By Mr. Kevin Downey (IMCOM)April 21, 2010
CHIEVRES, Belgium - U.S. Army Garrison Benelux motorcyclists weaved their bikes through an IMCOM Europe safe riding program April 14-16 on the air base here, focusing on handling maneuvers and braking under expert instruction.
Twenty-four riders of various experience levels participated in the free training, which is mandatory for all U.S. service members, family members and civilians to complete prior to riding legally in Europe.
"This initiative is designed to improve riding skills, and raise safety awareness among riders in the community," said Rudy Magain, installation safety officer. "Our purpose is to decrease motorcycle accidents in the SHAPE and ChiAfA..vres community. Riding is dangerous, especially in Belgium due to the current condition of the roads after the harsh winter we had. This training prepares riders to meet the challenges on the road and to always remember safety first."
Riders rarely get a second chance after making a mistake on their bike, Magain added.
"Any time you can practice with trained instructors who can give you pointers on how to improve your riding style, it's always beneficial to have that critique," said Capt. Eric Kuenke, company commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, USAG Benelux.
Kuenke is a veteran motorcyclist who took advantage of the training, along with two of his Soldiers, to study how to improve his reaction to surprise situations.
"Probably the most valuable thing we got out of it was watching the video," he said. "You get to see controlled situations you don't necessarily experience when you're riding, but there's always that possibility. For example you see a front brake being violently applied, you get to see what that looks like. It gives you more information so you know how to respond in the event that it does happen."
Another benefit to the training was the opportunity to network with other riders in the community and share information about motorcycle associations and events, Kuenke said.
The courses - Basic Riders Course and Experienced Riders Course - are offered by IMCOM Europe in conjunction with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, an internationally recognized not-for-profit foundation that provides leadership to the motorcycle safety community through expertise, tools, and partnerships. Both courses consist of range training, in addition to classroom instruction.
For more information on motorcycle courses offered by IMCOM Europe installations, visit www.imcom-europe.army.mil/sites/management/so_atstp.asp.