What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyond)

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What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyond)

Unread post by storysunfolding » Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:22 pm

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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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by Wrider » Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:23 pm

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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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by sunshine229 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:32 pm

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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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by totalmotorcycle » Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:35 pm

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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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by mogster » Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:45 pm

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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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by storysunfolding » Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:51 pm

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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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by mogster » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:06 pm

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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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by jstark47 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:10 pm

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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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by storysunfolding » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:05 pm

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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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by flw » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:55 pm

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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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by Grey Thumper » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:26 pm

It's debatable if this is appropriate to a BRC-type course, but I would've appreciated some sort of module on dealing with a sudden loss of traction. Since the class is in a completely controlled environment, it would've been nice to be taught how to deal with, say, a slight slip due to an oil spill, sand, whatever. It's an important skill that you can't practise on your own outside the class, unlike, say, U-turns, swerves, or braking.

PS, to clarify, I didn't take a US MSF BRC. I took a Japanese equivalent, which generally has the same content, with a few small differences.
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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by flw » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:37 am

In my state of Illinois in the U.S. in the BRC, they do have your ride over lumbar/wood as a obsticle . This is not total traction loss but I do understand your point.

My opinion is that truely new riders need to practice keeping the rubber down and some have a difficult time with it but real traction loss maybe a more intermediate level skill. That said its not addressed there or in the ERC either here. I would like to practice in a controlled environment the traction loss spoken of but insurance issues may make that impossible.

So I agree that it should be covered somewhere but is not at this time to the best of my knowledge.
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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by Grey Thumper » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:56 am

True. Come to think of it, on a regular ride, you're more likely to need to ride over an obstacle than deal with a loss of traction. Both are skills that you need even as a new rider, and both are too dangerous to practise on your own, without any professional supervision. And you're right, chances are, the risks of a lawsuit are too high, and the skills needed are too complex, for this to put in a beginner's course. It might take a whole day to teach that module alone :lol:
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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by storysunfolding » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:10 am

Grey

For traction management google cornerspin. You'll love it. "if you're not falling, you're not learning"
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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by hartley1 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:29 pm

this has been great and good thing that you helping to them who really want to learn riding, here is some info that might help you, as ordinary people, the things we use may define what type of personality we have. If we like simple and plain stuff, we can be have the image of being an shy and passive because we would not dare to stand out in the crowd – it somehow shows that you like to seen as simple like everyone else.
But if you are the type who delights on novelty and up to date stuff, you can be perceived as fashionable and daring. However, people’s perception of you might not always be who you really are.
In motorcycling, somehow, motorcycle accessories that bikers use also define what kind of rider they can be in the perception of people who see on your rides and trips. You choice of motorcycle apparel and accessories – like your jackets, chaps, shoes, gloves, glasses, bags and wireless devices - can have something to do with your preferences and naturally your personality. So in choosing your apparel and accessories, it is always nice to be wise – bearing in mind not only style and fashion but first and foremost your safety and protection.motorcycles are just your vehicle to take you wherever you want to go and how fast or slow you want to get there. If the motorcycle parts all fit and work together, then you can be sure of a sound and safe trip. However, how you look when you ride and how you want those who see you in your motorcycle perceive you as a person is your own personal choice. There is always a better way to make yourself look nice and admirable with you motorcycles. It is just a matter of knowing the right accessory for the right place and time. For sure, there won’t be a doubt that you can become a winner in your own right, though you are not competing, when your get up defines perfectly just the way you want.


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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by cameron456 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:43 pm

I am really inspired by you... good to know you mate :)

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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by Grey Thumper » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:31 am

storysunfolding wrote:Grey

For traction management google cornerspin. You'll love it. "if you're not falling, you're not learning"
Yep I did, sounds like awesome fun! I really should get around to getting a dirtbike or small cc dual sport. Need to learn how to enjoy some slippin' and slidin'.
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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by havegunjoe » Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:27 pm

My wife and I took the MSF course together and I guess overall we enjoyed it. I think she may have had a better experience had it been a women only class perhaps. I have no desire to take any kind of a racing class, it just doesn’t appeal to me. We have talked about taking the next step in classes but time is precious in the summer months. Good instructors are everything IMHO. I don’t care how much you know if you can’t teach it in a manner that is non-threatening to the novice student the class is worthless.
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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by storysunfolding » Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:55 pm

Havegunjoe-

There are a plethora of non-race classes. the MSF Basic Rider Course 2 (formerly the ERC) on your own bike, Lee Parks Total Control, the MSF Bike Bonding Class (Police Style low speed manuevers) etc.

I think your wife was better off not being in a ladies only class. In my experience the people that these cater too care more about their perceived image than they do about learning to ride. From what I've gathered from friends around the country is that they have abnormally high failure rates.
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Re: What are your thoughts on rider education? (MSF or beyon

Unread post by RockBottom » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:50 am

I've taken the BRC and the ERC three times. I know I need to move on to something like the Lee Parks course, but the BRC/ERC is free in my state.

I guess my only frustration with the ERC was that there seems to be significant variation among coaches. Last summer, I took it for the second time and to my shock, failed (I had over 40K miles under my belt at that point). I took it three weeks later in the rain with different coaches and got a perfect score.

I would also add that in addition to periodic formal training, I'm a big advocate of regular practice, even for experienced riders. At a minimum, I find a deserted road and practice panic stops and swerves every week.
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