ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Ten Soldiers participated in an advanced motorcycle safety class in order to fulfill their mandatory Army Regulation 385-10 training requirements, here, July 30.
Beginner and experienced classes were available this week as a part of the U.S. Army's continued effort to decrease motorcycle fatalities.
"Motorcycle fatalities are the number one cause of loss of life for Soldiers in peacetime," said Jesse Cefin, instructor with Cape Fox Government Contracting from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
The visiting instructors taught one basic and one advanced course this week.
The basic riding course was a 15-hour, two-day course. It required five hours in the classroom and 10 hours on the range where participants rode 250CC motorcycles that met specific height and safety standards.
The advanced riding course was a one-day course for experienced riders using their own bikes. Participants learned how to execute driving strategies like maneuvering tight turns and breaking in the shortest possible distance.
"We're doing some advanced techniques, three hours of classroom and then about four hours of range depending on the number of riders you have," said Tami Grider, lead instructor with CFGC.
"This course is not just about riding; it's also about risk awareness, risk management, and strategy to apply skills," she said.
Soldiers are required to take training courses on an ongoing basis. The basic course is good for a year, and the advanced course is good for five years.
"These courses really help them understand that there's a lot going against them, and it really helps to make them aware as to what is going on. The more you come to class, the more you think about it, the more it becomes second nature," said Cefin.
Soldiers are required to wear protective gear at all times, not just on post.
"It's mandatory for any Soldier on post or off post. It does not matter if they are trying to ride dirty out there or not," said Grider.
Sgt. 1st Class David Stephenson, program manager for Army Preposition Stocks, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, said the training was helpful.
"For me personally, I just switched to a bigger bike, so coming out here and doing the exercises has given me more confidence. I knew what my skills were, but it's given me more confidence on a bigger, heavier bike.
"Any experience that you can get in a controlled environment on a bike will just make you that much safer, that much better out on the road," he said.
A military sport bike riding course will be offered on September 22, and another basic riding course will be offered on September 23 - 24. Only 12 spots are available for each class. Soldiers can sign up for a course in the "AIRS" system at https://imc.army.mil/airs/default.aspx.