DVIDS – News – Dirt bikes, Soldiers: a safe mix

July 14, in a field near Wakefield, Kansas, five Soldiers from Fort Riley showed up in long-sleeved shirts, sturdy boots each with a variety of dirt bike riding experience. The Soldiers were attending the mandatory dirt bike safety class overseen by the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Riley Safety Office. Every Soldier who rides a dirt bike, on or off the installation, must take this class in accordance with Army regulation 385-10 and the Fort Riley commanding general’s policy letter #9. The best part – it’s free and everything is provided.

The level of experience didn’t matter to the instructors, students’ experience doesn’t waive the requirement. However, even the most experienced student in the class found value in the training.

“So even having a few years of riding in this kind of terrain … it’s always good to get back to the basics,” said Maj. Noah Cox, a 1st Infantry Division Soldier from Division Artillery, who had about 10 years of dirt bike riding experience. “There’s habits you develop over time – riding by yourself – that you don’t realize until you get back in (and) you see how the basic level of education is taught and … realizing that it’s a safer and better way to ride.”

The course started with the basic controls of the bike and progressed to practical riding skills like tight turns, climbing hills, pausing without stopping, traversing a hill, riding over obstacles and riding downhill. Each student practiced before the culmination ride that put all the pieces into practice.

For Cox, there was no obstacle or excuse to not participate in the course.

“There’s no reason not to come out and do the course,” Cox said. “It’s free to you. You will have the day off. You come out here – you enjoy it. It is fun at its core, and so there’s no reason not to do it (even) if you’re not going to buy a bike … you can still come out here and get the experience, get the education for if you do it down the road.”

Though Cox had experience, other students had none and took the course because they hoped to gain additional skills before taking the Basic Rider Course.

“I came out to this class because there was no slots in the BRC (Basic Rider Course ) and this was a good way to get my foot through the door … practicing and learning the basics of the motorcycle,” said Spc. Jesus Lopez, 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade. And for him, even with no experience on any type of motorcycle, the day was rewarding.

“I enjoyed the course it was very well structured,” Lopez said. “The instructors are great. I feel like the only issue was myself. My believing that I had the experience or was very confident knowing that I’ve never taken the course … and I got humbled.”

Lopez said he felt much more confident after taking the dirt bike safety course and that what he learned will serve him well when he takes the Basic Rider Course in August. He also encouraged others to sign up and get out there on the dirt bike course, especially if they were curious about if riding was something for them.

The course, though mandatory, also offers a chance for Soldiers to try the sport without diving in and buying a bike and all the gear up front.

“This is a great way (to test the sport),” Lopez said. “I actually had a few friends that I wanted to join, but they were unavailable.”

“This is a wonderful place to start,” said Linda Ward, a safety specialist with the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Riley Safety office. “So, we have soldiers who are interested in motorcycle riding just in general. We oftentimes recommend if they have a difficulty during the basic rider course or if they want a little work before they get to that class, the dirt bike class is a great place for them to start.”

This course is one of several motorcycle and ATV courses offered through the garrison safety office. There is the Basic Motorcycle Course, the Advanced Rider Course, the ATV course and this one.

“The class we are at this morning is the dirt bike safety awareness class … it is a part of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation curriculum,” Ward said. “And we have certified rider coaches, and it is for service members who operate dirt bikes, to give them the required safety training that they need. It’s a great class for a new rider or an experienced rider. (It’s) four hours long, well three to four hours long. And we try to schedule at least once a month for those that need the training. So, to register for this training, they can go to the garrison Safety Office SharePoint. Or, if they have difficulty or need the link to get to that website, they can give me a call at 785-240-0647.”

Class slots are limited so those interested need to get scheduled as soon as possible.

Date Taken: 07.20.2023
Date Posted: 07.20.2023 11:03
Story ID: 449631
Location: US

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