Outreach and Information Efforts
Across the five promising-practices States, administrators, instructors, and students all agreed that informal, personal communication was most effective means of spreading information about rider training courses. Students typically learned about rider education through friends, family, riding clubs, motorcycle dealers, and State licensing agencies. Once potential students were made aware of rider training opportunities, they turned to several different sources to learn about the availability and schedule of classes. All five State programs maintain Web sites where students can obtain information about classes. In Idaho, students can register for any Idaho STAR course offered in the State. To increase the visibility and accessibility of their Web sites, the Idaho and Nevada programs acquired Internet domain names easily remembered by interested riders (www.idahostar.com and www.nevadarider.com).
In Maryland, Nevada, and Oregon, where registration for most classes is administered through community colleges, class bulletins distributed by the colleges to residents provide a free source of advertising about rider training. The programs also take a variety of steps to foster informal communication. Instructors are an especially valuable resource for spreading information about rider education. Team Oregon, for example, encourages each instructor to do 12 public presentations a year; instructors “visit clubs, dealers, organize rides, go to schools, and do diversion and court-ordered classes.” These efforts appear to generate results; as one instructor in Nevada stated, “I’ve gotten calls from people I don’t know at home because they got my number from the dealership or someone else that knows me.”
Forging relationships directly with dealers and licensing agencies is another effective means of promoting the program. Dealers in several of the promising-practices States distribute rider training brochures produced by the State program and also dangle informational hangtags from the handlebars of motorcycles on the showroom floor. Brochures are also left with licensing agencies, and some licensing officials encourage riders seeking a license (or failing to pass the tests) to enroll in a rider training course. Riding clubs are other conduits for reaching potential students, as one Idaho STAR instructor explained:
“All the clubs get together and they do an all-club ride calendar [a
In addition to general outreach programs about rider education, Team Oregon is also beginning to market one course in particular, the Intermediate Rider Training (IRT) class. By promoting the IRT, Team Oregon hopes to funnel more experienced riders simply seeking a license away from the popular novice course, the Basic Rider Training class.
Because informal communication is the most powerful form of recruitment in all five of the promising-practices States, several States have directed their outreach efforts toward motorcycle awareness and safety rather than advertise the availability of classes. The Maryland Motorcycle Safety Program, for instance, focuses its informational campaigns in three areas: (1) using “Share the Road” promotions designed to educate both motorcycle riders and drivers, (2) encouraging riders to get licensed, and (3) encouraging riders to wear proper safety gear. Maryland also produces safety “tip cards” that summarize key facts for riders and drivers. A State administrator described the purpose of the tip cards:
“The most successful thing [we] did was a little ‘tip card.’ It’s a pocketsized
Other common promotional items used across the promising-practices States are bumper stickers, posters, reflective decals, and key chains.