Motorcycle course: High speed safety

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Harry Brexel
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
According to the Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office, there were more than 1,400 motorcycle crashes in the state in 2011 alone. It is an alarming fact, if you consider that Little Rock Air Force Base has more than 500 registered motorcycle riders.

Recently, a unique riders course was held at The Rock to better prepare motorcyclists for the road.

The course is accredited by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and named after Kevin Schwantz, a former World Champion motorcycle racer.

One of the rider coaches explained why the course is so important.

"The Kevin Schwantz School is different from the basic riders and advanced riders courses normally held on base," said Lt. Col. Scott Sims, 189th Airlift Wing chief of safety. "This course teaches students how to control their bikes at highway speeds and is aimed for more experienced riders."

There are not many other air force bases that provide the opportunity to take classes like the Kevin Schwantz course.

"Currently only MacDill AFB and a couple of other bases have offered this course," Sims said. "But we plan to have it here at Little Rock AFB twice a year and bring the training to other bases and riders."

According to the DOD, as of May 2014, the number of motorcycle crashes involving military service members was quickly on the rise. Classes like the Kevin Schwantz School can decrease the spike in accidents.

"During the course, we alternate between lessons in the classroom and then applying the lessons out here on the track," said Senior Master Sgt. Nathan Lakin, 373rd Training Squadron Det. 4 chief. "Some of the things we practice here include cornering, body positioning, performance breaking and visual perception."

The 8-hour long class could easily cost hundreds of dollars per person off-base. But the course is free for troops, dependents and DOD employees.

The classes fill up quickly with about 24 people enrolling, each of the two days that it was held.

One of the rider coaches emphasized that no matter how experienced a rider is, there is still much to learn.

"I am continually learning, even though I have been riding for 33 years," said Lakin. "There are always new challenges and lessons to learn, even when someone thinks they have learned all there is to know about riding."

The lessons and techniques taught during the Kevin Schwantz course are designed to increase safety for all motorcycle riders.

Until the next time that the course comes around at The Rock, riders can still contact the wing safety office at (501) 987-3599 or their motorcycle safety representative to enroll in basic and advanced riders courses.