Northern Illinois University

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News Release

Contact: Bob Ritter, Motorcycle Safety Project
(815) 753-6932

March 31, 2009

Rockford clears path for NIU motorcycle safety course

DeKalb, Ill. — Motorcyclists in the greater Rockford area will find it easier to learn about riding safety this year, thanks to Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey, the Chicago-Rockford International Airport (RFD) and the NIU Motorcycle Safety Project.

Mayor Morrissey and the administration at the airport facilitated the creation of two new motorcycle ranges at RFD, allowing NIU to double the number of Cycle Rider Safety Training Programs it can offer.

“This year we expect to train 6,000 riders across northern Illinois, and 1,000 of those riders will be trained at our Rockford area sessions,” said Bob Ritter, director of the Motorcycle Safety Project at NIU. “Half of those will be able to take the course because we have been able to add these new locations.”

Currently the program offers sessions in and around Rockford at Rock Valley College, Jefferson High School and in South Beloit High School.

The new ranges will be located in parking lots at RFD. The sessions, some of which span three days, will occupy only a portion of each parking lot on select weekends throughout the spring, summer and fall. The lots will be available for normal use when classes are not in session.

“Anyone who has driven on the roads in and around Rockford on a beautiful day knows that motorcycles are a popular way to travel around town,” said Morrissey. “We were happy to work with NIU to facilitate the expansion of a program that will help keep hundreds of those riders safer.”

NIU has offered the sessions for more than 40 years as part of a program sponsored by the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office. They are free for participants (a $20 refundable deposit is required to hold a space) and many insurance companies offer discounts of up to 15 percent to riders who complete the course.

Three levels of the class are offered (beginner, intermediate and experienced) and all fill up quickly.

“There is a tremendous demand for these courses,” said Ritter. “Some people drive hours to take a session, and though online registration typically opens at midnight, classes often fill up in a matter of hours.”

With so many interested riders, NIU is grateful for the opportunity to expand its offerings. “We are delighted that the mayor and the airport authority were able to extend this opportunity to us, and we look forward to serving hundreds more riders each year in the Rockford area,” said NIU Vice President for Administration and University Outreach Anne Kaplan.

For more information on the NIU Motorcycle Safety Project visit

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