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Life at the 'Lik: Electric bikes, mopeds

Tech. Sgt. Richard Villa-Ignacio, 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron NCO in-charge of inventory section, rides on a moped May 1, 2015, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Many patrons of Incirlik choose to ride electric bikes or mopeds around base an alternative to walking or driving cars. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Krystal Ardrey/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Richard Villa-Ignacio, 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron NCO in-charge of inventory section, rides on a moped May 1, 2015, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Many patrons of Incirlik choose to ride electric bikes or mopeds around base an alternative to walking or driving cars. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Krystal Ardrey/Released)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Editor's note: This article is part of a series designed to provide in-depth information to both current and future members of Team Incirlik about topics specific to Incirlik and Turkey. The goal is to assist Airmen and families in making informed decisions about their move to the area and to provide guidance about local policies, procedures and quality of life matters.

On Average, most Airmen and their family members choose not to bring their personal vehicles when moving to Incirlik. As a substitute, members of Team Incirlik have several options for transportation on the installation: riding the bus, walking, bicycling or an electric bike or moped.

A popular choice amongst the Incirlik population is an electric bike or moped, which offers the convenience of automobile without having to registering the vehicle with customs. 

"Having a [moped] has improved my time here in many ways," said Tech. Sgt. Richard Villa-Ignacio, 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron NCO in-charge of inventory section. "We're only allowed to have one vehicle, so I let my wife drive the car and I ride the scooter to go to work. It's one less thing to worry about."

Individuals that choose to use an electric bike or moped have the option of purchasing one from the local economy or from a private seller on base. Additionally, scooters and mopeds can also be rented from various agencies off base or through Outdoor Recreation.

When purchasing or renting a moped or electric bike, member must ensure that the devices follow proper guidelines for use. A vehicle is deemed a moped when it uses less than 2,249 watts of electric or 49CC of gas power. A bike is considered an electric bike when it has peddles, but also has the ability to be powered. Anything of higher wattage or above 50CC is considered a scooter and the operator will need to have completed a certified training program.

In order to operate an electric bike or moped on base, riders must know and comply with all traffic rules, receive a briefing and attend a specialized training from their squadron's motorcycle safety representative.

"Even at a low speed there are many hazards that each and every person on the road shares," said Tech. Sgt. James Fountain, 39th Air Base Wing safety office NCO in-charge of investigations. "Plus, there is increased risk on a moped or electric bike because you are not as easily seen as a vehicle. Riders do not have the same protection as vehicle drivers, and there are many possible road conditions that may change and create another hazard to riders."

To combat increased dangers of driving a moped or electric bike, riders are required to wear a Department of Transportation approved helmet, a brightly colored outer garment during the daya reflective outer garment at night and are restricted from wearing open toed shoes,. It's mandatory that passengers will follow the same requirements as the rider while on the installation.

The wing safety office also recommends that riders wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and gloves.

According to the wing safety office, to keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe, moped or electric bike riders should not drive on the sidewalk or bike paths. Electric bikes and moped must follow the same rules of the road as any other vehicle.

For questions about riding an electric bike or moped on base, contact a squadron motorcycle safety representative.