BUCKSPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- The sound of revving engines will be one Mainers will hear often in the coming months. The weather is warming, and that means motorcycle enthusiasts are hitting the road.
First time riders like Tyler Lawson from Blue Hill are eager to get started.
"I just want to get out on the open road, go ride on the coast and stuff, and enjoy the sun," he said.
But learning to ride safely is an important step to take before hopping on a bike, and it is one that people skip more often than you think. The state of Maine does not require you to take a hands on driving course before you get your learner's permit, leaving those who pass their permit tests to practice out on the road.
"There are several other states that don't allow the permit process to happen in order to get a motorcycle license," says Terry Atwood, co-owner of A & J Motorcycle Safety School in Bucksport. "Texas and Florida for example, you have to have had this hands on course. I think it's critical to have hands on training versus just sitting in a classroom and taking a written test, getting a permit and going on the road never even having had hands on training."
Places like A & J Motorcycle Safety School teach a two day safety course on a closed track. Students can stop, ask questions and learn proper riding techniques before taking to the streets.
Once you pass all aspects of the safety course, you are given a licensing certificate. Present that to your local DMV and you will be licensed to ride without having to schedule and take a separate licensing exam. And you'll have the hands on knowledge to ride in the safest way possible.
"When emergency situations happen, you always revert to your training," says Larry Jobe, co-owner of A & J Motorcycle Safety School. "And if you've had no training, you panic. And on two wheels is no place to panic."