Being on two wheels adds unique challenges for motorcycle police. Training can help officers handle those scenarios.
Rob Liccione, an Albuquerque Police Department officer and police motorcycle instructor, took some time off from training to visit kids at Hoffmantown Church during an April 27 Spring Fling event. Liccione and Josh Crawley, an officer with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, were showing off their motorcycles to some of the kids at the church, letting them sit on their bikes for photos and to engage with the community.
Behind Liccione and Crawley, other police officers could be seen weaving between orange cones on their motorcycles in the church parking lot. “What you see over here is our high speed, where we work on braking and things like that — especially the braking. That’s really what’s going to save your life out there,” Liccione said. “And there’s some low-speed maneuvering at the end of the braking, like if you have a truck pull out in front of you and you gotta slam on the brakes and then you gotta swerve around it. That’s what we simulate with some of those patterns.”
Officers were also learning how to maneuver their bikes in confined areas at lower speeds. “You have to learn how to develop low speed control and how you can lean the bike without actually having to go fast,” Liccione continued. “Because that’s how you turn these bikes tightly in confined areas. We have to be in between cars and stuff like that in the real world. That’s what we learn out here.”
Liccione has worked as motorcycle instructor for nearly five years and said he learned a lot about riding a motorcycle from his experience and training. In addition to APD and BCSO, Liccione said he trains officers from the New Mexico State Police, Santa Fe, Rio Rancho and other police departments from across the state.
“Since BCSO and Albuquerque are the same jurisdiction for the most part, we train together a lot,” Liccione said. At around 5 p.m. on April 14, a vehicle pulled in front of a BCSO motorcycle cop as he was heading southbound on Wyoming near Montgomery Boulevard. The officer was able to brake and avoid hitting the vehicle before laying on the horn. “And that’s why we work so hard out here, is to help prevent a lot of that,” Liccione said, adding that the officer didn’t pull over the vehicle because he was probably heading somewhere else.
To learn more about motorcycle safety and how to register for a motorcycle training course as a civilian, visit the New Mexico Department of Transportation website or contact the Motorcycle Safety Foundation: New Mexico Representative at 505-814-4703.