Base motorcycling courses prepare riders for unexpected

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Greg Washburn
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
In the blink of an eye, a motorcyclist can go from cruise to crash. That's how much time you might have to react to a situation while riding a motorcycle.

Fortunately, both the basic rider and experienced rider courses offered at Keesler will help motorcyclists prepare for any unexpected circumstances while riding.

According to Bryan Bailey, 81st Training Wing traffic safety manager, motorcyclists are required to take the basic rider course before riding their motorcycle on any Department of Defense installation. Currently, there are approximately 250 identified riders at Keesler.

Recently there were two Air Force members killed in motorcycle accidents. It was determined that they were traveling at "speeds in excess of 100 mph," Mr. Bailey said. He believes it wasn't a training issue since both victims were experienced riders.

Mr. Bailey notes that there have been very few local motorcycle mishaps. He believes this is due to the safety conscious riding culture at Keesler. Additionally, supervisory involvement helps to contribute to the safety culture. To that end, the traffic safety office sends out a safety message every week to motorcycle riders on base.

Tourist traffic, sand on the road and steel grating on the drawbridges are some of the unique hazards that motorcycle riders experience locally, according to Mr. Bailey.

Mr. Bailey tries to schedule at least two motorcycle safety courses per month. Transient students make up the bulk of the trainees attending these courses, so he facilitates a schedule that makes it convenient for the nonprior service students to attend the course. For the basic rider course, motorcycle ownership isn't even required. The course has five trainer bikes for individuals who don't own a motorcycle yet.

Mr. Bailey recently requested a range expansion. If that occurs, he'll be able to add the military sport bike course. This course will be available to riders that have prior experience and will cover such topics as apex cornering and braking in corners.

Mr. Bailey also encourages any experienced, responsible riders to become motorcycle safety instructors.

"Responsible riding is the biggest part of riding," he pointed out. "There's a consequence for every action on the motorcycle. Ride within your skill set."

For more information, call 376-2007. Additionally, Air Force Instruction 90-207 and Air Education and Training Command Supplement 91-207 cover the motorcycle safety program.