Ready to ride in Kaiserslautern

With the temperatures rising, and the scenic views Germany has to offer, motorcycle riders are eager and happy to mount their iron steeds and cruise.

The 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command held a motorcycle rider’s safety course on July 1 near Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Kaiserslautern, to kick off the motorcycle riding season.

“This training is especially important for newer riders or people who may ride with limited experience,” said Capt. Stephen Halsmer, lead instructor and network engineer assigned to the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command. “What is important is that a Soldier gets mentorship, and doesn’t go to buy a bike without knowing the laws and proper safety precautions needed to ride a motorcycle, not just here, but in the states as well.”

10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command Conducts Motorcycle safety training near Rhine Ordnance Barracks on July 1. Photo by Sgt. Andrew Mallett

Though the autobahn in Germany is famous for having no speed limit, that is not entirely true. There are signs that post an advisory speed limit of 130 kilometers per hour, approximately 80 miles per hour. If one were to exceed that speed, the motorcyclist would be held liable for any accidents that may occur while driving at excessive speeds.

The course highlighted the German laws and Army regulations and guidelines for riding on and off German installations while being stationed abroad.

The instructors also outlined some safety tips and tricks that can be shared among fellow riders.

Properly fitted and functional personal protective equipment, or PPE, makes riding more comfortable and much safer. High visibility PPE is required by the military and preferred in all cases.

The Army requires riders to wear a Department of Transportation approved helmet, eye protection, full-length pants, protective gloves, and over-the-ankle footwear. It is highly advised to wear bright colors, and reflective material at night so the operator is highly visible to others sharing the roadways.

Riding creates a community, and there is always more to learn from fellow riders, Halsmer said. Whether a motorcyclist has been riding for years, or today is the first time ever sitting on a motorcycle, people can always learn more. Even an experienced rider may have never ridden in some of the road and weather conditions that can be seen in Europe.

Instructors performed a front to back T-CLOCS inspection, which stands for the procedure covering your bike’s Tires, Controls, Lights, Oil, Chassis and Stands. There were multiple styles of bikes present to show how each one has its own points to inspect.

Before arriving in Germany, U.S. personnel must have a motorcycle endorsement on their valid U.S. driver’s license. They will have to attend a mandatory four-hour orientation briefing and pass a written test. Active-duty service members are also required to have a valid Motorcycle Safety Foundation card.

“Europe is an amazing continent to ride in.” Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Cebulla, instructor, and network technician assigned to the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, said. “We need to make sure our Soldiers and families are safe and informed. Ride as fast, or slow, as your ability allows you to. Ride your ride.”