Training area brings motorcycle courses to Fort Polk
A student in the Basic Rider Course practices turning and stopping on his motorcycle as the instructor, Susan Jenkins, evaluates his technique.

FORT POLK, La. -- If you're a motorcycle rider, whether experienced or new to the world of riding, Fort Polk now has its own designated motorcycle training area where Soldiers can take their required training courses.

A portion of the Tactical Driving Course area off Texas Avenue has now been designated as the new training area. Instructors are brought in on a weekly basis to teach the courses. Two basic rider courses and one experienced rider course are taught per week. There is also a sports bike course, which is taught every two months.

In 2007, the Army declared that Soldiers who ride motorcycles must complete the BRC. Prior to that mandate, the Army only required Soldiers to have taken a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course and carry an MSF card upon completion.

Fort Polk has been able to teach most of the courses in years past. However, there were some courses that Soldiers had to attend off-post. Now, all the courses are taught here and a new area has been designated specifically for them.

John Costa, Command Safety Director, explained that prior to the Sept. 10 certification of the new training area, the courses were taught at various locations across post. However, "we weren't meeting the demand of all the Soldiers," he said.

With the help of Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Hof, the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk command sergeant major, Costa was able to locate the space off Texas Avenue and designate it as Fort Polk's motorcycle training area. "This is the permanent spot," Costa said.
When a Soldier first arrives on post, he or she has seven days to register for the motorcycle courses. Even if the course is several weeks away, the Soldier has a minimum requirement to register within a week of arriving on Fort Polk.

The BRC is for new riders or Soldiers who have never completed the course. Loaner motorcycles are available to those Soldiers who wish to take the course but do not have a motorcycle of their own.

The Army requires all Soldiers and persons operating a motorcycle on a military installation to complete the course. The BRC covers basic riding skills. However, it is not designed to teach Soldiers how to ride a motorcycle if they've never ridden one, Costa explained. If a Soldier wants to learn how to ride a motorcycle, Fort Polk offers motorcycle simulators to help them develop basic riding skills.

Six months after the BRC course has been completed, Soldiers are required to take the ERC course. This course is more in-depth than the BRC and is designed for the more experienced rider.

Fort Polk has a motorcycle mentorship program, which provides guidance to subordinate units on post. Each unit has a senior mentor who can help riders new to the installation. Mentors provide information on the training courses, conduct training of their own, organize rides and encourage safe riding. Mentors can also sign out the keys to the motorcycle training area to give their Soldiers extra practice time to perfect their riding skills.

Mentors and unit commanders must ensure each of their Soldiers complies with all motorcycle policies and gets the proper training they need. The courses offered here also fulfill the riding certification requirements for the state of Louisiana.

To enroll in the course, go to https://airs.lmi.org. Fort Polk is located in the Southeast region. Soldiers must choose the course they need depending on the certifications that may have been received at other installations. Military dependents are welcome to take the course on a standby basis and must enroll through the same web site.

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