MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII --
Marines have a variety of activities available to them while stationed in Hawaii, but some aren’t as inherently unsafe as motorcycle riding.
Unpracticed riding, excessive speed and improper wear of personal protective equipment caused more than 5,000 motorcycle-related fatalities in 2012.
The Marine Corps implements several steps to help Marines improve driving skills and safety knowledge. These steps include two mandatory basic safety courses for all amateur riders, and another voluntary course is available for more advanced riders. Marines received their Level 3 Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic, Dec. 12, 2013.
The clinic provided four main modules that Marines had to learn and practice to complete the course. Marines learned throttle and break control, quick stops, vision and body position.
“I think every rider should be required to take all three courses,” said Cpl. Kenny Ledesma, a motor transport operator with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment and a 22-year-old native of Camarillo, Calif. “There is no doubt in my mind that I feel much more comfortable and knowledgeable on my motorcycle.”
After the students reviewed each module on a slide presentation, they went out on the track to practice what was just learned. The course consists of a long straightaway, long turns, sharp turns and irregular turns all meant to test the rider in various ways. While practicing each technique, instructors kept a close eye on each of the students to give them feedback on how they could improve their riding.
“I really enjoy this course because I have the ability to drive around a curvy and challenging track,” said Sgt. Josh Lancia, a nondestructive inspection technician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24 and a 24-year-old native of Pittsburgh. “There is no where else on the island that I can ride my bike like I do out here on the track. Most of the roads out here are straight, after I’m finished with this course, the regular roads are going to be so easy to ride.”
After spending the day on the course, the sweaty and tired Marines packed up their gear. Although they spent time and energy, they gained the confidence to endure many dangers while riding and gain the knowledge to save their own lives and those of their fellow drivers.