East Hawaii News

Motorcycle Safety Course Offered After Six-Year Absence

October 29, 2013, 1:46 PM HST
* Updated October 29, 1:48 PM
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After a six-year absence, the Big Island once again has a motorcycle training range.

A blessing was held this morning at the back parking lot of Hawaii Community College, which has been reconfigured as the site for the range.

HCC’s Office of Continuing Education and Training, with the interim assistance of Leeward Community College on Oahu, will be offering the Hawaii edition of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course beginning in early 2014.

The three-day courses, to be offered over a Friday-to-Sunday period, will cost $200. Motorcycles and helmets will be provided to all registered participants, who will take part in a combination of classroom and range instruction.

The course will help students become more experienced, safe and confident riders, HCC official said.

Those who successfully complete the program also receive a waiver from the riding skills portion of the test when they apply for a Hawaii motorcycle license.

Since 2007, when the last state-authorized motorcycle training courses were offered here, more than 400 people have contacted OCET about re-establishing a course on the island. Some of those have made the trek to Oahu to take the course there.

Officials say motorcycle safety statistics on the Big Island have also taken a turn for the worse since 2007, said Christy Cowser, a highway safety specialist from the state Department of Transportation who spoke at today’s ceremony.

Cowser said 30% of the state’s motorcycle deaths from 2008 to 2012 occurred on the Big Island – despite it being home to only 15% of the state’s motorcycles. As a comparison, 40% of those deaths occurred on Oahu.

Also, of the Big Island motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes during that period, only 43% were licensed to legally operate that type of vehicle.

“We took a look at the numbers and realized we had a huge problem,” Cowser said. “People are dying unnecessarily.”

Leeward Community College will administer the program until HCC can hire certified rider coaches and become an approved site operator.

For more information or to register for classes, contact Leeward Community Collegeʻs Office of Continuing Education and Workforce Development at 808-455-0477.

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