Police officers from across B.C. and Alberta put their motorcycle skills to the test Tuesday in part of the RCMP Motorcycle Operators Course at University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus in Kelowna.
“These motorcycles are going through cone courses and slow speed skill courses, these are 900 pound motorcycles, very heavy, and it’s all about manoeuvrability of them in traffic,” said RCMP Inspector Dale Somerville. “As police officers that is about 90 per cent of our job on these motorcycles, is slow speed manoeuvring.”
The two-week course has 19 mounties participating and those who pass their certification course Friday will be out in the community training, come next week.
“This first part of the week is the skills training to make sure officers are prepared to be safe and go out into the road in the second week and be police officers. It’s all second nature for these guys to drive a police car and it has to be second nature for them to drive these motorcycles as well.” said Somerville.
Officers take part in the course annually to make sure their skills are up to par, added Somerville.
Not every officer has to take the course, but Somerville said, it is a needed skill because of the lack of police motorcyclists in B.C. “There are very few of us in B.C. RCMP because of the numbers, for example in Kelowna, the municipal traffic section has two motorcycles and another two for the Central Okanagan traffic services.”
Those who don’t pass the course this year are put on a priority list to reapply the following year.
Motorists are reminded not to worry when they see over a dozen officers on motorcycles in the community next week, “most of the people we stop, we are going to let them know we are doing some training, thank them and send them on their way,” said Somerville.