New law targets teen motorcyclists

A new state law that goes into effect Aug. 26 requires motorists younger than 18 who apply for a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license, to complete a certified motorcycle safety basic rider course.

Rep. Chuck Hoskin, D-Vinita – himself a motorcycle rider “for more than 50 years” – was the principal author of House Bill 2260, which cleared both houses of the Legislature and was signed by Governor Fallin.

The bill requires anyone who is 16 or 17 and applies for a motorcycle endorsement on his/her driver’s license to first complete a certified Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) rider course approved by the state Department of Public Safety.

Previously, riders in that age group had the option of either completing an MSF training course or appearing before a Department of Public Safety driver’s license examiner to take the motorcycle written and driving test. However, under the new law, the MSF test must be completed in advance.

The motorcycle written and driving tests will be waived, but applicants for an original license will be required to take the basic law test and vision screening.

“By requiring formal training for riders under the age of 18, this bill will save lives and prevent injuries,” said John Pierce of Collinsville, government affairs chairman for ABATE of Oklahoma. ABATE (A Brotherhood Aiming Toward Education), which is primarily a motorcycle safety organization, “thanks Rep. Chuck Hoskin and Sen. Randy Bass for carrying this bill to a successful conclusion,” said Pierce.

Prices of the two-day safety course vary, but the average cost is about $240, Pierce reported. Seventeen schools across the state offer the motorcycle training course, he added.

Riders aged 18 and older still will have the choice of taking written and driving test exams or completing an MSF training course to get a motorcycle endorsement.

Oklahoma has more than 120,000 motorcyclists, said Mike Scholten of Enid, ABATE’s sergeant-at-arms.