FORT KNOX, Ky. – As temperatures warm and riding conditions improve, Army leaders are once again emphasizing motorcycle safety.
The first check ride this year is scheduled for April 2, with the second coming up in May. Installation motorcycle mentor Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Silva said the main reasons for these check rides are for training and safety.
“Not too many of these guys get to ride in a group formation, so this gives them experience in riding in a large group together,” said Silva. “The dynamics change when it comes to riding by yourself versus with a group.”
Silva said it’s important for motorcyclists to stay up-to-date on their training, similar to maintaining other military proficiencies.
“You live as you train, you train as you live,” said Silva. “Unless you keep up with the training, you’ll start losing [focus], you’ll start making minimal mistakes -- whether that’s with weapons qualifications or with motorcycle riding.”
Fort Knox Safety Office specialist Brian Wood explained the Army obliges all Soldiers to not only consistently wear all necessary protective gear, but also to acquire and maintain an active Motorcycle Safety Foundation card.
“Soldiers are required to have the MSF endorsement in order to operate a motorcycle on the installation,” said Wood. “They need to take the basic rider course initially, and then within that year take the experienced rider course.”
Wood said trainings are offered year-round and multiple times a month, so there’s always opportunities for Soldiers to ensure their MSF is up to date.
“Every five years you need to renew it by taking the experienced rider course again,” said Wood.
Wood explained while Soldiers must have an active MSF to ride on post, civilians and contractors only have to meet the state requirements and wear all required personal protective equipment.
According to Silva, the trainings are designed to promote preparedness.
“It’s easy to get on a bike and go straight on a highway, but once you start doing slow turns, and figure eights, some of these kids have probably never done it in their lives,” said Silva.
Silva explained that performing these actions on a course where it’s safe and there’s someone telling you how to make corrections. He said it’s much easier to learn in that environment than if something happened out on the road. As well — “We try to make it fun.”
The later check rides also become something to look forward to, according to Silva.
“As of now we’re looking at 40 or 50 riders that are going to join us,” said Silva. “We’re going to have a fun day.”
For more information about participating in check rides, call the Fort Knox Safety Office at 502-264-4305. Those needing to sign up for a motorcycle training class can do so at https://imc.army.mil/airs/usg_disclaimer.aspx/.