DVIDS – News – Sharing a passion for Iron Horse

“Riding is an art as much as a craft and no explanation can replace experience.”
― Theresa Wallach, “Easy Motorcycle Riding, 1970”

On life’s journey, it can be rare to find a path that allows you to pursue your passion as well as make an impact and even save lives. For Douglas Knight, his passion for motorcycling has taken him on many different roads, eventually leading him to Yokosuka, Japan, where he serves as Director of the Off Duty Traffic and Recreation Program (ROD ) of the Japan Naval Region.

Motorcycles have played a vital role in Knight’s life since he started riding motorcycles at the age of nineteen. His passion for riding dates back to his childhood when his father brought home minibikes. By the age of fourteen, Knight had his own street bike, which solidified his passion for riding two-wheeled vehicles. Riding may be in his blood, but he will attest that even the most seasoned rider can still learn.

“Before I took my first Basic Driver Education Course (BRC) in 1999, I thought I knew how to ride back then,” Knight said. “I learned that I had no idea what I was doing. I just got on the bike and went but I didn’t understand how it worked.”

His journey to where he is today began with his career in the Navy. After nine years, he separated and worked in various fields, including as a mechanic, computer operator, video clerk, and also for Yokosuka MWR.

While Knight was on his personal journey, the Navy was going through its own changes when it came to motorcycles.

“In 2004, they were on average 25 to 30 [motorcycle] collisions per year,” Knight said. “A reportable collision is a collision that involves property damage and injuries that result in time off. At the time, the policy of the Navy was that you could go buy and build whatever you wanted.”

After much consideration of the policy, Navy leaders began implementing requirements for new passengers. The Basic Rider Course became mandatory, and riders were banned from riding unless they completed it. Among the new changes, safety limits have also been established.

“The Navy also instituted a policy for all new pilots,” Knight said, “as well as anyone who could not prove they were pre-licensed, limiting them to a maximum engine size of 400cc for the first year, and you’re not allowed to ride on base unless you complete the basic rider course.”

As the Navy established its new policies, the number of incidents decreased.

“Once they instituted this policy, they had no incidents for the next three years that were considered reportable collisions,” Knight said.

In 2005, Knight’s journey took him back to the Navy at his current job where he is able to take his passion for motorcycles and pass it on to others. Among his duties are instructing and facilitating the very BRC classes responsible for reducing these accident statistics.

Knight’s mission now is to instill a level of knowledge and confidence in seasoned and aspiring motorcyclists. Seeing the results of the BRC helps solidify the need for the program.

“It just reinforces my drive to make sure I’m giving the best workout,” Knight said. “I want everyone to succeed. I can’t make you an expert rider, but my goal is to give you the tools to do so.”

A program like the BRC, even with the results given, is not without its challenges. Knight is expected to leave in April 2022 and the course’s immediate future is uncertain. Runner coaches are essential to the success of the course. These instructors are certified and experienced motorcyclists who volunteer their free time to help run the course. Currently, there is a shortage of these instructors.

“Volunteers have other jobs and getting them to teach isn’t always easy,” Knight said. “The Navy does it differently everywhere else. Sometimes they support training with contracts, but those contracts go away. Sometimes they get funded, sometimes they don’t. When they don’t, you have to rely on volunteers. , so volunteers are very important.”

According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (the organization that created the BRC), becoming a motorcycle coach requires:
• Be at least 18 years old
• Hold a motorcycle license or a mention
• Have a good driving record
• Have no criminal history
• Frequently ride a registered and insured motorcycle on the street
• Exercise good communication skills
• Possess a sincere desire to help others

According to an article by MotoGarage, people ride motorcycles for many reasons, including passion, freedom, speed, friendship, brotherhood, and above all, fun. With these reasons in mind, it is essential to consider safety while driving, otherwise, any other reason is meaningless. No thrill is worth having if you’re not there to have it. Knight, along with the Naval Region Japan Off-Duty Traffic and Recreation Program, is on a mission to instill and empower motorcyclists with the right tools to be more capable on the road, wherever they choose to ride. to roll. For more information on the basic biker course or becoming a biker coach, please contact your local safety office for more information.

For 75 years, CFAY has provided, maintained, and operated base facilities and services in support of forward deployed naval forces of the U.S. 7th Fleet, tenant commands, and thousands of service members and civilians and their families. .

Date taken: 04.06.2022
Date posted: 04.06.2022 21:03
Story ID: 417994

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