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 Motorcycle Safety
 Rider Training Courses
 Lee Parks is doing a lot of things JUST RIGHT!
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17282 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 05/30/2015 :  4:09 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend                        Like
I have for a long time thought that the ERC or advanced Rider Courses were a waste of time. They were SLIGHTLY more advanced than the BRC, shorter in duration, and didn't, it seemed to me, offer any new information. Essentially, a waste of time for experienced riders.

But there has always been a need for a course designed for the experienced rider - for example, one who has been riding for many years but who had never bothered to get properly licensed. One that addressed bad habits, misunderstandings, and ATTITUDE. (I don't yet know if this course will allow a non-motocycle-endorsed rider in.)

Today I heard about a new course that will soon be made available here in Houston. It is NOT put on by the MSF. Instead, it is a Lee Parks sanctioned class for experienced riders.

Classroom and range work. Students must use their own bikes.

Students MUST demonstrate that they already know how to ride. Before they can enroll, they must pass a short range test. Start, stop, and make a 90 degree turn at very slow speeds. (There might be more to it than that, but those are definitely part of it.)

I'm thrilled to know this.

Cash and I will audit the first class and I will report about it here thereafter.

greywolf
Male Moderator
1492 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 05/30/2015 :  8:41 PM
I've heard nothing but good things about the course. I'm looking forward to a review from a person I know is knowledgeable.
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commonground
Male Standard Member
155 Posts


Windsor, PA
USA

Yamaha

V Star 1300

Posted - 05/31/2015 :  12:37 PM
I'm rather surprised that someone would think that the Advanced Rider Course (ARC) was a waste of time. Even if it is just a refresher it is valuable to many. Maybe it is different in different parts of the country. I have taken BRC1, BRC2, and ARC three times and learned from the ARC each time. My perception may be influenced by the fact that I have only been riding for about 5 years and know that I have much more to learn.

My summary: We started the course in the classroom. We discussed the dynamics of cornering including cornering risk factors. This subject is crucial because a high percentage of motorcycle accidents are rider crashes in curves. We talked about the choices that the rider can make, the factors affected by your motorcycle, the factors affected by the road and the factors affected by the environment.

Next we discussed braking and swerving and critical techniques for both. We discussed total stopping distance on a bike, when to brake and when not to, how to brake properly for minimum stopping distance, what to do when a wheel locks up, and the Search-Evaluate-Execute (SEE) principle. Obviously, avoiding the need to swerve or make an emergency stop is the best scenario.

Next we talked about what level of risk each of us was willing to take. We evaluated ourselves and then discussed it with the class. I was very conservative but, I was also the oldest person in the course. The level of risk that you are willing to take can directly affect the outcome of your ride.

Next we talked about rider perception. How you perceive a potential problem and how long it takes for a human to respond to it. Avoidance is the best action in most critical situations. Looking ahead and analyzing the situation before you get into it. Learning to use SEE is vital.

After we finished the classroom part of the course, we headed to the riding area with our bikes. The weather was windy but, clear and warm as we started the riding portion.

First we walked the course and looked for any foreign materials that could affect our riding and then we started. We did emergency stops, swerves, tight cornering, body control, and eye and head control. We did decreasing radius turns, which were great fun. All of the aforementioned exercises were done at speeds higher than any exercises we did in BRC1 or BRC2. This is an advanced rider course. It was not unusual to hear pegs dragging in the turns. We ultimately learned how body positioning could reduce dragging bike parts on the ground. The course is designed to take the rider close to the edge of the rider bike envelop so that he is a better rider in all situations.

The course wrapped up with a review of the day's events. The instructors and the course were great. Every exercise was demonstrated by one of the instructors. No one dropped a bike or had an incident. It was challenging to the point that you rode away with a feeling of more confidence without being over confident. My hat is off to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation for a great program.

Respectfully Augie

Afterthought: I look back at all of these classes and cannot imagine where else I would have learned what I learned from them.

Edited by - commonground on 05/31/2015 3:13 PM
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1689 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Posted - 06/14/2015 :  7:01 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
quote:
Originally posted by commonground
Afterthought: I look back at all of these classes and cannot imagine where else I would have learned what I learned from them.




Having never taken any riding class, I've learned these things. I learned to ride before any riding class (that I'm aware of) was available. Magazines these days offer more articles and tips, and then the internet now a days with sites like this one, have to make it much easier. The downside was that the learning curve took much longer before the availability of internet archiving.

A few years ago, I wanted to take the ARC but was put off by a few things I didn't agree with. A requirement to lock the rear tire, and not covering the brake lever were 2 that I recall. I think they may have changed these things now.

I think in the end, I assumed Advanced meant for experienced riders, and think they mean, we offer beginner Basic, and Advanced is the next step. Would that be about right?
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commonground
Male Standard Member
155 Posts


Windsor, PA
USA

Yamaha

V Star 1300

Posted - 06/14/2015 :  2:53 PM
quote:
Originally posted by rkfire

quote:
Originally posted by commonground
Afterthought: I look back at all of these classes and cannot imagine where else I would have learned what I learned from them.



A few years ago, I wanted to take the ARC but was put off by a few things I didn't agree with. A requirement to lock the rear tire, and not covering the brake lever were 2 that I recall. I think they may have changed these things now.

I think in the end, I assumed Advanced meant for experienced riders, and think they mean, we offer beginner Basic, and Advanced is the next step. Would that be about right?



