(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Outside of the Chapel Hills Mall, the sounds of roaring engines can be heard as people of all ages learn how to drive and operate a motorcycle at the Colorado Springs Motorcycle Training Academy, which has been welcoming riders since 2007.

Sounds of motorcycles can be heard outside of the Chapel Hills Mall.

“We’re a veteran-owned and operated motorcycle training school here in the Colorado Springs,” said Garrett Larson, a Riding Coach at the Motorcycle Training Academy. “Most of our rider coaches are actually veterans as well. We teach people how to ride and then we also help them get their license and also learn to be safer while they’re out there on the road.”

Along the parking lot on Thursday morning, different riders were practicing their skills navigating through a course.

“We teach them as well as we can,” Larson said. “We talk about safety. We talk about self-assessment, reminding them that it’s up to them how to make the safe choices out there.”

The Academy offers several courses – some for those just starting out and others for the advanced riders. For full details on course available click here.

The Thursday morning group gathered for instructions out in the parking lot.

“We have a beginner class, which is what’s going on right now. So we teach them from the beginning,” Larson said. “We also have an experienced rider course, for those who have actually been riding for a while but need their endorsement. So, they can come out, they can brush up on their skills and stuff, take the test, and then they can get the license waiver for the DMV.”

Larson said he see riders from as young as 15- to 80-year-olds wanting to learn something new.

“I just love meeting all the new people riding on motorcycles,” Larson said. “Some of our advanced classes, we get a lot of different types of motorcycles too.  So, you get to see Descartes and Harleys and Indians and all those other fun stuffs.”

One rider smiled while navigating through the course.

Colorado State Patrol reported 149 riders died on Colorado roads in 2022, with El Paso County recording the highest number throughout the state at 25. Larson shared the advice the academy gives to ensure their riders are safe on the roads.

“We use the adage, ‘get all the gear all the time’,” Larson said. “Whenever you ride, wear all the gear, there’s tons of stuff out there, even when it’s a hot summer day,” Larson said. “You can wear mesh gear, you can wear lighter, sturdy pants, and stuff like that, boots, all that fun stuff and still be comfortable out there on the road.”

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) similarly commented on the amount of motorcycle fatalities so far this year.

“Well, it’s getting to be pretty dangerous for motorcycles on Colorado roads,” CDOT Traffic Safety Manager, Sam Cole, said. “Last year, we saw a record number of motorcyclists killed in Colorado, 149 lost their lives. We know that has a lot to with cyclists that are riding too fast or riding recklessly or not wearing their helmets, but also has a lot to do with those drivers out there that just aren’t paying attention.”

With multiple riders out on the road, Cole shared advice when it comes to keeping our Colorado roadways safe.

“All we need to do is slow down, buckle up, follow those traffic enforcement laws, stay off our phones, don’t drive impaired,” Cole said. “All of those things together will bring down the number of traffic deaths on our roadways.”

One by one riders waited their turn to navigate through the course.

When it comes to the work the Academy does, Cole commented on the benefits their training has for riders.

“Some people may take up riding a motorcycle later in life, and that’s why it is so important to participate in one of those riding schools that will increase their skills,” Cole said. “You know, increase in those skills could actually save your life. A lot of those riding schools are about defensive riding and how to get out of a scary situation alive.”

Once a rider passes both their skills and written test, they are handed a card of certification.

“It’s pretty exciting for everybody,” Larson said. “We’re proud on our side. We’re happy to see new riders out there, especially if they’re excited about being safe riding and stuff and they’re always really excited taking pictures and some of them jump up and down. I even had seen some people cry.”