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NEWS | June 6, 2012

JB CHS training helps motorcyclists from becoming a statistic

By Senior Airman Ian Hoachlander Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

As summer approaches, the number of motorcyclists from Joint Base Charleston will increase to enjoy the freedom of riding during their daily and recreational activities.

Motorcycles are known for their outstanding gas mileage, unique looks and the excitement riders receive when cruising down the road. These two-wheeled vehicles may have some advantages when compared to other vehicles, but are also essentially dangerous to operate without the proper training and safety equipment.

Military regulations can often be misinterpreted, and personnel who aren't aware of the requirements or choose to disregard them are putting their lives and career in serious jeopardy.

Military members who plan to ride a motorcycle on or off base and civilian personnel who ride a motorcycle while in a duty status must complete an appropriate Department of Defense, Motorcycle Safety Foundation, or state-approved training course.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Riders Course 1 is specifically designed as initial training to help develop the skills necessary to recognize and avoid potentially hazardous situations throughout the course of a rider's journey.

Students begin the course with a day of in-class instruction where they are introduced to different types of motorcycles, how to operate a motorcycle and what to do before they ride. They are also introduced to a variety of street strategies ranging from what to do when being chased by a dog to what to look out for when coming to up to an intersection.

On the second day, students learn the basic functions of a motorcycle and how to operate it safely, to include straight-line riding, turning, shifting and stopping.

The instructors spend half of the third day teaching students proper cornering, swerving and emergency braking techniques. At the conclusion of the instructional portion of the course the rider coaches give the students a written knowledge test and skill evaluation.

Many motorcycle crashes are attributed to the rider's lack of knowledge of their vehicle's capabilities when it comes to braking and cornering; failure to use defensive driving techniques; and failure to follow the speed limit.

"If you think motorcycle training is a once in a life time endeavor, you will probably become a statistic," said Gary Gist, 628th Air Base Wing Safety Office ground safety technician. "Training is an ongoing process. Think about it; pilots, racecar drivers and football players all practice and train continuously throughout their careers. Why should your motorcycle riding career be any different other than the fact that your life depends on it?

The MSF BRC-1 is the initial step for military members who may even be considering purchasing a motorcycle. The course must be completed before operating a motorcycle on or off base, on or off duty.

Joint Base Charleston offers multiple MSF courses based on the skill level and the type of bike of the motorcyclist. New riders who want to participate in the basic riders course or seasoned riders coming up on their five-year retrain mark and want to participate in a more experienced course should contact their Motorcycle Safety Representative.

For more information contact the 628th Air Base Wing Safety Office at 764-7037 or 963-5605.