As temperatures go up, so do the number of motorcyclists Motorcycles on South Dakota highways are a sure sign of spring weather, and Department of Public Safety officials are encouraging all South Dakotans to drive defensively.
They are also reminding motorcyclists that an endorsement is required on their driver licenses if they choose to operate a bike.
"The operation of a motorcycle is not the same as a passenger vehicle," said Col. Dan Mosteller, superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol. "When operating a two-wheel motor vehicle, there are different vehicle dynamics involved that can catch an inexperienced or untrained driver off guard."
South Dakota's sponsored training courses teach the basics of riding a motorcycle and improve the participant's knowledge and skill in proper vehicle operation.
Many motorcyclists also find courses an attractive way to expedite the licensing process.
"Everyone can benefit from South Dakota's training courses," said Mosteller. "Not only is there a reduced likelihood of being in a crash, but increased skill and confidence are great incentives for taking a motorcycle rider course, not to mention lower insurance premiums."
Graduation from a motorcycle safety course does not mean an operator will automatically receive his or her license, but it removes at least one step.
Upon successful completion of the course, individuals receive a course completion card, which serves as a waiver for the South Dakota Motorcycle License Skills tests.
"South Dakota's motorcycle courses are great for those just entering the world of motorcycling," said Mosteller. "It allows them to experience the sport before investing in expensive equipment and accessories, because South Dakota's training courses provide motorcycles for participants. A rookie can learn to ride and not even own a bike," he said.
Each summer, the South Dakota Safety Council coordinates motorcycle safety training courses. Anyone 14 years of age or older is eligible to take the courses.
The Basic RiderCourse consists of 15 hours of instruction, five hours in the classroom and 10 hours on-cycle instruction.
An advanced riding course, the Experienced RiderCourse, is also available. It consists of four hours of riding practice and up to one hour of classroom activities conducted between riding exercises. Licensed motorcyclists who have successfully completed the Riding & Street Skills or the Basic RiderCourse are eligible.
For more information, contact the South Dakota Safety Council at 1-800-952-5539 or visit www.southdakotasafetycouncil.org.