June 23, 2013
One motorcycle class graduated onto the roads after a weekend of coaching in Albemarle County and after some tragic news out of Louisa. Participants of the Virginia Training Program learned the importance of riding safety.
"It's been over 20 years since I've rode a motorcycle so I decided it was time for me to do it again so I needed to get proper training so I wouldn't get hurt," said program student Ben Warner of Buckingham County.
The Virginia Rider Training Program in Charlottesville sends new licensed riders out onto the roads every week from March to November.
The program begins on Fridays in the classroom and then out on the course in front of Albemarle High School on Saturdays and Sundays.
"We like to stress safety in what you wear, in what your attitude is before going out there, and yes the risks you know you've got to be aware all the time," said Ruth Greer, the program coordinator.
Greer says it's hard to hear about fatal motorcycle accidents but all she can do is prepare the students as much as possible for being in the traffic.
"We strongly suggest you know if you can't adjust your speed to get away, change your position so they can get around you then pull over get out of the way because it's not worth the risk to you on the bike," she said.
"You gotta watch people pulling out in front of you, people stopping, people running into the back of you, people passing somebody because they don't see you ahead of the other car, running you off the road," said Warner. "There's a lot going on."
And even though he says riding gives him a feeling like no other, there's a lot at stake.
"You have to realize it's a risk but if you practice good safety, you can lower that risk," Warner said.
Greer said usually there's about 500 students that go through the program each year but this summer, they haven't filled as many classes as they usually do.