Riding a motorcycle in California, especially in congested areas, can be a dangerous proposition. Even experienced riders are at the mercy of drivers who do not see a person on a motorcycle. Part of learning how to ride is learning how to watch for other drivers and how to try to avoid accidents.
California offers a safety course – the California Motorcyclist Safety Program – to help riders learn the basics of riding and how to ride safely. This year California will see over 65,000 people learn to ride a bike. Many of these new riders will take the safety course. Further, anyone between 15.5 and 20 years of age must take the course. The course fee is discounted for individuals age 20 and younger.
Riders can register for the course through the California Motorcyclist Safety Program’s web site or by calling (877) RIDE-411. The course provides 15 hours of training. Of those 15 hours, five are spent in a classroom learning about motorcycle safety and riding techniques with the use of a workbook and videos. Once the students finish the five hours of classroom training, they “graduate” to the parking lot.
In the parking lot, the students learn how to ride on the motorcycles provided by the course. Instructors teach the riders how to properly brake and use the clutch. The average wait time for the course is about two weeks. As of June 2012, the state had 156 training sites.
At the end of the course, the riders take a written exam and a skills evaluation test. The students must still take the written portion of DMV’s riding test, but if they pass the skills evaluation test, they do not need to take the riding part of the DMV test. The course provides a DL 389 showing the rider passed the skills evaluation test. It has also been shown to reduce motorcycle accidents and increase rider safety skills.
Once the rider passes DMV’s written portion of the test, the rider will receive his or her M1 motorcycle endorsement. If a rider does not pass the course’s test, the rider can take the class again at no cost.
Before you start riding a motorcycle in California, consider taking this course, even if you’re not required to. In a difficult situation, good training can easily mean the difference between life and death.
Source: “California Motorcyclist Safety Program trains many bike riders,” Susan Carpenter, June 9, 2012.