• Published
  • By Master Sgt. Michael Stewart
  • 141st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Motorcycle crashes are not usually caused by one single mistake or decision; rather they are caused by an interaction of events, many of which can be minimized by a competent, motivated and properly trained motorcyclist.

With the number of mishaps climbing faster than previous years, the National Guard Bureau decided to offer funding to units for specialized training to better prepare Airmen for the potential hazards of motorcycle riding.

"We jumped at the chance to bring the training here to Fairchild," said Senior Master Sgt. Mark Hodge, 141st Air Refueling Wing safety, "We worked closely with the 92d Air Refueling Wing safety office and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to put this program together."

Fairchild already had a concrete pad large enough to accommodate an MSF certified range, but needed to find skilled military riders to complete the "RiderCoach" training necessary to be an instructor for the new course. After a thorough interview selection process by both Wing Safety offices, four members were selected, two Air Guard and two active duty.

"These are experienced military riders training other military riders," said Lt. Col. Paul Baker, 92nd Air Refueling Wing chief of wing safety, "If we didn't have this program, these riders would have to go downtown to receive the same quality training, but it would be a lot different, they would have to pay out of pocket and they wouldn't have a caring Air Force member that could continue to mentor them after they complete the course."

Before becoming RiderCoaches, the students needed to complete five classroom units, 17 range exercises and two formal evaluations. One was a written end-of-classroom assessment that covered basic knowledge of riding procedures and traffic strategies.

The other evaluation was a riding assessment that measured the riding competencies of the participant. They were tested on their ability to maneuver in limited spaces, and proper stopping techniques; controlled swerving and cornering.

At the completion of the course, the students were also required to teach two rider courses, one basic and one advanced, in order to receive their RiderCoach certification. "This group of students really went the extra mile to dig deep into the course material," said Mr. William Mace, MSF RiderCoach trainer. "They pulled together as a team and put in a lot of hours during the day and into the evening to prepare themselves for the final evaluation. They were a really good group to work with."

Having four instructors available to teach the courses here on Fairchild provides many more opportunities for new motorcycle riders to get the mandatory Basic Rider Course necessary to ride on base.

New classes will be offered in March of 2013. For more information, contact Hodge at 247-7028; he can also schedule attendance to what could be the most important course riders may ever take.