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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the WIKIPEDIA page titled "Motorcycle Training, I found what appeared to me to be interesting. This would be old news to some, new information to me. What I think is interesting is the comparison this page article reports between the conclusion of the HURT report (1981) and the conclusion of the MAIDS report (1999) as far as industry training and safety.

The conclusion of the HURT report is that the motorcycle rider course as conducted by the MSF should be prerequisite/corequisite to licensing a motorcycle in traffic. Opposed or counter to that is the MAIDS report conclusion that in areas that rider training is in general mandatory, they were unable to find conclusive evidence that riders without training were move likely to be involved in accidents! That conclusion may be based on the number of untrained to be interviewed. The MAIDS reported conclusion is more in line with other reports and data I have read by accident analysis authorities, that despite the MSF BRC being the most predominate and accepted form of license training in the US, accident data doesn't support it being that effective to reduce fatalities and/or accident injuries involving motorcyclist.

I haven't as yet confirmed the accuracy of the WikiPedia page report of the conclusion of the MAIDS Report, but will have access to the Executive Summary soon, if for nothing else other than my own satisfaction. At this point I tend to believe it. It is interesting to me, as so often I have heard/read that the training available/mandatory in Europe is so superior to ours making it safer for motorcyclist across the pond and somehow they are superior riders to those of us in the US.

My thought posting this isn't to start another web based war between Europe and the US, rather a discussion between motorcyclist and exchange opinions/information they may want to contribute (although I'm aware this thread could go south quickly!!).

It's interesting that sometimes methods and techniques (as in training) sometimes take on mythical status because of popularity. Such is it with the controversy of line splitting. Although not the only reason, but most often I hear/read the proponents for lane splitting sight the reduction of the most often occurring accidents between between motorbikes and cages being the motorbike is rear ended by cages, yet the data revells that more ofthen that not it is the motorcyclist who rear ends a cage! I'm neither pro or con lane splitting. If I lived or rode in California or Oregon, I would most likely lane split/lane share when it was legal and beneficial to me (or in Arizona if they pass lane splitting this year, although not likely). If it's not legal I avoid it, although have done it a few times when I felt unsafe in my road position. Just referencing what I think is a myth.


WikiPedia - Motorcycle Training
 

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I am not an expert on European requirements but here is what I remember from conversation with my friends over in England.

You have to take mandatory training with an instructor and it is a lot more than 2 days. This is after you have passed the written test. Once the instructor thinks you are ready you can take your test. This is for a limited cc/horse power bike. There is a time period on this size bike you can take the test for a larger bike.

I am sure I have left some steps out.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There is something bothering me about the WikiPedia page I linked above. It reports the MAIDS Report was done in Europe were rider training is both widely available and generally mandatory. It also references the initial MAIDS Report conducted in 1999. That report included samples from France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain.

For members that are familiar with these countries, is/are there places where training is not mandatory? This would also include scooters, which are included in the 1999 report.
 

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Here's my take. I think mc training by a standard training plan is satisfactory in showing basic moves in riding. It does not show a student the actual experience needed to survive in real life situations. A good feature of the training is to weed out the student who will never actually get the nerve to start riding for himself for real. That's one good. Another good is that for all those who move on to the highway, they will have the fundamental knowledge of what the controls do.

Case in point: In one ATV class I conducted (mind you, this isn't motorcycle, but many of the controls and movements are similar) with 15 young Marines, only one had ever driven a stick shift car and knew anything about using a clutch and a transmission. I had to teach that before we could even move off the starting line. Then one kid (a relative term) thought you could only stop if you dragged your feet! Another time I had a student so afraid of moving that she would not go more than 2 mph and was terrified of the movement. If on a bike, some of these students could be weeded out for their own safety.

I don't know how to arrange it, but I should think a better way to "learn road basics" after a class would be to study videos and, in addition, ride passenger with an experienced instructor. Then get out and ride single with an instructor following and critiquing.

