Motorcycle Awareness Month is now here, and a Rotorua father recommends taking the chance to practice riding skills.

When Rotorua-based motorcyclist Grant Booth's son announced he wanted to take up riding Booth signed them both up to do a Pro Rider Ride Forever course.

"When my son got his first motorcycle I wanted him to do some training before he hit the roads, so I signed him up for a Ride Forever course.

"I've been riding for years, but I thought I might as well give the course a go too. I was surprised how much I learnt.

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"When you're riding, you don't really have a chance to practise skills like emergency braking until it's too late. Taking the chance to practise skills like this could save my life one day."

September is the start of the riding season.

As the days get warmer and longer motorcycle crashes happen more often.

Local Ride Forever training providers Pro Rider and Roadsafe are working with ACC to try and change this.

Pro Rider operations manager and former road safety co-ordinator Monique Haines says no matter what your experience, you can always learn new skills.

"People from all ages, skill levels and walks of life attend Ride Forever courses.

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"Ride Forever mixes theory, skills and practical on-road training to help keep riders safe on our roads.

"Before riders hit the road this summer, we'd like them to take a course to refresh their skills and take their riding to the next level."

ACC motorcycle programme manager David Keilty says the Bay of Plenty is a priority region for motorcycle safety.

"Three motorcyclists died in the Bay of Plenty last year. That's three people who didn't get to come home. Many more riders were seriously injured.

"Last year, we managed 319 motorcycling claims in the Bay of Plenty. The claim cost for the region was more than $4m, but the real cost is to the rider, and their family and friends.

"We'd like to see that cost decrease."

September is Motorcycle Awareness Month and ACC is taking the opportunity to remind
drivers and riders that motorcycle safety is everyone's responsibility.

"We're asking drivers to check their blind spot, turn their heads to check behind them and to take a second look before changing lanes and at intersections," says David.

"It can be easy to miss motorcyclists at first glance, especially when drivers aren't used to so many of them being on the road. These simple actions could save lives and prevent injuries.

"Riders should refresh their skills before hitting the road with a Ride Forever course. They should also check their bike is well-maintained and make sure they're wearing the right gear."