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Marines learn to ride a motorcycle from walking (cruising) speed up to 20-35 mph during a Basic Riders Course recently at Camp Upshur aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Photo by Ida Irby

It’s Spring: Take a fun, effective motorcycle training course

14 Apr 2016 | Ida Irby Marine Corps Base Quantico

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) recently received funding for 2016, which will allow Quantico Traffic Safety Branch to continue offering free motorcycle safety classes and increase the class size for motorcyclists aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Quantico offers a Basic Riders Course (BRC), which is required to ride on base; an Advanced Riders Course (ARC), which is required to be taken within two years of the basic course; an Advanced Cornering Clinic; and Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic.

Motorists traveling on two wheels aboard Quantico must take the BRC to attain an MSF card. The card can be used to operate a motorcycle on base for one year. With that card, the local Department of Motor Vehicles will endorse licensed drivers with an M endorsement to operate a motorcycle within the district.

No matter the style or experience of a biker, riding on two wheels is an inherently risky activity. For that reason, the basic course is required for every active duty service member riding aboard base to mitigate the risk involved through effective training.

A routine BRC on the nine-acre range at Camp Upshur recently trained motorcyclists on a level-one off-road motorcycle safety course. Both novice and experienced motorcyclists trained in a controlled environment. Mistakes were made and quickly corrected by Michael Couture, the attentive instructor.

“Come to class with a good mental attitude with safety as your priority,” he said.

Motorcyclists arrived to the two-day BRC course with an open mind, but no bike for the open road. Resources were provided for each rider, including safety helmet, gloves, protective eye gear and the motorcycle. The second level of training, the Advanced Riders Course, allows riders to bring their own motorcycles.

During the basic course riders receive 16 hours of instruction, which includes a written test and riding skills test. As for the instructional portion of the course, it helps with road knowledge, appropriate safety gear and understanding of universal motorcycle terminology.

The physical and mental skills needed to navigate were practiced during the basic course, which included motorcycle skills needed for maneuvering at speeds not exceeding 40 mph around corners and through parking lots.

“There is no bad training: Practice, practice, practice. If you talk to 100 motorcyclists, you may get 99 different ways to do something,” he told the class.

Sgt. Carson Cook, foreign weapons instructor trainer in Weapons Training Battalion, is the new owner of a cruiser. He participated in the BRC after being licensed for more than 12 years. He learned to ride dirt bikes in Abiline, a city in west central Texas.

Even as an experienced rider, Cook said, he will never be perfect and there’s still so much more to learn. The basic course was designed to practice in a controlled setting, versus on-street riding programs available in the private sector. It provides basic information on skills like braking and cornering. The instructor encourages riders to continue practicing these basic skills even after they finish the course

The Advanced Drivers Course is a requirement for every active duty rider and must be taken within two years of taking the basic course. The Advanced Cornering Clinic and Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic are also offered on base. They are not required, but are ideal courses for experienced riders.

Courses are open to civilians and DoD service members. For motorcycle course dates and registration visit You must use a CAC card for access. Call 703-784-2120 for questions about classes offered to riders aboard MCBQ.

— Writer:

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