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Old 09-26-2012, 06:14 AM   #166
JimVonBaden
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Originally Posted by dwoodward View Post
And if you're not, ask yourself if you could be. The reason the not-so-good ones are out there is that there's a need, and nobody else is trying to fill it.
Good point!

Unfortunately it literally takes a month of weekends to get certified, there are no other ways in VA, and then you are on the hook for at least one weekend a month for the season, often more. That is a tough call for people with families, or with work commitmitment.

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Old 09-26-2012, 07:01 AM   #167
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Originally Posted by JimVonBaden View Post
Good point!

Unfortunately it literally takes a month of weekends to get certified, there are no other ways in VA, and then you are on the hook for at least one weekend a month for the season, often more. That is a tough call for people with families, or with work commitmitment.

Jim
Yup, it certainly eats up one's time. Makes you miss tech days at JVB's house .

I have seen some talking points in this thread that, quite frankly, surprise me: fine folks wishing we were a little more like the Europeans in regards to licensing. Hogwash, I say. I am an immigrant from Germany, and when I moved here, it cost me $4.50 to get my driver's license, whereas as in Germany it would have cost me close to $1500.00. At that point in my life, that was "Unobtainium". Are my German family members and friends better drivers than I am? Probably not. I dare say it is attitude. I understand the difference between privilege and right, and I am quite aware of the responsibility I have as a motorist.

Let me give an example. A few classes ago, I had a rider lament that gravel in a corner caused him to crash. I, of course, gently disagreed with him. Whose responsibility is it to look through a corner, not only for the path of travel, but also to check for hazards? Whose responsibility is it to ride with "reserve ability" in terrain that is not within one's purview of control? This particular rider was a fair rider. Unfortunately, he crashed because he felt a bit "entitled" for a clean surface. "How dare that gravel be there!?!?" So, the challenge with him, as with most of my students, is to work on their attitude. The physical skills necessary to ride a motorcycle are not that difficult (though I have had students who simply could not), but the mental aspect of our hobby is. Attitude is everything.

Is the BRC intended to teach how to ride a bike, or is it intended to provide a solid foundation of the basics with an eye on a safety minded attitude? I say it is the second, but conducted at a level that allows a newbie to participate.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:21 AM   #168
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I hope that my particular issues did not detract from the fact that I think the MSF BRC is an excellent class for new to the sport riders.

The methods they teach are an excellent intro to the "Basics" of riding a motorcycle. I never took issue with the techniques being taught.

I actually think that this class should be mandatory for receiving the motorcycle endorsement on your license for the first time. I think it would serve many people a great service to go actually ride a bike before purchasing one of your own.

My lovely wife, a TRUE beginner, asked me to teach her to ride. I deferred because I knew that that would probably not be the best idea. She took the BRC, passed, got her class M endorsement, and bought her own bike. It did not take her very long at all to come to the realization that she was not able to accept the risk of riding on the street.

My issues were strictly a personality conflict between myself and one of the instructors. Some people are just not destined to get along. I showed up for the class portion, on my sportbike, in full gear. The instrutor in question was on a cruiser with the typical jacket and jeans attire. First comment made to me was "A little hot for leathers isn't it?". Which I replied "Better hot than rashed". Snotty look ensued. And this interaction followed it's downward course throughout the weekend.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:24 AM   #169
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I guess I'm confused about people thinking the MSF class isn't for total beginners. When I signed up, my previous experience was a Honda 50 from 30+ years previous. I wasn't even sure I'd like motorcycling. But the MSF course provided bikes (since many in the class didn't own one), helmets and gloves, provided a safe place to learn (parking lot blocked to other traffic), and taught basic skills. Why provide bikes if you aren't gearing it to noobs?

There was a guy in the class who had ridden quite a bit. I'm thinking he was there to get the DMV waiver, because he apparently wasn't there to learn as he knew it all already. I'm sure he could have passed the DMV test on his own, but he was unwilling to accept anything new. Countersteering was completely crazy to him.

If it hadn't been for the Basic Rider Course giving a bike to ride, equipment, a place to ride, and good instruction, I wouldn't be riding now 5 years and 25K miles later. Like many others, there simply was no other place to "learn to ride" from scratch. Yes, I think more advanced riders can also get something out of the class if they're willing to sit through the remedial stuff and be willing to learn that some of their techniques may actually be wrong, regardless of how many years they have been doing it.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:34 AM   #170
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Originally Posted by dbuzz View Post
That's the silliest argument I have read so far

Exactly where would you like these people with "zero experience" to go to learn to ride??? To a mate that will show them how they've been doing it for 35years and can show them how to 'lay 'er down'???

Of course they are pre-license courses!! ... why else would someone (for the most part) do a BRC unless they wanted to ride on the public road?

FWIW people do not get booted from courses here ... but they may get stopped for that day and sent to remedial class.
It seems MSF suffers from regional differences in the USA, not to mention the world...

