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Scary stats sending motorcyclists to class

Published On: Sep 22 2013 03:19:48 AM CDT

MADISON, Wis. -

A fatal motorcycle-related crash Saturday morning in the town of Blooming Grove is a sobering reminder of how dangerous the roads can be for motorcyclists.

Already in 2013, more than 60 motorcyclists have died on Wisconsin roadways.

Some riders are going to Madison College in the hopes of lessening their odds of adding to those grim statistics.

For those new to two wheels, the school is offering two entry-level rider courses: One for scooters, and one for motorcycles.

Students get six hours of classroom instruction followed by 10 hours of riding.

"All they need is a desire to ride," said Jason Herheim, the program’s director at Madison College. "Sign up, come out, and we try and bring them through the basics."

Herheim says the basic class is designed to give students strategies they can use to hopefully avoid getting hurt.

Motorcyclists come in all shapes and sizes, and not surprisingly, the reasons that people enroll vary wildly as well.

"When I was 17 years old, I lost my best friend,” said student Mohammad Salman. "We both were riding the motorcycle and he passed away."

"The knowlege that I'm learning here this weekend is definitely going to put me out on the road with some better skills when I get into a sticky situation," said student Michelle Clement

The instructor says one of the aspects of the class is educating students about the benefits of proper gear. And that includes wearing a helmet.

"A helmet without a doubt will help to reduce brain injury in the event of an accident," said Herheim. “It's not the end all, but it’s definitely something people should think about. The other part is having good gear. Good gear can help you weather the elements, could help you being seen, could help being protected in the event you have an incident on your motorcycle."

Herheim acknowledges that riding can and should be fun, but he says his job is making sure folks cruise safely for years to come.

"That's what we're hoping to instill here, is a street strategy so you can go out and be a safe motorcyclist and grow up to be an old motorcyclist," said Herheim.

About 1,100 students take Madison College's basic safety courses each year.

The courses run about $250 each.

Madison College also offers more advanced courses for experienced riders looking to brush up on their skills.

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