|Motorcycle course offers free lessons to residents|
|Written by Brittany Tepper, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Tuesday, 19 June 2012 16:35|
The Illinois State University Motorcycle Safety Program offers free basic and intermediate motorcycle safety classes to Illinois residents 16 and older. Raymond Mucha, motorcycle safety director, explains that the classes are great for everyone including people who do not own, or are not sure about motorcycles.
“It’s a good alternative to people who don’t own a motorcycle yet so they can’t drive one or get one to the driver’s license office; or for people who are not quite sure if they want to spend the money yet, or don’t know if they will like motorcycles. They can ride one of ours for free during a weekend with trained instructors in a safe parking lot,” Mucha said.
Illinois is one of the last states to offer free classes funded through motorcycle fees. Motorcyclists pay a little extra when acquiring their motorcycle sticker and license to fund these free classes.
The basic rider’s course is a 20-hour program typically during the weekend, although some weekday classes are available.
“In Normal we are running a lot of the classes. Usually seven [classes] per weekend every weekend here in town. People have a lot of chances to get trained,” Mucha said.
The Illinois State University classes take place throughout central Illinois with three locations in Normal during the summer. The central training location is on Gregory Street near the golf course. Other locations include the Redbird Ride parking lot on Main Street, and the parking lot behind Steak ’n Shake on Raab Road.
Students typically spend four hours each Friday in the classroom and eight hours learning hands-on skills on Saturday and Sunday. The only requirement to sign up for the course is that students must know how to drive a car and ride a bicycle. There is a $20 deposit fee that will be returned with the completion of the class.
Students who pass the class will get a card they can take to the DMV to opt out of taking the motorcycle license test. Although classes began on March 9, the program runs until October and anyone interested can still register. Students can expect to learn 17 basic skills such as starting and stopping, driving through curves, turning, distancing, braking, and avoiding obstacles.
“I hope students leave knowing that this is the very beginning of their journey to becoming a good, safe motorcyclist,” said Amelia Gould, instructor of several courses offered this summer. She hopes that students will not be too hard on themselves when first learning this difficult skill.
“It’s a lot of coordination and you have to think a lot, but as long as you don’t put so much pressure on yourself to be the best on the first day that you try it you’ll absolutely love it. At least I did,” Gould said.
For more information visit MotorcycleSafety.IllinoisState.edu.