Marines

Base Motorcyclist hone skills at track days

15 Sep 2011 | Cpl. Miranda Blackburn

If you can’t remember the last time you received any motorcycle safety training, it’s probably time to enroll in a refresher course.

Marines and sailors aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune are required to have at least one motorcycle safety refresher course every three years to keep a base decal on their bike.

One of the refresher courses offered is the Advanced Rider Track Day, a six-hour training session which is intending to hone, enhance and provide advanced riding skills to motorcycle riders.

The next ARTD will be held at Bogue Field, Cape Carteret, N.C., Sept. 24 at 8 a.m.

Courses like these are put into place in an effort to minimize active duty motorcycle incidents.

“A couple of years ago, motorcycle deaths in the Marine Corps had absolutely skyrocketed,” said Ronald M. Farris Jr., a safety and occupational health specialist with Base Safety, MCB Camp Lejeune. “So we implemented the Basic Riders Course, Experienced Riders Course, Military Sports Rider Course, (Advance Rider Track Days) and Advance Motorcycle Operators School and our motorcycle mishaps have dropped tremendously.”

According to the Naval Safety Center, 67 percent of all motorcycle accidents involving Marines and sailors occur while taking a curve on the road.

“The majority of people hurt or killed on motorcycles are because of themselves,” said Farris. “In those times, the rider is driving beyond his abilities. We’re just trying to increase their abilities.”

During the track day, riders will maneuver a track that is approximately three quarters of a mile with multiple different radius turns and will be going through with some speed to learn how to turn and corner their motorcycles, added Farris.

The course is taught by coaches from the California Superbike School, who teach racers to ride on a regular basis.

“We’re not teaching them how to race, but we’re teaching them how to maneuver their bike at a faster speed,” said Farris. “Over a period of six hours, we’re going to grab a couple things they teach racers and give them to the riders.”

The main thing riders should learn from the track day is to always practice safe techniques while operating a motorcycle. As long as motorcyclists have proper control over their speed and direction, riding can be fun.

“Everyone I have ever seen go to that course, six hours later has left a better rider,” said Farris. “They increase confidence in the motorcycle, increase their skill level and it’s making them a safer rider.”

For more information or to enroll in the next course, visit Navymotorcyclerider.com.