Motorcycle safety saves live in all seasons
October 11, 2012
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Although summer has ended, motorcycle riders continue sharing the New Jersey roads, taking advantage of the warm weather and low gas prices. Unfortunately, with the weather changing, the likelihood of being involved in a motorcycle accident increases.
More than 2,500 motorcycles are involved in accidents on New Jersey roads each year according to NJridesafe.org. Moreover, 90 percent of riders involved in crashes admit to having no formal training. Soldiers assigned to the 174th Infantry Brigade, Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst, NJ, work hard to ensure all their members receive motorcycle safety training.
"Everyone can benefit from the Basic Rider Course," said Staff Sgt. Stephen Blashfield, Modern Army Combatives Program instructor with the 174th Infantry Brigade. "If you have a soldier who is a rider, you as a leader should also know what it takes to be safe on a bike."
At JB MDL, all service members, authorized dependants and DoD civilians interested in riding are offered the Basic Rider Course and BRC2 free of charge. The training courses are recognized by the New Jersey State Motor Vehicle Commission. As a matter of fact, the DoD Traffic Safety Program updated in April of 2010, makes completing a recognized basic rider course mandatory for service members who ride or who intend to ride.
"We train basic bike maintenance, safe operation and defensive driving," said Sgt. First Class John Moors, BRC instructor and a trainer/mentor assigned to 1st Battalion, 307th Infantry Regiment, 174th Inf. Bde. "It is a low risk course for riders with little to no bike experience, and we focus on the four things that cause most accidents -- cornering, u-turns, how to swerve, and quick stops."
BRC provides riders two-days of training: one-third classroom, two-thirds practical on the pavement. All students must score an 80 percent or better on a 50-question written test and pass a practical motorcycle control skills test in order to graduate the course. The instructors recommend students attend the follow-on BRC2, giving riders an additional day of practical instruction.
"In the basic course, students are provided training bikes and helmets," said Blashfield. "It is a great learning experience for anyone."
"Whether you tour or own a sport bike, are a new or experienced rider, everyone benefits from the basic rider course," said Moors. "Take the one-day BRC2 as a refresher to re-emphasize the basics of rider safety."
"We recommend junior riders pair up with a rider mentor, a more experienced rider who knows how to avoid blind spots and hazards on the roads," added Moors.
Motorcycle injuries and fatalities among U.S. military personnel have significantly risen since the early 2000s, according to the DoD campaign to reduce the negative motorcycle trend. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most accidents involved sport bikes, occurred off-duty and 75 percent of motorcycle accidents involved a passenger vehicle. BRC and BRC2 help prevent accidents.
For more information on upcoming BRC and BRC2 courses, call 732-323-2525.