Straight Talk: Bicycle safety and picking up trash

  • Published
  • By Col. Stacy L. Yike
  • 66th Air Base Group commander
Thanks to everyone who came out to support the many events we had last week: the Minuteman Commons grand opening, the Sept. 11 Remembrance and Heritage of Freedom. It was a busy week, but also inspirational. I found the events gave me a bit more focus on our main mission, and I am less distracted by the daily drama that frequently diverts us from the work at hand.

This week we celebrate the Air Force birthday with a cake cutting on Friday. Saturday is Bedford Day and includes a parade, food booths, games and more. Sunday begins Football Frenzy at the commons.

Now for the latest Straight Talk questions.

Inquiry: Could you please remind everyone about the rules of the road for cyclists? Cyclists are considered vehicles and must obey the rules of the road that apply to all other vehicles. Just a couple days ago I was walking along Eglin Street toward the intersection of Eglin and Vandenberg Drive. I saw an Airman riding his bike towards Vandenberg Drive and it didn't look like he even slowed down for the stop sign. He did look to see if there was traffic on Vandenberg, but completely ignored the stop sign and rode across. I'm sure this isn't the only place this happens, as I see cyclists off base all the time ignoring the rules of the road. When the adults are doing this, the kids are going to copy it and pose more safety hazards because they haven't been taught correct operation of a bicycle on the roads. Do we have any kind of bicycle safety reminder for the adults and education for the children?

Response: Thanks for your great reminder. You are correct. All bicyclists shall comply with the same rules of the road as motor vehicles and operators. Stop signs and traffic lights apply both on and off base. On base, required safety gear includes a helmet with head strap as well as a front lamp and rear reflector from a half hour before sunset until half hour after sunrise. As it starts getting darker earlier each day, be sure you have your proper reflective gear at the ready.

Safety and Outdoor Recreation team up each fall to offer a bike rodeo for the kids to practice their safety skills. Stay tuned for the dates this year. The Hanscom Safety Page can be found on Centernet for those of you working on base. Visit the Centernet home page and click on the link under the Safety and Security portion on the left side of the page.

Inquiry: A young man stopped me at the Minuteman Commons and asked if I could help keep the skunks away from the path along to the school. He also asked me to clear the leaves at the skate park that fell during Hurricane Irene.

Response: I think we have taken care of the leaves, but I need assistance from everyone to help with the skunks. They are attracted to all the trash we throw along that trail, including a large amount of food. The trash encourages the skunks out of the woods and onto the path where they are less welcome. I appreciate your assistance in picking up a few pieces of trash during your walks and ensuring that none of your own trash ends up on the ground. We all play a role in keeping the base looking great!