Spotlight | Florida Professional Motorcycle Training
PORT RICHEY — Dave Cruz's first crash on a motorcycle, in 1981, shook him. The recovery after his second crash, in 1997, took a year. But it wasn't until 2004 that Cruz took his first class on how to properly and safely operate a motorcycle.
What he learned prompted a question, said Cruz, 59, who now owns Florida Professional Motorcycle Training: "How the heck did I stay alive on a bike for 35 years?"
He was fortunate, he said.
"Many people out there riding don't know what to do to get themselves out of trouble when they end up in an emergency situation," he said.
So in March, he bought Florida Professional Motorcycle Training, a school for riders, so he could teach them.
Cruz, the business' fourth owner, offers several classes, including the 16-hour Basic Rider course, the daylong Basic Rider II course and the daylong Accident Scene Management course.
The Basic Rider course earns participants a motorcyclist endorsement on their traditional licenses. Students in the course use Cruz's bikes. In Basic Rider II, students can bring their own.
For any course, students must wear "shoes or boots that go over their ankles, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, full-fingered gloves and some form of eye protection," Cruz said. "If they don't have a helmet, I will provide them with one."
That's because Cruz compares riders to football players.
"A football player is dressed (in a) helmet, pads, the proper shoes," he said. "If he gets hit, he's going to get hit by a player. If he goes down, he goes down on the grass."
Riders who get hit get hit by cars, he said. If they go down, they go down on pavement.
"Shouldn't they have at least the same protection a football player has?"
In addition to how to dress, students learn how to avoid motorcycle crashes. The crash scene class Cruz offers teaches students what to do when they see or are involved in one.
It covers basic first aid and instruction in the safe removal of a rider's full-face helmet. The school also offers CPR and first-aid training.
If Cruz had known what he now teaches before he started riding, he said, he believes he could have avoided his first two crashes.
But in 2013, a few cars stopped short in front of Cruz, who was riding his motorcycle.
"I stopped," he said, "but a Lexus SUV rear-ended me" — his third crash.
"I don't know that there's something that could have been done to avoid that," he said.
His injuries required wrist and shoulder reconstruction surgery on his right side. He called it a rude awakening.
"Riding a motorcycle involves risks," Cruz said. "But the more you're trained, the more those risks are manageable."
Florida Professional Motorcycle Training classes are held in a classroom and in the parking lot at Lane Glo, 6935 Ridge Road, Port Richey. Classes eventually also will be available in Hillsborough County.
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Each course costs $189, but competitive price matching is available. There also are discounts for law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and members of the military.
For information, call (727) 457-8522 or toll-free 1-877-41-CYCLE.