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 September 24, 2010

Safety

SportBike Rider Course helps motorcyclists sharpen skills

Story & photo by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

Motorcyclists sharpened their skills and learned advanced safety techniques during a Sept. 10 Military SportBike Rider Course at Fort McCoy.

Randy Eddy, Fort McCoy Installation Safety Office (ISO) Safety manager, said the one-day Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course addresses the increasing number of military personnel who are involved in sportbike crashes. The course was developed in close collaboration with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army safety centers, and is available to all branches of the Department of Defense.

PHOTO: Participants in the Military SportBike Rider Course held at Fort McCoy practice taking corners on the bigger motorcycles. Photo by Rob Schuette
Participants in the Military SportBike Rider Course held at Fort McCoy practice taking corners on the bigger motorcycles.

“The three-hour classroom segment focuses on the behavioral aspects of riding, such as attitude and personal risk assessment, and includes discussions about braking proficiency, cornering techniques, traction management, and characteristics unique to sportbikes,” Eddy said. “The five-hour, hands-on range session builds on these topics by providing riders the opportunity to develop and improve skills in braking, cornering and swerving.”

The course is offered on a request basis for military personnel who have completed the MSF Basic and Experienced Rider Course. Motorcyclists must complete the Basic Rider Course or its equivalent before they can ride their motorcycles on Fort McCoy, Eddy said.

In addition to the training, the “Sport Bike Survival Guide” was provided to all military personnel who participated in the course. The pocket-sized booklet was written by accomplished sportbike riding instructor Nick Ienatsch, and includes information about riding techniques, street strategies, handy reference materials, quick tips, and additional resources for those seeking to further their knowledge and skills.

Les Mlsna, the rider coach for Ride Safe Inc., said it was the first Military SportBike Rider Course the organization has held at Fort McCoy. Ride Safe Inc. is contracted to provide the training at Fort McCoy and will offer courses with a minimum of six attendees, he said.

“This course teaches advanced techniques, beyond the basic/experienced riders courses,” Mlsna said. “It offers a chance for the riders to do continuous learning and acquire more-advanced skills and experience.”

Basic-sized motorcycles are used in the first classes, but the bigger sportbikes are used in this class. Mlsna said most of the fatal accidents occur on bigger-sized motorcycles.

“Riders taking this class learn how to reduce their chances of accidents by developing the proper mindset and techniques to ride these bikes,” Mlsna said. “They make sure they take corners at the proper speeds using the correct techniques.”

The next course will be offered in the spring. Mlsna said courses will be held as often as the demand warrants and minimum class sizes are met.

Sgt. 1st Class David Komay of the Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Fort McCoy said his organization requires its members to take the course to learn the correct procedures to safely ride motorcycles.

“The class has expanded my safety knowledge about motorcycles,” he said. “I definitely would recommend it.”

Sgt. 1st Class Antonio McDaniel of the 1st Battalion, 338th Regiment said the course was a little more challenging than the basic- and experienced-riders courses.

“It’s great to see them offering training for people who have something other than cruisers and Harleys,” McDaniel said. “This training helps keep you, the other motorists and pedestrians safe. It also helps you develop situation awareness, which is a great parallel to Army training.”

Motorcycle safety is a key component of traffic safety for all Soldiers, Eddy said. According to statistics from the Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center (https://safety.army.mil), motorcycle accidents have claimed the lives of 33 Soldiers as of Sept. 2 in fiscal year 2010 compared to 37 Soldiers killed in automobile accidents.

According to Eddy, Dr. Ray Ochs, the MSF director of training systems, said the goal of the motorcycle safety courses is to provide riders with a way to further develop personal riding strategies and decision-making abilities to help them minimize their risk.

MSF classes at Fort McCoy are taught through a contract with the Ride Safe organization. Military and Department of Defense civilian employees can take the courses free. Others can take the course if there is available space and they pay the class fees.

For more information about the Fort McCoy course schedule, visit the Ride Safe Inc. website at http://www.ridesafewi.com or call 715-299-7728.

For more information about safety in the Fort McCoy community, call the ISO at 608-388-3403 or visit the ISO Safety website on the Fort McCoy Extranet, which is available through the Fort McCoy public website at http://www.mccoy.army.mil.

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