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AFSEC reps attend RiderCoach Preparatory Training

Michael Ballard, Air Force Ground Safety Operations Branch chief, operates a motorcycle per instructions of Master Sgt. Bonnie Steinmetz, an instructor candidate, during the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s RiderCoach Preparatory Training course held Sept. 7-13 at Kirtland AFB, N.M. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mike Wolcott)

Michael Ballard, Air Force Ground Safety Operations Branch chief, operates a motorcycle per instructions of Master Sgt. Bonnie Steinmetz, an instructor candidate, during the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s RiderCoach Preparatory Training course held Sept. 7-13 at Kirtland AFB, N.M. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mike Wolcott)

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- A RiderCoach Preparatory Training course was held here Sept. 7-13. The train-the-trainer portion of the course was for those interested in becoming certified Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach instructors for the Basic RiderCourse and the Basic RiderCourse 2. They are the instructors who train new motorcyclists. The course also included training for students needing the BRC.

Arthur Albert, Air Force Motorcycle Program manager, was an instructor-candidate for the course. "By becoming an MSF RiderCoach, you are able to provide young riders the skills and knowledge needed to safely ride a motorcycle," Albert said.

There are many reasons Air Force Ground Safety sponsored this course. One is to ensure Airmen know that providing the resources and support necessary to foster motorcycle riding safety can save lives. "We want to make sure that Air Force riders see and understand that leadership does not work in a vacuum when it comes to motorcycle safety policy," Albert said. "We want to keep our Airmen skilled and trained so they make the right decisions, at the right time, on every ride."

Michael Ballard, Air Force Ground Safety Operations Branch chief, participated in the training as a student learning motorcycle riding skills and Master Sgt. Bonnie Steinmetz, 377th Weapons Systems Security Squadron, was an instructor-candidate. "The biggest benefit of the RiderCoach training is that it will allow me to be a better mentor to other riders," Steinmetz said. "Having military members imbedded in the units performing the training will carry greater weight with the younger military riders."

Bill Parsons, Air Force Chief of Ground Safety, addressed the class and reinforced the importance of training for all riders, regardless of skill level, so that all motorists benefit. "The RiderCoach Preparatory Training helps more advanced motorcyclists earn their certification to impart their skills and knowledge to the newest of riders," Parsons said.

With approximately 39,000 active duty motorcycle riders in the Air Force, motorcycle safety is a vital part of the Air Force Ground Safety program. So far during fiscal 2012, there have been more motorcycle-related than four-wheel vehicle fatalities. Over the past decade, the Air Force has lost an average of 17 Airmen per year as a result of motorcycle mishaps.