Appreciate CPD for BikeSafe class

Published 9:37 am Friday, July 13, 2012

I would like to say I appreciate the Columbus Police Department for their time and effort in hosting a wonderful BikeSafe class Friday, June 22, and I encourage every motorcycle rider in Polk County to attend one of these sessions.
Chief Chris Beddingfield started off the daylong course by introducing himself and the other evaluators. Getting to know the evaluators created a comfortable learning atmosphere. They all had extensive and varied motorcycle riding experiences. This gave us confidence in their riding abilities, and built trust between the student and the evaluator.
After a brief inspection of the students’ motorcycles, we went through a couple of presentations. The first presentation focused on the “Top Killers.” Do you know the number one killer of motorcycle riders? I’ll give you a hint, alcohol is in the top 5, but it is not number one. After “Top Killers” we moved on to “Bad Riding Behavior.” The number one bad behavior of most motorcycle riders: following too closely.
Each of the presentations had a lot of practical information along with videos that reflected their main idea. Chief Beddingfield, Officer Ruff and the other evaluators would initiate discussions with the students as we moved through the material. It was a great give and take of riding experiences.
After the morning class session, two students were paired with each evaluator and we all went on a ride. It was a short ride on local roads. Even though I knew I was being watched, I really enjoyed the ride (and it wasn’t because the ride ended with lunch).
Even lunch was a time of reflection and learning. We sat together and received valuable feedback. As I ate lunch, I was able to listen to my evaluator critique my riding style as well as learn from my classmates and their evaluations. Everyone had a positive and caring attitude.
After lunch we returned to the classroom for a presentation of riding hazards and the “SYSTEM” module of motorcycle riding. Just like the first classroom session, there were related videos to watch and great discussions. Early in the afternoon the sky began to rumble and it looked like rain, so we quickly went through the last of the classroom work, and saddled up for the longer ride. It was the wetter ride.
The longer ride was supposed to take us along much the same route as the shorter ride, but when it began raining at Polk County Middle School, we altered the route to avoid the rain; or so we thought. It looked like we were able to bypass the wet weather, and we enjoyed some great riding along number 9. But our luck didn’t hold out. Just as we crossed Peniel Rd. and began driving along Smith Dairy, the heavens opened up and tried to drown us.
If I forget everything else about that ride, I will always remember that there are no overpasses to hide under on Smith Dairy Rd. It was a nerve racking ride. The rain was torrential, the lightening was flashing all around us, the thunder was booming, and the wind was knocking tree limbs into the road. I turned my hazard lights on and slowly plodded back to town. Even though the weather conditions were a lot worse for the second ride than they were for our first ride, it is something every motorcycle rider must be prepared for; and classes like BikeSafe can help.
I really feel like the information will help me hone my skills as a motorcycle rider, the experience has made me feel much more confident in the skills I have, and positive interaction with the students and evaluators will be a fond memory of a great day of riding.
-Devon LaFromboise, Saluda

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