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 Things You Don't Get In A MSF Safety Course
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commonground
Male Standard Member
155 Posts


Windsor, PA
USA

Yamaha

V Star 1300

Posted - 12/26/2015 :  5:32 AM                       Like
Every year for the past six years I have attended MSF Safety Classes on four different motorcycles. (I was moving up.) I passed the Basic Rider Courses BRC 1 and BRC 2 and then the Advanced Rider Course (ARC) in the first two years. Since then, I have taken the ARC every year as a refresher course. While it is very much worthwhile to invest my time in these classes, there are a few things that most, if not all, of the safety courses do not cover on the range. These activities are omitted because the MSF contracts large parking lots for these classes. Parking lots in general are very flat, have no sight limitations, a very good surface and the courses are planned in good riding weather. I'm not advocating the courses change. We just need to realize what the limitations are and not leave the course thinking that we are fully skilled.

Here are some of the situations in which I have had exciting moments:

Negotiating corners or curves with very limited sight distance
Negotiating downhill corners or curves with good sight distance
Negotiating downhill limited sight distance corners with decreasing radius
Negotiating full stops or starts on a steep upslope or downslope
Negotiating acute angle turns from a stop
Negotiating an emergency stop on an unstable surface

There's more but, these few situations have given me the most excitement.

Edited by - commonground on 12/26/2015 6:08 PM

scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6890 Posts
[Mentor]


Pleasanton, CA
USA

KTM

990 Adv, XR650L

Posted - 12/26/2015 :  7:29 PM
quote:
Originally posted by commonground

Negotiating corners or curves with very limited sight distance
Negotiating downhill corners or curves with good sight distance
Negotiating downhill limited sight distance corners with decreasing radius
Negotiating full stops or starts on a steep upslope or downslope

I get these four riding in the hills of Northern California. Since I specifically seek out the tight narrow roads, I get lots of blind corners of all types and there is a lot of up and down.

Riding in the dirt probably gives me the best practice starting and stopping on steep hills. Before I take newer riders into the dirt, I take them over to Prairie City OHV park and we practice going up and down the steepest stuff there (off of the motocross track, at least). Once they feel comfortable there, the regular dirt roads in the Sierras aren't so hard.
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1695 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Posted - 12/27/2015 :  8:17 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
A lot of these situations are covered by the safety tips here, or discussions, or both. Reading curves has been discussed, and I recall links to UK videos that were excellent about reading the telephone poles for example. (did they call them road furniture?)

Hilly terrain has it's challenges, but practicing on them helps. Sometimes a situation gets anticipated in advance, and installs a fear beyond actuality. Starting from a stop on a hill for example. I still recall that issue as a new driver in a VW bug years ago. Making it worse was recalling the mantra of my dad..."don't slip the clutch". Of course you have to, to the degree necessary. Glad the VW had a hand brake right there between the seats.

Emergency stopping on an "unstable" surface. Whether the surface is sand, gravel, bumpy, wet, whatever... that's why I slow down to a speed that I know I can stop if necessary.

I think downhill maneuvering, slowing, turning, stopping, is more unnerving than going uphill. I like a lower gear to keep my speed in check. A steep downhill can be a strange sensation physically when not used to it. I go slower downhill than uphill, on the same section of road.

My personal opinion, but, I think decreasing radius curves are somewhat more rare than actual. Yes there are some, but I'm thinking it's usually the rider mistook the sharpness of the curve, got in it too fast, or misjudged how long the curve continued beyond what was expected. Some riders, myself being guilty of it as well at times, blame it on a decreasing radius.
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SkootchNC
Male Advanced Member
1063 Posts
[Mentor]


raleigh, north carolina
USA

Harley-Davidson

road glide

Posted - 01/01/2016 :  5:21 AM
Maybe I have the wrong understanding of MSF, or any other riding course....
I was under the impression the classes taught basic motor skills, the student/rider needed to master before riding out in the general population.

If one practices the basic skills,and hones those skills, they become second nature. There is an infinite amount of scenarios a rider may face in their career, no class could begin to cover a sizable amount.

That said.... here in NC, at both the BRC, and ERC, during the classroom portion, each of the OP's concerns were covered as part of the curriculum.

I remember my BRC instructor clearly telling the class "Congratulations, you have passed the class and are now qualified to ride in an empty parking lot and practice the skills you have been taught.... however you should NOT imagine you are in any way qualified to just start riding on the street"

Whether anyone else paid attention to that remark.... I can not say
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Horse
Senior Member
263 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 01/04/2016 :  4:01 AM
quote:
Originally posted by SkootchNC

Maybe I have the wrong understanding of MSF, or any other riding course....
I was under the impression the classes taught basic motor skills, the student/rider needed to master before riding out in the general population.

