Fort Rucker motorcyclists get new training range
Staff Sgt. Christopher Cochran and CW3 Toby Blackmon power walk their motorcycles during the first day of the two-day Basic Rider Course at the new Motorcycle Training Range at Fort Rucker Aug. 23. The Basic Rider Course is a Motorcycle Safety Foundation authorized course that Soldiers are required to pass in order to ride motorcycles on or off post.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- A new motorcycle training range is open at Fort Rucker for active-duty Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians and Family members to learn about safety and riding techniques.

Soldiers and DACs are required to complete the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course before they are allowed to ride on post. Soldiers must complete the course before they can ride their motorcycles on or off post.

The new range is located next to Bldg. 6030 on Andrews Avenue in front of the recycling center, said Earl Daniels, Fort Rucker Army Traffic Safety Training Project lead instructor. The old range was located on Fifth Avenue, across from the post office.

Classes are typically held four to five times monthly and are free for active-duty Soldiers, DACs and Family members. There is a waiting list for Family members if classes fill with Soldiers and DACs.

Students start the two-day course with five hours of classroom training and then move on to 10 hours of hands-on motorcycle training. Helmets, armored jackets and motorcycles are provided for the basic rider course.

For basic rider course two and military sport bike courses, students must provide their own bikes and safety equipment.

"I've been through the (basic rider course) and I learned stuff that I use every day," Daniels said. "It's a really beneficial course for anybody who wants to ride. I've heard plenty of people say how much they enjoyed the class and how much they got out of it."

CW2 Jamie Belle recently completed the course and said it is beneficial, even for experienced riders.

"I've been riding for 12 years, but it had been a while since I'd gone over the basics," Belle said. "I was starting to get complacent, so I needed to get back to the beginning. It's important for any rider to never forget those things. This course really helps riders to build confidence in their riding abilities."

Beginners learn valuable lessons from the course that might save their lives one day, Belle said. It's critical to learn to ride safely.

"I've been in accidents before," he said. "I wish I would have taken this course when I was younger. If I had, I might have avoided a few accidents completely."

Classroom training for the course is in Bldg. 6030. Having the classroom and training range so close to each other has made a huge difference for the class.

"The commute between the two places is extremely short now," Daniels said. "This makes moving from classroom to field so much easier."

Students training at the old range had to deal with several issues including possible inclement weather, no restroom access and a longer drive from classroom to field.

"The new location is much better," Sharon Manning, garrison deputy safety director, said. "Students used to drive from the classroom to the range and if any inclement weather occurred, there was nothing they could do."

Those interested in signing up for the courses can do so online at <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16