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VAFB revives motorcycle safety course

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)

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)

Members of Vandenberg Air Force Base navigate their bikes through a newly constructed safety course, April 15, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. In addition to classes being offered on a regular basis, personnel are encouraged to utilize the course layout at their leisure. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Shane Phipps)

Members of Vandenberg Air Force Base navigate their bikes through a newly constructed safety course, April 15, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. In addition to classes being offered on a regular basis, personnel are encouraged to utilize the course layout at their leisure. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Shane Phipps)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- After an almost two-decade hiatus, VAFB will once again offer motorcycle safety courses on the installation.

The inaugural safety class was specifically geared toward handling sport-bikes and was held on the newly constructed course here, April 15.

"Besides being the very first class in almost 20 years to be conducted physically on the installation, on an all new training range, the Motorcycle Sport-bike Riders' Class is the first in a series of advanced training opportunities to be afforded to Vandenberg's motorcyclists," said William Stark, 30th SW chief of pad safety. "As with the off base training, students safely master critical riding skills in a controlled environment under the watchful eye of certified instructors. This MSRC class goes one level beyond that by emphasizing advanced techniques that all sport-bike riders must master - and they do it right here on base."

Although the first class is suited particularly for sport-bike aficionados, future classes will be geared toward an array of riding styles, with the exception of the beginner safety course still being conducted off base.

"With this range, we plan on holding classes here on the installation for not only sport-bike riders, but all riders," said Michael Trudeau, 30th SW Ground Safety manager. "These classes however will be in addition to the beginner rider course, which is held downtown. These are the additional stages of riding where participants bring their own motorcycle and learn to hone their skills on their own machine, so they feel as comfortable as possible."

For the base safety office, this provides yet another avenue to protect the Air Force's most valuable resource - its Airmen.

"In an era of constrained resources, we must continue to deliver programs that reduce preventable mishaps, which erode commanders' abilities to execute their missions," said Stark. "Vandenberg has gone eight years since losing an Airman to a motorcycle mishap, one of the best records in the Air Force, but there have been some close-calls that remind us there is value in being proactive on the motorcycle safety front. Developing a rider's skill is a preemptive approach to keeping those mishap numbers low."

In addition to classes being offered on a regular basis, personnel are encouraged to utilize the course layout at their leisure.

"This really is to teach riders not to let their skills run out before the road runs out," said Tech. Sgt. Donald Berendt, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron motorcycle safety representative. "We've been working for years to get this opportunity and I really hope all our riders come out and take advantage of a class, or just come out in their free time and use the course - that's what we built it for."

The massive undertaking to rejuvenate the motorcycle safety course couldn't have been accomplished without contributions from various individuals.

"When the opportunity to host this training became available, the base really came through to develop a first-rate training range," said Stark. "Every step of the way, from the coordination and approvals, to locating the range on the parade grounds, to the surveying, marking, taping and painting, Team Vandenberg was a great support. I really want to thank all the people who helped make it come together."

For more information, contact the base safety office at 805-605-7233.