Utah Army Guard Soldiers Take

Motorcycle Safety Seriously

 

By Lt. Col. Hank McIntire

 

Published November 20, 2008

 

Download Printer-Friendly Version

       

A Utah Guard Soldier drives the controlled training course at BRC in August 2008.

Photo by Dana Yetton

A Utah Guard Soldier drives the controlled

training course at BRC in August 2008.

DRAPER, Utah — In its three years of existence, the Basic Rider Course, a two-day, motorcycle training event made available to Utah Army National Guard members, has been a resounding success, according to Chief Warrant Officer 3 Andrew Jensen, director of the Utah Guard’s Ground Safety Office.

To date, the GSO has provided this Motorcycle Safety Federation-certified training to more than 300 motorcycle owners and enthusiasts who are members of the Army Guard.

“The BRC is the first step in getting set up for a safe and enjoyable riding experience,” said Jensen.

To understand the reason for the increased emphasis on motorcycle safety, one need not look any further than the 29 Army National Guard Soldier fatalities in 2008 that resulted from motorcycle accidents nationwide.

Instructor Ed Rosco, right, demonstrates a turning technique to course participants on the second day of the BRC course.

Photo by Dana Yetton

Instructor Ed Rosco, right, demonstrates a turning technique

to course participants on the second day of the BRC course.

“Statistics show that automobile operators simply don’t see motorcycles, so it’s critical that our Soldiers take BRC so that they can be as safe as they can be,” said Brig. Gen. Jefferson Burton, Assistant Adjutant General—Army of the Utah National Guard.

“Soldiers coming off deployment often feel invincible and go out and ride without protective gear or proper training,” Burton added.

According to www.army.mil, “after-action reviews of nonduty and duty-related fatalities have found that in many of these tragic instances, both new and experienced riders displayed a lack of training and skill. This is especially concerning to leadership, as with the rising prices of gasoline at the pump and the improving weather, many Soldiers and other riders are heading out on the open road with their bikes.”

Capt. DeAnne Trabua, right, aka ' Scooter Girl,' receives instruction from instructor Ed Rosco.

Photo by Dana Yetton

Capt. DeAnne Trauba, right, aka ' Scooter Girl,'

receives some pointers from instructor Ed Rosco.

So practicing what he preaches, Burton himself attended the BRC this summer. He was an avid rider in high school and only recently rekindled his interest in motorcycles.

“The instructors were well trained and experienced,” he said. “They helped us look for the pitfalls and problems that riders can face.”

Students spent the first day of the course in the classroom learning about safely rules and regulations, protective gear and how to expect the unexpected.

The next day saw participants on a controlled training course, applying the skills and techniques they learned on Day One.

“More than anything, [the course] gives you practice in a controlled setting where you have an instructor who can see the little things you’re not doing correctly,” added Burton. “It’s critical that a rider be as prepared as possible for what you come up against on the roadway.”

Brig. General Jefferson Burton, foreground, takes his turn on the outdoor controlled training course.

Photo by Dana Yetton

Brig. General Jefferson Burton, foreground, takes

his turn on the outdoor controlled training course.

The Utah Army Guard contracts with Salt Lake Community College to provide BRC free of charge to any member of the Utah Army National Guard.  

According to Jensen, other free-to-Guard members courses are in the works for trail/enduro riders and adventure-motorcycle types (BMW-GS, KTM 950/990 Adventure). The GSO is looking into conducting a few off-road riding courses next spring.

“Emphasis will be on improving off-road riding skills and is not intended for the first- time, off-road rider or motocross racer,” said Jensen.

And whether or not you hit the road or the trail, safety is the key to coming back in one piece.

“If you’re going to ride a motorcycle,” said Burton, “you owe to those who count on you each day to be as prepared as you can be.”