Attendees listen to Trooper Bill Rhynes during the annual motorcycle rider training, April 28. Rhynes is a former Marine and current South Carolina State Trooper with 35 years of riding experience.

Fort Jackson gears up for safety

Story, photos by Emily Hileman, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

More than 90 motorcycle riders from across Fort Jackson, as well as community partners from the South Carolina Highway patrol gathered to discuss motorcycle safety and prepare for the upcoming motorcycle riding season this year.

South Carolina Highway Patrol Community Relations Officer Trooper Bill Rhynes spoke to riders to emphasize awareness and individuality during the many “group rides” that will happen during the summer. “There’s no such thing as a group ride,” Rhynes said. “There’s a lot of individual riders that are riding together, but you’re not riding as a group, but as one rider.”

Rhynes said that riders who ride as a group with a group mentality are more likely to encounter tunnel vision, where someone is only seeing what is directly in front of them and is completely unaware of what is occurring in their peripheral vision. Tunnel vision can be the cause of serious accidents for motorcycle riders as they’re unintentionally unaware of the actions of drivers and other motorcycle riders around them.

The Motorcycle Mentorship Program holds training at the beginning of each riding season, which is between May and September. The mentorship’s program is designed to allow new and inexperienced motorcycle riders to gain knowledge and insight from the experienced and more seasoned motorcycle riders.

“We’re here to mentor each other, to take care of each other,” said Sgt. 1st Class Rob Gulbrandsen, the Fort Jackson primary motorcycle mentor said during the annual motorcycle training and mentorship program meeting, April 28. “We have a wealth of knowledge and years of experience. If you don’t leverage that experience, you’re putting yourself at risk.”

Fort Jackson has a proactive Motorcycle Program, said Will Guthrie, U.S. Army Training Command safety director. Although the Army does not currently require participation in the Motorcycle Mentorship Program, Fort Jackson does and each unit has a motorcycle mentor.

Unit mentors work with all motorcycle riders within their footprint. They assist with everything from recommending which motorcycles to purchase to tracking the paperwork, such as insurance and license, of riders and conducting safety checks, also known as T-CLOCS. T-CLOCS stands for each of the areas that are inspected on the motorcycles – tires and wheels, controls, lights, oil, chassis and stand.

Mentors also track the required training of all riders in their unit. All Soldiers who own motorcycles are required to attend the Basic Riders Course. Within one year of completing the course, they must complete the Advanced Riders Course, which must be retaken every five years. The safety courses are held throughout the year. The next basic course is May 9-10 and the next advanced is May 16. To check for other rider course dates, visit or call  751-4325.