It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000.
While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.
After research done by the NHTSA revealed the need for more —wait get ready for it— critical thinking skills, the eCourse was introduced to increase the amount of time instructors could focus on behavioral riding aspect such as risk awareness, hazard perception, and decision-making.
“Though the MSF Basic eCourse is a great tool to gain a better understanding of motorcycling, it does not teach someone to ride,” said Dr. Ray Ochs, Vice President of the MSF training systems.
“The best way is through the hands-on MSF Basic RiderCourse that includes step-by-step motor skills development under the supervision of an MSF-certified RiderCoach.”
Although the program is still in its infancy, Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas has been one of the first to adopt the new curriculum with Phil Wegman, Program Director in Continuing Education, leading the way.
“Our interest in adopting the new MSF curriculum is to provide a superior learning experience for our students and prepare each to safely ride our streets and highways,” says Wegman.
“We believe the MSF curriculum updates will make the material presented more personally meaningful to each participant and enhance their awareness of their abilities, skills and limitations.”
With an annual enrollment figure of nearly half a million, the MSF’s Basic Rider Course has a chance to arm the next generation of motorcycle riders for the gauntlet they are about to face.
Unfortunately, no matter how well trained, prepared and, educated a rider may be, there is no preparation that can account for the thousands of car drivers with proverbial blinders on.
Now, if we could only get the DMV to adopt some sort of critical thinking skills requirement in order to obtain a driver’s license for a car, we would be making real progress.
The MSF is a not-for-profit organization sponsored by BMW, BRP, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio, Polaris Motorcycles, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha. For safety information or to enroll in the RiderCourse nearest you, visit msf-usa.org or call (800) 446-9227.