By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer
Sharon Taylor wanted to ride her Kawasaki Vulcan 800 on the weekends with her husband.
To do that, she needed to get a motorcycle license.
After taking the written test at the Clovis field office of the Motor Vehicle Department, she was told to come back the next day for the road test.
She waited in line with about 20 other people to sign-up for the road test only to be turned away after the field office reached its quota for the day.
As more and more people are riding motorcycles, including some to save on gas prices on their commute, the Clovis MVD office is having to turn motorcyclists away for road tests.
MVD Clovis field office manager Julie Lopez said the office can offer road tests to only 30 people a week because there aren’t enough staff members to administer them.
Taylor, a medical technician at the Bill Clayton prison in Littlefield, Texas, said she took the test at the MVD the next day.
“I went back the next day, but my husband went up there before 7 o’clock, and got our place in line,” she said. “But they don’t do it until 9 o’clock so we had to wait two hours just to get on the list,” she said.
Ronnie Jones, owner of High Desert Honda, said gas prices have drummed up motorcycle sales in the last two years.
“It makes an obvious choice for some people if they are doing short distance commuting where literally it can cost $4 just to start your car and go across town and back,” he said. “You can ride a scooter for two weeks on $4.”
At High Plains Harley-Davidson, business manager Randy Rhue said he gets about 10 new motorcycle riders a month.
“We’ve had a lot of people comment that one of the main reasons people look into buying a motorcycle are because of gas prices,” he said.
But to be able to save on gas with their motorcycles, new riders have to carefully schedule their time.
Motorcycle dealers recommend people go through the New Mexico Motorcycle Safety Course held at the Clovis Community College.
For $160 new riders take a two-and-a-half-day motorcycle safety course and get an endorsement at the end.
“We recommend people take the new riders course,” Rhue said, “so they don’t have to worry about what day of the week it is.”
The Motor Vehicle Department Clovis field office motorcycle road test schedule:
8:15 – 10:30 a.m., Tuesday to Thursday. Road tests are given on a first-come, first-serve basis and are limited to 10 people a day.