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Scotts Valley PD offers motorcycle safety class
Five current and former motorcycle savvy police officers are joining forces this June to share their combined 100 plus years of riding experience with the motorcycle riding community.From 8 a.m to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 16, Civilian Motorcycle Safety Class participants will learn road safety through various exercises, such as picking up a downed motorcycle, mounting and dismounting a bike, figure 8s, maneuvering through various cone configurations and controlled braking. The class is limited to 16 students and will take place in the Siltanen Park parking lot, 127 Vine Hill School Road, Scotts Valley. The event is hoped to increase safety on the road for participating riders and those around them, as well as raise money for a the Scotts Valley Peace Officer’s Association-sponsored Cops 'N' Rodders Antique Car Show and Police Motorcycle Competition Friday and Saturday, July 20 and 21. Proceeds from those events go to youth scholarships, sports equipment for schools and events, including Sober Grad Night. “Over the years this event has grown, last year we added a Police Motorcycle Competition, which motorcycle officers throughout California participated in,” said Sgt. Dave Ball, the Scotts Valley Police officer organizing the motorcycle safety class. “Unfortunately, this event is costly to run. Without the support of local businesses, it wouldn’t be possible. With that in mind, we are always looking for creative ways to raise money for this annual (Cops 'N' Rodders/Police Motorcycle Competition) event.” Ball is one of the motorcycle safety instructors. “In 2000 I attended a basic 80 hour Peace Officer Standards Training certified training class that is required to become a motorcycle officer,” Ball said. “Prior to that, probably like most people, I enjoyed riding motorcycles but was never taught anything specific about riding. During my class, I quickly learned how unprepared I was and how unsafe I had been. After passing the basic motor course, I attend quarterly motorcycle training and compete in various police motorcycle competitions throughout the year. I always walk away learning something new and would like to pass that knowledge along to make other riders safer. With that said, I thought this would be a great opportunity to get together a small group of police motorcycle officers and share their knowledge and passion for safe riding and raise money for a great event.” His team of instructors are Tom Damsen and George Kline, two retired CHP motor officers each with more than 20 years of experience in training motorcyclists; Buck Harris, a retired San Jose Police motor officer who was a member of that department's motorcycle’s drill team and has competed in numerous police motorcycle competitions throughout his career; Lt. John Hohmann, a Scotts Valley Police officer with more than 25 years of experience riding on and off duty has attended several different riding schools and competed in several police motorcycle competitions. “At the end of the day, we want riders to go away with a healthy respect for the motorcycle and a defensive mind set,” Ball said. Farmers Insurance is co-sponsoring the motorcycle safety class, added Ball. They'll have an information booth at the event and may offer insurance discounts to riders who complete the course, he said. If the community shows a lot of interest in the class, the course, which promises no competition to the state's Motorcycle Safety Program offered through Cabrillo College Extension, will happen on a reoccurring basis, said Ball. Offered year-round, Cabrillo teaches new riders the things they need to know to pass the DMV's licensing requirements. The class also is open to experienced or former riders seeking a refresher. “We want to target the more experienced motorcyclists who already have their M-1 license,” Ball specified. “Our course will provide a structure for the rider to further refine their riding skills. We hope to enhance confidence, safety and control through this course, in an informative, enjoyable and valuable day of riding.” The class costs $250, which pays for lunch, a T-shirt and certificate of completion. The deadline to register is Friday, June 1. For information, contact Ball at 440-5670 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Question of the Week What are “Sharrows”? Find out in Thursday's Street Smarts.