Moped and motorcycle riders waiting to enroll in a motorcycle safety program may be aided by a bill sent to the state Senate.
In the initial budget process last year, $800,000 was allocated for motorcycle education. Gov. Scott McCallum vetoed $406,000 of it.
“When the bill was first introduced to the Assembly, it asked for that $406,000 back,” Gary said. “It was later amended to $200,000, and that was approved.”
The state’s Motorcycle Rider Safety Program is offered to motorcycle and moped owners and riders but does not have the capacity to serve the high demand for the program.
The safety and awareness courses are completely voluntary and are available for any owner or rider interested in safer operation of his or her motorcycle.
Completion of the course allows riders discounts on motorcycle insurance.
There is currently a waiting list of people wishing to enroll in the program.
The waiting list is only going to get bigger as the number of motorcycle and moped riders increases, said John Baldus, legislative assistant to Sen. Mark Meyer, D-La Crosse.
“Currently, there are 2,700 students on waiting lists, and by increasing funding, we can adequately address their needs,” Gary said.
Baldus said the goal of the bill is to allow those seeking education to receive it.
“We want the number of students out using mopeds or motorcycles to feel safer while riding them, with more awareness of the traffic laws,” Baldus said.
Timothy Gary, legislative assistant to Rep. Donald Friske, R-Merrill, said sending the bill to the Joint Finance Committee, a routine move, puts a temporary hold on the bill because it calls for increased funding.
“[The bill] is on hold because the committee members are worried that they are going to have to get the money somewhere else, like from highway tolls or increased taxes,” Gary said. “However, it is believed that the money can be absorbed from the existing budget.”
If the bill is passed in the Senate and the motorcycle programs do receive additional funding, it will strengthen the offered educational sessions, Gary said.
“Students will be provided with more access to an existing, proven program,” Gary said.