The U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood Safety Office was able to leverage a COVID-19 delay into the successful renovation of the post’s Motorcycle Riding Course, thanks to the cooperation and assistance of Army leaders, offices and organizations on the installation.
“(We) completed the rebuild in a minimum amount of time — three weeks — with a minimum of hindrance to (our) customers,” said Col. Jeff Paine, USAG Fort Leonard Wood commander.
Ashley Shetland, USAG Safety and Occupational Health specialist, and Tami Grider, Army Traffic Safety lead instructor, said the project began when the post’s Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses were put on hold due to pandemic mitigation measures.
“It shut down because of COVID, so we decided to go in and assess (the course) — and it was horrible,” Grider said. “There were a lot of cracks; the surface was deteriorating, and the traction wasn’t good. Some of the patching work that had been put on caused hazards, as well.”
“It just wasn’t a safe (facility), and this is a safety program,” Shetland added. “For us to not provide a safe concept to our new trainees who may be new riders — it’s just not good business.”
Grider said she, Shetland and other Safety Office personnel “knocked our brains together and came up with a solution: to just do it over and start fresh.”
Moving the process forward involved multiple offices, “all getting together and getting this done in a short amount of time,” Shetland said, noting that the process involved input and authorization from the Mission and Installation Contracting Command Office, the Directorate of Public Works and the Directorate of Plans, Training and Mobilization.
“It took a team to get to this point,” she said.
Motorcycle training courses, specifically the MSF Basic Rider Course, are mandatory for service members to operate motorcycles on Fort Leonard Wood. Follow-up courses, such as the Experienced Rider Course and Military Sportbike Course and Motorcycle Refresher Training are also required as riders gain experience. It’s all part of the Army Traffic Safety Program and its effort to prevent unnecessary accidents, injuries and fatalities, which average about 28 Soldiers per year, according to the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center.
Paine said that post leadership immediately recognized the need for the project to move forward quickly in order for training to resume.
“Leadership, command and staff strongly support the Army Traffic Safety Training Program,” he said. “Upon notification of the hazards in place on the course, (leadership) shifted the necessary funding, man-hours and resources necessary to ensure a viable course for our customer base.”
The contractor is scheduled to begin painting lines on the new asphalt and complete other finishing touches this week.
With the completion of the project, Grider said motorcycle training should resume within a few weeks at the site.
“Now we have an awesome, strong Army Traffic Safety Program team, and we’re ready to get this up and running,” she said.