Motorcycle teachers seek new instructors

30 Apr 2010 | Lance Cpl. Kel Clark

Twelve motorcycle students in the Tri-Command area participated in a week-long Instructor Trainer Course aboard the Air Station, April 19 through 23.

The course was implemented in order to train new rider coaches on the basic teaching criteria for a beginner's riders class using the Motorcycle Safety Foundation curriculum.

“We conducted different types of exercises on how the students would be able to teach classes if they were instructors,” said Adam Gray, the head instructor of the class and the tactical safety specialist of the Air Station. “The purpose of the class was for (the students) to figure out our different motorcycle ranges and how to teach other service members. The Marine Corps would like to have more coaches who are qualified to teach.”

According to Gunnery Sgt. Sean McCullough, a coach for the course, in order for the students to qualify to be in the class, they had to pass a written portion with at least an 80 percent, a 10-year driving record screening and an interview on why they want to be an instructor.

“I have been a rider trainer instructor for more than two years, and we want to be able to keep the Tri-Command (area) self-sufficient,” Gray said.

The class I taught using the MSF curriculum, which teaches the additional advances the curriculum offers. All levels provide more challenging hands-on exercises to help riders achieve finer skills, plus increased capabilities for awareness, judgment and risk management.

“We are presenting a new and improved way (of riding motorcycles) for all riders and raising what is generally perceived as the minimum threshold of motorcycle riding competence,” said Tim Buche, the MSF president. “We want better-prepared riders capable of higher levels of thinking out on the streets.”

For the teachers, the class was an overall success.

“In the military, we are taught to do as we’re told and quickly, and with military background students, everything went smoothly,” McCullough said. “I enjoy this job and want to continue doing it for a long time.”

One of the exercises the students had to do for their final exam was to teach actual students from the Technical College of the Lowcountry everything that would be taught during a Basic Riders’ Course class. If they were successful, they became MSF certified.

A MSF certification is good for two years, and it carries over to any military base across the United States.

“I have lost Marines in the past to motorcycle accidents,” said Gunnery Sgt. Michael Weiss, the aviation ordnance staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge for Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533. “I went through this course to ensure I am teaching others the safe way of doing things to prevent future consequences.”

Some things riders and the military community can look forward to are the Advanced Rider Track Day held Saturday, another Basic Riders’ Course for beginners slated for Monday, and a Rider Preparation class scheduled for the fall.

“We are encouraging anyone and everyone to come out to our Advanced Rider Track Day,” Gray said. “We will be teaching people the set curriculum and giving them a chance to work on their skills. It is for all active duty motorcyclists, and safe motorcycle passing is persuaded.”

If riders are interested in any of the future events, they can contact Gray at 228-7103 or their club presidents.