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Motorcycle Safety Rally returns

An old style-model Indian motorcycle sits at the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. More than 500 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

An old style-model Indian motorcycle sits at the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. More than 500 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

An Airman maneuvers his bike before heading out after the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  More than 500 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

An Airman maneuvers his bike before heading out after the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. More than 500 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

A biker gears up before a ride after the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  More than 500 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

A biker gears up before a ride after the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. More than 500 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Riders prep their bikes and gear before leaving the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  More than 500 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Riders prep their bikes and gear before leaving the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. More than 500 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Bikers share some conversation after the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  Approximately 600 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Bikers share some conversation after the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Approximately 600 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

A female biker waits to begin a group ride with her squadron after the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  Approximately 600 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

A female biker waits to begin a group ride with her squadron after the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Approximately 600 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

A biker shows off his custom-painted skull bike before taking off from the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  Approximately 600 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

A biker shows off his custom-painted skull bike before taking off from the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Approximately 600 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Bikers wait to begin their group ride after the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  More than 500 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Bikers wait to begin their group ride after the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. More than 500 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Motorcycles cover the Base Exchange parking lot during the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  More than 500 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Motorcycles cover the Base Exchange parking lot during the base’s annual motorcycle safety rally April 15 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. More than 500 civilian and military riders rode in for the joint 53rd Wing/96th Test Wing event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Motorcycles of all shapes, sizes and varieties covered the Base Exchange parking lot April 15 as base riders attended the ninth annual motorcycle safety rally here.

The event a joint-53rd Wing and 96th Test Wing effort brought in over 500 civilian and military riders for safety briefings, testimonials, question and answer sessions, door prizes and group rides.

"Our goal for this event is to have our motorcycle riders thinking "safety" and employing safe rider techniques every time they hit the streets," said Joe Bailey, 53rd Wing ground safety.

Fellow rider and 96th TW's command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Brian Creager, opened the event sharing the details about one of his two motorcycle accidents.

"We like to say there are two types of bikers," said the chief.  "Those who've went down and those who will.  Take this opportunity to learn and communicate with each other.  Think through all that's said here and be ready to ride."

Before turning it over to the briefers, he shared some base statistics about motorcycle accidents.

The base had four serious motorcycle accidents which included a 7th Special Forces fatality during fiscal-year 2015.   The other three mishaps resulted in multiple duty days lost. 
An Okaloosa County Deputy Sheriff, Glenn Hand, spoke about traffic safety and provided dos and don'ts for the motorcycle riders.  He also informed the riders of state and local policies.

The safety topics covered in detail were maintenance, upkeep, riding in weather, on base, riding hazards and more.

Then the riders geared up to roll out.  Many of them participated in unit or individual group rides to lunch.

"We're elated with the turnout this year.  The high attendance means the more motorcycle riders we're speaking to face-to-face," said Bailey.  "This event provides them with mandatory commander preseason briefings and group rider training information as peak season for motorcycle riding approaches."

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