Riding west, safely - Motorcycle workshop at Sandals Whitehouse today
Tarik Kiddoe tried to conduct a Back to Basics Motorcycle Safety Workshop in Westmoreland before. In a parish unfortunately infamous for its high level of motorcycle crashes, the turnout was far less than satisfactory.
Today, the classroom instruction and road training one-day session returns to the west with more than the number of people originally planned for already down to participate. Kiddoe told Automotives that initially he intended to have 25 persons and, because of demand, that was expanded to 40. Even then, last Thursday there were only a few spaces left and it was expected there will be a full house at 8:30 a.m. today when Back to Basics begins.
Kiddoe puts the vast improvement in participation down to better groundwork. Included is an increase in the number of flyers printed for distribution. In the previous attempt there were 150; this time around 2,500 were done. They were handed out at central points, such as gas stations, and there is a critical local partner in Ballaboo Ice Cream House.
In addition to Sandals, the Back to Basics Motorcycle Safety Workshop is being supported by the Insurance Association of Jamaica (IAJ), Boom Energy Drink, Tru-Juice, and the Westmoreland Motoring Club. "We are also getting a lot of support from the Jamaica Constabulary Force," Kiddoe said.
The participants will go through a cycle of instruction and examination, beginning with a classroom session in the morning. After that, the Island Traffic Authority will do a road code instruction, also followed by an assessment. After that comes a road exercise (where the motorcyclists will ride in formation) and a tactical examination. One of the possible outcomes is being certified for a motorcycle licence, although Kiddoe said fewer than 10 persons have signed up for that component of the workshop.
"It is a prototype, so we want to find out what the results are and streamline it," he said.
The stage is being set for the workshop before the classes actually start, as Kiddoe has asked for good conduct by participants on the way there, with no road antics and disrespecting of fellow road users. "Come, learn and go home safely," Kiddoe said. The participants have also been asked to dress for the experience in long pants and a button-down shirt, if they have one.
It will not be the last Back to Basics Motorcycle Safety Workshop in Westmoreland, as Kiddoe said one is also planned for Negril, Under an agreement with the IAJ, there will also be another workshop in Kingston. Still, Kiddoe is hoping to spread the workshop to other urban centres across the island, including Mandeville and Montego Bay. However, he says local support is necessary.
There has also been interest from a church in St Elizabeth, where the congregation has been heavily affected by motorcycle crashes.
The immediate focus is on today's workshop. "It is exhausting, but it is exciting. Very rewarding," Kiddoe said.