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Monday, October 4, 2010

MASSACHUSETTS ENACTS RIDER TRAINING FOR JUNIOR MOTORCYCLISTS by Bill Bish



The Massachusetts Motorcycle Association (MMA) announces that Senate Bill 2344, dubbed Ryan’s Bill, an “Act relative to assuring that motorcyclists between the ages of 16 and 18 are provided with adequate education relative to the proper safety and operation of a motorcycle.” has been signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick.

Recognizing the additional burden formal training may require, MMA Legislative Director Rick Gleason states, “A weekend of formal training sets the stage for a lifetime of motorcycling enjoyment and the skills acquired through training can help a rider avoid a crash.”

This new law does not make training mandatory, and only affects those under 18 who wish to earn their motorcycle license.  MMA Chairman Dave Condon further clarifies that passage of Ryan’s Bill does not require a junior operator take a motorcycle training course.  "A motorcycle permit in this state is good for two years. Therefore, a junior motorcycle operator can still ride on his\her permit beyond their 18th birthday, and take the road test offered by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.” Condon further stated, "The MMA was very careful in not taking anyone's choice away or interfering with a parent’s right to decide what is best for their child." Condon also pointed out that current state regulations require 40+ hours of formal training before a Junior Operator may obtain a license to operate an automobile.

Motorcycle Rider Education Program (MREP) officials analyzed ten years of information from the Massachusetts RMV and found that just over 63% of those involved in fatal motorcycle accidents have never received any formal motorcycle rider training and 22.5% of motorcycle fatalities were from riders under the age of 21.

The MMA supported the legislation in honor of 16 year old Ryan Orcutt of Brockton who died in a motorcycle accident.

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