Rider Education &
Crash Avoidance Skills
& Other Impairment
Personal Protective Equipment
Motorcycle rider education and training comprise the centerpiece
of a comprehensive motorcycle safety program. The challenges are
to get motorcyclists to take training and to keep quality rider
training affordable and accessible to all interested parties.
Rider training is an effective crash countermeasure for riders for
the first six months following training (Billheimer,
Currently, there are 47 state-legislated rider training programs
in the United States. The remaining three states (Alaska, Arkansas,
and Mississippi) have privately operated rider training sites.
Financing comes from different funding sources and appropriations
at the state level. An outline of a typical legislation scheme
is in Appendix
D. The total appropriation for 1998 for these programs
nationwide was approximately $16 million (SMSA,
1998). To assess rider training and education programming,
NHTSA promotes and facilitates Motorcycle Safety Program Assessments,
which evaluate a states motorcycle safety efforts using
a peer-review program assessment team concept. The areas of assessment
are detailed in Appendix
Since 1973, more than 2 million riders have been trained. In
1999, a total of 192,529 riders were trained. Estimates are that
this represents just 20 to 50 percent of total annual demand.
The curriculum most commonly used in all 50 states is MSFs
Motorcycle RiderCourse:Riding and Street Skills® (MRC:RSS)
for beginners and the Experienced RiderCourse® (ERC)
for advanced skills training. Instructors and RiderCoachesSM
are trained and employed by individual state programs and certified
through the MSF. These courses are conducted exclusively off-street.
Most rider training programs in the United States do not utilize
on-street training, which is widely accepted in other parts of
the world. Private specialty training programs exist in some areas,
including sidecar, trike, trailer, off-highway, on-highway, and
track experience. Motorcycle simulator technology is generally
not employed but is being studied.
Many motorcycle manufacturers and distributors based in the United
States support rider education and training through their membership
in the MSF and their participation in the MSF Motorcycle Loan
Program. MSF is currently sponsored by the United States manufacturers
and distributors of BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki,
Suzuki and Yamaha motorcycles. These companies also offer training
incentives to new motorcycle purchasers either directly or through
their affiliated owners clubs. In addition, Honda extends
use of its training centers in California, Georgia, Ohio, and
Texas to the respective state programs for use as training sites.
In 2000, Harley-Davidson began offering rider training directly
through some of its dealers.
The state level rider training programs are part of an overall
effort to encourage motorcyclists to get properly trained and
obtain their motorcycle endorsement on their license. Most states
provide allowances for the waiver of some portion of state licensing
test for graduates of a state recognized rider training program.
Some states require training for riders less than the ages of
16, 18 or 21 (see Appendix
G for a list of each states licensing and training
requirements). These courses are generally affordable. The average
tuition is $66.06 for the MRC:RSS and $40.75 for the ERC (SMSA
1998). In some states, training courses are free.
|Some state programs lack components for program evaluation. Among
those programs that do have evaluation components, methods of data
collection are not standardized with other programs for adequate
comparison. There is also no centralized repository that permits
the exchange of such information for programs to benefit from one
anothers operation or training experiences. The National Association
of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators (SMSA), an organization
of state program administrators, surveys state programs annually
for general training results and other statistical information.
There is no evaluation of rider education and training effectiveness
or measures to determine if program effectiveness has been compromised
due to the lack of resources. It is assumed, yet unknown, that
the current programs are teaching necessary skills to survive
WE WANT TO BE
We want all states to offer useful, available, and affordable motorcycle
safety programs capable of providing quality rider education and
training for all interested riders, new riders, and potential riders.
Creating a program with sufficient resources will require the following:
A government agency to provide program administration
A funding source and ongoing appropriation to support
training, marketing, and evaluation (see Appendix
A uniform, educationally sound curricula (see Appendix
F) that reflects current crash and training research
as well as the differing demands of various riders and environments
An effective delivery system to provide education and
training where and when demand exists
Uniform data collection, data sharing methods, and training effectiveness
measures should be instituted nationwide for evaluation of state
rider training and other education programs. The possible advantages
of on-street training should be explored.
There should be increased use of Motorcycle Safety Program Assessments,
facilitated by NHTSA, to ensure that a team of peers periodically
assesses all states.
Motorcycle awareness programs and materials should be components
of other transportation programs (see Motorist
Awareness, page 31).
Rider education and training and licensing functions should be
merged to form one-stop operations (see Licensing,
TO GET THERE
All states should provide and promote rider education and training
programs capable of accommodating all riders who need or seek training.
States currently without state authorized programs should create
All state programs need assistance in their funding request approaches
to legislatures; in determining more viable ways to achieve necessary
funding outside of fees levied on motorcyclists; and in how to
allocate resources to increase program efficiencies and expand
Other areas of concern include maintaining sufficient resources
for operation and administration of the program and continued
and recurrent program assessments to maintain program quality.
State motor vehicle departments and the motorcycle and insurance
industries should continue to provide incentives for riders to
obtain initial and recurrent training and proper licensure.