Kanagawa motorcycle police teach local riders safety tips
Kanagawa motorcycle police troopers partnered with Cape Fox Federal Integrators motorcycle RiderCoaches to conduct Shirobai (white bike) Training at U.S. Army Garrison Yokohama North Dock, May 24.
The White Angels and White Knights are a group of Japanese motorcycle police who, in addition to serving as law enforcement officers, travel throughout Japan teaching, or giving demonstrations of, advanced motorcycle riding techniques that they sometimes are required to use in the performance of their jobs.
Japanese motorcycle police that prove they are exceptional riders are considered experts and are selected to join the Shirobai troop. Female Shirobai officers are referred to as “White Angels,” and male Shirobai officers are referred to as “White Knights.”
The training helps teach riders advanced riding skills used by Japanese motorcycle police which help keep them safe while on the road.
According to the Navy Safety Center, last year Navy-wide there were 27 personal owned vehicle accidents that lead to the death of a service member. Of that 27, 17 were riding motorcycles.
Cape Fox Federal Integrators coordinates regular training for motorcycle riders to help keep their skills up and once or twice a year asks the Japanese motorcycle police to help administer their training.
“They are the best of the best and they really know how to stay safe,” said Randy Mills, Asia Region coordinator for Cape Fox Federal Integrators. “They have slightly different techniques and they can teach the riders things that we don’t cover in class.”
The police took the riders through a course that focused on the fundamentals of how to corner, accelerate, brake and maneuver while staying safe and maintaining control of the motorcycle. After each run the police gave the riders pointers and ideas on how to improve and the riders went back through the course.
“We like to work with the military motorcycle riders. It is important for everyone to be a safe driver because we all have to use the road together,” said Saori Takehana, one of the Shirobai White Angels. “It is especially important here in the Kanto region where there are many vehicles and many different types of situations and driving conditions.”
Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) sponsored personnel are required to complete basic rider course (BRC), experienced rider course (ERC) motorcycle courses prior to being permitted to ride a motorcycle in Japan.
All of the riders at the course previously completed their mandatory Basic Rider Course requirement and all of them could drive off base and encounter the driving conditions Takehana mentioned.
“We are in a foreign country and that means more than just learning to drive on the other side of the road,” said Mills. “The road surface may change, lanes can narrow significantly, their could be construction or any one of a bunch of other issues and even though these guys have been riding for a bit, there is always something new to learn, something to practice.”
Mills explained that he believes learning new riding skills is like adding tools to a tool box.
“We want to them to have the most complete set of tools they can have,” said Mills.
To sign up for rider courses, riders need to sign up through the ESAMS website or contact the Safety Department and Cap Fox Professional Services at 243-2370.