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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:22 am 
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I love teaching people to ride motorcycles. I teach everything from the MSF Basic RiderCourse where you can get your driver's license to Track instruction that will earn you a race license. I cover parking lot classes, street classes, closed road racing classes, and even three wheeled classes. It's a fantastic hobby, and as you can imagine motorcycles are one of my passions.

With all that said, I want to understand how someone not immersed in Rider Education feels about motorcycle classes. The statistics show that only 1 in every 11 riders takes a training class and of those numbers roughly 10% come back for any follow on training. Personally I imagine that number is a bit higher given that states never keep tabs on track days, but it's still incredibly low. One thing that has been continually tracked is that people that take a motorcycle rider course tend to be under represented in crash statistics. That's true even at the basic level where the class earns a license, a much higher priority for the classes I teach than being safe.

So I want to hear from you guys on a few things.
-General Thoughts on Rider Training
-What We Do Right
-What We Could Do Better
-Area's That We Still Need to Address

I'd like to leave legislative items such as mandatory BRC's or tiered licensing out of this for now. Let's just focus on the training in this thread.

The floor is now yours.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:23 pm 
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Quite honestly I've only taken the BRC. I'd love to get back on a bike and take the ERC as soon as I get some more experience under my belt.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:32 pm 
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Good question Storys! And before I go any further, THANK YOU for your dedication in starting riders off on the right foot! :mrgreen:

What was done well at my course: patience. encouragement. trust.

What could have been better: ummm... nothing!

I would like to do an advanced course and ultimately go on a track day. I think I'm finally up for it. I would definitely do some training for the track before heading out there though!

My guess is that people don't do training because of the cost. It is EXPENSIVE getting into riding and the course is another $500 or so to add to the mix.

As for second courses, my guess is that (1) people think they are good enough so they don't need it, or (2) they can't justify the cost. Sad on both accounts, really...

I knew two timid ladies who were trying to get into riding b/c of their spouses, but when they took the course (together) they both failed miserably. I firmly believe that the trainer themselves is a HUGE part in whether a person enjoys the course and/or passes it. Best to research a good course and take it, regardless of the cost!

Keep up the good work!

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:35 pm 
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I've always wanted to take the Advanced Rider Training Course but I never had a "Good enough" bike to do it on (as it involves track) and when I had a good enough bike (my V-Strom) I ended up moving to the UK! (doh!).

I'll have to take a look into it again when I'm back in Calgary.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:45 pm 
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sunshine229 wrote:
And before I go any further, THANK YOU for your dedication in starting riders off on the right foot!

the trainer themselves is a HUGE part in whether a person enjoys the course and/or passes it. Best to research a good course and take it, regardless of the cost!

Keep up the good work!
:sunshine:


I totally agree with Sunshine on the above points.

Whilst I appreciate the spirit of the thread is training not law, I feel I must put my views into context...........

Here in the UK :uk: it is mandatory to take compulsory basic training CBT before taking any 2 wheeler on the road under a provisional (learner) licence, valid for 2 yrs. To ride more than 33cc requires full licence (with some other under 21yr restrictions).

It is very interesting that figures suggest more training = less injury. To be honest I am totally gobsmacked at the lack of regulation & mandatory training in North America!

IF I were a trainer I would prioritise:

1/ observation + hazzard awareness
2/ slow riding control
3/ emergency braking (slowing + stopping)
4/ lifesaver shoulder check

THEN get some sort of interactive video game & take them thru an urban hazzard course with kids/dogs/cagers etc. For good measure you could also do a country course with mud/sheep/tractors etc.

We have to do a push button hazzard awareness course here but it's very basic.

Maybe there is a gap in the market.
Hey Mike....TMC should make one! :lol:

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:51 pm 
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mogster-

Your four points are some of the essentials to our Basic Riding Course. I chuckled with your interactive video game because believe it or not, they have that too. I present to you the honda smart trainer
http://www.motorcycle.com/how-to/honda- ... 86756.html

It will not at all simulate riding a motorcycle, but it definitely simulates hazard awareness.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:06 pm 
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storysunfolding wrote:
I chuckled with your interactive video game because believe it or not, they have that too.


