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Traffic Talk: Motorcycle training classes help riders avoid kissing the pavement

Don Gammill: Oklahoma State University-OKC offers the Basic RiderCourse as a “safe, effective and enjoyable training event for participants who have little or no riding experience.” The program involves learning “the physical and mental skills important for operating a motorcycle.”
By Don Gammill, Staff Writer Published: July 7, 2014
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When my buddy, Bubba, turned 14, he became a licensed driver. Or, maybe I should say licensed “rider.” It’s still a matter of debate as to whether he should be referred to as a “driver.” But at 14, he became authorized to be in control of a motorcycle.

Back then, you had to wear a helmet. Good thing. Bubba played kissy face with the pavement on more than one occasion. And a few times he straddled the seat, popped the clutch as he twisted the grip and watched the motorcycle leave for a short distance ... without him.

So when he mentioned recently that he wished he had had some formal motorcycle training when he first started, it brought back memories and a few chuckles. Somehow, he survived the next two years before he got his Class D driver’s license. Luckily for him there were no real serious accidents during that period.

It just so happened that within the week I had received an update from Oklahoma State University-OKC about its motorcycle rider training classes. OSU-OKC, which also has a successful driver training program, offers the Basic RiderCourse as a “safe, effective and enjoyable training event for participants who have little or no riding experience.” The program involves learning “the physical and mental skills important for operating a motorcycle.”

For $190 (which includes course material), the participant gets a two-day class (motorcycle provided) offering instruction in street strategies to avoid trouble and stay safe; effects of drugs and alcohol on driving; how to maneuver your motorcycle; avoiding obstacles (collision avoidance skills); and other areas. There are five hours of classroom time and 10 hours on the motorcycle. Sessions are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

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