Enjoy the ride while feeling safe; SJ promotes safe motorcycle riding

  • Published
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

With the summer days approaching and warm weather upon us, it’s natural to be excited for longer days, spending more time outside and trips on the road to our favorite places. Along with the sunshine becoming more present in our lives, motorcyclists will become more present on the road as well.

It’s important for all motorcyclists, whether new or experienced, to know and practice safe driving techniques. The 4th Fighter Wing safety office paired with members of Team Seymour to help inform and teach riders about motorcycle safety by becoming certified trainers in order to teach the Basic Riders Course provided by the Air Force.

“Having just been through the course myself and no motorcycle experience beforehand, it provides a priceless bedrock for not only skills, but knowledge for safe riding in the future,” said Lt. Col, Tanner Heid, 4th Fighter Wing chief of safety. “The reason it’s important to ride safely is because all of our Airmen are important as well; they’re irreplaceable. Doing everything we can as an Air Force and as individuals to be as safe as possible is really important.”

The BRC is mandated by the Air Force for all service members who wish to ride motorcycles. The course entails a three-hour e-course, five hours of classroom lessons and 10 hours of actual riding. Riders practice 14 exercises and must pass a skills test with five evaluations, as well as pass a knowledge test.

“It’s enjoyable to ride, but you don’t have protection around you,” said Derek Mitchell, Motorcycle Safety Course lead instructor at Johnston Community College. “It’s just like any sport, if you don’t go out and hone your skills, you wouldn’t want to bet on that team. The training we teach here, we want it to become second nature for these riders; learning on the street is not the way to do it. We have a safe range that allows for us to teach how to really ride.”

The course builds from the fundamentals of riding, such as balance, to more technical maneuvers, such as tight turns and how to approach obstacles.

“We break it down for someone who’s never been on a motorcycle and we teach someone who’s been riding for several years and are ready to ride the right way,” said. Mitchell.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation Course is a nationally recognized course and is used across the Department of Defense, so these new instructors will be able to continue teaching inexperienced riders wherever they are assigned.

“I’ve always loved instructing others, training people and teaching them new skills,” said Staff Sgt. Challen Haywood, 916th Maintenance Squadron sheet metal fabricator and motorcycle safety representative. “Pairing that with my passion for motorcycles, to refine my own skills and be able to pass them along to someone else is just so awesome to me. To teach these Airmen who come in wanting to ride a motorcycle and give them the basics and tactics that they need is what we’re here to do.”

Having more certified trainers at Seymour Johnson, allows the safety office to schedule more motorcycle safety courses for the upcoming summer.