Mission MCLB: Motorcycle Safety Class

Marines live for excitement and action and that's why many of them own motorcycles.

From cruisers to sport bikes anyone who rides on base is required to take a motorcycle safety course. Lessons start in the classroom where marines and civilian marines learn the basics of motorcycle riding, risk awareness and risk management. Later drivers get hands on motorcycle training with cornering, breaking and learning how to swerve.

MCLB's Lead Motorcycle Instructor Wes Taliaferro says it takes skill to ride a motorcycle. "I tell them in class it takes absolutely positively no skill to ride fast in a straight line. It's much harder to either make a turn or to ride slow than ride fast in a straight line" says Taliaferro.

As riders slipped on helmets and protective gloves, they all seemed excited to get on the course. The base's Sergeant Major Stephen Thomas says there's one clear reason marines and civilian marines are required to take the class: safety. "Most fatalities are caused from loss of control in curves and speed and those are the things are covered in the class" says Thomas.

The class sees participants who are new to motorcycles as well as those with 30 years of experience. However Taliaferro says he treats everyone the same. "A lot of guys say they have 30 years riding of experience, but they really only have 30 years of 1-years riding experience because they never got any better. The only way you get better is by either taking one of these courses, take a track day course, go take a course somewhere" says Taliaferro.

Base officials say the courses are effective, because they've reduced the number if injuries, accidents, and fatalities.