Motorcycle safety: never out of season

Tech. Sgt. Donald Berendt, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron motorcycle safety representative, takes his bike through a newly constructed safety course, April 15, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. After an almost two-decade hiatus, VAFB will once again offer motorcycle safety courses on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Shane Phipps)

The Vandenberg Green Knights Military Motorcycle Club and the base safety office recently teamed up to host the annual motorcycle safety briefing with guest speaker Eric Trow, the owner of Stayin’ Safe Advanced Rider Training, April 19, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Aside from fulfilling the annual requirement for base motorcyclists the briefing also served to introduce riders to opportunities to ride with other enthusiasts, as well as take additional rider training or join the Green Knights MMC. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shane Phipps)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Vandenberg Green Knights Military Motorcycle Club and the base safety office recently teamed up to host the annual motorcycle safety briefing with guest speaker Eric Trow, owner of Stayin' Safe Advanced Rider Training.

Aside from fulfilling the annual requirement for base motorcyclists the briefing also served to introduce riders to opportunities to ride with other enthusiasts, as well as take additional rider training or join the Green Knights MMC.

"The club started as a way for riders to advocate for their rights as well as foster programs for mentorship and safe riding," said Staff Sgt. Tara Barnett, Vandenberg Green Knights president. "There are 125 chapters of the Green Knights MMC worldwide currently. We ride for camaraderie, we ride to promote safety and to be, or find, a mentor. Anyone can join the Green Knights who is, or was, active duty military or a Department of Defense employee. Come on out, we would be happy to have you."

Motorcycle riding is a perishable skill, and although the riding season at Vandenberg is an all-year occurrence, that doesn't always equate to constant riding, and with the recent rain and somewhat foggy mornings, riders and automobile drivers alike need to stay focused on the road.

"There is a myth out there that says 'there are two kinds of riders, those who have crashed and those who are going to crash', but I don't believe that is true," said Trow. "I believe that we can prevent ninety-nine percent of crashes on a motorcycle with the correct training and awareness. You have to 'look' better, keep your eyes up and learn to interpret the information that is available to you. It is like reading a map and understanding what everything means."

Motorcycle riding is inherently more dangerous than driving a car, with intersections being one of the main culprits.

"Creating space and time allows you to avoid situations that could be potentially fatal," said Trow. "I realize that 'safety' isn't fun, but when it comes to riding motorcycles, riding safe is what makes it fun. When you are a better rider, you can corner at faster speeds and you can enjoy the ride more thoroughly because you have confidence in your riding ability. Don't let your skills perish, take advantage of advanced rider courses and never stop learning."