USS Essex: Tenacious in Motorcycle Safety
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andres Hernandez, USS Essex Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO - There has been a lot of emphasis put toward motorcycle safety in recent years and as a result motorcycle injuries and deaths have been on a steady decline throughout the last five years.

According to the Navy Safety Center, motorcycle injuries and deaths in the Navy have decreased in the last five years. In 2013, there were 17 Sailor motorcycle-related fatalities - a significant decrease when compared to 33 fatalities in 2008.

USS Essex (LHD 2) continues to ensure its motorcycle riders are well equipped with the resources and knowledge to properly operate their cycles.

Lt. Christopher P. Bernard, the ships safety officer, enforces motorcycle safety onboard.

"The safety department is your one stop for everything motorcycle," said Lt. Bernard. "We will take care of setting you up for training and will help you take care of all the details. The program has changed and the system can be tricky so stop by and let us handle it so you don't have to."

Training is split into two categories: level one: Basic Riders Course and level two: Advanced Riders Course.

Level one is a two-day course with the first day consisting of in-class instruction and the second day is dedicating to riding drills that teach you the skills you need to be safe on the road. Loaner bikes are available for students as well.

Upon completion of level-one training, motorcycle riders are issued a motorcycle federation card and are allowed to ride their motorcycles on a military base for 90 days until eligible for level two training.

Level two training is required immediately following 90 days after level one has been completed. This course is catered for the more seasoned motorcyclist with a concentration on advanced riding techniques and maneuvers. Loaner bikes are not available for level two training. Riders must retake level two training every three years to keep their qualification up to date.

"I recommend these courses to anybody new to motorcycle riding or to those who just need a refresher course," said motorcyclist Culinary Specialist 2nd class Richard Coggins. "Safety department makes it very easy to schedule a class and you just need to take the initiative and show you're interested."

Courses are held in various locations in San Diego by Motorcycle Safety Foundation approved instructors.

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