Trainer beats Yanks at their own game
Motorcycle Trainer, Sergeant Wayne Christie, has recently returned
from a US law enforcement motorcycle course where he took out first
Wayne was also the oldest on the course, but beat 17 other
police motorcycle officers from across the US and Alaska with
grade of 96 percent. Only six others made the final 75 percent
The course, held in Wayne County near Detroit, was run
by the Northwestern University Centre for Public Safety and is
known to be tough.
"It's a research-based and performance-orientated course
meaning the riding exercises have been designed taking into account
of crash analysis. Everything we learnt directly related to common
police motorcycle hazards," says Wayne.
Long days in high
heat and humidity took its toll on many riders. "Everyone
felt the gravitational pull of Mother Earth during the slow cornering
exercises. One state trooper told me he lost count after picking
up his bike 190 times and it was only the second day!"
course demanded perfection in riding skills and in officers' attitudes
"Police motorcycling is a high risk
activity and arriving home safely each day was continually emphasised.
"The knowledge I gained will enable me to benchmark what we
do in our training and bring it up to the same standard as that being
achieved at Northwestern University," says Wayne.
was undertaken on Harley-Davidsons, the motorcycle of choice
for a number of US law enforcement agencies. Wayne had
only ever been on a Harley for two hours before his arrival in
"Harleys are very different from the BMWs we use in New Zealand
Police. Your feet are way out in front which affects how you do
gear changes, braking and cornering." Wayne explains his
first placing despite this by saying: "I'm a methodical
person – I just practised and practised taking each day at
Wayne will be introducing a number of the exercises
and techniques he learnt into NZ Police motorcycle training,
and escape exercises, hazard avoidance, speed and deceleration
"These skills need to be continually practised because police
motorcycles are often used in high density traffic and pedestrian
which demand expert balance, clutch control, braking and hazard
Wayne also spent four days with the Californian
Highway Patrol looking at their training.
Thirty police motorcycles are currently
in use in NZ Police.