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Here's my take on mandatory training if the reason for that training is for safety. They are training the wrong people. What they need for motorcycle safety training is one that requires all licensees to take a motorcycle awareness class. That's strictly for motorcycle safety. But you still have a motorcycle training class, that should strictly be for motorcycle handling. Safety is just awareness. Handling is totally different but is also embedded awareness. Make sense?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here's my take on mandatory training if the reason for that training is for safety. They are training the wrong people. What they need for motorcycle safety training is one that requires all licensees to take a motorcycle awareness class. That's strictly for motorcycle safety. But you still have a motorcycle training class, that should strictly be for motorcycle handling. Safety is just awareness. Handling is totally different but is also embedded awareness. Make sense?
So, motorcycle training should be two fold. You would like to see motorcycle training to teach the motorcyclist how to avoid crashing into anything, and also motorcyclist training for all other operators how to avoid them crashing into motorcyclist.

I think their are states that have added motorcyclist awareness to their auto driving training, but I doubt that is very extensive or adequate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If on a bike, some of these students could be weeded out for their own safety.
I would assume some of these students would not have enrolled in a 2 wheel class, but I get your valuable point. Thank You.
 

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So, motorcycle training should be two fold. You would like to see motorcycle training to teach the motorcyclist how to avoid crashing into anything, and also motorcyclist training for all other operators how to avoid them crashing into motorcyclist.

I think their are states that have added motorcyclist awareness to their auto driving training, but I doubt that is very extensive or adequate.
You mean I get to say what will happen with motorcycle training. Cool. Then make everyone go through the safety class before getting their regular license and they can only get that after 3 months of actual street riding. Bet everyone is more aware of motorcycles after that. Now make that happen. No amount of public service announcements will make people actually pay attention. They have far more important things than that on their minds. Nope, we as motorcyclists have to be the ones responsible for our own safety. I do however think exaggerated weave to break your image out from the background should be considered as a means to of potential bring the number of crashes down and that could be taught in a safety class for motorcyclists.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@hogcowboy I'm a bit confused as to your reference of "regular license" and "safety class", can you explain it to me again?
 

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I have a question concerning MC classes. Do the instructors pound into the heads of these new riders how dangerous riding is? Do they tell the students that all they are learning is how to start and stop, and what the controls are? Do they try and weed out students that may pass the course, but are actually future 'road kill'?

I'm kind of surprised that there isn't much of a difference between training and non training as far as accidents go. Personally, I've always thought that a MC course would instill a sense of 'false' confidence in a new rider, and they would promptly go out and injure themselves.

Thanks, Eagle Six, for opening my eyes.
 

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@hogcowboy I'm a bit confused as to your reference of "regular license" and "safety class", can you explain it to me again?
Since there is only the one kind of safety class then that assumes motorcycle which you must be endorsed for on a regular license. That make it clearer?
 

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As with many things, a basic licence is required to get started. Advanced training is optional. Some care is required to teach an advanced skill. Crashes happen. I wanted to emphasize riding in loose footings ( dirt ) to get the feel of the bike moving around. Hard breaking in the dirt, with resulting drops, riding over teeter totters, those annoying cones, and high speed stopping. Starting at 30, moving up to 60. They do this at the advanced courses here. Other than bike handling skills, traffic awareness is the most critical, IMO. But too many kids will not listen. Nothing changes. Having big brother add safety features will not fix that problem.

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I've been watching videos made by Dan Dan the Fireman (DanDanTheFireman). He's all about safety, and analyses videos of crashes and near misses sent in to him to point out what the rider did right and/or wrong.

Thinking back to last year when I took the Basic Riding Skills for Returning Riders class (ODPS | Motorcycle Ohio), the classroom part had quite a bit of emphasis on situational awareness and techniques for developing it and maintaining it. I think one or two of Dan's videos would have been a great addition to that class.

I don't have any statistics for how many licensed motorcycle riders in Ohio take the basic class vs. just going to the BMV and taking the test (passing the class gives you a waiver and allows you to just go the the BMV and get your license). But at least those riders who take the class would have some real training, and also become aware of the additional resources out there on the Internet.

Of course, there are always going to be those riders who are convinced they don't need any training and will just go out and ride recklessly and endanger themselves and others. I suppose the only solution (or at least one solution) would be to make a training class a mandatory requirement to getting a motorcycle license, and have that training and the license test include safe riding and situational awareness topics. If you can't prove that you know how to spot and avoid hazards, you don't get a license.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have a question concerning MC classes. Do the instructors pound into the heads of these new riders how dangerous riding is? Do they tell the students that all they are learning is how to start and stop, and what the controls are? Do they try and weed out students that may pass the course, but are actually future 'road kill'?

