St. Louis, MO
Posted - 02/02/2011 : 12:42 PM
A "noisy" update from CA
I have a recording of the CMSP Update held up in San Jose on Oct. 16, 2005. Over the next week, I'll be posting parts of it and my comments on it:
It was a stellar cast that presented it, I'll tell you. Only the most highly trained and experienced rider/M$F employees: Rob Gladden - the Dirt biker turned CMSP program coordinator, Ray Ochs and Sherry Williams as well as Morris Crane manager of CMSP Quality Assurance - who actually appears to have some experience as an instructor and trainer.
Rob started off with an update on what a grand job M$F has been doing in CA and then moved on to problems and issues and what's new with the new contract. Because, you see, they had just gotten the faxed Intent to Award Bid from the CHP half an hour beforehand. The letter, of course, coming just 16 days after the bid was submitted. But no surprise there since they were the only ones that bid on the program. One wonders why it took them 16 days. Then again, if the date on the CD is accurate and the Update was really on the 16th, then one wonders why CHP was in such an all fired hurry that they faxed the letter on a Sunday...
What was particularly interesting to me was how Rob mixed in very interesting hints of where M$F is going along with very mundane news.
For example, Rob says that they have a "big challenge" they have to deal with: the noise that's created by the course adjacent to residential, schools and churches. He says that loud noise at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning just can't be and that's going to be part of the measures they use to decide what sites are approved and where new sites are created.
I can see that, surely I can. Can't have the snarl of motorcycles accompanying "A Closer Walk With Thee." And god forbid high school students would have their studies interrupted oh, yeah, there isn't school on weekends... The thing is most CA sites are held in such places as college campuses, industrial areas, fairgrounds and there was at least one site held at an airport. Not only that, a great many of the site locations have been there for years. So it puzzled me that suddenly there's a "big challenge" regarding noise.
But, hey, I can think of someplace where noise wouldn't be a problem say like a commercial district where there's stores and...um...dealerships...hmmm...
Then Rob slips this in the problem with noise was part of why there is going to be changes in the curriculum.
But it's a throwaway line he doesn't expand on it and he zips right on to the next issue. But let's take a moment here: changes in the curriculum. Think about that for a moment. What do YOU think that means? Is CA going to have it's own version of the BRC that other states don't have? Does that sound like M$F to your regionally specific training, alternate curriculums? If only CA needs these changes what happened to the National Curriculum mantra?
Or is the curriculum changing for all the states...because of the noise problem in CA? Wonder what that's going to cost the other state programs? Of course you all many have a "big challenge" when it comes to noise too...
But be alert if this isn't just a CA thing, then there's a curriculum change in the wind one that will make the course quieter. Hmmm...wonder what that could be. I'm pretty sure it isn't electric bikes.
Or is the noise problem created by M$F to justify shutting down independent site owners and moving the sites to local dealerships and instituting simulator training? Time will tell...
Next Rob talked about what the change from the 120 day to 90 day wait time would mean, "If we run into a capacity issue, we're gonna have to add training sites." And that led immediately into him explaining what some of the measures for new sites would be: not only wait time at existing sites but "demographics variable of previous and potential students. Potential students especially." "Are there going to be kids growing up into licensing age and things like that so that site has a good shot at their business to continue," he said. And profit.
Let's not forget profit, because, as Rob made so very clear, M$F wants rider education to be a business. Wal-Mart on wheels, one stop shopping for all your riding needs. He immediately went on to say, "One of the things were hoping to see, and continue to pushing to see, continue to pushing to see is an expanded business model."
It's certainly is clear that M$F sees rider ed as a business. The question is do all of you?
Rob then launched into the spiel about lifelong learning: No longer relying solely on the BRC. Lifelong learning. The sites should offer other M$F curricula like Scooter School, Group Ride, Seasoned Rider. "BRC once in your life does not inoculate you forever. You should come back and refresh your skills." So it's the return rider that M$F is aiming for. I'm sure we can all improve but, once again, I ask you (and I really want to hear from people on this): what should be the priority of the rider education program those who would ride without any instruction or offering more courses for more money for those who can get by on the roads?
But Rob also made it very, very clear that it's multiple entry point providers as being the ones that M$F is looking for, what they want. This is very important so hold on to this thought. But like things like demographics determining site locations and noise being a big challenge, Rob slips in something that's critical as if it's unimportant and hastens on.
Then he spoke at great length about what M$F has done in terms of PR over the past year and a half: Almost a quarter million brochures, decals, 4x4 training cards, etc. have been distributed to state universities, public high school, community college, CHP field office, DMV office.
But, where they actually have on the ground presence real people talking to real people about training is in altogether different venues such as the SoCal Harley Dealers Festival, Love Ride 21, San Francisco rider event, San Diego Biketober Fest, International Motorcycle Shows, Charity Rides. He says they reached about 75,000 people in a year and a half.
But note who those real people were: at *motorcyclist* venues where, it's safe to assume, the majority of people there are already...umm...well... motorcyclists. It seems a bit like coals/Newcastle or Preaching/choir, doesn't it?
Doesn't it seem peculiar to you that M$F avoids having real riders dealing with those who may be *thinking* about riding or raising awareness among cagers of driving safely around motorcyclists. Is it a responsible use of resources to try to convince riders who have a) already taken the basic course or b) are convinced they don't need it?
What's puzzling is that M$F says it will use demographics to determine where new sites will be and particularly potential riders but when it comes to informing them about training, they play Marie Antoinette - let them read paper. Is that consistency? And what's that about why the drive to only deal in real life with riders?
Skipping a lot of other stuff, let's talk about the changes to the CMSP.org web page that Rob announced. M$F is taking the sponsor section and out of there and students will have to be shunted to the providers THROUGH the M$F in the future. The QAV results for each site will also be listed so students can use that to judge which site they want to register for and they will register through M$F after Jan. 1. Matter of fact, everything will be able done through the M$F for the site providers as well all the information that the site collects about the student, all schedules, etc. will be funneled to the M$F through their nifty new software and databases. Only the financial transactions won't. M$F will even be able to handle the individual sites accounting. Remember, these are private for profit sites individually owned and operated.
So isn't it so very nice and helpful that M$F could know all their financial information what they pay, when they pay it, what costs are, what they make, etc. etc.? It's so...paternal. No, that's not it. There's another phrase I'm thinking of here...what is it...oh, yeah, Big Brotherish.
Tomorrow - what Rob had to say about prices and the Premier courses.