JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Navy Region Southeast has made great strides in getting motorcycle riders into the appropriate training courses that are proven life-savers, including the Basic Rider Course, Military Sportbike Rider Course, and Experienced Rider Course.
The region has nearly 4,000 riders, and 42 percent of them ride sport bikes built for speed.
Max Bassett, Naval Air Station Jacksonville's deputy safety manager, said training is crucial for these riders.
"New riders learn respect for the motorcycle and an appreciation for just how quickly these high performance machines can exceed the capabilities of an inexperienced rider," he said.
Other technical skills taught during training include how to properly lean, turn, brake, accelerate, and take necessary emergency evasive actions. The courses also incorporate some Operational Risk Management and self-analysis of risk behaviors and riding mindsets.
"They also learn a great appreciation for just how much extra protection they have when wearing proper personal protective equipment such as a full face helmet, jackets and pants designed for motorcycle riders, along with motorcycle boots and gloves," Bassett said.
One of the biggest problems with motorcycle training across the fleet is a high "no-show" rate for courses. This can make wait times for courses unnecessarily long, and it's a wasted opportunity for Sailors who need to get into a class. The training safety courses are taught by contractors from Cape Fox Professional Services, and paid for by Commander, Navy Installations Command. The bill for classes is a set fee and costs the same whether one rider or a full class shows up.
The Southeast Region has brought their no-show rate down considerably by increasing training notifications to Sailors and their supervisors, and by informing the command master chief about anyone who fails to show up for assigned training. They have also reduced wait times for courses by adding extra classes whenever the wait time exceeds 30 days.
Bassett said the leadership of Rear Adm. Jack Scorby, Commander, Navy Region Southeast, and the cooperative working environment between the region's chief's mess, safety professionals, command motorcycle safety representatives, and Cape Fox trainers has been key, but he also credits mentorship programs developed by riders to help one another.
"Mentors are our first line of defense," Bassett said. "Without them actively identifying our new riders and sitting down with them to get them signed up for training, we would not enjoy the successes we've had. Their contributions are making a difference and will absolutely save lives."
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