Representatives from Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic held a two-day motorcycle safety course for Combat Center personnel to teach advanced safety techniques through classroom instruction and practical application on the motorcycle range June 11 and 12.
The representatives from Total Control explained that the course was more of a mentorship program and designed for the senior Marines and the motorcycle instructors who participated so they could take the knowledge they gained and pass it on to the junior Marines and fellow motorcycle riders who were unable to attend.
Total Control has been touring the West Coast, holding clinics aboard Marine Corps bases to help protect the Marines, sailors and civilians who ride motorcycles.
The Marine Corps' top leaders will be evaluating the training to see if it has a lasting effect. If the course is successful, the Marine Corps will add Total Control's clinics to the courses already required for Marines and sailors.
The training was a step above the three riding courses already offered aboard the Combat Center, and was designed to teach advanced motorcycle riders life-saving skills and techniques while riding, especially on highways.
"Most accidents that occur are from curves in the road and intersections," said Roger Huggins, a representative for Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic. "So many inexperienced riders are getting on these bikes and have no idea of their riding level. They have no control and don't know what they are doing or what is happening."
During the first day, Huggins and Pilot Nelson, another representative from Total Control, stressed the importance of taking corners properly. The riders first went through slideshows that explained the Six Keys of Cornering, which are traction management, mental state, throttle control, visual importance, line selection and body position. After the slideshows, the participants rode back to the range and applied the techniques they learned.
"What more could a rider ask for then to go riding during work hours to further his education?" asked Sgt. Bryan Harshman, the maintenance chief for Company E, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. "I took the beginner and experienced rider courses out here, and I have been riding for 10 years. This is new stuff that every rider needs to know."
Along with the Six Keys to Cornering, the participants were shown the proper way to use their suspension system and how to tune it properly to their own way of riding.
"Most of the classes people will sit through will not discuss the suspension system," said Nelson, a Las Vegas native. "What people don't realize is that it is a very important and critical aspect of riding."
The second day of riding focused more on the psychological aspect of riding and how to control fear.
"When you stay focused and are concentrating on something, you are using the frontal lobe of your brain," Nelson said. "When you are dealing with fear, or you are afraid, you are using the back of the brain. You cannot use both at the same time. The brain doesn't work that way. So if you stay focused, you can't become fearful. That is what we are trying to show these riders. Stay focused and you'll be a lot safer out there."
Huggins agreed with Nelson, saying fear causes people to hesitate and delay their reaction time, which in turn can cause accidents.
It is important that they are learning this stuff here instead of on the road, Huggins said. "There are so many different variables out there on the highway. If someone doesn't know this stuff, they can easily get killed by reacting in the wrong way."
This work, Bike safety course teaches riders 'Total Control', by Cpl Monica Erickson, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.