By Bob Van Elsberg, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center, Fort Rucker, Ala.March 28, 2012
Summer is coming and with it the kind of weather that draws riders to the road. If you're a dedicated rider or thinking about taking up the sport, the Army can help you ride safely.
For new riders
Climbing gas prices and the fun of motorcycling attracts new riders each year. The good news is Soldiers can get professional training at no cost. In fact, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Basic RiderCourse, provided by contractors at Army installations, is a requirement if you want to ride. The course provides a blend of classroom instruction followed by practical, hands-on training to build the basic skills needed for safe riding. Motorcycles often are provided for students, allowing those contemplating riding to get a taste of the sport before investing their hard-earned cash.
For experienced riders
Following the basic course, within the first year of riding Soldiers are provided either the Experienced RiderCourse or Military Sportbike RiderCourse to further hone their highway survival skills. Beyond that, the Army provides Motorcycle Refresher Training to Soldiers who have deployed more than 180 days. Motorcycle Sustainment Training ensures riders don't get rusty by providing them the Experienced RiderCourse or Military SportBike RiderCourse training every three years. The choice of courses depends on the type of bike the Soldier rides, each being tailored to handling characteristics and safety concerns specific to different motorcycles. Soldiers also have the option to take an Army-approved advanced level motorcycle course. A list of approved courses is located on the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center website at https://safety.army.mil.
For all riders
The battle buddy concept has taken to the streets through Army-approved Motorcycle Mentorship Programs available at various installations stateside and overseas. In these MMPs, skilled riders help less experienced riders develop survival skills for the streets and highways. In addition to making riders more street savvy, MMPs provide an environment where riders are encouraged to ride responsibly, a key issue in preventing accidents.
Detailed information on the MMP can be found at https://safety.army.mil/MMP/.