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Safely taking on the thrill behind the throttle

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Posted at 5:24 PM, May 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 13:52:14-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Motorcycle fatalities are on the rise in Tucson.

In 2020, there were seven motorcycle fatalities in the City of Tucson, this year there have already been six, according to data released by the Tucson Police Department.

TEAM Arizona Motorcycle Training tells KGUN 9 curves and intersections are two factors but impairment could also play a role.

“As motorcyclists when we go into traffic, we're doing battle so we better know how to handle our tools our equipment and that is our motorcycle," explained Bill Seltzer, TEAM Arizona.

He said TEAM Arizona's data shows 55 to 60% of Arizona riders don’t have formal training.

Although training, like a basic rider’s course, isn’t mandatory in the State of Arizona, Seltzer said it’s crucial.

“The reason why training is valuable is it when you're presented with a harmful situation or an emergency situation, you can fall back on your training instead of a hope or wish or prayer, you can actually rely upon the training you've received so that you can behave properly,“ he explained.

In a basic rider’s course, motorcyclists learn the fundamentals by gaining several hours of hands-on experience behind the throttle.

“When an individual comes to a basic rider course, we focus a lot on understanding the risks to motorcycling. When you understand the unknowns, then you can prepare, they become knowns and you can prepare for the known,” he explained.

It doesn’t stop there, riders also hit the classroom and learn about topics like the value of wearing the proper gear.

“When we talk about a good gear for riding a motorcycle we're talking about motorcycles specific boots motorcycles specific pants. Motorcycles specific jackets, gloves, helmet, eye protection, all these things are critical to reducing our risk out on the roadway,” said Seltzer.

When riders finish the course, they are given an endorsement on their license.

As for drivers, Seltzer said it can be easy for a driver to miss a motorcyclist but challenges them to be a bit more vigilant.

“See if you can spot as many motorcycle riders when you're driving, and make it a proactive attempt to make a proactive attempt to view as many bikes on the roadway as you can as a driver,” he said.

If you'd like to learn more about the basic rider's course, click here.