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That's Mrs. Hawker 2U!
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The Value of a Beginner Rider's Course (MSF)

Do you remember Driver’s Education? For me it seems like two lifetimes ago but I can still remember getting behind the wheel of a car for the first time and trying to grasp the concepts of controlling speed and direction. Just that overloaded my senses, never mind doing other things like checking the rearview mirror or speedometer. Other controls were hard to use too, I think my mom’s head hit the dashboard a few times before I figured out I didn’t have to slam the brake pedal to the floor. Oncoming traffic was petrifying and I weaved the car back and forth down the road. The thought of driving on the freeway scared the living daylights out of me. Then again, I was only 16 years old; I was inexperienced at everything.

Imagine for a moment there is no such thing as driver’s education, only an age requirement. What would the morning commute be like if the roads were clogged with 16 year old kids driving mom’s Suburban to school without any training? Do you think fatalities would rise? The answer is obvious, unnecessary deaths and injuries would be the result. I find it odd that we require our children to take driver’s education in order to get behind the wheel of a car but on the spur of the moment, with no training at all, anyone can decide to buy a motorcycle and take off down the road. It seems silly to me.

Time has passed and I am now an experienced driver. I can drive cars very well and love nothing more than to slide a rear wheel drive car through a smooth sweeping turn. I can do anything in a car. I am fearless and can hold a car right there on the edge of control and bring it back safely. Considering how well I can drive a car riding a motorcycle should be easy for me, right? How many people do you know who think the same thing? I’m willing to bet there are a lot. I’m also willing to bet most of these people are not talented drivers - at least not as talented as they think. Most are average at best but in their own minds they are the best who ever sat behind a wheel and they absolutely know that their “skill” will transfer right over to a motorcycle. The number of uneducated people hopping onto motorcycles is probably staggering if not downright scary, what is worse is that many of them are “100 percent legal.”

I have talked with many motorcyclists who have never even attempted to get their motorcycle endorsement. The game goes something like this: “I want to ride a motorcycle but do not believe I can pass the DMV test. So I’ll get a temporary license to practice.” They sit down, take a simple written test and walk away with a learner’s permit. All of a sudden they have the blessing of the state to ride a motorcycle. This cycle can repeat itself FOR YEARS. Once the temporary license expires, instead of taking the full test, including the riding portion, or taking an MSF course, these people simply renew their temp licenses and ride regardless of the risk.

As I earlier mentioned what these people are doing is 100 percent legal, but it is not 100 percent smart. Anyone choosing to ride motorcycles should take a basic rider education course. These classes don’t usually cost very much to attend and the information a new rider receives could prove to be worth far more in the long run. Looking at it from a cost perspective, the information gleaned from a class that costs less than $100 could save many hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repair costs if the rider avoids just one accident. That’s only counting money, when you factor in the value of a human life -possibly your own- the return on this one simple investment in education pays a huge dividend.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) has developed a comprehensive rider’s education course to promote safety and to teach new riders to proper riding technique. Their website states:

“The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is the leader in championing the safety of motorcyclists by:
• Developing and maintaining a high quality, comprehensive, research-based Rider Education and Training System (MSF RETS) and its individual curriculum products.
• Establishing national trainer and site certification standards and providing technical assistance for training and licensing programs.
• Promoting model or enabling legislation to create state-funded rider training programs.
• Actively participating in government relations, research and public awareness
• Partnering with other motorcycling and public organizations to make the nation's streets and highways safer for motorcyclists.
The MSF does not deal with motorcycle design or manufacture; its programs focus on the motorcycle operator.” (http://www.msf-usa.org/index_new.cf...out the MSF)

I think everyone needs to stop and think about the education of new riders. MSF, or any basic rider’s course, benefits us all and we should help all new riders find their way into one of these courses. As advocates of motorcycling we have the responsibility to show these people more than just the right way to ride and we must also show them the right way to LEARN how to ride. The next time a friend of yours comes up to you and says “Hey! I want to ride motorcycles just like you!” make sure the first place you point them is an MSF course.

1. www.msf-usa.org/
 

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Get on the road with me BB.... you'll know the answer to your inital thought about getting on the road with people with no driving schooling :lol Wasnt required when I started...

Maybe thats why I got chased by the cops so much when I was a kid... LOLz I'd be home long enough to get the garage closed before they arrived... I always forgot they knew where I lived a few seconds after they saw my lisence plate! :lol
 

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not only is it a good diea for safety.. my class let you ride the bikes for the training.. there were 2 people that basicaly said "nope, not for me".. much esier to spend the $150 on the class and realize its not for you, then to go out and buy a bike and realize it
 

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I took the MSF course after I already had my license and had been riding for a few months. Let me tell you that I learned things in that class that I never would have learned on my own. And I spend considerable time on the forums and reading books such as Proficient Motorcycling. An experienced set of eyes looking at your riding technique and criticizing it helps you improved A LOT. In the end, I only lost 1 point on the skills evaluation, so I was proud of myself. But it taught me that I was not nearly as good a rider as I thought I was originally. Next up, the Expericened Rider Course!

The best part? In New Jersey, we can take the courses for free through the state sponsored program!
 
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