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NEWS | March 17, 2015

JBLE offers motorcycle safety courses

By Airman 1st Class Breonna Veal 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

With rising temperatures, blooming flowers and the first day of spring fast approaching, U.S. Service members will soon begin uncovering their sports bikes, cruisers, scooters and mopeds, ready to hit the open road.

As riders start take to roadways with new found freedom, the risks of injuries rises -- risks that can be avoided through proper training, said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Maegann Bartolome, 633rd Air Base Wing ground safety technician.

For motorcycle enthusiasts at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Bartolome and her team offer mandatory courses to provide training for riders of all skill levels to ensure they are safe while on the road, including an Experienced Riders, Advanced Riders and Military Sport Bike Riders Courses. These classes are provided at no cost to qualified participants.

"The courses teach you essential skills you need to be a safe motorcycle driver," said Bartolome. "The classes cover more than just how to get on and go. They teach you stopping and maneuvering as well as help develop the techniques to make motorcyclists better and safer drivers."

According to Air Force Instruction 91-207, the U.S. Air Force Traffic Safety Program, all Service members who intend on riding motorcycles, must complete the intermediate and refresher courses.

To be qualified to participate in the intermediate and refresher courses, riders must first complete the beginner's course, which while not offered at JBLE, is offered at local community colleges and near-by military installations, and is reimbursable upon completion. 

Riders must also obtain a proper license, own a motorcycle, have a valid state inspection, registration and insurance, and wear the proper personal protection equipment while.
Although the courses are a requirement for riders looking to drive on base, Bartolome said they are more than just a class. Taking the course is lifesaving. Accidents, injuries, and even death are the outcomes of not practicing safe driving and practicing during the courses.

Both motorcyclists and those driving personal vehicles must practice the following safety guidelines:

· Never drive while distracted.
· Allow the motorcyclist a full lane's width. Do not share the lane.
· Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
· A motorcyclist can be hidden in a vehicle's blind spot so remember to "look, look, then look again."
· Get trained and obtain a motorcycle operator license.
· When riding, wear helmets compliant with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Standard 22-05, British Standard 6658, or Snell Standard M2005 criteria.
· Remain visible.
· Ride alert and unimpaired by alcohol or other drugs.

Motorcycle safety is imperative for two-wheeled riders, but as well as life-saving for those who drive cars, trucks and minivans.

"It can be hard to see motorcycle riders, so make sure to look around before switching lanes," said Bartolome. "Motorcycle riders need to always remember that they may have not been seen by the other drivers so take extra precaution and stay vigilant at all times. All people are not considered good drivers, so it is important to ensure that when riding, motorcyclist wear all the required personal protective equipment."

While motorcycle riding is encouraged, the safety office just wants to make sure U.S. Service members are riding safely.

"Being aware of surroundings and using good risk management are important so riders can continue to enjoy the nice weather and, of course, enjoy their motorcycle in one piece."
For more information, contact the JBLE Safety office at 501-8224 or