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Comprehensive Curricula

With the exception of Idaho, all the promising-practices States recently introduced new rider training curricula. Delaware, Maryland, and Nevada now use the MSF’s Basic Rider Course (BRC) and Experienced Rider Course, and Team Oregon developed its own set of classes for novice, intermediate, and advanced riders. In Maryland, Nevada, and Oregon, the rider education programs submitted the new curricula to the supervisory offices in their States for approval.3 In Maryland and Nevada, the close working relationship with the supervisory agencies facilitated the switch to the new curricula. In Maryland, for example, a State administrator reported:

“The State relies on [the Maryland Motorcycle Safety Program
administrators]. The only thing we had to do was put in our justification
and submit it to the [supervisory] administrator. They rely on our expertise
because of our history.”

Team Oregon also enjoys a good working relationship with its supervisory agency, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), but followed a different path in evaluating and implementing a new set of rider education classes. When MSF announced the introduction of the BRC, Team Oregon convened a task force to assess the new course against its predecessor, the Motorcycle RiderCourse: Riding and Street Skills (MRC:RSS) curriculum. As one Team Oregon administrator explained:

“[We] got a group of instructors from around the State together in a task
force [with] all levels of instructor experience (1–2-year or 15-year
veterans). As a group we decided that the only way we knew if [the BRC]
would work was if we field-tested it. The task force laid the
groundwork…and created the map we followed to conduct the field test.
[We] trained a small group of instructors in both RSS and BRC and had
them rate it on a scale of 1 to 10 on various aspects.”

At the conclusion of the field test, Team Oregon submitted a report to ODOT, summarizing the study. On the basis of the recommendation of Team Oregon, ODOT elected not to adopt the BRC and to instead allow Team Oregon to develop a new novice rider training course called the Basic Rider Training (BRT) class.

Following approval by the State, administrators from Delaware, Maryland, and Nevada attended special MSF seminars to prepare for the transition to the BRC. Including Oregon, all four States held extensive training sessions for their instructors. These sessions focused on both the classroom and range components and allowed the instructors to practice both the new teaching methods and range exercises. The transition to a different curriculum posed a budget challenge the four States had to address. Nevada, for instance, wrote a grant to cover the cost of purchasing BRC material for instructors and students.

In addition to implementing curricula to train novice riders (i.e., the Basic Rider Course or the Basic Rider Training course), Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, and Oregon have also introduced other courses targeted at more experienced riders, especially those who ride without a proper endorsement. Under MSF’s ERC Suite, for instance, experienced riders in Delaware, Maryland, and Nevada can complete a one-day training course and waive their licensing skills and knowledge tests. Team Oregon offers a similar eight-hour class called Intermediate Rider Training. The four States have adopted these programs to free spaces in novice class for inexperienced riders and to encourage unlicensed operators to ride legally.

For Maryland and Oregon, the responsibilities for rider training extend beyond Statesponsored courses. Both State programs also monitor training provided by Harley-Davidson dealers through the Rider’s Edge Program. In both States, Rider’s Edge courses must use the State-approved curriculum. As one Maryland administrator explained:

“It’s a pretty simple relationship. Regardless of what they call it, [Rider’s
Edge] has to use the Maryland-approved curriculum. If [we] say don’t do
exercise X, they don’t do X. They don’t take away from what we say they
need to do—if they want to do extra stuff, that’s fine.”


  • Four of five promising practices States recently introduced new curricula.

  • Approval of the new curriculum is required by the State prior to implementation.

  • Team Oregon developed new novice curriculum.

  • Extensive training of administrators and instructors followed the adoption of new curricula.

  • Rider education programs offer courses for experienced riders to free space in novice classes and target unlicensed riders.

3Information about the curriculum approval process in Delaware could not be collected because the State administrator took office after approval for the new courses had been granted.

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