Motorcycle course teaches safety

By JoJo Brinkhoff
Entertainment Editor

Motorcycle_courseThe Motorcycle Rider Course was first hosted at Crowder 10 years ago by Dr. Roger Wagner, former Vice President of academic affairs, who had a passion for motorcycles. Knowing the dangers caused by the lack of knowledge, Wagner got Crowder involved in learning sessions under the Missouri Motorcycle Safety Program (MMSP) for both novice and experienced riders.

“It’s very prescriptive, it’s very exact,” stated Ken Rhuems, Associate Vice President for career and technical education. “…you’re learning a lot, too, because exactly what those students need to know is all right there.”

Held from the beginning of April to the end of Oct. on every other weekend, Crowder still hosts the motorcycle courses to anyone with a motorcycle passion. Through two of the eight rider coaches (instructors), the students will learn 17 step-by-step sessions in three days.

On Fri., every student must fill out the paperwork the course gives them. On Sat., the students perform the first nine sessions required by learning the basics like knowing the parts, mounting and dismounting, and simple driving techniques. On Sun., the students finish the last eight sessions by learning the difficult challenges like driving at high speed, coming to a sudden halt and making sharp turns.

After students complete all the requirements, they are given a motorcycle completion card that will lower insurance for their motorcycle. Additionally, the card will allow novice students to apply for their license since the driving requirement is only 15 hrs. The written test is the only requirement that the card does not cover.

Although the course seems unnecessary for an experienced rider to take, Kali Johnson, one of the instructors, stated that several times the instructors would have an experienced rider tell them how much they have learned from taking the course.

“…it had been almost 20 yrs. since I had ridden a motorcycle and Gil (Johnson) helped me break some old BAD habits that I had from years ago,” Richard Cagle, Crowder security supervisor, said after taking the course in Sept. “With the things that Gil showed and explained to the class, and all he did to help us, all of us feel we will be better and safer motorcyclists.”

The Motorcycle Rider Course is for anyone who wants to ride, is 15 yrs. of age or older, and can ride a bicycle. The cost for lessons at Crowder is $200; however, according to Rhuems, students can apply at any location that also hosts the Motorcycle Rider Course, though the price could be much more costly than Crowder’s cost.