The Sioux Falls area has seen two motorcycle accidents over the past three days—one of which involved a non licensed driver.
Members of the South Dakota Safety Council say non-licensed drivers are over-represented in the number of motorcycle accidents that occur each year.
The first step in motorcycle safety is getting licensed and learning how to properly drive a bike; that's why the Safety Council offers motorcycle training classes every spring and summer.
"This is not an activity that everyone is suited for so we would encourage that before you go out and buy an expensive motor cycle, enroll in a basic course and let the professionals teach you," said Rick Kiley, Director of the SD Motorcycle Rider Education Program with the SD Safety Council.
"Its a great opportunity to find out if motorcycling is for you—by noon of the first day, you'll know if its for you or not," said Don Winckler, a long-time Motorcycle course instructor.
It's also a good refresher course for those who know their way around a motorcycle.
"I've always been on motorcycles since I was 16,17 and I've always wanted to learn how to drive one, so here I am, 28 years old," said Jessica Reinhart, a student at Wednesday's Motorcycle education class.
"The class entails 10 hours of on cycle training and 5 hours of classroom training…defensive driving techniques, proper gear to wear," said Kiley.
South Dakota state law does not require adults to wear any kind of special safety gear to ride a motorcycle, but if a rider is prepared from head to toe, they're going to be a lot safer when it comes to an accident.
"Number one, we always encourage wearing all gear all of the time—that includes, helmet, eye protection, jacket, long pants, and over the ankle boots," said Kiley.
The class will also go over the bike's safety features and how to be a defensive driver once you get out on the road.
"The mirrors should be adjusted so you can see the shoulders and the traffic and road behind you," said Kiley.
"We help students develop habits that keep them alive out there," said Winckler. "I think people are better car drivers after they've taken the course, because we talk about the risks of being out on the road and how to manage those risks."
After learning all of the proper safety precautions, riders will be prepared to enjoy the open road safely on their motorcycle.
"I like the freedom of it, the wind in your hair," said Reinhart.
"Motorcycles are a great form of transportation mainly for the enjoyment factor you get out of it and it's also economical too as gas prices remain high and fluctuate," said Kiley.
While Kiley recommends everyone wear a helmet at all times, only minors are required to wear one in South Dakota. The same goes for Minnesota. In Iowa, no one is required to wear a helmet.
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