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Old 09-26-2012, 07:36 AM   #171
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I've paid for my sons to take it and I went along, showing up on various large touring bikes with the son on back. I actually took the course with the first son to see where I could learn something. It was definitely geared to new, never been in the front seat of a bike folks. Clutch work, steering, coordinated brake work and rider position were stressed and tested. The RC put me on the newest bike in the fleet, a Nighthawk 250. Yeah, I scraped pegs and stuff, but also was the lead rider for all the maneuvers. Our RC was demoing them on his HD ElectraGlide to make a point on how easy it really was IF you followed their direction.

They let me take my GL1800 on the course after class was over and I had a riot walking that big pig in slow course mode. Some of the students that stuck around to BS and socialize got a chance to watch. We had some fun conversations. All in all, I'd recommend it for any n00b rider looking to learn the right way. Just keep your mind open, follow direction and be willing to withstand some abuse if you're unable to comprehend the spoken word.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:41 AM   #172
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[QUOTE=Butters;19683295]
If it hadn't been for the Basic Rider Course giving a bike to ride, equipment, a place to ride, and good instruction, I wouldn't be riding now 5 years and 25K miles later. Like many others, there simply was no other place to "learn to ride" from scratch. QUOTE]


Absolutely agree with the above. The BRC is a great, and relatively inexpensive, way to find out if one is interested in pursuing motorcycling. Nothing like providing folks with information, and adults making choices of their own! Matter of fact, two daughters are taking the class this coming weekend to see if they want to go down the path of being bikers. And yes, I am the coach.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:48 AM   #173
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Originally Posted by rocker59 View Post
It seems MSF suffers from regional differences in the USA, not to mention the world...

Understand what the MSF is- or what it isn't.

DISCLAIMER: I am not an Motorcycle Safety Foundation employee, RiderCoach, or otherwise associated with the MSF. My current involvement with motorcycle safety training is through a program that does not use MSF curricula or materials, and in a state where MSF training certificates are not accepted for license waiver. I may be wrong on a number of details, but I doubt I'm far off the mark in general aspects.

IT IS a not-for-profit organization that produces training curricula and materials to support that. In most states, there is a state coordinator's office that deals with oversight of training providers and trains new RiderCoaches. People from that office might get out to visit a particular training site once or twice a year- and of course, when an RC sees them coming, they toe the line.

IT IS NOT, for the most part, "your local training provider". The number of people who teach a class and get a paycheck for it that says "MSF" at the top is very, very small. It's possible that even regular MSF employees aren't being paid by MSF if they're teaching a class.

IT IS NOT an international organization.

IT IS NOT a governmental organization.

Saying the MSF is responsible for someone's bad experience is like saying the FBI academy is responsible for an Ohio cop shooting a drunk rider at a traffic stop. Sure, they're both teaching cops (roughly) the same skills, procedures, and laws to be enforced, but the dots, they do not connect.

Dismissal policy, which is where this thread started, isn't set by MSF. It might be set by the state, but more likely by the local provider. If John RiderCoach doesn't want his trarining fleet beat up, he's going to tell his people to send someone home as soon as they think there's a chance the student will crash. Or after the first, second, etc.

Refund policy likewise. If mrs6gun called the MSF main office and demanded a refund for her class, there is not a thing they can do. Odds are good that the RCs she dealt with are nothing more to MSF than a certification number, expiration date, and name. The paycheck those RCs got came from the HD dealereship where she took the class.

So yeah, there's a lot of different shit going on that everyone wants to blame on MSF, but really lies closer to the students than most people want to understand.

Note that this is how things were set up with the MSF's help in many states, by design, to minimize how much a state had to invest to get training off the ground.

In very few states, and onlly recently, the MSF oversees training (runs the coordinator's office and/or has a primary contract with the state to manage training).

In a few other states, there is a single, state-wide organization. While this approach (IMHO) gives better customer service and consistency, it's then villified by people because it's a monopoly. Can't win for trying.

Then there's Oregon and Idaho, but we don't talk about them.

dwoodward screwed with this post 09-26-2012 at 09:09 AM Reason: further refinement, disclaimer
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:00 AM   #174
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Originally Posted by rocker59 View Post
"Basic", "Beginners", whatever. I still say it should be called "pre-licensing class", because that's effectively what it is...

From thier site:

Learning-to-Ride RiderCourses are a good starting point for most people who have already made the decision that motorcycling may enhance the quality of their life and want to get started the best possible way. This series provides the basic mental and physical skills for riding.

Basic RiderCourse (BRC)
The best place for a new rider to start once they've made the decision to ride. Successful completion of this course and its knowledge and skill tests, which consists of approximately five hours of classroom and 10 hours of on-cycle instruction (conducted over two or three sessions), may serve as a license test waiver program in some states. Motorcycles and helmets are provided for your use during the course.

http://msf-usa.org/index_new.cfm?pag...20RiderCourses
You put emphasis on the "after the decision" has been made as a way to buttress your position, but it really doesn't do that. Who rides BEFORE they've decided to ride? Nobody.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:04 AM   #175
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Originally Posted by hooliken View Post
My issues were strictly a personality conflict between myself and one of the instructors. Some people are just not destined to get along. I showed up for the class portion, on my sportbike, in full gear. The instrutor in question was on a cruiser with the typical jacket and jeans attire. First comment made to me was "A little hot for leathers isn't it?". Which I replied "Better hot than rashed". Snotty look ensued. And this interaction followed it's downward course throughout the weekend.
See, this is a different spin on your original post.

