Recently I received an email from Representative Joe Pitts (District 67) asking for opinions on proposed legislation regarding licensing for young motorcycle riders, ages 18 an under, in Tennessee. The legislation would require motorcycle operators ages 18 years and younger that are applying for their license for the first time to complete a motorcycle safety training course. Currently there are two ways to go about getting the M [Motorcycle] endorsement driver's license in Tennessee. One way is to complete a state approved safety course such as MSF and take the certificate of completion to the DMV. The other option is to arrive at a testing center and complete a written test and a riding skills test. The proposed legislation would remove the latter option for first time, 18 year old and younger motorcycle license seekers.
Here is part of what Representative Pitts sent out in his email:
"For the past couple years, we have been looking carefully at the issues surrounding motorcycle safety in our state. Last legislative session, we asked the TN Department of Safety to compile a report on the incident rates of motorcycle accidents and fatalities, broken down by age group. That report, attached to this email, pointed out a need to address this issue through mandatory operator safety training. We have been very careful to work with John Milliken to ensure training sites were accessible, as well as affordable for those affected by any required training."
Attached to his email was a copy of the compiled report and also a copy of the proposed amendments to the Tennessee Codes. Representative Pitts is looking for feedback from those of us actively involved in the motorcycling community so I would encourage you to contact him. You can find his public contact information here: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/house/members/h67.html .
From the editor:
Personally I think this is a good idea but it's no secret that I am all for rider education and training. I would even go as far as backing a tiered licensing approach to motorcycles which would restrict riders to certain displacement/power limitations until they can demonstrate that they have the necessary skills to move up to a more powerful machine. As it stands right now, anybody who can pass the basic rider course or pass the state exam could walk right into their local dealer and purchase a motorcycle that puts out over 150bhp and can exceed that same number in mph. I feel that it is irresponsible to allow this to happen as there is a lot of potential for injury and/or death if a machine like that is not handled properly.
So what do you think? Give us your thoughts using the comments link below.