Teresa Albecker talks to Brent Crowe before he takes the riding portion of his motorcycle on June 13, in Haines. (Francisco Martínezcuello/Chilkat Valley News)

It’s mid-morning in the boat harbor parking lot and Teresa Albecker is grabbing a clipboard, stopwatch and traffic cones from her car. Her yellow and orange Division of Motor Vehicles vest is bright in the sun as she builds a course for motorcycle riders to weave and maneuver through. 

It’s been five years since a motorcycle test was administered in Haines, and Jordan Badger is ready. 

Badger, who is 27, has been riding dirt bikes since he was a kid. He rides for the thrill of it. 

“It’s kind of fun to ride the bikes around. So I feel like yeah, they’re a fun toy here. That’s how I see it. At least I’m all about toys,” he said. 

Today, Badger is all business as Albecker watches him go through the four parts of a road test that each motorcycle rider needs to pass. 

“There’s a cone weave test. Turn from a stop. Quick stop, and an obstacle swerve,” Albecker said.  

Riders are graded based on how well they navigate through the course. 

“Zero to 10 points is passing. Anything above 10 points is a failure,” said Albecker. 

When asked why it has been so long since there was a test available for motorcycle riders Albecker said no one has come in asking for one in awhile.

“Well, people got permits and stuff…we didn’t really have a designated area to set up a course. I always had to get permission from the [Haines Borough Public] school to use their place, but it only had to be when school was out. I can only do it in the summertime. And then COVID hit. And then nobody else was really interested in it. And then all of a sudden, I get a lot of people that are now interested in getting their license,” she said. 

A motorcycle sits in the parking lot of the boat harbor where the first motorcycle riding test administered by the state’s DMV in five years took place on June 13, in Haines. (Francisco Martínezcuello/Chilkat Valley News)

Before scheduling a road test riders need to complete and pass the written test online. 

Badger did pass the road test and on a borrowed motorcycle no less. It was Brent Crowe’s orange 1974 Honda CT90 Trail. 

Crowe, 48, was instrumental in bringing back the road test. 

“There are a lot of people in town that have been wanting to get their license, and it’s been unavailable. DMV here is short staffed. There’s one employee and the school parking lot, where they’ve previously done it, you know, the tape had worn off and Teresa [Albecker] would have to close the office to reapply the tape,” he said. “I basically didn’t take no for an answer till we got to where we are.”

Riding a motorcycle is important to Crowe and he feels others can benefit from it too. 

“I think when the weather’s nice riding a motorcycle is a fun thing to do, and you burn a little less fuel and get a little wind in your hair and mental health and all that. And I think there are a lot of people who have had their permit and, and or just riding one illegally because this has been unavailable. And I think a lot of us would like to abide by the laws that are written,” he said.

Crowe also wants the DMV to provide these opportunities more consistently.  

“I think it’s good to have testing here, you know, once or twice a year and get everybody legal and insured and all those things,” he said. 

Five people scheduled their road test on June 13, but Albecker said she has the capacity for eight. She plans to have more available road test options this month and to schedule more this summer. 

“At least once a month through June, July, and August. If I get more people in, because I usually open up like eight slots per month, for once a month is when I try to do it. Because with the office being closed, when I go back there, I get swamped with people that are trying to do transactions on vehicles or driver’s licenses,” she said. 

Albecker urges motorcycle riders to go to the Division of Motor Vehicles website for scheduling and more information.

Francisco Martínezcuello is the Chilkat Valley News summer reporter. Previously, he was in Southwest Alaska working for KYUK Public Media as a News Reporting Fellow from November 2022 through January...