MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Some folks are car people. Some folks are truck people. And then there are those who prefer a good motorcycle. But while motorcycles offer a little more of a breeze on the knuckles, they don't offer much in the seatbelt, airbag, or rollover department.
With that said, the Alabama National Guard is making an effort to educate their soldiers by teaming up with the Alabama Motorcycle Safety Program.
"It's a great hobby," says Maj. Gen. Abner C. Blalock, adjutant general of Alabama. "However, with this hobby comes special risks and special hazards that must be addressed."
And a mandatory course is the way the Alabama National Guard has chosen to address those hazards. Soldiers who currently ride, or intend to ride a motorcycle in the future, are taking part in a basic riders course designed to give them the fundamental skills needed to become a safe rider.
"Many of the Soldiers who take the course have never ridden a motorcycle," says Rick Randolph, a safety program manager. "The course is taught at a pace that allows these individuals to successfully complete the course."
Included in the course are: a motorcycle, helmet, and handbook and much like your driver's education course in high school, burning up the pavement is saved for later in the course. Time in the classroom allows soldiers to learn all the mechanical workings of the bike.
After learning where the throttle, brakes and other components are located the soldiers are required to pass several riding evaluations including proper maneuvering of a 135 degree curve at 17 miles per hour.
Learning the curve is important Randolph says because, " Most single vehicle accidents involving a motorcycle are in a curve. This is because you have an uneducated, untrained rider who doesn't maneuver the curve correctly."
And after the hands-on course, its back to the classroom for a final written exam.
Once Alabama's soldiers pass that test they're on their way to windburned knuckles, safely of course.
If you're an Alabama soldier interested in taking the course call Mr. Kenneth Hudgens at (334)271-7453 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org