It’s a beautiful day out and you decide to go for a ride on your motorcycle. Everything is going great until a senior Marine starts to chew you out for having the wrong Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on in uniform. So what is acceptable attire when riding a motorcycle in and out of uniform?
Whenever you are riding your motorcycle in uniform, on or off base, you need to wear certain PPE in order to reduce your risk of injury in the event that an accident might occur. At the same time, attire should present a good image for the Marine Corps. The first thing that should be worn is a protective helmet properly fastened under the chin.
The helmet must also meet the standards of The Department of Transportation (DOT). It is also important that you wear impact or shatter-resistant goggles when riding your bike; a full face shield attached to the helmet is also acceptable. A motorcycle’s windshield or eyeglasses alone are not considered proper eye protection.
You need sturdy, shoes or boots that provide above-the-ankle support and traction when riding or when transitioning to a stopping/starting position. You should also wear either a long-sleeved shirt with sleeves rolled down or a jacket, long-legged trousers and full-fingered gloves. Civilian attire, such as long-sleeved t-shirts sweatshirts or jackets, may not be worn over the uniform.
One item of clothing that is permitted and encouraged to be worn over the uniform is a protective motorcycle riding jacket. Motorcycle jackets are typically made of abrasion-resistant materials such as leather, Kevlar and/or Cordura and contain impact absorbing padding.
Jackets must not contain inappropriate imagery or language, and must be removed as soon as the Marine dismounts the motorcycle. All of the same safety equipment to be worn in uniform is also required when in civilian clothing.
“For the state of North Carolina, the requirement is to wear a DOT helmet, and the consequences for not having that is a citation. For the Marine Corps and Camp Lejeune, the requirements are a little different,” said Ron Farris, the regional traffic and aviation safety manager for MCB Camp Lejeune. “You still need a DOT approved helmet, proper eye protection, a long sleeve shirt or a riding jacket, long pants and over-the-ankle footwear. If you are cited on base for missing any of this PPE, you will have to go to traffic court, you could lose your driving privileges and it is also punishable by Non Judicial Punishment (NJP) by a unit commander.”
“There are a multitude of studies out there that show wearing a helmet will save your life from the simplest of accidents,” Farris said. “There are folks who I know that were not wearing a helmet and literally just fell over and hit a curb, and that was enough to kill them.”
Farris explained wearing the proper PPE will keep you safe, potentially save your life and keep you from getting a ticket. So wear the right equipment in and out of uniform and most of all, be safe and enjoy riding your motorcycles this summer.