1st BCT, 1st AD, trains for motorcycle safety
By Sgt. Kelsey L. Miller, 1st BCT, 1st AD, Public Affairs:
(El Paso, Texas, April 20, 2017) What better place to own a motorcycle than El Paso, Texas? The sun shines 360 days a year, and the weather is almost always perfect for a ride. Though this may be true, it is important for motorcycle riders to understand the safety risks involved with owning and operating a motorcycle. Not only is it important to know how to ride safely, it is important to be aware of the other vehicles and obstacles that may be in the immediate area.
Motorcycle riders assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, participated in a brigade refresher training and check ride here April 6. The training was held at the Motorcycle Safety Course, and fulfilled the unit’s quarterly training requirement in accordance with 1st AD Standing Order 07.
“The stuff we went over today is what’s covered in the basic rider’s course,” said Capt. Lamont D. Foxx, one of the brigade’s Motorcycle Safety Program coordinators. “Today’s event was intended to help riders be aware of what’s going on around them. Whenever you’re riding, you need to know how to maneuver in different types of situations.”
The program’s coordinators set up the event, and made it mandatory for all riders within the brigade who were up to date with their basic rider’s course requirements. The riders were also required to show the proper paperwork, such as licenses, insurance and inspections, and learned about proper personal protective equipment.
“All of the skills we practiced here today are perishable skills,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jonathon C. Kruskamp, also a program coordinator. “If riders don’t continuously utilize and practice them, they will go away or the riders will forget how to use them. That’s why we do these refreshers. We force them to do things they would not normally do in their day-to-day commutes. We want to ensure that they have the skills to be able to execute when the need arises.”
Before any of the individual exercises were conducted by the riders, one of the coordinators demonstrated what was expected from each exercise. The exercises included normal stopping in a straight line when faced with an obstacle, quick stopping on a curve, weaving, basic turns, sharp turns without stopping and obstacle swerves.
“We understand that motorcycle deaths have increased over recent years,” said Foxx. “We know that many Soldiers here use their motorcycles as their main means of transportation. We need them to have the tools needed to be active and defensive drivers, while at the same time, being able to enjoy their motorcycles.”
Although most motorcycle riders are safe drivers, more than half of the Army’s motorcycle injuries or fatalities are single-vehicle incidents that come from inexperience or reckless driving. First brigade strives to mitigate these instances and maintain mission readiness by providing refresher courses and check rides such as the one held today.
“Anytime a Soldier gets injured, be it work related or non-duty related, they are no longer ready,” Kruskamp said. “By teaching the Soldiers the skills they need to ride safely, we are mitigating and reducing the risk involved with riding motorcycles altogether.”
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