN 541-2300.