If one practices the basic skills,and hones those skills, they become second nature. There is an infinite amount of scenarios a rider may face in their career, no class could begin to cover a sizable amount.

I remember my BRC instructor clearly telling the class "Congratulations, you have passed the class and are now qualified to ride in an empty parking lot and practice the skills you have been taught.... however you should NOT imagine you are in any way qualified to just start riding on the street"


Training can probably achieve two things:
1. Act as a time-saving 'short cut' for things you might eventually learn. If you learn them the 'hard' way, you might not survive the experience . . .
2. Give you skills which you might never, consciously, learn. See the second part of '1'.

Perhaps the best, most important, thing to learn is hazard perception, with realistic assessment allied to development of the idea of being personally responsible - even for others' mistakes. ie If you put yourself where someone can get you, don't be too surprised if they try.

Regarding your MSF instructor's 'range' qualification statement, skills should be trained in a 'transferable' way - but I heard a story of a pilot who, in a real emergency, reverted to using the call sign used during imulator training!
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wmcooper
Male Junior Member
33 Posts


perry, ga
USA

Honda

shadow aero

Posted - 01/06/2016 :  5:50 PM
I took the MSF course in August, four months ago. I think it's very good for someone who has never been on a motorcycle before
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commonground
Male Standard Member
155 Posts


Windsor, PA
USA

Yamaha

V Star 1300

Posted - 01/11/2016 :  9:27 AM
My veterinarian goes to clinics every year to improve her skills and learn new stuff. So does my farrier, my physician, my dentist, our local police officers, and the list goes on. None of them are "First Timers".

Why wouldn't I as a motorcyclist go and brush up on skills that I may not have used in the last twelve months. I also read and participate in discussions on motorcycle forums concerning safety. It would be naive of me to think that I don't need to refresh my skills from time to time or learn something new. I found that I do things in the MSF classes that I don't do at any other time during the year. Maybe that is a testament to learning how to avoid some of them. Just a thought.
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gymnast
Moderator
4267 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 01/11/2016 :  9:34 AM
Excellent points commonground. "Safety for greater adventures"!
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Horse
Senior Member
263 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 01/11/2016 :  3:07 PM
quote:
Originally posted by commongroundMy veterinarian goes to clinics every year to improve her skills and learn new stuff. Why wouldn't I as a motorcyclist go and brush up on skills that I may not have used in the last twelve months. . . . I found that I do things in the MSF classes that I don't do at any other time during the year. Maybe that is a testament to learning how to avoid some of them.



Why wouldnt you?

Playing Devil's advocate . . .
- Because rehearsing skills you will rarely need is wasting your time and you should actively rehearse skills you'll need regularly?
- Because it's improved mental skills which will most benefit you from keeping you from getting into trouble rather than control skills to escape it
- Because not regularly rehearsing skills between training sessions won't keep the physical skills 'alive' in your armoury ready for action the instant they are required

Just a few thought provoking thoughts ;)
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6890 Posts
[Mentor]


Pleasanton, CA
USA

KTM

990 Adv, XR650L

Posted - 01/11/2016 :  3:45 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Horse

Why wouldnt you?

Playing Devil's advocate . . .
- Because rehearsing skills you will rarely need is wasting your time and you should actively rehearse skills you'll need regularly?
- Because it's improved mental skills which will most benefit you from keeping you from getting into trouble rather than control skills to escape it
- Because not regularly rehearsing skills between training sessions won't keep the physical skills 'alive' in your armoury ready for action the instant they are required

Just a few thought provoking thoughts ;)

I don't do special classes because everything but hard braking gets covered during my normal riding. I'll occasionally practice a few hard stops just to be sure I still have the feel for my brakes, but the rest gets "practiced" on a regular basis. And it's very rare for me to go more than two weeks without riding one of my bikes.
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17292 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 01/11/2016 :  4:11 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
I'm a strong believer in staying current in riding skills, but unless there has been an extended hiatus (YEARS) of riding, I think 'refresher' MSF classes are a waste of time.

On the other hand, I'm a bit surprised at this discussion so far in that nobody seems to admit to using parking lot practice sessions to keep their skills current.

Cash and I used a short (5 to 10 minutes) parking lot practice sessions EVERY TIME we were going to make a ride.

After a 30 second walk-around check of tires and equipment, we mounted our rides, drove to the parking lot, did our practice runs, and ONLY IF WE BOTH AGREED THAT WE WERE BOTH HEALTHY ENOUGH, SKILLFUL ENOUGH, AND THAT OUR BIKES WERE ALSO BOTH HEALTHY ENOUGH, did we then actually go out on our rides.

