Greetings, ABATE members! In the last issue of the Spokesman, I described how our Rider Education Division fits into to the general scheme of things at ABATE of Colorado. Now, let’s get into the actual history of how and when it happened. As mentioned in the previous article, research for this installment is taken primarily from reports written by Erik Erikson, which were located in our files here at the office. If any of you have additions or corrections, or notice any glaring omissions, please let me know.In 1989, MSF-certified Instructor Erikson met with District 5 Representative Don Rossiter at the February swap meet. Erik mentioned that he was an Instructor, and Don mentioned that ABATE ought to get a program going. Later that year, Erik contacted ABATE State Coordinator Pat Smith and Pat suggested that Erik bring up the issue at the next District 5 meeting. This happened at the December, 1989 meeting, at which it was also decided to seek funding to get the program started.

The State Board created the position of Director of Rider Education, and the position was filled by Erik.

Assistant Rep for District 5, Clint Ball located a training site at Arapahoe Community College. (This site is still in use today.)

Funding was needed for start-up expenses. The Jan Marie Leslie Rider Education Foundation contributed $1500, and ABATE District 5 contributed $500. Motorcycles were loaned to us by local dealerships Aurora Honda (who still loans us bikes), Cycles West and Four Seasons.

The first ABATE of Colorado rider ed class took place on April 27, 1990, training 6 students. Fifty-one students were trained that year in our program. (By contrast, we train nearly 3,000 students per year these days.) The following year, 1991, saw ABATE obtain some more bikes, enough to train 12 students per class, the maximum allowable for our standards. Also in ’91, District 2 Rep Terri Burke made rider ed happen in Colorado Springs by locating a site at Pikes Peak Community College and by securing loaner bikes from local dealerships. Training began there on June 14, 1991. ABATE rider ed trained over 200 students in ’91. I was trained to be an Instructor in April of 1991, as was Silver Newnam and others.

In 1992, Silver became the Program Administrator at Arapahoe Community College. He obtained enough bikes to start a second training range there. Terrie Burke became Assistant State Coordinator and turned administration of the Pikes Peak Community College site over to David Monaghan. Program Administrators began receiving pay for their efforts, and the Level system for Instructors was begun, albeit with only two levels.

In 1993, the Level system was expanded to include four levels. We began training at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. David Reese took over the program at Pikes Peak Community College.

In 1994, the office of Director of Rider Education, which was a State Board position, became a paying position and no longer a member of the State Board of Directors. A lease was negotiated with Stapleton 2000 to have training occur at the old Stapleton Airport site, but was not executed until the following year. Over 1000 students were trained in this year, making ABATE of Colorado the first contractor to train that many students in one year in Colorado.

Well, that’s it for the early years of ABATE rider ed. My next installment will focus on the modern era, 1995 to the present. The information on which I must base the next chapter will be taken from class records, payroll records and memory. And still to come: info on the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and Colorado Department of Transportation’s Motorcycle Operator Safety Training program (M.O.S.T.).

I will leave off this time with a list of motorcycle dealerships who support our program by loaning us bikes. At last count, we had approximately 135 bikes in service. We do not have the kind of money which would enable us to own all the bikes we need, so we depend on these loaned bikes to keep the training going on at the level we have achieved. We couldn’t do it without these dealerships, so if you are shopping for a bike (or ATV or jet ski, for that matter) or for accessories or for riding gear, shop at these dealerships and let them know that we appreciate their help.

Aurora Honda (303-341-7200) Aurora

Colorado Powersports (303-447-3500) Boulder, Northglenn, Castle Rock, Grand Junction

Excel Motorsports South (303-794-6367) Littleton

Fay Myers Motorcycle World (303-744-6632) Denver, Greenwood Village

Grand Prix Motorsports (303-761-2471) Englewood

Paradise Motorsports (719-543-0808) Pueblo

Rocky Mountain Kawasaki (303-651-BIKE) Longmont