I'm kind of surprised that there isn't much of a difference between training and non training as far as accidents go. Personally, I've always thought that a MC course would instill a sense of 'false' confidence in a new rider, and they would promptly go out and injure themselves.

Thanks, Eagle Six, for opening my eyes.
I can only comment from my experience as a student. I have attended 6-7 MSF courses. One was the BRC and the others were a combination of intermediate and advanced and dirt bike. The BRC I did not need to get my endorsement, when I started riding there was no such thing, I attended to spy of the MSF instructional process.

And I never saw any instructor at an MSF course who, "pound into the heads" how dangerous it is. I did see and hear instructors both in the classroom and on the range inform students of the dangers and hazards. I also witnessed instructors demeaning students, but that is another issue for a different thread.

It is common both during the classes I attended and I have heard this online during discussions that MSF instructors will pass a student if they fulfill the minimum requirements, and if the instructor feels they are marginal may take the student aside and recommend additional training, but they are pretty much set to pass those that reach the minimums even if they feel the student is questionable. It is also common that instructors online will not admit to that, but I have seen it. There is most likely in any given group of 100 students there are going to be a percentage that I would not pass even if they did meet the minimum, but I'm not an MSF instructor and not bound by the MSF process. I also witnessed MSF instructors at the end, just before handing out the certificates, advise students that they are now trained in the context of the class, continue to practice and approach street riding with caution and respect, or words to those effects..

On the other side of the coin....although there are probably a certain small percentage of riders that leave with their endorsement that have "a sense of 'false' confidence", I have never witnessed this from those new riders. Actually they still showed a concern for riding in traffic and at least expressed their desire to return for more training. The ones I did see that were cocky were the types that learned on their own on the street with or without a mentor, who thought they still know more than the rest of us, and/or only took the class because it was an easy way to get the endorsement, they wanted a discount on insurance, or their employer insisted.
 

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Thanks, Six for the reply. Like you, I never went thru the course. They didn't exist when I started riding. My next door neighbor decided to start riding a few years ago. He bought a Harley and enrolled in the basic MSC. He passed the class, got his endorsement, and figured he was good to go. He came by to tell me all that he learned. As he was telling me everything, he mentioned 'counter steering'. I interrupted and said 'What's that'? No need to go into the whole discussion, but the bottom line was that he didn't know how I had survived 60 years of bike riding without knowing or practicing counter steering. Guess I'm an idiot for not knowing proper terminology for what comes natural.

Anyway, He stripped his bike down to make it his own, like any biker would do. Different exhaust, seat, and bars. The handlebars were the big issue for me. Although the Ape hangers were above his shoulders, he had the bars tilted forward of his front forks. It's a matter of opinion here, but I told him that by placing the bars like that, he would lose his 'feel' for the road in the twisties,and be cumbersome while riding slow. Now I do not know if that was a factor or not, but he has fallen down three times that he's told me about. He also hasn't ridden the bike in over two years.

I know that it is a personal preference on how to set up your bike, but if he is an example of a graduating class, I can't see the point.

As a side note.....His son came by and asked me to teach him how to ride, which I did. He's doing fine, BTW.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I know that it is a personal preference on how to set up your bike, but if he is an example of a graduating class, I can't see the point.
I can understand how you feel. I doubt he learned in his class to modify his bike or position his handlebars. I'm also not aware of how or why he fell down three times. We know there are exception, perhaps he is one. I don't feel the basic riding classes of the MSF or other conducted in the various states is the best that the industry could offer, but it is in my opinion the best available and of value to most that take it. And although we grew up without formal training, there is a lot of excellent training available to us outside of the MSF.
 

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One reason for the unexpected result is that Hurt investigated crashes in LA County 1976-1977, when very little training was available (publication wasn't until 1981, but that's another story). Of the 808 crash-involved riders whose training experience was reported (out of 900 total crashers), a vast majority of 743 reported either "self-taught" or "friends-family". Just 41 reported "school-club M/C course" which MIGHT have included a few MSF trainees, since that organization had then been in business for a few years, but not many. Mandatory training in California didn't begin until 1987, and then only for riders under age 18.

