There’s no bumpers, no roof, and when you stop, a motorcycle falls over.
That inherent instability is compounded by reduced visibility to drivers, adding to the risk of riding motorcycles. To promulgate safety, all active-duty personnel must pass the Basic Motorcycle Rider Couse to ride on post.
Scott Bruning, who runs the motorcycle program for the Garrison Safety Office, encourages drivers to attend this course as well,“because it makes them a better car driver also, when they’re more aware of the challenges of motorcyclists, and …the situational awareness that’s required.”
The two-day course is free, and leave cannot be charged for active-duty service members who attend. These motorcycle safety classes are distinguished in a couple ways: it has a dedicated motorcycle range, next to DAU, where there is enough room to learn important maneuvers at traffic speeds, and because Fort Belvoir houses all five branches, the Safety Office was given permission from the National Capital Region to train all active-duty, Guard and Reserve members.
Doel Malave, a Private First Class with the Old Guard, is impressed with the course. On the second morning of the Basic Rider Course, he transitioned from an unsure, wobbly rider to a more confident Soldier.
“This class has been my first time riding – period, …and I have to say I’ve learned a lot,” Malave said. “It’s a lot of things you need to do simultaneously, and with some practice, it feels a little more natural than it did yesterday.”
Within a year of passing the Basic Rider Course, active motorcyclists must then take the Advanced Rider Course. Additionally, anyone returning from a deployment of more than 179 days must get a TDY refresher course.
Bruning stresses that the most important lesson in the class is improving situational awareness.
“Riding a bike is an intense experience, and it requires your undivided attention to stay alive on the road. There is no room for error or being distracted or impaired,” he said.
To register for the class, or learn more about required training, contact the Garrison Safety Office or go to safety.army.mil.