HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Before operating a motorcycle, Holloman Airmen must be aware that the safety requirements for motorcycle riders in New Mexico do not coincide with the safety standards of the U.S. Air Force.
In accordance to Air Force Instruction 91-207, the U.S. Air Force Traffic Safety Program, all Airmen must attend a motorcycle safety course and wear the required personal protective equipment.
“The state of New Mexico does not require motorcycle riders to wear a helmet, but the AFI requires complete PPE on- or off-base and on- and off-duty at all times,” said Dan Salinas, 49th Wing occupational safety technician. “This includes full fingered gloves, long sleeve shirt and pants, footwear that covers the ankles and an approved helmet.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Motorcycle Safety Guide, helmets reduce the risk of death by 37 percent and reduce the risk of head injury by 69 percent.
Civilians with base access may adhere to New Mexico law only when off-base.
Holloman Airmen must have a one-on-one briefing with their commander before being allowed to ride a motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle or dirt bike.
But, the process doesn’t end there.
Once briefed, Airmen must register for and complete the basic safety course sponsored by The New Mexico Motorcycle Safety Program.
The weekend-long course provides riders with a motorcycle and a helmet, but purchasing a personal helmet before beginning the course is recommended.
“While the safety course is required, as per the AFI, it only qualifies you to be able to ride in a parking lot,” said Salinas. “Many new riders think they are pros after passing the course, developing bad habits. Most of the motorcycle mishaps we see are caused by speed, cornering and lack of experience.”
Holloman has had 12 motorcycle mishaps this year, one being a fatality.
“In addition to the Air Force safety requirements, all motorcycle riders in New Mexico, despite military status, are required to have an endorsement on their license,” said Salinas. “Once the motorcycle safety course is complete, riders must take their certificate to their local Motor Vehicle Division.”
Once the requirements of the Air Force and state are met, Holloman Airmen can enjoy riding a motorcycle safely and responsibly.
For more information on being eligible to ride a motorcycle, please contact the Wing safety office at (575) 572-3793.