HawCC, Hawai‘i Department of Transportation and guests dedicate new motorcycle training range

HawCC’s Karla Sibayan, left, and Manaiakalani Kalua conduct a blessing for the new motorcycle training range on HawCC’s Manono Campus on Tuesday, October 29.

HawCC Chancellor Noreen Yamane and OCET Interim Director Deborah Shigehara pose for a group photo with other officials involved in the effort to develop the motorcycle range.

HILO — Hawai‘i Community College and the State of Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) celebrated the completion of a new motorcycle training range on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

“Since 2007, Hawai‘i Island has been without a state-authorized facility for motorcycle training classes, prompting some people to fly to O‘ahu to take courses,” said Deborah Shigehara, the Interim Director of HawCC’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 HawCC’s campus in Hilo.”

HawCC reconfigured a campus parking lot to create the training facility. HawCC, HDOT and county law enforcement officials held a dedication for the training range on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

Motorcycle training courses will be offered at HawCC 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 Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course — Hawaii Edition, 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 Hawai‘i motorcycle license.

Since 2007 demand has been high for the motorcycle training classes on Hawai‘i 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 Hawai‘i Island. For example, Hawai‘i County’s motorcycle fatalities increased from 17 percent of the state total in 2007 (five Hawai‘i Island fatalities) to 38 percent of the state total in 2010 (10 Hawai‘i Island fatalities).

In 2008-2012 only 43 percent of Hawai‘i 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 Hawai‘i Island.

Initially, Leeward Community College on O‘ahu will administrator the motorcycle training program at HawCC until HawCC can hire certified rider coaches and become an approved site operator.

To register for classes and for more information, please contact Leeward Community Collegeʻs Office of Continuing Education and Workforce Development beginning in January 2014 at 808 455-0477.

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