WACKERNHEIM, Germany — The U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Safety Office offers motorcycle courses to help Soldiers stationed in Europe drive safely and legally.
Soldiers who possess a motorcycle license and want to ride a motorcycle in Europe must first pass the Basic Rider Course. The course is geared toward beginners and is required for Soldiers, even experienced riders.
“During a long break from riding, the feeling for the motorcycle and a driver’s reflexes tend to vanish,” said Helmut Schartel, USAG Wiesbaden safety specialist. “Riders can get complacent, and in order to react fast, they must be re-trained to safely master difficult traffic situations.”
Once a Soldier passes the BRC, he or she can then take the Experienced Rider Course within 12 months. If it’s been more than 12 months since the basic course, they will have to take it again. The ERC card is valid for up to five years.
Courses are conducted at McCully Barracks in Wackernheim. Motorcyclists can register online for the BRC or ERC through the U.S. Army IMCOM Traffic Safety Training Program at https://imc.army.mil/airs/usg_disclaimer.aspx. A motorcycle is provided for the basic course.
Riders are tested on four skills, followed by a 50-question written test, said instructor Stefan Bockisch. They must demonstrate mastery of limited space maneuvers, braking, cornering and swerving around an obstacle under the observation of instructors.
“Soldiers who are stationed in Europe who want to ride a motorbike again must come to this class, and they must have a motorcycle license prior to the class,” he said.
Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Queen, with the 212th Combat Support Hospital in Kaiserlautern, took the course for the third time July 28 after losing his previous card during a move. He said he wanted to get certified with the Army to ride a motorcycle, and he enjoyed the course. “The instructor is extremely knowledgeable, and it’s been a good time,” he said.
Second Lt. Mike DeRosa, with the 525th Military Working Dog Detachment, also took the BRC July 28. He said he hadn’t ridden a motorcycle in years and wanted a refresher. “I’m re-learning what I used to know,” he said.
Bockisch, who travels as far as Belgium and Italy to teach the course at other garrisons, pointed out different requirements for personal protective equipment in Europe versus the U.S. For example, he said, the U.S. Department of Transportation-approved helmets do not meet the European standards.
Bockisch pointed to the high number of off-duty traffic fatalities among Soldiers as an important reason to improve skills and knowledge around motorcycle usage.
Find tools and best practices critical to safe riding at safety.army.mil. For more information about motorcycle safety contact the USAG Wiesbaden Safety Office at (0611) 143-548-2303.
Motorcycle safety courses
Courses held at McCully Barracks in Wackernheim
Basic Rider Course, Aug. 31-Sept. 1; Sept. 2-3; and Sept. 29-30: Soldiers stationed in Europe are required to take the BRC before operating a motorcycle the first time. This two-day course provides classroom and hands-on training. Soldiers must have a U.S motorcycle license or motorcycle endorsement and must have attended classroom training at a local driver’s training school and passed the test to obtain a temporary U.S Army Europe Motorcycle driver’s license.
Experienced Rider Course, Aug. 3; Aug. 10; Aug. 20; Sept. 15 and Oct. 19: Soldiers must take this course within 12 months after taking the BRC. This is a one-day course with classroom and hands-on training. Soldiers are required to take this course using their own motorcycle. After completion, this course must be repeated every five years.