If you’re a Wisconsinite looking to brush up on your motorcycle skills, look no further than the Transportable High-End Rider Education Facility—more commonly known as THE REF.
What is THE REF?
THE REF is a mobile classroom that travels around the state of Wisconsin during the riding season with the goal to educate the state’s many motorcyclists on proper safety tips. Created by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, THE REF educates riders and non-riders about sharing the road, avoiding crashes, and environmental awareness.
The training facility is part of the state’s “Zero in Wisconsin” campaign to reduce the number of traffic deaths in the state.
On the outside, THE REF looks like an RV covered in wallpaper of motorcycle riders and information about the Zero in Wisconsin campaign. But when curious Wisconsites enter the vehicle at fairs, festivals, and motorcycle dealerships, they discover there’s so much more inside.
With walls covered in screens, THE REF offers educational videos and slideshows as well as physical examples of the safety gear recommended for all riders to wear whenever they hit the road. Motorcycles sit in the back of THE REF, ready for first-time riders to take a spin.
THE REF also boasts two motorcycle simulators for riders to test their skills and see how well they react to the vehicles around them.
Motorcycle Training for Hoosiers
Why do Wisconsinites need THE REF? Unfortunately, the number of motorcycle fatalities is still far too high. In 2015, only 6 percent of all vehicles in Wisconsin were motorcycles, but 14 percent of all highway fatalities were motorcycle fatalities.
The numbers are similar in Indiana. In 2015, 109 people perished in motorcycle accidents, totaling 13 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Indiana may not have a mobile training facility for motorcycle enthusiasts, but it does have Ride Safe Indiana (RSI) RiderCourses across the state. The program offers three different courses: basic, advanced, and three wheel. Instead of being offered at government facilities, many are offered at local motorcycle dealerships. They’re everywhere: whether you’re up north in Elkhart, down south in Evansville, out to the east in Richmond, or out west in Terre Haute, there are courses available for you to brush up on your motorcycle training.
The downside is that these classes aren’t free. Some are an even $100, while others are closer to $300.
How to Get a Motorcycle Endorsement in Indiana
Not all training programs require you have to have a motorcycle license, but if you’re already spending hundreds of dollars on training, it’s a good idea to start the process of getting a motorcycle endorsement in Indiana.
Motorcycle Learner’s Permit
The first step is to apply for a motorcycle learner’s permit. If you already hold an Indiana driver’s license, you can go to any Indiana BMV license branch and take a knowledge test based on the Motorcycle Operator’s Manual to qualify for your permit. If you don’t have a driver’s license, you must bring documents that prove your:
- Indiana residency
- Lawful status
- Social Security number
(For more information about the documents you’ll need, click here.)
If you’re under 18, you’ll need a parent or guardian to sign an Agreement of Financial Liability. That means your parent or guardian agrees to be responsible for any injury or damage you may cause while operating a motorcycle. This responsibility for your parent or guardian expires once you turn 18.
In Indiana, you have to either complete a RSI course or pass a knowledge test and a motorcycle riding skills test. Skills tests are administered at many of the dealerships that offer RSI courses, but they are considerably cheaper. Skills tests can be anywhere from $10 to $30.
Regardless of which test you choose, you will also likely have to pass a standard vision test.
Help from an Indiana Motorcycle Accident Attorney
In Indiana, we may not have a mobile training facility like THE REF, but we still have plenty of opportunities for motorcycle riders to brush up on their skills. Before you can qualify for a permit or license, you have to educate yourself on the dangers you may face on your motorcycle and how best to react to them.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident through no fault of your own, Hensley Legal Group can help. Call us or contact us online today for a free, no-obligation consultation.