Motorcycle mentorship invigorates motorcycle safety
October 26, 2009
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii (Oct. 20, 2009) - "The front wheel came off the ground and was crooked when It came down I lost control, it threw me off the bike going about 50 mph," said Spc. Gage Hershfeld, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 8th Theater Sustainment Command.
Hershfeld is one out of many new riders in the Army cruising the roadways, which have seen a rise in motorcycle fatalities over the past few years.
This year alone, there have been 14 deaths from motorcyclists, out of a total of 45 vehicle accident fatalities, according to the Honolulu Police Department.
From those 14 deaths, two were Soldiers. To combat the alarming trend of deaths from motorcycles, the 8th TSC has instituted a program - the motorcycle mentorship program.
"It\'s a program designed to put new riders with more experienced riders, who can share their experiences on the road, and learn from each other to be safer riders," said Sgt. Maj. James Van Sciver, G-2 sergeant major, 8th TSC.
The program, which was created in conjunction with the 8th TSC safety office, and local riders in the Army have one aim in mind - promoting safety.
"First and foremost, active participation is important for this program's success," Van Sciver said. "Ultimately, increasing rider awareness increases their own personal safety, and their enjoyment in riding motorcycles safely is our goal."
The program, which is in its infancy stage, looks to meet quarterly for formal training, which will bring the motorcyclist community together for safety rides, informative classes, and camaraderie among the motorcycle enthusiasts in the 8th TSC.
"There's a lot more danger with getting on a bike," Van Sciver said. "Our program is not a skill teaching class; it's a class to share experiences with other riders and in effect, supplement a rider's skill through education and awareness."
Hershfeld said the program is a great start for new riders.
"I wish this program would have been around a couple months ago because it can really help lots of people with a motorcycle," he said. "The classes will help us all understand roadway safety."
Van Sciver said the class will bring the combined knowledge of every participant together to learn how to how handle bikes anywhere from hairpin turns, to roadway conditions - arming them with the knowledge to succeed.
As the program picks up steam, Van Sciver looks forward to the experience of helping more Soldiers be safe, and offers one piece of advice for the upcoming participants in the program. "Get trained, don't take your skills for granted, understand your surroundings, and drive safe."