"Live to Enjoy the Ride"
Ride to Live is a Hawthorne Police Department sponsored training class for any motorcycle rider seeking to improve his/her riding skills, enhance their safety and control, and learn the techniques taught at law enforcement motor schools.
The class works because the skills taught are real world skills. No classroom! It’s all about “hands on” learning techniques and skill sets that you can put into practical use immediately.
The course is taught by certified Police Motorcycle instructors from the Hawthorne Police Department in an atmosphere that facilitates open communication, lots of interaction, and an easy going vibe that is at the heart of motorcycle riding.
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.
This one day training course is offered free to the community as a public service. Each class is capped at 25 riders so that everyone participating has the chance to thoroughly learn the skills being taught. Those skills are broken up into two main components, each emphasizing different aspects of riding.
The course begins with low speed handling and maneuvering of the motorcycle and gradually moves up to higher speed emergency braking, counter-steering, obstacle avoidance and curve negotiation. Ninety-five percent of the class is hands on instruction with skills taught and demonstrated by our motors, but then actually performed in a controlled manner by the students. We have taught all types of riders, men and women, as young as 16 and as old as their late 70’s, from fairly novice riders to riders with 40 years’ experience. After hosting seven courses, we can honestly say no one has ridden away from our course without seeing a clear improvement in their riding.
What will you learn?
- Proper manipulation of clutch and throttle in order to work the “friction zone”
- Emergency braking
- Proper use of head and eyes when turning a motorcycle
- Precision maneuvering
- Counter steering
- Obstacle avoidance
- Negotiating curves
Lieutenant Ti Goetz has been a police officer for the City of Hawthorne for over 22 years and holds a BA degree from UC Santa Barbara in Law and Society/Criminal Justice and a MA degree from Cal State Dominguez Hills in Negotiations/Conflict Management.
During his time here he has worked as a patrol officer, gang intelligence officer, Internal Affairs Sergeant, Juvenile Bureau Sergeant, Patrol Sergeant, Watch Commander, and is currently the Traffic Bureau Commander. Lieutenant Goetz served 13 years as a member of our SWAT team where he worked his way up from team member to Team Commander. He is a certified EMT and works closely with our TacMed team teaching trauma life support to a wide variety of departments and organizations. He is also a POST certified Motor Officer Instructor.
He is a long time motorcycle rider and one of only a few riding motor Lieutenants in the county area. As the creator of the “Ride to Live” program, he is a firm believer in passing on lifesaving skills and techniques to anyone with a desire to learn.
Lt. Goetz is married with two children, a graduate of the FBI National Academy, a proud former Marine and a published author of numerous police related articles.
Motor Officer Sean Judd has been with the Hawthorne Police Department for nearly 10 years. During that time he spent his first 6 years working in the patrol bureau as well as serving as a valued member of the SWAT team.
In September 2012 he made the move to the Traffic Bureau to follow his true passion, riding motorcycles. Starting with a dirt bike at the ripe old age of 3, he has been on 2 wheels ever since. He is now the department’s Traffic Collision Reconstructionist, our senior Motor Officer as well as a POST certified Motor Officer Instructor.
With 30 + years of motorcycle riding under his belt his abilities on a motorcycle, coupled with his sense of humor and outgoing personality, make Motor Officer Judd a valued member of the Ride to Live instructor cadre.
Motor Officer John Dixon is a 25 year veteran of the police department and has served in assignments in uniformed patrol, motorcycle traffic enforcement, fraud and identity theft investigations and the aviation bureau.
Dixon is a certified Motor Officer Instructor and is the senior Motor Officer, this being his second assignment in the Traffic Bureau. Ponch and Jon from the TV show CHiP’s were responsible for John wanting to be a Motor Cop. He is an avid reader of American and British History and enjoys woodworking and home projects with his family.
Motor Officer Anthony Barlin is the newest member of the Traffic Bureau and has been a police officer with the department since 2009. Anthony is a veteran of the United States Air Force which he credits with influencing him into the public service life. In his spare time he enjoys doing construction work on his home and surfing. He is the proud father of one boy and two girls.
The “Ride to Live” motorcycle program has been funded, in part, through donations from some very generous contributors, including the Crown-Robinson family and the parents of our fallen officer, Sgt. Leonard Luna. If you felt that this class was worthy of your time and effort and wish to contribute, the listed “donate” link will allow you to contribute whatever you wish in a safe manner. Thanks for keeping the program going for future riders! We want everyone to live to enjoy the ride!