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 An appeal for a Standard of Care
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17322 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 04/30/2013 :  9:22 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend                        Like
When a student drops his or her motorcycle during training, I believe that the Rider Coaches have a duty to provide a certain Standard of Care in response.

Clearly if the motorcycle is resting on the rider, the Rider Coach must remove the motorcycle.

Clearly the Rider Coach must determine if the rider is injured, and if so, if that student needs medical attention.

Clearly the Rider Coach must decide, with input from the student, if that student should be allowed to continue the class. (If EITHER the student or the Rider Coach thinks that the student should not continue the class, that opinion should prevail!)

What's missing here?

Well, there is the matter of whether the student constitutes a danger to him or herself, or to others. And there is also the matter of whether or not the student LEARNED anything from the crash other than that a crash can hurt.

There was an article written by Dr. Daniel Petterson and published in the 2007 "Safe Cycling" MSF newsletter titled "Applying Basic Motor Skill Learning Principles to Coaching" in which he said: "Verbal explanation has little or no value to the beginner. An inexperienced student cannot interpret the explanation into motor acts, so verbal instruction is ineffective." He goes on to tell the Rider Coaches: "Guidance should be 'loose' unless the individual produces an error that could result in injury, but guidance should be such that fear of injury is nearly eliminated."

However, the same error can result in no injury or death. Expecting Rider Coaches to provide no guidance at the time of a minor accident is, in my opinion, irresponsible and is likely to lead to future accidents. Control problems, again in my opinion, should not be discovered and corrected solely by students.

With the advice provided from the MSF by Dr. Petterson, it is understandable why some Rider Coaches do not bother to determine if the student knows or understands what they did wrong to cause their loss of control of their motorcycle following a dump during training. But what if the student has no idea what went wrong or what they might have done wrong, or how to recover from the problem in the future? Say a student drops his motorcycle and believes he simply 'lost balance'. A watching Rider Coach can tell that rider that he lost his balance because he applied his front brake too aggressively while making a slow-speed turn. But failing to do that and assuming that the student has 'learned' from his mistake is simply wishful thinking on the part of the Rider Coach and is a distinct AND DANGEROUS disservice to the student.

So, in my opinion, an element of Standard of Care in response to a student dropping a bike during training is to determine if that student knows why he lost control (what mistake he made) and to coach appropriate behavior before allowing the student to try again.

I assure you that at least some in the MSF disagree. Some think the article written by Dr. Petterson does not reflect the views of the MSF.

If there was a formal Standard of Care document addressing this issue provided by the MSF to Rider Coaches, the problem disappears.

What do you think?

gymnast
Moderator
4260 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 04/30/2013 :  10:20 PM
I think you are on to something. Dr Patterson's OPINION that "verbal explanation has little or no value to the beginner, etc", is Nonsense and certainly in conflict with the basic methods of teaching motor skills. Explanation, demonstration, practice, has been the holy grail of motor skills learning along with what is known as the "part-whole" method where complex skills are broken down into simple components that when mastered can be combined to safely and coherently produce the more complex whole skill and, eventually, still more complex skill sets. Verbal instruction as explanation as well as reinforcement, criticism, motivation and appropriate questioning for querying student understanding are all part of the process of psychomotor teaching and learning.

I wonder if Dr Patterson has ever given any thought as to how pilots are trained (as well as truck drivers)?
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wildweathel
Male Starting Member
2 Posts


Dover, New Hampshire
USA

Honda

CBR250R

Posted - 04/30/2013 :  11:59 PM
The doctor would be on to something if we were talking about finger-painting or reaching one's mouth with a spoon or walking. But until the MSF starts teaching toddlers, there's a lot that students can abstract and discuss verbally.

Steering inputs for low-speed balancing fall into the untrainable category, I think. Then again, someone who doesn't have that skill should be starting on a pedal-bike.

Even then, there are parts that can be verbalized. (Keep your head up!) Language is a great tool for learning, so is thinking about mistakes. The fact that a few things can only be experienced (exactly where is the friction zone on this bike?) doesn't make that tool invalid.
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kacinpa
Male Advanced Member
802 Posts
[Mentor]


Lansdale, PA
USA

Triumph

Sprint GT

Posted - 05/01/2013 :  4:36 PM
What I have learned so far is that verbal explanation does not have much effect BEFORE a student had had exposure to the physical skills being learned. Clearly in dropping a motorcycle by ms-application of front brakes the student had already experienced use of front brake and did it wrong.

