NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina –
Active duty and civilian employees from Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune gathered on October 7, 2021 to listen to motorcycle safety tips and instruction from an Onslow County Sheriff’s deputy during this month’s Motorcycle Mentorship Program meeting.
Deputy Erik Smith, a fellow motorcycle rider, spoke of his experiences on and off duty as a motorcyclist and law enforcement officer.
Smith, a retired Marine, feels a special obligation to the military members of Camp Lejeune. “They are part of my community; they are my people,” states Smith. “Eventually, they are going to go off base and we are going to interact with them. Because they are my people, I want every engagement to be a positive engagement.”
The MMP is a command-sponsored program, mandatory for active-duty staff and encouraged for civilian riders who ride any type of motorcycle, to include dirt bikes. The program currently has 38 active-duty members and 10 civilian employees.
“The main goal of the program is to bring awareness of motorcycle safety to active riders of the command,” said Petty Officer First Class Darrell Brown, president of NMCCL’s MMP. “My job is to ensure that our sailors and employees know we have a program, provide them resources to help them be safe while riding, and ensure all certifications and training are current.”
The monthly meetings incorporate safety rules and regulations, and personal experience; the “do’s and don’ts “of activating a motor bike are discussed in great detail. Experienced riders are paired with less experienced riders to help gauge the level of information needed.
Brown, who considers himself a semi-experienced rider, says there are common traits seen with new or inexperienced riders which he hopes to minimize with active participation in the program.
He offers this advice, “Get a bike that you can control, know your bike, ride to your ability. Go slow, take your time, and don’t do stuff you are not comfortable with while riding on active roads.”
Deputy Smith emphasized the importance of being aware of other drivers. “Even with the best intentions, car riders are not looking for you,” states Smith. “They do not expect a motorcycle to be there; they don’t expect you to be in their blind spot, so you need to be predictable and visible.”
In addition, Deputy Smith had some words of caution for the non-motorcyclists drivers on the road. “Give them [motorcyclists] space,” states Smith. “Just like with other car drivers there are varying levels of experience, give them some room. Expect that they are going to do something unexpected, and if they don’t-great, but at least everyone is safe.”
Each quarter, MMP sponsors quarterly command-endorsed rides which help to provide hands-on training and mentorship opportunities. The training and quarterly rides are vital to instilling necessary skills to operate motorcycles confidently.
For more information on NMCCL’s MMP, contact HM1 Brown at email@example.com. The next quarterly ride is tentatively scheduled for the end of October 2021.