JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – At the turn of the key and a twist of the throttle, your motorcycle roars to life. Quickly accelerating down an open road, freedom at your fingertips, the senses are assaulted. The smells of summertime reach you through the helmet.
Freshly cut grass, blooming trees and hot asphalt are carried by a rush of cool, damp air that lifts you slightly from the seat. Revving the throttle, the raw power of the engine rumbling between your legs responds with glorious speed.
Registration for the June motorcycle safety courses on Joint Base Lewis-McChord is underway. The Army Safety Program requires riders to take an approved motorcycle safety course to be licensed to operate a motorcycle.
“The motorcycle safety courses teach riding skills and techniques that help riders respond to riding conditions,” said Joy Fowlkes, the JBLM safety director. “These skills are necessary and help riders respond to varying road conditions which can prevent motorcycle accidents.”
Rider registration must be done on a CAC enabled computer and the courses are at no cost to service members. The link to sign up is https://imc.army.mil/airs/Default.aspx.
“Course attendance is limited to active duty, reserve and guard service members on orders and Department of Defense civilian employees whose job description requires motorcycle operation,” Fowlkes said. “Those not eligible for the on-base courses can obtain training from state-certified schools.”
While motorcycles account for just over 2% of the total vehicle crashes each year in Washington, motorcyclists make up about 16% of the fatal and 20% of the serious injury crashes. There are an average of 73 motorcyclist fatalities in Washington each year.
To prevent motorcycle injuries and fatalities, JBLM offers basic rider courses, experienced rider courses and sports bike rider courses. Course length is one to two days depending on the course.
The basic rider course is two days held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with instruction in the classroom and an outdoor riding skills demonstration.
“The basic motorcycle rider course teaches riders the basics of operating a motorcycle, safety-orientated mental strategies, and teaches basic skills,” said Susan George, I Corps safety director. “You do not need a motorcycle to take this course, one is provided for you. During COVID-19 mitigation period, riders are required to bring their own helmet, full fingered gloves and a face covering.”
The experienced basic course is a one-day course held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“This course is similar to BRC except speeds are higher and riders are on their own motorcycle,” George said. “This course is required within 1-2 months of taking BRC and can be taken every 5 years as sustainment training.”
The sports bike rider course is a one-day course held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. tailored to riders of sports bikes. Riders use their own bike for this course.
“This course is taken within a year of BRC and every 5 years as sustainment training,” said George. “Students learn traction management related to cornering and turning and learn the relationship of speed, lean angle and acceleration in cornering and turning.”
For more information regarding motorcycle safety courses on JBLM visit https://home.army.mil/lewis-mcchord/index.php/my-Joint-Base-Lewis-Mcchord/all-services/motorcycle-safety-course or call the JBLM Safety Office at 253-966-6924.