Everything Counts When You’re A Police Motor Officer

Can really good riders learn anything new on a course they know by heart?

When Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department co-lead motor instructor Steve Ritchey asked the Yamaha Champions Riding School to coach his district instructors and motor officers, we had a challenge on our hands.

Years ago, I attempted to ride the cone drills at which each officer must excel to become a “motor.” Let’s just say I failed. These guys and gals are great riders, and throwing around a few basics wasn’t going to be much help to them.

Keith Culver and I loaded up our most-advanced riding strategies and devised not just a fun curriculum but an entertaining and constantly changing “road.” After all, these riders are used to dealing with radio calls, traffic, and weather—all while operating their motorcycles.

police motor officer learning course
A major part of what we brought to the table was how to ride these big bikes quickly but safely. Anyone who rides a bike with limited cornering clearance must master trail-braking to continually adjust speed and radius all the way into the corner. The secret to going fast, as YCRS's Keith Culver puts it, is knowing how to slow down.Keith Culver

Ritchey's group already had an exemplary safety record, but his attitude of constant improvement is why he called YCRS. We went to Las Vegas with the intention of challenging these riders and imbuing them with skills needed to survive and thrive in their very-real world.

The two days of instruction went well, and Keith and I came away impressed with Ritchey’s group, not just by how well everyone rode but because they listened and tried and excelled at the skills we introduced to them.

Greg Rundell sent me this video a couple of days ago, and I am running it in my weekly column for three reasons:

  1. Riders who adopt an "I'm always learning" mentality stay the safest and enjoy riding the most. If they decide to go racing, they succeed.
  2. Riders who think riding schools are all theory need to realize the efforts these schools go through to shorten the student's "learning curve."
  3. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation encourages many riders to take the Basic Rider Course but few go on to take more-advanced courses. I hope this video encourages all riders to take the next steps in rider education; it's worth it.

Finally, our military and police programs mean a lot to me and to YCRS. It’s the actions of these men and women that allow us to make a living in the motorcycle industry in this terrific country, and it’s a pleasure to pay them back with our “Champions Habits.”