DID YOU KNOW? Pennsylvania has free motorcycle safety training courses

21 May 2024- At an event in Lancaster earlier this week, members of the Shapiro Administration highlighted the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program (PAMSP). Additionally, in honor of Armed Forces Day, members of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA) and the In Country Vietnam Motorcycle Club (CVMC), joined forces to tackle the Intermediate Rider Course.

“The lessons learned through our motorcycle safety courses provide riders with important training to mitigate crashes and reinforce the message for all motorists and riders to share the road safely,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “Drivers and riders alike can help lower fatalities and injuries from avoidable crashes by staying aware while driving or riding, obeying speed limits and being responsible while operating any vehicle.”

Through PAMSP, Pennsylvania residents with a motorcycle permit can earn a motorcycle license or those with a license can refresh their skills through a variety of training. The courses include: the Basic Rider Course (BRC); the Intermediate Rider Course (IRC); the Advanced Rider Course (ARC); and the 3-Wheeled Motorcycle Basic Rider Course (3WBRC). Successful completion of a basic or intermediate course waives the requirement to take a skills test at a PennDOT Driver License Center and automatically earns the permit holder their motorcycle license. Motorcycle permit holders who complete a 3-wheel basic course will earn a motorcycle license with restriction prohibiting the operation a of 2-wheel motorcycle.

“We are grateful to PennDOT for hosting the motorcycle safety courses and giving veterans the opportunity to refresh their driving skills,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA). “Veterans have served to keep America safe. Now through these courses they continue that commitment and help make our roads safer for everyone.”

PennDOT has contracted with several third-party motorcycle training providers to offer these safety training classes free of charge to residents with a motorcycle permit or license. Interested

individuals are encouraged to contact training providers directly for class availability, as additional courses may be offered, and providers may offer additional walk-in or waiting list opportunities when individuals fail to report for the training.

“As a veteran and PAMSP instructor, I worked with my fellow club members and encouraged them to take the training – it’s free and a proven means of helping riders avoid mistakes that might prove to be costly or fatal” said Bruce Kuhn, Navy veteran and member of CMVA. “Armed Forces Day seemed like a good time to remind all servicemembers – active duty, reserve and veterans – that training can save lives, no matter what your experience level is.”

Classes can be scheduled at multiple training sites throughout Pennsylvania. Class schedules are coordinated by each third-party training provider for their individual locations. Additional information can be found at www.penndot.pa.gov/PAMSP. PennDOT anticipates additional training sites will become available during the riding season, and customers are encouraged to check the website for updated class offerings.

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) reminds riders that they must have insurance to drive a motorcycle in the state. Pennsylvania’s motorcycle insurance market is competitive, with many insurers offering discounts for motorcyclists who have completed safety courses, have memberships in certain associations, or have safe driving records. Insurers often also offer discounts for “bundling,” or buying multiple policies, such as car or motorcycle insurance and homeowner’s coverage, from one company. Pennsylvanians can discuss available discount options with their insurer.

There were 3,448 crashes involving motorcycles on Pennsylvania roadways in 2023, resulting in 238 fatalities. Crashes rose from the 2022 number of 3,328, while fatalities also rose from 217 in 2022.

“Our state is a beautiful state to ride – and we want motorcyclists to take safety courses, follow guidelines, and safely enjoy the open road,” said PID Deputy Commissioner for Product Regulation Shannen Logue. “We remind all our Pennsylvanian motorcyclists that insurance is an important financial protection and that riding safe may also help reduce your insurance premiums.”

Pennsylvanians with insurance questions, or who wish to file a complaint, can contact PID’s Consumer Services Bureau online or by calling 1-877-881-6388.

Some safety tips motorists can keep in mind when sharing the road with motorcycles include:

  • Watch for Motorcycles: be aware that motorcycles are small and may be difficult to see. Check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and at intersections.
  • Allow more following distance: leave at least four seconds when following a motorcycle.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Respect a motorcycle as a full-size vehicle with the same rights and privileges as any vehicle on the roadway. Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width as the motorcyclist needs the room to maneuver safely in all types of road conditions.
  • Never drive impaired.

Motorcyclists can do their part to help avoid crashes by following some simple safety tips:

  • Be seen by wearing reflective clothing and put reflective tape on your protective clothing and motorcycle. Also wear face or eye protection and a DOT-approved helmet.
  • Use common sense by riding sober, obeying all speed limits, and allowing enough time to react to potentially dangerous situations.
  • Know your motorcycle and conduct a pre-ride check.
  • Practice safe riding techniques and know how to handle your motorcycle in adverse road and weather conditions.