Covering Louisiana

May 3, 2012 3:47 PM by KATC

State offers motorcycle safety training

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety sponsors motorcycle operator training courses that, when completed successfully, facilitate the process for obtaining the required endorsement on a motorcycle operator's driver's license.

In order to obtain a motorcycle endorsement on their driver's license, state law requires motorcycle operators to pass tests specifically designed for operating a two-wheel motorized vehicle. However, persons who successfully complete an approved motorcycle safety training course, such as those offered by the Department of Public Safety, can obtain the necessary license endorsement without taking additional tests.

Col. Mike Edmonson, deputy secretary for the Department of Public Safety, said completing the motorcycle training course has several advantages.
"While the Department's number one priority continues to be public safety, we also realize the importance of customer service while conducting business. The DPS motorcycle operator training course ensures both," Edmonson said. "This course provides the public with both classroom and practical training related to the safe operation of a motorcycle and allows them upon completion to forego additional testing to obtain a motorcycle endorsement."

Officials believe that better trained operators, safer roads, the state helmet law and increased awareness of motorcycles by drivers of other vehicles are among the factors contributing to a recent decline in motorcycle deaths in Louisiana.

In 2010, the most recent year for which complete data is available, the number of people killed in motorcycle crashes in Louisiana dropped to 75, down sharply from 104 killed in 2009. Preliminary data for 2011 indicates that the number of people killed in motorcycle crashes will remain well below 100 for that year.

"Completing a certified safety training course is one of the most effective preventive steps a motorcycle owner can take to avoid a crash," said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. "There's a big difference between driving a car and operating a motorcycle. Motorcycle riders must learn about driving defensively because being hit by a car or truck, even at a slow speed, can have devastating consequences."

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety offers motorcycle safety courses in communities across Louisiana. Persons who successfully complete a certified course, such as the ones offered by the Department of Public Safety, can obtain the required motorcycle endorsement on their driver's license without taking an additional course. Those who do not complete a certified course must take a test at a driver's license field office.

Commissioner Nick Gautreaux of the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles said: "The Office of Motor Vehicles is partnering with the Department of Public Safety operator and safety training course to provide additional training on motorcycle safety."

The Department of Public Safety courses for beginners are 15 hours long, are conducted over two or three days and cost $25 plus $75 for use of a DPS safety training motorcycle. The courses emphasize the special skills and mental attitude necessary for navigating safely in traffic. More information about the DPS courses is available at www.lahighwaysafety.org or by calling 225-925-6113, ext. 224. The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission website also has a section listing the location and dates of courses.

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