Department of Public Safety urges compliance with bicycle safety regulations

14 Jul 2011 | Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright

During the recent months, there has been a rise in bicycle safety infractions aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, putting both children and adults who utilize bicycles more at risk. While bicycles are considered vehicles, the physical confrontation between a bike and an automotive is like pitting a silverback gorilla against a slug.

An amusing concept, but not when the slug is a family member or coworker out on a daily bicycle commute. Bicycle safety is both in the hands of the riders and of those around them, yet the Department of Public Safety aboard the base has noticed a growing pattern of regulation complacency.

“Both in the children and adult demographics, we’re seeing a rise in bicycle safety infractions,” said Stanley Dutko, director of safety for Marine Corps Installations East and safety manager for MCB Camp Lejeune. “This is one of those things that should go without saying. Everyone needs to understand what the (personal protective equipment) for riding a bicycle is and adhere to it.”

A helmet is always required when riding a bicycle as well as the wearing of proper reflective equipment in the time between evening and morning colors. While bicyclists are able to ride alongside the road, it must be on the edge to go with the flow of traffic, single file if with a group.

Yet, these simple safety regulations are being either ignored or forgotten in the recent months, with an influx of interactive customer evaluation comments being sent in about bicyclists not following proper statute.

What then is the cause of this influx in bicycle-related safety infractions?

“It’s a combination of more riders coming out in the summer weather and more people commuting around the base on bicycles to combat gas prices,” said William Linn, tactical safety specialist with DPS.

As the 2011-2012 school year draws nearer with the summer days dwindling, DPS will periodically set up checkpoints throughout the housing areas to check for bicycle safety compliance among the younger riders as well as hold safety events through Marine Corps Community Services. However, Dutko says that regulation compliance starts with individual responsibility.

“It’s up to the parents as well as the service members who utilize bicycles to be vigilant of what they need to be doing,” he said. “It needs to be second-nature to put on a helmet and be cautious of where you’re riding. A motorcyclist wouldn’t go riding without a helmet, and the same mentality should be shared among bicyclists.”

For complete, detailed bicycle safety regulations, refer to base order P5560.2.