In my shadowing last weekend a student dropped a bike while getting in line by grabbing the front brake while the bars were turned. She had been coached about this previously and about only using the front brake while stopping. The RC and I went over to her and made sure she wasn't hurt and he used "learner centered questions" to see if she knew why she dropped the bike. She clearly knew exactly why she dropped it and, in fact, experiencing the consequences of using the front brake a low speed with the bars turned cured her of that and she stopped using both brakes in a straight line for the rest of the range exercises.

I agree with you that there should be a standard such that no one rides away from a drop without knowing what they did wrong and why the drop occurred as well as how to avoid it going forward.
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TonicBIA
Male Senior Member
382 Posts


Arlington, Va
USA

Triumph

Sprint ST

Posted - 05/01/2013 :  7:17 PM
Dans PhD is in education and based on his other works I feel this article is written in a similar manner to the book "telling ain't training". Dans other writings and articles elucidate techniques for engaging students in learning to draw responses from them and help them connect the dots. Through simply telling them the answer there's no way to tell if that connection happened. Through loose feedback to guide them to that decision they can make and understand the connection better.

As an example, when your kid has problems with math say with 2+2=3. You can help them better by walking them through the problem to find and identify their lack of understanding then guide them to the right answer instead of by simply saying "that's wrong, it's 4".

In a similar manner lots of consulting firms ask candidates to answer nonsense questions such as "how many ping pong balls fit in a 747" to get a better understanding of their thought processes.

Ultimately I agree that a student that crashes shouldninvolve an understanding of the root cause and how to avoid it before moving on. However I think you're both advocating the same approach. That said, Dan will probably respond if you reach out to him. We had some good conversations on the MSF listserv back in th day and hes very into Rider safety both on and off the range.

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Magnawing
Male Senior Member
281 Posts


The Woodlands, TX
USA

Honda

VF750C

Posted - 05/02/2013 :  10:04 AM Follow poster on Twitter
I can't speak for all MSF locations but I can attest that my instructors took the time to analyze a spill when it happened in my BRC class

We were working on emergency stops while cornering. One student forgot to bring the bike upright prior to braking and, consequently, dropped the bike to the left (lowside). The instructors stopped the class immediately, got the bike lifted, checked the student for injuries (no injuries other than his pride) and then pulled us together. They asked him what he thought caused him to fall...he answered correctly and then they asked the class to openly discuss how to avoid similar incidents and what could have been done to prevent this accident.

When the instructors were comfortable with the class's understanding of what happened and why, only then did they continue with the instruction and range exercises.
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dhalen32
Male Moderator
846 Posts
[Mentor]


Omaha, NE
USA

BMW

R1200RT

Posted - 05/05/2013 :  9:36 PM
quote:
Originally posted by gymnast

I think you are on to something. Dr Patterson's OPINION that "verbal explanation has little or no value to the beginner, etc", is Nonsense and certainly in conflict with the basic methods of teaching motor skills. Explanation, demonstration, practice, has been the holy grail of motor skills learning along with what is known as the "part-whole" method where complex skills are broken down into simple components that when mastered can be combined to safely and coherently produce the more complex whole skill and, eventually, still more complex skill sets. Verbal instruction as explanation as well as reinforcement, criticism, motivation and appropriate questioning for querying student understanding are all part of the process of psychomotor teaching and learning.

I wonder if Dr Patterson has ever given any thought as to how pilots are trained (as well as truck drivers)?



Gymnast:
As Tonic said, Dan actually does know a fair bit about teaching people how to ride a motorcycle for the first time. He also does have his doctorate in education and I think he may actually know something about motor skill development. His article in Safe Cycling is one I look over from time to time along with the following from our current RiderCoach Guide:

0 Mental practice (visualization) has value in motor skills learning, but only after experience and familiarity with the actual motor skill

0 Too much information, or over-coaching, can inhibit the development of motor skills

0 Extensive preliminary verbal instruction inhibits motor skills learning

0 Technical verbal instruction before actual practice usually does not improve motor skill development

0 Motor skills are best learned if acquired naturally as opposed to being forced

I'm just an Engineer but in my experience with the BRC and it's predecessor, the MRC:RSS, this newer curriculum seems to produce superior results in how students LEARN. One of the most common issues I see with RiderCoaches teaching today is that they have a difficult time when they are always "helping" their students with incessant talking. Coaching should be provided when it is required, such as in Jim's example of when a student does fall or drop the bike. Not constantly as many RiderCoaches feel they must do. Today's split exercises where students ride a bit, stop the bikes, get off and discuss it amongst themselves and the RiderCoach always seem to ride better the second time they get out there on the range. To me, this vividly illustrates that reading the directions, giving the students a good demonstration ride of path of travel and technique and then turning them loose to develop their new motor skills introduced in the exercise works far better than coaching every rider every time as we did in the RSS.