Our practice runs included quick stops, hard right and left turns (90 degrees at LESS THAN 10 MPH), U-turns from about 20 MPH, and turns from a dead stop.

So what would a refresher MSF class do for us?
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commonground
Male Standard Member
155 Posts


Windsor, PA
USA

Yamaha

V Star 1300

Posted - 01/11/2016 :  6:28 PM
Maybe I have a different outlook on keeping current than most. Being a commercial pilot for many years, I see the value in refresher training. I'm glad that the airlines require that the pilots get simulator training on a regular basis. They also require physicals on a regular basis. Years of being a pilot was not enough to satisfy the FAA of a pilot's skill levels. Small bad habits grow bigger over time.

I frequently do parking lot exercises also but, I still leave a refresher course with a feeling of accomplishment. BTW I think that the classroom session are also good refreshers. Enough said.

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Horse
Senior Member
263 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 01/12/2016 :  12:20 PM
quote:
Originally posted by commonground

Maybe I have a different outlook on keeping current than most. Being a commercial pilot for many years, I see the value in refresher training. I'm glad that the airlines require that the pilots get simulator training on a regular basis. They also require physicals on a regular basis. Years of being a pilot was not enough to satisfy the FAA of a pilot's skill levels. Small bad habits grow bigger over time.

I frequently do parking lot exercises also but, I still leave a refresher course with a feeling of accomplishment. BTW I think that the classroom session are also good refreshers. Enough said.




'Training' doesn't always = good, eg:

http://www.flyingmag.com/

Excerpt:
Avemco is also the only direct underwriter in the general aviation insurance business. With very detailed information on its pilots and, of course, exact information on every claim, Avemco is in a unique position to try to understand the general aviation safety situation better than the National Transportation Safety Board, the FAA or other organizations that promote safety do.

Over the past few years, Avemco has established a formal study program to examine why general aviation airplanes crash and how to prevent accidents and, in its own self-interest, to at least identify pilots who are at higher risk. It's clear that the FAA's training and testing standards are not doing the job because the record is not improving, so Avemco is looking at its own data for answers.

What Avemco has learned is that advanced pilot ratings make no noticeable difference in its risk when insuring general aviation pilots. A person with a commercial or ATP certificate shows up in its loss column at essentially the same rate as private pilots do.

Total pilot experience, after you have several hundred hours, doesn't seem to matter that much in predicting risk for Avemco. Recent experience is important, and time in type also matters, but the company has found that many thousands of hours in the logbook just don't help it understand the risk of the next flight hour that it is insuring.

Some insurance companies won't cover pilots of high-performance pistons unless the pilot has an instrument rating, but Avemco doesn't have that rule. It has found that a pilot can safely fly a Bonanza, for example, VFR and there doesn't seem to be any higher loss rate than for instrument rated pilots in the same airplane. In fact, flying IFR reduces some risks but also adds new issues that the VFR pilot should not encounter. Thirty years ago most of us in the industry thought that the IFR rating was a silver bullet that would eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, the weather-related accident, but it just hasn't worked out that way.

With all of the industry's standard measurements of what makes a good pilot ? total hours, ratings and so on ? not really being a reliable predictor of who will have an accident, Avemco has focused on the pilots as humans, hoping to find a way to identify those who have the "right stuff" in terms of attitude and personality to fly safely. In other words, who is the pilot that will add on too much risk, and how do you identify that person?

Bill Rhodes, a retired professor from the Air Force Academy, is conducting much of the research for Avemco. Bill's specialty is human behavior, but his passion is flying. His work is far from complete, but already he has identified some basic patterns in the pilot population.

It appears in Bill's research that pilot training, experience and skill level are important in preventing the minor accident. The most common insurance claim comes from a fender-bender type of accident on or near the runway. Pilots run off the end or the side or land short of the runway with alarming regularity. The damage from the big majority of this type of accident does not meet NTSB reporting standards, so it is not included in the overall safety statistics. But the insurance companies know about them, and care about them, because each one results in a claim.

The good news is that a fender-bender almost never causes injuries or fatalities. And the other part of the good news is that pilots get better at avoiding this type of wreck with experience. A gusty crosswind, for example, that may send the 100-hour pilot off the runway will be manageable by the 1,000-hour pilot. The more experienced pilot will be better at managing airspeed so is less likely to land long or short. Good basic flying skills and experience appear to be a cure for the minor wreck.

The picture is not clear, however, when you examine the major accidents. In those accidents, experienced pilots do no better and may even be more likely to crash than a low-time pilot would be. And it is the major injury and fatal accident that cost insurance companies so much, and drive pilots' premiums so high. The fact that general aviation kills 500 or more people in a typical year is crazy, and even more so because nothing in that sorry record has changed over the years.

