Collection of Rider Training, Licensing, and Crash Data
All of the five programs collect extensive data on rider training. This data is used for a variety of purposes, including assessing the demand for courses, allocating instructors to sites, monitoring quality of training, making projections about program growth, demonstrating need for program funding, and informing public awareness campaigns. The process through which the programs collect data varies, depending on their organizational structures and their relationships with training sites. In the Nevada Rider Motorcycle Safety Program, for instance, where most training is delivered through community colleges, student demographic data is collected when students register for courses through the community college registration system. This eases the burden on the State to collect some data, though the program is also bound by the community colleges’ restriction that forbids collecting data about student gender.
Following completion of a course, data about maintenance issues, student performance (passes, fails, withdrawals), and student evaluations of instructors is submitted either to the site training center manager or directly to the State administrator. Across the five States, student evaluations of the programs are overwhelmingly positive. In an attempt to understand why students find a course valuable, Team Oregon asks students to assess their level of knowledge prior to the course compared with after the course. This information is compared with instructor evaluations of student performance in the class, allowing Team Oregon staff to compare both the student and instructor perspectives on the effectiveness of training.
In addition to gathering data about students and instructors, Team Oregon also closely tracks the fleet of motorcycles owned by the program and used for training. Each motorcycle has a bar code that is linked to a database that contains a record of when Team Oregon purchased the motorcycle, how much it cost, its repair history, and the cost of the repairs. By scanning the motorcycle with the bar code, Team Oregon staff can quickly update the database and can use the information to track the condition of motorcycles across the State. To maximize the efficiency with which instructors are assigned to sites, the program maintains another database that “shows us who’s teaching and who’s available.” Technology can also be employed to compensate for a small administrative staff, as one administrator explained:
“I designed a multifaceted implementation program when I first got here.
Of the five promising-practices States, Maryland has taken the greatest strides toward linking rider training, licensing, and crash data. The Maryland Motorcycle Safety Program formed a partnership with the shock trauma center in the State, which allows the program to study the relationship among licensing, completion of a State rider training course, and crashes. A State administrator described the benefits of the partnership:
“We now know when you’re licensed, we know when you get a motorcycle,
Maryland’s data collection effort is part of a study coordinated by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, the Maryland Highway Safety Office, and NHTSA to understand how rider education, licensing, and public awareness influence motorcycle crashes.