Trust the Japanese to beat me to an idea! :lol:

It will not at all simulate riding a motorcycle, but it definitely simulates hazard awareness.


Totally agree it's not the same as riding or handling a real bike but I shudder at the lack of awareness that some riders (particularly "scooter boys") display over here. :cry:

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:10 pm 
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Storys, don't know if this helps or not, but I'll throw it out here. As you might have read, I recently helped my stepdaughter buy an older Harley Sportster. She had taken the BRC and received her endorsement back in 2009, but hadn't ridden since March 2010. Now she wants to get back into riding. Sportys being as torquey as they are, some kind of "re-entry" training was called for.

I asked her to consider simply retaking the BRC. She didn't want to - not because of pride or anything like that, but because when she took it before, she didn't receive enough individual help and training. Apparently the class was full and had the minimum number of instructors.

So there you have it from a recent consumer. The BRC experience can be enhanced by reducing the class size or increasing the number of instructors. YMMV.

(To finish her tale, I arranged for a friend who is a MSF instructor to give her private coaching. They spent about six hours today, started off on a XT225 in a parking lot, and had her out on a country road (escorted) on the Sportster by the end of the day.)

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Last edited by jstark47 on Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:05 pm 
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Jstark

The MSF pretty much always has a 6:1 student to coach ratio. It can be less if the class doesn't fill, but that's rare. Still, we operate based on an observe, analyze, coach, reinforce technique. If she didn't feel like she received individual help and training then her coach failed on that last premise. It's ridiculously easy to link someone's performance from run to run, even when you weren't the last coach to give that student feedback.

That's actually a struggle we work on internally. From new coaches not used to the model, coaches that never took to the training, or coaches that stayed in coaching for the wrong reasons (eg money or prestige being very common). We address it by pairing new coaches with experienced coaches recognized as mentors, internal QA between coaches and external QA from either the site, state or organization (e.g. MSF). The further you get into training the higher the quality of coach you will tend to find.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:55 pm 
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In Illinois the courses are all free. You put a refundable deposit down but thats it.

The student to instructor ratio is 6 to 1 but a major factor is if there is a Range Aid or not. The more time a instructor spends moving cones and bikes the less time there is for individual instruction.

I've been to three courses. The BRC, IRC and ERC where a range aid was missing from all three. My understanding is MSF will pay for one but here there is a shortage of range aids. If the typical student is not aware of the range aid issue they may not understand why they may not get the individual time they may need. Also some students need more time and some need more than one attempt at success. Some may never get it.

-General Thoughts on Rider Training

If no range aid reduce class size from six to one down to five to one.

More classes and with shorter sessions. Its hard being on the range/classroom all day for two and a half days.

Separate those that can already shift and steer from those that cannot. So you would have a group A and group B.

-What We Do Right

What is covered is what is needed so your hitting all the right notes.

-What We Could Do Better

I've had one instructor that was older (near 70) and clearly was not doing it for personal interest or passion. The other instructor taught all the classroom and gave all range instruction. He just wore the shirt and helped keep stats during eval time. I don't know how to keep instuctors that no longer do it for passion out and only do it for some $$$.

In my area there are no off road MSF or on the road courses which would be great.

-Area's That We Still Need to Address

States that do not assist in the cost of safety is a problem. So riders are less likely to get any training that is not manditory due to the cost. I see the value in my life and would have no problem making the $500 investment in my life but alot of people don't see it that way.

So I think thats its. In Illinois we have it great with the support of the state for the cost of it all. For students out there remember that no Range Aid means less time for you and its not the instructors falt. It's the next layer beyond the instructor that makes that a priority or not.

Thats my 2 cents.

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