TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
After Florida’s brief winter, Tyndall heads into a new season and members may be interested in purchasing and riding a motorcycle. Before rushing to the open road, Airmen and Guardians should keep in mind there are annual training requirements prior to operating a motorcycle.
According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019, over 5,000 motorcyclists died in the United States. As such, the Department of the Air Force implemented policies designed to provide education and promote safety.
“Air Force wide, motorcycle season typically lasts from March to December,” said Senior Airman Bertrand Vicks, 325th Fighter Wing safety technician. “Florida on the other hand has basically a year-round season. To align with what the Air Force identifies as motorcycle season, it is required that all riders have a preseason annual briefing with their unit Motorcycle Safety Representative starting in March.”
Formal training begins with a briefing on local safety requirements through the Motorcycle Safety Representative, followed by taking either the Basic Riders Course or Advanced Riders Course within 30 days of the initial briefing.
“The BRC is a course designed for someone who’s never been on a bike before or has very little experience,” added Shannon Daub, Panama City Motorcycle Training coach. “We literally teach you how to ride your bike, starting with the basics and teaching people what they need to know in order to interact with traffic.”
Members who graduate the BRC receive a certificate of completion, which is required to obtain a motorcycle endorsement on a Florida Driver’s License. The ARC is meant to compliment and build on skills developed in the basic course. Experienced members who already have a motorcycle endorsement may choose to take the advanced course as their initial training.
“In the advanced course, we give slightly higher skills that we don’t want to teach to a beginner,” continued Daub. “For example, we teach braking in a corner. We don’t want a new rider grabbing a handful of front brake in a corner, locking up the tire and sliding. It’s a technique that needs to be developed over time with experience.”
The ARC utilizes motorcycle range exercises at real world speeds to teach crash and obstacle avoidance. There are multiple demonstrations to show riders how to respond and to be aware of their personal reaction time.
“I believe taking these courses has increased my competency and skill level, making me safer on the road,” said Vicks. “Even if it wasn’t mandatory, I’d gladly take this training again and recommend others do the same.”
Training is not a onetime event, but rather a lifelong process. Riders need to implement skills gained so they can react to evade accidents.
“I’m hoping people take what they learn [in BRC and ARC] and add it to their daily riding,” Daub concluded. “A lot of riders think they know everything there is to know about riding when they don’t. Even after taking the advanced course, they need to keep practicing and honing that skill.”
The ARC and BRC are offered at no cost to military members and at a reduced rate for dependents and government employees at Tyndall. Members looking to start or continue riding a motorcycle should reach out to their unit MSR in order to sign up for the required briefing and course.