Personally, if I had an instructor say "a little hot for leathers" to a student within my earshot, they'd be having an uncomfortable discussion about their future as an instructor with the program's training manager first thing Monday morning. Sooner, if I thought I could get someone to cover their assignment.

That's not saying I'm not going to point out you could have tried doing what she was asking you to do.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:05 AM   #176
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Look. I know the MSF is a good thing.

I just think it's Bullshit that they take money from people with zero experience, then boot 'em in the first hour or two of the riding part.

If a customer calls to sign up and says they have zero experience, they should be turned away. If they say they want to take the BRC "to learn how to ride", they should be turned away.

I've seen/heard enough stories, and experienced one myself, to know that BRC is not for beginners, and beginners should be advised to learn how to ride, then come back for the BRC.

Please not the "get a dirtbike and learn to ride in the dirt" theme again. Dirt is NOT as readily accessible as street. A person has to have a place to legally ride in the dirt, a vehicle which can transport a dirt bike and the strength to load and unload the bike.

It sounds to me that the need is there for a Pre-BRC, one which doesn't provide students with either a waiver for the road test or a break on insurance.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:19 AM   #177
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Please not the "get a dirtbike and learn to ride in the dirt" theme again. Dirt is NOT as readily accessible as street. A person has to have a place to legally ride in the dirt, a vehicle which can transport a dirt bike and the strength to load and unload the bike.

It sounds to me that the need is there for a Pre-BRC, one which doesn't provide students with either a waiver for the road test or a break on insurance.
My local community college - the one that offers the BRC - does have a "Jumpstart" course for people with no riding experience. I don't know if it's an MSF class or just offered by the college. It's as you described. I didn't take it b/c every rider I know took the BRC to get started on a bike and the BRC worked for me as well. But if anyone in the DC area is interested: http://www.nvcc.edu/wdce/alexandria/.../jumpstart.htm
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:46 AM   #178
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My local community college - the one that offers the BRC - does have a "Jumpstart" course for people with no riding experience. I don't know if it's an MSF class or just offered by the college.
Quite possibly based on MSF's principles and teaching style- but unless it's brand new (may be, they're making changes), not MSF.

IMHO, done RIGHT, there's no reason a BRC can't be the first exposure to motorcycles.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:47 AM   #179
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...

It sounds to me that the need is there for a Pre-BRC, one which doesn't provide students with either a waiver for the road test or a break on insurance.
... and therefore one with little incentive for most people to take.

Most true first-time riders do just as well as everyone else in a BRC course. Of the ones who struggle, I would suggest that in most cases, their newbie status is irrelevant - they are ill prepared or unsuited in ways that are not directly related to their prior lack of experience - although it is obviously difficult to have gained experience if you are unable to balance a motorcycle or control a clutch, etc. SOME of those who have difficulty with the basics go on to do well in the rest of the course once they have crossed that early hurdle. Others continue to "underperform" throughout the course.

If we DID provide an optional pre-BRC beginner course, I sincerely doubt that most of the small minority who really need it would think so beforehand and would not sign up for it anyway. In my experience, almost all of those who fail the course but return for another attempt, do much better the second time. Unfortunately the curriculum does not allow us to simply spend twice as much time with them at the first go-around (although we will substantially extend the early exercises if required - but it is sometimes still not enough).

In my opinion newbies would usually be best prepared by spending lots of time riding a bicycle before they come to the BRC class. Few of those who need to, do. Cycling should be more accessible and safer than doing laps in a cow pasture on a small dirt bike.

On a related note, in the US, bicycles typically have the rear brake operated by the right hand, the opposite of most other countries and opposite of a motorcycle. It may be a small benefit to someone learning to ride if they have a bicycle set up with a right-hand front brake.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:05 AM   #180
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My local community college - the one that offers the BRC - does have a "Jumpstart" course for people with no riding experience. I don't know if it's an MSF class or just offered by the college. It's as you described. I didn't take it b/c every rider I know took the BRC to get started on a bike and the BRC worked for me as well. But if anyone in the DC area is interested: http://www.nvcc.edu/wdce/alexandria/.../jumpstart.htm
Looks interesting. The description emphasizes that the course is for BRC preparation or remedial training and that Ridercoaches are certified by MSF but does NOT state that this is an MSF course. It is my understanding that training providers and coaches are strongly discouraged from doing or saying anything that may imply MSF somehow backs or approves anything to do with motorcycle safety that has not been formally recognized my MSF. As I would assume the exercises are the same as or very similar to those in the first few BRC exercises, and the course appears to take place at the same place as BRCs are provided, there may be some sort of "approval" from MSF but I am pretty sure it is not a formal MSF course.

In my area, I doubt there would be enough interest to fill more than a handful of such courses in a year, even if they were offered, making it a non-viable proposition. We often have to cancel our infrequently scheduled (and very well-priced) ERC courses due to lack of students.
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