We were never asked to lock up the rear wheel in the ARC classes nor, in the BRC1 and BRC2 classes that I have taken, nor were we told not to cover the brake or the clutch. We did many Emergency stops and many riders did lock up the rear wheel. We were told that once it is locked up, the effective braking is diminished. I am beginning to perceive that there is the lack of consistency in the instructions, but, of course, we are being taught by humans, who were taught by humans, who were........

The word "Advanced" in ARC indicates that it is next level after BRC1 and BRC2. I don't think the newbie taking BRC1 with no riding experience at all, would do well in the ARC.

I'm a loner and seldom ride with another person and am not around others on bikes. Therefore, I still maintain that I don't know where I would have learned what I have learned, if it hadn't been for the classes.

Along the way, I have supplemented all of the MSF stuff with info from this site, the Ride Like A Pro site and DVDs. Capt. Crash's videos and other sources. Many of the "Experienced" or "Long Time" riders who took the MSF classes commented on how much they learned at the end of every class I have attended. 'Experienced' should not be confused with 'skilled' or 'knowledgeable'.

I understand that there are more advanced classes than the ARC taught by the MSF but, do not know where they are conducted. There are other courses offered by other than the MSF in which they actually get a rider out in the real world environment, on the street. The riders are critiqued as they ride and given tips on a one-way communication system. The tips are based upon what the 'Instructor' of the group perceives.

Augie
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17282 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 06/14/2015 :  3:45 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
The MSF basic rider course has evolved over the years.

There is VERY LITTLE variance between what is taught at one location and what is taught in any other. The MSF requires instructors (RiderCoaches) to teach them all the same - though there is slightly more room for RiderCoaches to make TRIVIAL changes in a class today than they had a few years ago.

As to locking the rear wheel ... before the class was called the BRC it was called the RSS (Riding and Street Strategies) class. That class included an exercise in which students were to lock their rear brakes while traveling in a straight line at about 20 MPH. The MSF reasoned that students would, as a result, learn that they could survive such an experience and that use of the rear brake alone was an ineffective stopping technique.

Though few people knew it, that exercise was OPTIONAL.

In any event, it took me a great deal of effort to have Ray Oochs (MSF Director of Education) agree to eliminate that exercise. I was certainly not the only person who lobbied against that exercise, but I know that I was his principal nemesis on the matter.

On not covering the front brake lever ... Again, in the RSS class it was absolutely true that students were not allowed to cover the front brake lever. In fact, this was supposed to be a 'CLASS RANGE ONLY' prohibition as during the classroom discussions it was clearly pointed out that covering the front brake was an important practice to develop from a safety point of view.

The MSF rationale for the prohibition was that inexperienced students tended to dump their bikes on the range because they too quickly and aggressively used the front brake when they were in slow-speed turns.

Today's RiderCoaches often allow covering the front brake - especially for experienced riders. This is yet another example of the evolution of the MSF curriculum.

But what is really interesting to note about the MSF class is that BEFORE it even existed there was our very own Gymnast. *HE* (not the MSF) brought basic rider training into reality. It started with a thesis he wrote while in college.
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1689 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Posted - 06/14/2015 :  7:40 PM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Yes, I was referring about a guy like me, that covers the brake all the time.

Well, I'm looking forward to hear about the Lee Parks class. I don't know if he plans anything in my neck of the woods.
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gymnast
Moderator
4263 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 06/14/2015 :  11:43 PM
I am looking forward to seeing the progress in rider training and instructor development that will evolve through programs such as that which Lee Parks is initiating in California as well as others that have been ongoing in Oregon and Idaho for some time. Having initiated the Motorcycle Research and Training Program at Southern Illinois University in the late 1960s, I envisioned it as a formal and ongoing research and development program as opposed to service training program forced by the state to adhere to a minimal and static MSF curriculum.

It seems that, at last and for a variety of reasons, the MSF (and MIC) is backing away from some of the dogma and doctrine that resulted in the decades long stagnation of motorcycle rider training programs. The University Traffic Safety Centers which were essential to the initial implementation of motorcycle rider training programs are for all intents and purposes no longer existent. Most secondary school driver education teachers receive their training on line and actual practical instruction is mostly a private commercial endeavor.

Nothing stays the same forever and I am encouraged by some of the changes currently underway in an increasing number of motorcycle safety programs. The professionalism and enthusiasm of those instructing new riders and new instructor trainers continues to improve over the years.

One thing that needs more attention is the development of training modules for riding two up, both for the operator and passengers. I observe significant problems in both knowledge and skills in new as well as some experienced riders and their passengers. Braking and low speed maneuvering modules in both beginner and advanced rider courses has been ignored since the MSF "took over" rider training.

There are a "few" other shortcomings in rider education that occur to me however I will leave suggestions for improvement to others at this time.
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commonground
Male Standard Member
155 Posts


Windsor, PA
USA

Yamaha

V Star 1300

Posted - 06/15/2015 :  4:04 AM
quote:
Originally posted by gymnast


One thing that needs more attention is the development of training modules for riding two up, both for the operator and passengers. I observe significant problems in both knowledge and skills in new as well as some experienced riders and their passengers. Braking and low speed maneuvering modules in both beginner and advanced rider courses has been ignored since the MSF "took over" rider training.

There are a "few" other shortcomings in rider education that occur to me however I will leave suggestions for improvement to others at this time.


First and foremost gymnast, thank you from all of us for all you have done to help the riders across the nation. It seems as though you were one of the pioneers and probably took a lot of arrows over time but, you're still here.

I am relatively new to motorcycling (5 years)and to this forum and have learned a lot from perusing the archives. Just having someone such as yourself point out areas that need more attention points me in the direction to do more research. Many times the newbie is too dumb to know which questions to ask or which direction to head.

Thanks again Augie
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