Motorcycle riders across Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune came together to discuss possible changes to the Motorcycle Mentorship Program (MMP) at the Paradise Point Officer’s Club on MCB Camp Lejeune, March 12.
The focus group was the beginning of an initiative taken by the Motorcycle Safety foundation (MSF) and the Department of Defense (DoD) to build the community of motorcycle riders and to help bring resources to increase safety within the community. The discussion was broken down into two parts; the first group was comprised of 22 of Camp Lejeune’s Motorcycle Mentorship Program presidents and the second group was comprised of some of the members of the program.
“The Marine Corps has a requirement for every unit to have a motorcycle program, we want the units to have the opportunity for riders to get together to talk about riding, different aspects of riding and really anything, from gear to different training opportunities,” said Dale Wisnieski, a traffic safety manager for the Commandant of the Marine Corps Safety Division. “A lot of people are limited on material that they can use, they may have a lot of experience riding, but may not have experience mentoring younger riders.”
The goal of the program is to provide the mentors with a product that will allow them to teach riders how to handle different scenarios, different exercises to perform and how to evaluate members during group rides. The program will give the riders material to mentor themselves, mentor others and hopefully reduce mishaps with motorcycles.
According to Wisnieski, the purpose of the focus group is to fine-tune the program to fit the needs and wants of the people in the program to make it better all around.
“The talks today are great,” said Gunnery Sgt. Travis Howard, a signals intelligence chief with Expeditionary Operations Training Group. “We are getting everyone together to determine what the way forward is going to look like and what needs to happen so that the mentors that are assigned to each unit have resources, a training program to go through and an overall baseline, so they all share the same training.”
One of the biggest overall themes of the meeting was safety. According to Wisnieski, the way toward safer practices is for program mentors to talk to their mentees about riding, decision making and looking out for obstacles. This program will help push out the knowledge on what products and services are available to them to become safer riders.
“The big thing is making sure other riders are safe, you see a lot of people doing dumb stuff,” said Lance Cpl. Adam Nelson, a brig escort with Headquarters and Support Battalion. “They don’t have anyone to teach them about what to do on and off the road, how to take care of their bikes and themselves. I don’t want to see any riders, whether I know them or not, go down.”