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AFMCNS16 — Feb. 27, 2008
By Ron Scharven, Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs

Air Force Materiel Command safety officials are planning a command-wide training course for airmen under 27 who ride a sportbike.
 
Officials say they expect the training to begin in July/August, with one coach for every six students.
 
According to Juan Vazquez, AFMC traffic safety program manager, a sportbike is a streamlined, light weight, high-performance, aerodynamically-designed motorcycle.
 
“The foot pegs are located further back than on a conventional motorcycle, like a Harley-Davidson,” Mr. Vazquez explained. “This enables the rider to get into a lower, more aerodynamic crouched position. The rider is almost horizontal with the motorcycle compared to the more upright position on a regular motorcycle.
 
As a result, sportbikes offer quick acceleration and high speeds, with great stability in corners.
 
Ultimately, the installation safety office is the final authority on determining whether a motorcycle is a sportbike.
 
According to Mr. Vazquez, the training course is a result of the number of young Air Force members who are involved in sportbike mishaps, some of which are fatal.
 
“The Air Force and Air Mobility Command developed the sportbike program to address the need for specific training geared to riders age 27 and below who seem to be having most of the cycle mishaps,” Mr. Vazquez explained.
 
“We’re adopting the AMC course simply because that command has the only trained coach/riders,” Mr. Vazquez said. “In fact, AMC is looking for bases to host the training. The first AFMC base to hold the training is Robins AFB, GA. They’ll host two coach/riders courses back-to-back and then offer the training to other bases who want to send their current instructors to be upgraded for the sportbike training.
 
“Current motorcycle training is sanctioned by the Department of Defense and the Air Force Safety Center,” Mr. Vazquez continued. “The courses are from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation for beginning and more experienced riders.”
 
The sportbike training course is not a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. It’s strictly for sportbike riders under 27 to get those airmen more aware of the characteristics and the inherent dangers of these types of motorcycles.
 
“These motorcycles are built for speed and as we always say, ‘speed kills,’” Mr. Vazquez said.
 
For people who have attended both Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses and obtain a sportbike, Mr. Vazquez recommends that they take the sportbike training to become familiar with the characteristics and handling of the sportbike.
 
“It’s not currently required but we highly recommend taking it,” he said.

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