In years past, California teens could legally operate a motorcycle, with a learner’s permit, at the age of 15 years and 6 months. There were no requirements for training and no limits to the horsepower of the bike ridden: in other words, prior to your 16th birthday, you could get your permit and then go plunk down cash on a BMW S1000 RR or a Suzuki Hayabusa. Motorcycle dealers, reeling from the virtual collapse of the powersports market, certainly weren’t going to say “no” to a new rider with cash in hand.
That changed with the introduction of “Jarrad’s Law” on January 2, 2011. Named for a California teen killed while learning to ride on a Suzuki GSX-R, the new law requires riders under age 21 to undergo 15 hours of rider training prior to receiving their learner’s permit. The bill wasn’t written by a stodgy legislator; instead, the bill was authored by the brother and a friend of Jarrad Cole, who looked to find some positive outcome from Jarrad’s death.
The bill mandates training but stops short of restricting engine size or horsepower available to new riders. In that regard, it’s unlike tiered licensing used by countries in the EU and Asia. Still, opponents see it as just another restriction of personal freedom; supporters (myself included) see it as a step in the right direction. I’ve lost my share of friends on bikes, and none of them had formal training that could have enhanced their ability to predict and avoid dangerous situations. What could possibly be wrong with requiring new riders to display a minimal standard of competency before we turn them loose on the roads?
Source: Hell For Leather