Slow speed skills save lives

Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Being at home on the range at Kenai Peninsula Harley Davidson, means knowing slow speed and safety skills, and just as in the song it's a place where, "Seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day," or so it seemed during last week's Learn-to-Ride class at the new riding range. The popular classes being offered for the first time this summer have been filing up fast. Partly due to the increased popularity of motorcycling in Alaska, and partly because those passing the class avoid having to take the skills test required by the Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain a license to operate a motorcycle in Alaska.

"I've ridden a cycle for more than 30 years and logged over 120,000 miles on at least eight different bikes, but when I went to take my drivers test at the DMV, I flunked. They didn't even allow me to see someone else run the course first, so I signed up for the class, and I'm glad I did because I learned some slow speed skills that I never had before," said one member of the class. Janette MacDonald of Sterling also decided to take the class, "I wanted to be a lot safer rider and avoid accidents hopefully," said MacDonald. Becky West took the class along with husband Dr. Bill West, they were first time riders who wanted to learn to ride before purchasing a motorcycle, "We have a lot of friends that own motorcycles and I wanted to learn the correct and safe way before I get a bike and maybe have an accident that could have been avoided. I have some fears about riding on the open highway," said Becky prior to starting the course.

Following the three 8-hour day course the fears that Becky said she had lessened, "It was a lot of fun and I'm much more confident about riding now, I can't imagine someone jumping on a bike and heading out on the highway without having taken a class," said West. "I learned so much about safety and things that you don't even think about. It seems to me like anybody and everybody that's riding a bike should take this class, it's well worth it," added Mac Donald.

According to Steve Turney, a certified Harley Davidson Learn-to-Ride instructor, both new as well as veteran riders of all ages are signing up for the course, "They're becoming real popular, word is getting out that they are good and very worthwhile. Kenai Peninsula Harley Davidson has put a lot into making this range facility available. It was a big effort and expense to pave the range and put the course lines down and buy the cones and all the materials that go along with the course. They deserve a lot of credit for putting me to work, and getting people lined out with slow speed skills in a safe environment away from the highway," said Turney. Class members gave Turney very high ratings as an instructor and commented that his personal life experiences as a biker made the course even more meaningful. For more information about the Learn-to-Ride classes, contact Linda at Kenai Peninsula Harley Davidson, 260-6777.

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