Come Jan. 1, 2011, there will be a new law that requires everyone under age 21 to pass the California Highway Patrol’s Motorcycle Safety Program in order to get a learner’s permit to ride a motorcycle or motor scooter. Street Smarts chatted with Doug Green, coordinator of the motorcycle safety course offered through Cabrillo Extension and a motorcycle rider since 1987, about the law and how it will impact riders and safety on the road:
STREET SMARTS: How does this law impact new riders who are under 21?
GREEN: It means the under 21s have to take the (California Motorcycle Safety Program) course before they get their permit for motorcycles. A permit allows a person to ride a motorcycle except at night, on the freeway or with a passenger. After taking the course and getting their permit, they will have to hold it before getting the endorsement on their license.
STREET SMARTS: How would this new law impact your course?
GREEN: Hard to tell. It does mean those under 21 will have no experience on a motorcycle before they come to us.
STREET SMARTS: Do you see many people under age 21 in your class or are they mostly adults 21 and up?
GREEN: Most of our students are over 21. This past year we taught approximately 350 students and about 60 were under 21.
STREET SMARTS: Why do you think this law was enacted?
GREEN: I am not sure. It will require the learning before a students gets on the road, which is a safety issue.
STREET SMARTS: How long has the MSP been operating at Cabrillo now?
GREEN: We started at Cabrillo in October of 1992.
STREET SAMRTS: Have you had anyone fail the course and have to repeat it?
GREEN: Yes, there is a scoring system for the final riding evaluation and when a student falls below, they “fail.” We invite them back to retake the evaluation, as they do not have to take the whole class over.
STREET SMARTS: What advice do you have for anyone who’s thinking about becoming a motorcycle rider?
GREEN: Take a rider course before buying a motorcycle to make sure you like to ride. The course is a cheap investment to make sure it is something you really want to do.