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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Article about Helmet Wear...... IOWA

Camp Dodge cracks down on bikersMilitary rules - contrary to Iowa law -
 require helmets, gear for riders.

All motorcyclists and passengers entering Camp Dodge are required by Iowa National Guard policy to wear personal protective equipment that includes a helmet, eye protection (full-face shield or goggles or sunglasses), gloves, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, and over-the-ankle footwear.
Motorcyclists without the required gear may park their motorcycles on Northglenn Drive, which is one block east of Camp Dodge off Northwest 70th Avenue. They can then walk approximately three blocks to the Freedom Center inside the base. Photo identification, such as a driver’s license, is required for admittance to Camp Dodge for all persons 16 years and older.

If you’re a patriotic motorcyclist who refuses to wear a helmet, don’t try riding onto the Iowa National Guard base at Camp Dodge on Tuesday morning.
About 60 Iowa soldiers headed to Afghanistan will be honored at a community send-off at 11:30 a.m. at the Johnston military facility. But Guard officials have issued a statement cautioning that all motorcycle operators and passengers entering Camp Dodge must wear full personal protective equipment, including helmets and other gear.

Droves of patriotic motorcycle riders frequently attend such events. They say Camp Dodge officials in the past have often simply winked at enforcement of federal military regulations requiring motorcycle helmets when they have passed through the gate.
Droves of patriotic motorcycle riders frequently attend such events. They say Camp Dodge officials in the past have often simply winked at enforcement of federal military regulations requiring motorcycle helmets when they have passed through the gate.
The Guard’s stance requiring helmets is in sharp contrast to the freedom-of-choice policy for motorcycle riders elsewhere on Iowa’s road system. Iowa is one of only three states nationwide without a motorcycle helmet law. Twenty states require all riders to wear helmets, while 27 others only require helmets for riders under age 18.
Vietnam veteran Steve Mulcahy, 62, is a retired John Deere worker from Ottumwa who regularly uses his motorcycle to participate in patriotic events with the American Legion Riders organization. He said he’ll comply with the Guard’s orders, but he won’t necessarily like it.
“Yes, I have objections to how the Guard says we have to dress. But it is their base, and we are old enough to know that we have to play by their rules, whether we agree to it or not,” Mulcahy said.
On Tuesday morning, motorcyclists who lack helmets and other protective equipment when arriving for the troop sendoff at Camp Dodge will be instructed to park their motorcycles in a designated area outside the main gate. Then they’ll need to walk about three blocks to the Freedom Center inside the base, said 1st Lt. Brandon Cochran, a National Guard spokesman.
The sendoff is for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1034th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, which will head to Fort Hood, Texas, for training before deployment to Afghanistan.
The Iowa National Guard’s policy on motorcycle helmets is in accordance with longstanding regulations on U.S. Department of Defense installations nationwide requiring motorcycle helmets, Cochran said. He added he doesn’t expect any patriotic motorcycle riders — who attend military funerals, homecomings and other events — to face a hardship as a result of the rules, which are being implemented at all Iowa National Guard facilities statewide.
“This is what is expected of folks in the National Guard. So it is just kind of a reciprocal thing for our civilian counterparts,” Cochran said.
Ron Huntimer of Ankeny, who was a founder of the American Legion Riders in Iowa a decade ago, said he’s been aware for years of the military’s requirements for full-protective gear at federal installations and he thinks they pose no problems. His view is that Camp Dodge officials were simply a little lax in the past in enforcing the rules.
“Some guys are like, ‘Oh, gee. Why do I have to put that on?’ But most of our guys who have gone out to Camp Dodge for events, they pretty much all have that stuff. If they don’t, one of the guys who has extra stuff on his bike will hand it to the other guy. That’s the way we are,” said Huntimer, who served 10 years in the South Dakota and North Dakota National Guard.
The nation’s military has taken a strong stance in an effort to promote motorcycle safety in recent years. One concern is that too many service members who survived combat in Iraq and Afghanistan were returning to military bases and dying in motorcycle crashes.
Between 1999 and 2010, 965 service members were killed in motorcycle accidents, according to a report last year by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center. The report noted that many military members are young, single, male and high school educated, which are factors associated with increased risk of dying in motor vehicle crashes. It also cited statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has found that motorcyclists are 37 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in road accidents.
Jim Meyerdirk, acting bureau chief of the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, said there is no question that motorcycle helmets save lives. “Helmets are very important. It’s basically like a seat belt in a vehicle,” he said. More than 80 percent of all persons killed while riding motorcycles in Iowa the past five years were not using helmets. So far in 2012, Iowa has had 37 motorcycle deaths.
But don’t expect Iowa politicians to follow the National Guard’s lead by mandating motorcycle helmets on all roads statewide.

“If a bill requiring motorcycle helmets were proposed, the legislation would have strong, bipartisan opposition and would not advance in the Legislature. The governor would not be supportive of this effort,” said Tim Albrecht, Gov. Terry Branstad’s spokesman.