While not a college trained educator, I have found as a student that Ray Ochs, Wayne Steele, Dan Petterson and others whom have made education their life's work are worth listening to. When I think back to those coaches who taught me how to play baseball, football, basketball and other motor skill intensive activities, those that were most effective were those that allowed me to attempt a new skill prior to intensively coaching me on the finer points. Don't get me wrong, some coaching was always required, but it was never done extensively by the best coaches before I ever tried to attempt what they had asked me to do.

Respectfully,
Dave
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gymnast
Moderator
4260 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 05/05/2013 :  9:56 PM
"that reading the directions, giving the students a good demonstration ride of path of travel and technique and then turning them loose to develop their new motor skills introduced in the exercise works far better than coaching every rider every time as we did in the RSS."

This is the same thing as "Explanation, Demonstration, Practice for mastery". Just more words to say the same thing.

I agree, in general, with these generalizations.

0 Mental practice (visualization) has value in motor skills learning, but only after experience and familiarity with the actual motor skill

0 Too much information, or over-coaching, can inhibit the development of motor skills

0 Extensive preliminary verbal instruction inhibits motor skills learning

0 Technical verbal instruction before actual practice usually does not improve motor skill development

0 Motor skills are best learned if acquired naturally as opposed to being forced



Edited by - gymnast on 05/05/2013 10:03 PM
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dhalen32
Male Moderator
846 Posts
[Mentor]


Omaha, NE
USA

BMW

R1200RT

Posted - 05/06/2013 :  9:59 PM
Gymnast:
Great! For a minute a there I thought you were saying that Dan was talking nonsense.
Dave
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Axiom2000
Male Moderator
1761 Posts
[Mentor]


Georgetown, Delaware
USA

BMW

F 800 GT

Posted - 05/07/2013 :  3:43 AM
quote:
There was an article written by Dr. Daniel Petterson and published in the 2007 "Safe Cycling" MSF newsletter titled "Applying Basic Motor Skill Learning Principles to Coaching" in which he said: "Verbal explanation has little or no value to the beginner. An inexperienced student cannot interpret the explanation into motor acts, so verbal instruction is ineffective." He goes on to tell the Rider Coaches: "Guidance should be 'loose' unless the individual produces an error that could result in injury, but guidance should be such that fear of injury is nearly eliminated."

However, the same error can result in no injury or death. Expecting Rider Coaches to provide no guidance at the time of a minor accident is, in my opinion, irresponsible and is likely to lead to future accidents. Control problems, again in my opinion, should not be discovered and corrected solely by students.


I think at issue here is what types of riding errors need to be addressed immediately versus when it may be appropriate to leave a student to their own devices.

None of the RC's I have ever worked with consider drops, falls and errors likely to produce those events as minor errors.
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17322 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 05/07/2013 :  12:28 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
This is all positive news to me. That is, I'm particularly impressed and instructed by the comments that suggest that Rider Coaches recognize the need to determine if the student who has dropped his or her motorcycle in class has actually learned from the experience as part of their decision process about whether to allow that student to continue in the class.

I hold Rider Coaches in very high regard and believe that they, individually and generally, truly care about their students, desire to actually teach subject matter as well as they can, and to do so in as safe a manner as possible.

This thread invites a 'Standard of Care' relative to the handling of dropped motorcycles in training classes. I suspect that most of our readers have heard the term before and have a pretty good idea of what it means, but I'd like to be sure that the meaning is actually understood.

'Standard of Care' is a legal phrase of art with a very specific meaning.

One such definition follows:

It is the watchfulness, attention, caution and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would exercise. If a person's actions do not meet this standard of care, then his/her acts fail to meet the duty of care which all people (supposedly) have toward others. Failure to meet the standard is negligence, and any damages resulting therefrom may be claimed in a lawsuit by the injured party.

The problem is that the 'standard' is often a subjective issue upon which reasonable people can differ. Furthermore, it is often argued that the 'standard' must be universally agreed upon and be 'customary' in order to actually be a 'standard'.

This has led some organizations and leaders of influence to hesitate in preparing any formal documentation for its employees and others that might possibly be used against it in a legal matter should that/those standards fail to be met by one or more of those people.

Fortunately, in my opinion, case law exists in which it has been found that behaviors that are accepted as reasonable but not universally 'customary' may still be used as a measure of the standard of care.

In other words, whether or not there is a written document specifying what is required (what a person's or organization's 'duty' is in a situation), if a particular response is customarily held to be reasonable and appropriate, then that is, in fact, a 'standard of care'.