To make matters worse for Hurt's conclusion about training (FWIW, I greatly respect his work and most of his conclusions, but not on training), the exposure sample--non-crashers representative of the population that includes the crashes--wasn't done until 1978-1980. At that time MSF class availability was growing fast. So Hurt's comparison between crash and exposure samples is skewed to favor training.

Another reason for the Hurt/MAIDS disparity is that MAIDS crashers were older and more experienced than Hurt's. Nearly 80% of crashers had been riding for at least one year, and over 30% for 8 years or more. It is my opinion that training can benefit the new rider by teaching basic skills to make the thing turn and stop, but it is experience that teaches him how to avoid troublesome situations to begin with.

Here's something else to think about. Rider education teaches us how to make the thing go, stop, and turn. But after that, it's up to you. YOU decide where, when, and how to ride. Progression to more difficult roads and situations is a matter of personal confidence and risk aversiveness. My opinion is that a "sensible" rate of progression cannot be taught. Dude's gonna do what he's gonna do. Therefore, correlation between training and crash risk--after the initial period of learning basic maneuvering--will be less than expected. Bolder riders will be at higher risk, more conservative riders will be at less risk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Experience is often times a hard way to learn. Quality training is neither lost on the youth or the elders, realizing there are exceptions in every age group. In reference to the OP, the original MAIDS report is no longer available, they have only posted for download the gen 2 update. I cannot find any reference on the MAIDS website that would support the statement made on the WikiPedia page I linked as to, "Opposed or counter to that is the MAIDS report conclusion that in areas that rider training is in general mandatory, they were unable to find conclusive evidence that riders without training were move likely to be involved in accidents ". Without that confirmation I find it hard to believe that was a conclusion made by MAIDS, rather the person writing the WikiPedia page.
 

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IMHO, experience is the ONLY way to learn how to ride a motorcycle competently on the street. MSF teaches you how to stop and turn--crucial skills, of course. Jerry Palladino teaches incredible low-speed maneuvering skill. Keith Code et al. teach you how to corner fast. But the more subtle skills of reading traffic and the roadway, of anticipating problems and proactively avoiding them are skills we get by going out and riding. That's how you learned. That's how I learned. I am not aware of any formal training regimen that accomplishes or even attempts that.

Differences between the original MAIDS report and version 2.0 are in presentation. It's the same crash and exposure data. In 2.0, you will find the training data starting at the bottom of page 89. According to Table 7.7 on page 90, 40.1% of crashers and 48.4% of riders in the population had NO training. That means they found a small benefit in NOT being trained: Among crashers, more had received training than the non-crash population, though that may not be a statistically significant difference (the numbers should be adjusted for the "unknowns" but that does not change my basic conclusion).

I know it's counterintuitive that training does not make riders safer. But read the last paragraph of previous post again. Motorcyclists crash more often due to poor judgment than lack of basic skill. And judgment is learned on the street, not in the classroom or on the range.

Hurt report is here (PDF).
MAIDS report is here (PDF) (free registration may be required--FYI, they've never spammed me)

Pardon me a sec while I go off about a pet moto-peeve. I sometimes read in social media and forums how we clueless American hicks need sophisticated motorcycle training. You know, like the Europeans. I hear this even from experienced old guys who, like me, began riding without the benefit of training. They've long been licensed and are not worried about a retroactive requirement, yet they think noobs should go through lengthy, expensive formal training and then advance in tiers, starting with a 250 they ride around their neighborhood for a few years, before getting real motorcycle.

Well, the MAIDS results don't seem to support the idea that European training is better than no training at all. Furthermore, controlled studies focused on training and licensing effectiveness don't support the idea that such requirements reduce crash risk either. So, until they can prove with a controlled study that their training proposal reduces crash risk without imposing undue costs and delays on prospective riders, I reject it.
 

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IMHO, experience is the ONLY way to learn how to ride a motorcycle competently on the street. MSF teaches you how to stop and turn--crucial skills, of course. Jerry Palladino teaches incredible low-speed maneuvering skill. Keith Code et al. teach you how to corner fast. But the more subtle skills of reading traffic and the roadway, of anticipating problems and proactively avoiding them are skills we get by going out and riding. That's how you learned. That's how I learned. I am not aware of any formal training regimen that accomplishes or even attempts that.
Although not formal training, the videos produced by Dan Dan the Fireman (look him up on Youtube) do a good job of teaching these awareness and avoidance skills.
 
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