MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- Hot days, long nights and a lot of fun are usually associated with the summer, and in the Marine Corps you can expect an influx of motorcycle riders putting rubber to the roads.
With the fun level steadily rising as each month passes, motorcycle riders have to take extra precautions to ensure their safety during this prime time. May is National Motorcycle Awareness Month and the Marine Corps urges motorcycle riders to be defensive and take necessary steps to avoid mishaps on the road.
To ensure the safety of the rider and the general public, Marines are required to take a Basic Riders Course which is targeted to teach the fundamentals of motorcycle riding like breaking and low speed maneuvering.
BRC is a class new riders should take before they purchase a bike, according to Master Sgt. Daniel A. O’Connell, the Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron motorcycle representative.
Marines also have to take the Experienced Riders Course or the Military Sport Bike Riders Course within 120 days of completing the BRC. ERC and MSRC are courses designed to allow Marines to understand their capabilities and build their confidence as riders.
The courses are controlled environments that allow riders to experience real world scenarios and become familiar with their limits.
The courses are mandatory because operating a motorcycle and applying the knowledge learned from these courses are essential to riding safely.
Self-awareness is key when driving defensively, according to O’Connell. Maturity and experience being on the road can decrease the number of mishaps.
Motorcycle riders also have to remain aware of the weather and the clothes that they wear. While the weather is hot and humid, motorcycle riders are urged to dress lightly to reduce the rate of heat casualties.
According to Marine Corps Order P1020.34G, chapt. 1-4, while on a motorcycle, the proper personal protective equipment must be worn at all times. The equipment includes a properly fastened protective helmet that meets the standards of the Department of Transportation, impact or shatter resistant goggles or a face shield attached to the helmet, hard-soled shoes with heels, a properly worn log sleeve shirt, long legged trousers and five-fingered gloves.
MARADMINS provide Marines with the valuable knowledge regarding a specific subject. Marines also have resources within the Marine Corps such as their local unit motorcycle representatives and motorcycle clubs to gain knowledge and experience.
Motorcycle clubs are organized to identify and mentor young or inexperienced riders, improve riding skills and foster respectful riding through club rides and club sponsored “track days” or other events, according to MARADMIN 455/08.
Although the summer is prime time for excitement, Marines should ensure their safety is their number one priority. For more information on motorcycle safety, riding guidelines and requirements visit http://www.mcieast.amrines.mil/staffoffices/safety/traffic/motorcycle.aspx.