It's a Feeling: Motorcycle Awareness Month

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Victoria Nelson
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing

Pease Air National Guard Base offers various levels of free motorcycle riding courses to all Department of Defense personnel throughout the riding season, April to November.

“All Airmen who ride are required to have an initial motorcycle training and a five-year review,” said Senior Master Sgt. Frank Perry, the superintendent of the 157th Air Refueling Wing Safety Office. “We offer the programs right on base at no cost to the member.”

American Motorcycle Training instructors teach three courses for a variety of skill levels. The basic rider course is designed for new or rusty riders, while the BRC 2 and the advanced rider course are intended for more skilled motorists and their five-year training. AMT also provides new students with a bike and a helmet for free during the hands-on practice.

“This course is more convenient and cheaper than going to get your permit at the [Department of Motor Vehicles],” said Nick Moulton, a marine electrician at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Once a rider successfully completes the BRC, they earn a BRC card that is recognized as a road test waiver for a motorcycle endorsement in every state in New England.

“The program is pushed by the Air Force Safety Center in response to the high numbers of motorcycle incidents and deaths among DOD personnel,” said Perry. “It has been a successful joint endeavor between the Navy and Air National Guard for about 7 years now.”

Dave Anderson, the AMT instructor at the 157th Air Refueling Wing, said the numbers of motorcycle deaths annually have dropped from the hundreds to single digits since the DOD began focusing on motorcycle safety in 2016.

Approximately 120 motorcyclists complete their RBC each year at Pease. The classes often have a mix of Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and DOD personnel working in the seacoast region, who are developing the mental and motor skills necessary for safe riding on highways and winding New England roads.

“Motorcycle deaths are consistently in the top three causes of death for military members,” said Perry. “We want to ensure our personnel are properly protecting themselves and adequately trained in order to handle situations on the road that are unique from driving a car.”

Each step of the course highlights just how much there is to know about becoming a motorcyclist and continuing to improve as a rider.

“It’s a blast,” said Moulton. “But you have to know how to be safe. It’s exciting, it’s not just riding, it’s a feeling and there is always room to improve.”