PACIFIC OCEAN – Sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) are gearing up for the upcoming motorcycle-riding season in Southern California, by signing up for the appropriate safety courses and getting to know their fellow riders before returning home from their deployment.
Boxer’s goal is to ensure all current and prospective riders receive the information they need to sign up for safety courses, which are mandated by the Navy Traffic Safety Program OPNAVINST 5100.12J.
“The goal is 100 percent rider safety,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Wayne Hanner, from San Diego, a motorcycle rider and Boxer’s motorcycle safety representative. “We want to give everyone the tools and information they need now so we can get the Sailors in the appropriate courses.”
According to the Navy Safety Center, motorcycle injuries and deaths have decreased in the last five years, but there is still room for improvement.
In 2013, there were 17 Sailor motorcycle fatalities, a dramatic decrease from the 33 fatalities in 2008. Nonetheless, one fatality is too many according to Cmdr. Leo Murphy, Commander, Pacific Fleet’s safety officer.
According to Hanner, Boxer currently has 59 qualified riders and 66 prospective riders.
One of those prospective riders is Quartermaster 3rd Class Braxton Klett, from Fort Madison, Iowa.
“I’m really looking forward to riding in sunny San Diego this summer,” said Klett. “I know motorcycle riding has its hazards and I want to know everything I can do to avoid them.”
The courses offered In San Diego are the Basic Riders Course (BRC) for new riders and the Experienced Riders Course (ERC).
The BRC and ERC are required for street bikes or cruisers. An additional course, the military sport rider course (MSRC), is required for anyone who wants to ride sport bikes.
“A common misconception about the Basic Riders Course is that they will teach you how to ride, which is incorrect,” said Hanner. “The courses are meant to teach Sailors who already know how to ride about safe riding techniques and let them know about the proper safety gear they need.”
Boxer is the flagship for the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.