One of the ways Bill is trying to understand why some pilots crash while others don't is to put pilots through stressful simulator sessions. The flight is what we call LOFT (line oriented flight training) in the jet world, where the challenges the pilot faces are comprehensive and include decisions on preflight planning, weather conditions, diversions and so on instead of simply airplane system failures. Bill is trying to analyze flying skill, but more importantly the psychology of pilots.

Already two groups have emerged from the study. One group that Bill calls the "experts" or the "pros" demonstrates different cockpit behavior and almost never crashes the sim. No matter what their total experience, these pilots respond well to the stress, act methodically and make conservative decisions. Many will divert the simulator to an alternate airport when the weather changes; they are able to ignore the distractions of passengers and controllers that Bill interjects, and they are able to prioritize tasks during stressful situations.

During and after the session, Bill measures stress indicators such as heart rate, breathing, speech pattern changes, posture, facial expressions and so on. The pilots who do well all show some signs of stress but are able to handle it. For example, they will often turn off the intercom so they can't hear the intruding passenger, tell controllers to stand by and make very deliberate movements.

The nonexpert group shows essentially opposite behavior. These pilots press on in deteriorating weather, stretch fuel reserves, make very quick decisions and actions and usually try to do several things at once. For example, when under stress, many of the pilots in this group will find it hard to tune the radio because they are spinning the knob so fast, or they will repeatedly push the wrong mode buttons on the autopilot. They also are unable to tune out passengers and controllers and become easily distracted.

It appears that pilots who are less able to handle stressful situations are the ones more likely to take on added risks rather than minimize them by making conservative decisions to divert, or to not even take off in the first place. There are no conclusions yet, but it looks like some pilots are out to prove something to themselves, or maybe to others.





Edited by - Horse on 01/13/2016 3:03 AM
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6890 Posts
[Mentor]


Pleasanton, CA
USA

KTM

990 Adv, XR650L

Posted - 01/12/2016 :  2:06 PM
Interesting article. You can delete the second one, you know.

The one thing I don't understand is where it mentions "cucumber behavior". Any idea what word they meant to put there instead?
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greywolf
Male Moderator
1495 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 01/12/2016 :  3:20 PM
Cucumber is a testing framework which supports Behavior Driven Development (BDD). http://toolsqa.com/cucumber/behavio...development/
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DataDan
Advanced Member
542 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 01/12/2016 :  4:42 PM
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

The one thing I don't understand is where it mentions "cucumber behavior". Any idea what word they meant to put there instead?
I have my own copy of the same article. The word is actually "cockpit".

EDIT: The original, sans "cucumber", is here: http://www.flyingmag.com/safety/lef...ology-safety

Edited by - DataDan on 01/12/2016 5:55 PM
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DataDan
Advanced Member
542 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 01/12/2016 :  6:06 PM
quote:
Originally posted by commonground
  • Negotiating corners or curves with very limited sight distance

  • Negotiating downhill limited sight distance corners with decreasing radius

The "vanishing point" or "limit point", which I describe in this post at another forum, can be helpful in reading blind corners. The technique is pure Roadcraft. I just went out and took some pictures to show how it can be applied it in a specific situation.
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greywolf
Male Moderator
1495 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 01/12/2016 :  8:00 PM
It's interesting a description of a behavior would have a word accidentally substituted that is the name of a behavior protocol.
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Horse
Senior Member
263 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 01/13/2016 :  12:54 AM
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

Interesting article. You can delete the second one, you know.

The one thing I don't understand is where it mentions "cucumber behavior". Any idea what word they meant to put there instead?



Delete it? No I ******** couldn't. Posting on the tablet - so editing will have to wait until I'm using a proper keyboard and mouse (albeit a 3M mouse).

I'd C&P from another board - but had originally copied it into there from here!



Edit: deleted duplicate and main post tidied.

Edited by - Horse on 01/13/2016 3:04 AM
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commonground
Male Standard Member
155 Posts


Windsor, PA
USA

Yamaha

V Star 1300

Posted - 01/13/2016 :  4:36 AM
Thanks DataDan for the link to your article on Vanishing Point. I had seen a British version some time ago but, couldn't find it again. I use the technique when riding the twistys here in Pennsylvania. I saved your article to my archives.

I believe that too many rider accidents are because the riders 'outride their site distance'.

The bottom line ... whether refresher training is needed or not, the biker's attitude is still the major factor in motorcycle safety. BTW The MSF exercise in risk taking can be a real eye opener.
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Horse
Senior Member
263 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 01/13/2016 :  4:50 AM
quote:
Originally posted by commonground BTW The MSF exercise in risk taking can be a real eye opener.


Could you elaborate? I expect things have changed since my last involvement with the MSF in 1997!
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