Many PAMSP Students in South Eastern PA, “The Greater Delaware Valley”, “The Philly Area”, the “Main Line” or whatever you call it have taken their Motorcycle Training at the Valley Forge PAMSP site.
Located at 1499 Valley Ford Rd, Wayne, PA 19087 – right across from “Chesterbrook”, which it preceded, and just before the entrance to Valley Forge National Historical Park many people have traveled past the site watching motorcyclists receive their training.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has, for some time, had the “Mileposts 320 – 326 Total Reconstruction Project” on the books to widen the turnpike which runs along the side of both ranges.
Due to this construction and litigation surrounding it the property was lost to development. The site had a temporary reprieve due to construction delays but now that things are moving forward the site is officially shuttered.
The site was originally created in advance of the 1976 Bicentennial celebrations and over the years was used by the PA Motorcycle Safety Program for training as well as by other organizations for different reasons, such as the Devon Horse Show using it annually for trailer parking.
Originally a “two range” site (two separate riding areas) Valley Forge, also known as PA Turnpike Commission Valley Forge, provided a training site for weekday and weekend training for PAMSP.
The Valley Forge site’s large on site trailer-based classroom provided ample room for training, as well as respite from the weather. It was also the site of Instructor training courses, the entry point for new Instructors to be trained in the curriculum being taught in PAMSP.
With two ranges and 12 students per range, 4 classes per weekend the Valley Forge site could train up to 48 students a weekend. In 2012, when PAMSP had trained nearly 24,000 students across 99 sites, the Valley Forge site was responsible for training nearly 4% of all students trained. This is an amazing statistic and would be routinely repeated year after year.
Currently the only site in the densely populated King of Prussia area, the Philadelphia suburbs, the Valley Forge site has reach not only to the local residents but also to those commuters who work in the area. The ability to run classes during the weekday as well the weekend provided a wide range of services for students of all ages and skill levels in a way that could meet their scheduling needs.
The Valley Forge site has the unfortunate distinction to be the location of a PA motorcycle training fatality. While much rumored it is a fact that on July 24, 1998 54 year old Roseanne Jablanofsky lost control of her training motorcycle and crashed, sustaining fatal injuries. Legal activity continued until 2014.
In the past few years the site had been closed a number of times due to construction. Over the years of neglect the tarmac has continued to degrade. with only patchwork repairs being made The site also closed due to a number of sink holes that had opened up under the tarmac and required engineering and remediation to repair, and adding to the network of patches across its surface.
Eventually the location went from 2 riding areas to 1 until it was shuttered before the 2021 season. The site will eventually be reclaimed for use in runoff remediation as part of the PA Turnpike expansion and litigation surrounding it.
With only (27) sites listed by PennDOT for 2020 and into the summer of 2021 – and many of those remaining closed for 2021 – PAMSP has gone from 99 sites at it’s zenith to around 25, a potential loss of nearly 75% of its training locations. This is a tragedy of epic proportions that has nothing to do with COVID, but will ultimately prove deadly as even during the pandemic motorcycle sales are brisk and people are getting out and riding.
And, as statistics show, even without proper training people will still get out and ride.
Valley Forge was a visible example of Motorcyclist Safety Training, a location where generations passed on their love of the sport to the next generation – ensuring that they did it safely.
Perhaps a new site will open up in the area, but those kinds of locations are getting more and more difficult to find and retain – and won’t have the longevity and distinction of Valley Forge.
If you took your training in Valley Forge take a ride or a drive through the park, stop and reminisce – and keep on training.