Why the concern for a point of law?

Well, let's say that in a particular situation a student drops his or her motorcycle in a training class and is allowed to continue with the class. We all agree that it is the right of the Rider Coach to decide whether that student can continue with the class or not. But if that Rider Coach fails to determine if the student knows and understands why he or she dropped the motorcycle, and if it can be shown that it is customary and reasonable that Rider Coaches ask the student about why he or she dropped the motorcycle as part of his decision making process, then if he didn't do that, then he was negligent! Otherwise, he simply made a judgement call consistent with his right to do so.

Negligence is the heart of almost all civil matters.
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TonicBIA
Male Senior Member
382 Posts


Arlington, Va
USA

Triumph

Sprint ST

Posted - 05/07/2013 :  1:07 PM
This is an interesting thread because while the MSF is a curriculum provider they are not, in most cases, the organization that utilizes the curriculum. They leave quite a bit of flexibility for programs to take the MSF curriculum and adapt it to their needs.

At my primary site, the procedure for dealing with a downed student isn't determined by the state or the MSF but by our insurance company. Anytime that
1.) Any part of a student other than their feet touches the ground.
2.) Any part of the motorcycle other than the tires and sidestand touches the ground
it's considered an incident. There are a few examples of what doesn't consist of an incident (scraping pegs), and what does (student drives a bike between both wheels of the trailer without touching the ground (actually happened) to frame our judgement.

However, in the event of an incident we are required to.
1.) Offer and provide first aid both directly (our staff) and indirectly (911 for ambulance)
2.) Discuss incident with student about how they reached that point, what caused it and what they can do to prevent it.
3.) Inspect and test ride the motorcycle.
4.) Complete a full incident report.
5.) Add the incident to the days log for the weekend report.

We have a very well defined procedure, but our insurance wanted us to use this program and nothing else. We are also required to read the waiver out loud in class with the students and discuss its significance. At the same time, other site's insurance companies have different requirements. If our insurance company had a different, but more stringent standard of care than one adopted by the MSF, how would that play in determining negligence?
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17322 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 05/07/2013 :  1:32 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
I am not an attorney and nothing I post on this site should be construed as legal advice. I do not and cannot provide legal advice.

I can tell you that many attorneys do not care to pursue the issue of 'standard of care' unless their case substantially depends on it. This, because it is a higher standard and therefore more difficult to prove than other forms of negligence and courts are not totally consistent on how they view what standard of care means (unless well documented) - it is often seen as being 'situational'.

In any event, in my opinion, if *you* behave as your insurance company insists, then *you* are not likely being negligent. If you do fail to behave according to your insurance company mandates, then *you* quite possibly are being negligent.

*You* never want to be negligent in what you do or don't do.

The MSF, the course provider, range management, even the insurance company, can be found to have been negligent in many different ways, whether *you* were or not. If you take care of *your* responsibilities (duties) reasonably and prudently, then again in my opinion, the courts will not be a threat to *you*.
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ScooterCommuter
Male Junior Member
52 Posts


Saint Paul, MN
USA

Kymco

Xciting 500RI

Posted - 08/13/2013 :  12:53 AM
At my BRC, we had one instance of a rider dumping it - it was in the last skills practice session, with the two coaches watching the quick-stop area and the box & swerve, with an alternate return to the start line through a second set of quick-stop cones if there was a queue for the box. The student who dumped it did so in that alternate return. I just happened to be looking over there as it happened and saw her front wheel come out of line under heavy braking and didn't have time to say "oh s**t!" before seeing (and hearing) her lid hit the deck in an exercise she'd been running perfectly every time previously. One of my fellow students from the start-line was quicker than I was and was there first, closely followed by the senior of the two coaches who must have sprinted across the range like a freakin' jackrabbit.

The coaches did indeed take proper care of her, they stopped the practice, checked her out got her off to a seat at the side of the range and spent time talking through the incident with her both together and individually while getting the rest of us back into practice.

I've got to give major kudos to this lady, after counseling from the coaches she recovered enough to come back into the class in time to test, but realized that she was still off after the first assessment of the test and withdrew - to my mind that's a huge part of being a safe rider, KNOWING when you are no longer in a good place and have to stop. It was a real shame though, because she'd run every exercise better than I did throughout the entire class and I passed, so I have to assume that if she'd still been in the zone she was throughout the class she'd have aced it. She passed a stricter test than any of us that came off that range with an "official" pass that day and she'll be a damn good rider. That instinct to stop will probably save her ass on the road where lots of experienced riders might push on and not make it.
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