PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- At 7 p.m., you strap your helmet on and get ready to bike four miles around the base for an evening workout.
All is well until you reach an intersection and a car doesn’t see you because it’s dark outside, and neither you nor your bike have any reflective materials displayed. The vehicle almost hits you, but just misses.
To avoid any possible accidents like this, Staff Sgt. Michael Whitley, 21st Space Wing occupational safety technician, encourages all Airmen, civilians and their families at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, to remember the U.S. Air Force Traffic Safety Program (Air Force Information 91-207) before taking their bikes out.
“The Safety Office wants to make sure everyone’s staying safe out there and getting home to their families,” said Whitley. “We’re trying to prevent an accident from happening.”
The Safety Office asks that all Airmen and civilians follow the AFI 91-207 guidelines, which states, “All persons who ride a bicycle, tricycle or other human powered vehicle, including motorized bicycles, on an AF installation roadway” will:
• Wear a highly visible outer garment containing retro-reflective material when it’s dark outside.
• Wear a properly fastened, bicycle helmet approved by Consumer Product Safety Commission, American National Standards Institute, Snell Memorial Foundation or host-nation equivalent.
It also states:
• Bicycles will be equipped with front-facing, pedal, side and rear-facing reflectors consistent with 16 Code of Federal Regulation part 1512 and/or local, state or host-nation requirements.
• The use of portable headphones, earphones, cellular phones, or other listening and entertainment devices (other than hearing aids) while walking, jogging, running, bicycling, skating or skateboarding on roadways is prohibited.
By following these rules, anyone bicycling on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, might prevent a serious or fatal injury.
While on Peterson AFB, Airmen and civilians riding bicycles are required to wear a helmet, and when these rules and guidelines are not followed, individuals will be stopped and educated by the 21st Security Force Squadron, according to Timothy Omdal, 21 SFS deputy director.
“We could cite individuals for failure to follow these guidelines if they’re military or civilians,” said Omdal. “After we stop the individual, we brief them on the safety standards. For example, if we saw you riding without a helmet, we would stop you, brief and educate you on why you need a helmet and release you, but we wouldn’t let you get back on the bike without a helmet.”
Reasons why people bike on base include exercising, recreation and commuting, said Whitley, adding he mostly sees children biking on base.
“My biggest concern is people riding bikes in a situation where they’re going to get hurt, whether that’s riding in a street and getting hit by a vehicle or riding bikes and not wearing proper helmets,” Whitley said. “The first thing is to make sure they’re wearing proper personal protective equipment and a helmet. We also recommend riding during daylight hours so people can see them.”
Next time you gear up to ride around Peterson AFB, familiarize yourself with these additional bike guidelines:
• Bicyclists must ride with the flow of traffic.
• Bicycles will not be ridden on sidewalks — The exceptions are bicycles with training wheels or bicycles ridden by children 10 years of age or younger.
• Bicycle operators, during the period of one hour before sunset to one hour after sunrise, or during periods of reduced visibility, will wear outer garments with highly reflective tape front and back, a reflective vest, or a reflective belt. Bicycles must be equipped with a suitable headlight and taillight and red reflector if operated during hours of darkness.
• Bicycles will not be parked in a manner that obstructs pedestrian or vehicle traffic.
• Bicycles will not be operated on Peterson AFB roadways while snow removal operations are in progress.
• Persons riding on motorcycles, mopeds, bicycles, skateboards, scooter, or any like vehicle shall not attach themselves to another vehicle on any road.