Launches "Ride to Live"
By Lieutenant Ti Goetz,
"Live to Enjoy the Ride"
The Hawthorne Police Department “Ride to Live” program came about out of two of our department’s saddest days. On May 26th, 2011 we lost Motor Officer Andrew Garton and on July 8th 2013 we lost Motor Sergeant Leonard Luna, both killed in line of duty motorcycle crashes. Those losses highlighted for us not only the inherent dangers involved with motorcycle riding, but also the terrible cost families’ must pay when a loved one is taken from them.
Out of our own heartache and loss, the germ of an idea began to take root. Instead of just encouraging safe motorcycle riding, why couldn’t we use the experts we have working for us, our motor officers, to help teach the riding community better riding skills? Our hope was that by passing on solid, real world riding skills, we may just keep another family somewhere from having to experience the grief that we, the Garton and Luna families, and other families in our community have had to endure.
And thus, Ride to Live was born.
Since our first class on March 28th, 2015 and with each new batch of students, we have steadily learned what works and what doesn’t work. As a result, we are constantly updating and tweaking the course to make it better and more effective. The course now includes a variety of challenging cone drills and field exercises guaranteed to push you to broaden your personal limits and increase your confidence. The Ride to Live course is not a “beginner” class and does require that you already ride. What the class will do for all participants is take the riding skills you already possess and increase them dramatically.
Whether you have been riding for only a short time or are a lifelong rider, we guarantee you will ride away from this course with not only an increased confidence in yourself and your motorcycle, but also a new appreciation for the skills involved in properly handling your bike.
Despite the positive reaction of the public and the obvious benefits associated with reducing crashes, there is always a monetary cost associated with putting on such endeavors. We have been extremely blessed here at the HPD in that two very generous benefactors, the Luna family (parents of fallen officer Leonard Luna) and the Crown-Robinson family, have stepped forward to make this dream a reality.
Both of these families believed strongly in this project and were instrumental in both getting it off the ground and/or keeping it running. We cannot begin to express our gratitude for all they have done to bring this program to life.
We are very proud of the Ride to Live program, and not just for its innovative nature and the positive reaction we have received. We are proud of it because we truly believe that it makes a difference in people’s lives. If we can save one rider from injury or death, if we can spare one family the pain and suffering that comes with losing a loved one, than we have accomplished our goal and have done something positive and worthwhile for the community.