Hawaii Community College and the state Department of Transportation on Tuesday unveiled a new motorcycle training range in Hilo.
“Since 2007, Hawaii Island has been without a state-authorized facility for motorcycle training classes, prompting some people to fly to Oahu to take courses,” said Deborah Shigehara, the interim director of Hawaii CC’s Office of Continuing Education and Training (OCET). “We are very happy this project is complete and that we will soon be offering motorcycle classes on Hawaii CC’s campus in Hilo.”
The college reconfigured a campus parking lot to create the training facility. The college, the DOT and county law enforcement officials held a dedication for the training range on Tuesday.
Motorcycle training courses will be offered at the college starting in early 2014. The course is 16 hours and costs $200. Motorcycles and helmets are provided to all registered participants to use during the course.
By completing the course, students will become more experienced, safe and confident motorcyclists. Students who successfully complete the program also receive a waiver that means they do not have to take the skills test when they apply for a Hawaii motorcycle license.
Since 2007, demand has been high for the motorcycle training classes on Hawaii Island. OCET has a backlog of over 400 people who have contacted the college expressing interest in the program.
Also since 2007, safety statistics related to motorcycles have worsened on Hawaii Island. For example, Hawaii County’s motorcycle fatalities increased from 17 percent of the state total in 2007 (five Hawaii Island fatalities) to 38 percent of the state total in 2010 (10 Hawaii Island fatalities).
In 2008-2012, only 43 percent of Hawaii Island motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were licensed to operate a motorcycle.
The increased availability of motorcycle training courses will hopefully result in fewer fatalities and injuries on Hawaii Island.
Initially, Leeward Community College on Oahu will administer the motorcycle training program at Hawaii Community College until it can hire certified rider coaches and become an approved site operator.
To register for classes and for more information, please contact Leeward Community College’s Office of Continuing Education and Workforce Development beginning in January 2014 at (808) 455-0477.