Legal Question in Military Law in Hawaii

Not allowed to commute to work...

While commuting off-base via bicycle and observing all local and state laws, can a soldier be verbally ordered by his superior officer to not commute by bicycle via a specific route or distance until further notice? In this, the officer lists concerns of safety (the other vehicles on the road) and health (the distance of the ride) and the effect on the mission should the soldier be injured or killed in an accident as reasons for the ban, but no laws have been broken and the soldier is an experienced bicycle commuter, riding off-base with helmet and other safety equipment.

Asked on 9/28/07, 2:06 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Anthony DeWitt Bartimus, Frickleton Robertson & Gorny, PC

Re: Not allowed to commute to work...

Generally a superior officer can order you to do anything that is not unlawful or illegal. He could order you to stand on your head and whistle Hail Brittania, and you'd pretty much have to do it. If you fail to obey a lawful order, that could get you an Article 15 (at best) or courtmartialed (at worst). The military will not care that you are not breaking any laws and that you ride safely. They will only care that you failed to follow a proper military order.

Thus you must obey the order of the officer under penalty of sanction under the UCMJ.

Thank you for your military service.

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Answered on 9/28/07, 9:49 am

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