Story by. Sgt. Clifford Coy
364th Public Affairs Operation Center
ST. PAUL, Minn. - As the weather has been getting warmer outside you have probably been seeing more motorcycles on the roadways. If you are a soldier, either commuting to work on your motorcycle or just out enjoying a nice cruise, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost on that list is safety. All soldiers riding motorcycles should not only be wearing their proper personal protection equipment, but they should also have taken a Basic Motorcycle Safety Course.
“Motorcycle riding is inherently more dangerous in the sense that if you do get in an accident the likelihood of getting a more serious injury is higher because you don’t have all the protective stuff around you,” said Michael Vosen, the 372nd Engineer Brigades occupational safety health specialist. “The motorcycle safety training course teaches you to be able to ride that bike effectively, properly and to be able to avoid dangerous situations in the future.”
Saint Paul Harley Davidson and the 372nd Engineer Brigade have teamed up to offer soldiers the Rider’s Edge Course, a three day riding intensive safety course that teaches you the basic fundamentals of riding and helps keep you safe out on the open road.
“We do a classroom session, which is about seven hours long and then we come out and ride. Our first exercises are our building block exercises,” said William Rhodes, the Program Manager of the Saint Paul Harley Davidson’s Rider’s Edge Course.
“The first day on the bikes is basically learning how to ride the motorcycle. We start very basic, learning the friction zone and then power walking the bikes across the range, then actually riding them,” said Rhodes. “The second day are things that actually happen on the street. Proper cornering technique, proper braking technique and then swerving around a vehicle if someone stops in front of you in a hurry. And then at the end of our class we do a skill evaluation.”
The course is offered to soldiers of all different skill levels. Whether you have been riding for years or have never even been on a motorcycle before.
“I’m a strong advocate of the course. I think for every rider level, even if you haven’t been riding in a while, the Basic Riders Course is a good opportunity to get your leg over a bike and remind you of the rules and regulations. For those who have never ridden before it is an awesome way to learn. It’s literally baby steps; crawl, walk, run. I found that the course was a very successful tool not only to promote safety but also to teach soldiers how to ride safely,” said Capt. Michael Dyrdahl, a member of the 372nd Engineer Brigade.
“I can’t stress enough how important getting proper training is. We have had too many soldiers in the past that have been injured or killed because they had not completed their training and were not wearing their proper gear,” said Vosen. “It’s a win-win situation for soldiers. The Army pay’s for the training, you get put on orders for it and you get the opportunity to become a safer a driver in the process. This course, in most states, is the equivalent of behind the wheel training, and will allow you to get your license after completion of the course.”
The next class will be held on July 16, 17 and 18. In order to register for upcoming classes please contact Michael Vosen at 630-390-0699.