Motorcycle safety training: What you need to know

May is recognized as motorcycle safety awareness month. Throughout the month, Coast Guard All Hands will share important information for Coast Guard men and women who ride, and for supervisors of those who ride. If you have questions or comments about anything, please comment below and we will get back to you with the appropriate answer. Thanks for reading and remember to Ride Safe!

Motorcycle Safety Month: Training


Written by Dale A. Wisnieski

Operating a motorcycle requires physical skill sets such as hand and eye coordination and balance. Many new riders learn to ride on their own with no formal training, and learning to ride in everyday traffic can be dangerous. Many new riders simply do not fully understand the necessary skills needed to be a safe rider.

Formalized motorcycle safety training offers classroom and range instruction in a controlled environment such as a parking lot or track. Different levels of training are offered and there are numerous training providers.

Commandant policy requires active duty military members who ride motorcycles to take a formal motorcycle safety course. Additionally, all riders must take a refresher course every five years. The training is required regardless of whether you choose to ride on base.

Coast Guard riders have options when choosing where to take safety training. Some Department of Defense and United States Coast Guard installations offer free basic and advanced level training.

A list of Coast Guard training sites can be found on the Health Safety and Work Life motorcycle safety portal page. You can also contact the safety office of the nearest Department of Defense installation to inquire if they offer free training.

Members not located within reasonable distance of a Coast Guard or DoD facility may take the training from a local training provider. Training taken through a third-party course is reimbursable for active duty personnel.

Reimbursement information can be found on CG-1131’s web page or on the Health Safety and Work Life motorcycle safety portal page.

While there are many motorcycle training providers and different levels of training, members can only be reimbursed for training that is state sponsored. Examples of state sponsored course that are reimbursable include the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Team Oregon, Idaho Star and California Motorcycle Safety Training’s basic and advanced rider training.

Reimbursement is not provided for training considered to be track days or advanced police motorcycle training.

Coast Guard members train for every aspect of the missions they conduct. Training is essential for job proficiency. The same can be said for motorcycle riding. The more you train, the more proficient you will become.

Formal motorcycle training is the second piece that helps form a solid safety program.

Next week’s topic will focus on mentorship. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below and we will connect you with the appropriate resources.

If you would like to get involved or need additional information on improving your unit’s motorcycle safety program, please contact Dale A. Wisnieski.

Ride Safe!

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