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VI. RESULTS FROM SITE VISITS

Incentives for Training

Students in all five of the promising-practices States reported that the biggest incentive for enrolling in rider training were the licensing waivers offered by the State after successful completion of the course. With the exception of Idaho, which waives only the skills test, students in the remaining four States receive a course completion card that can be presented to the licensing agency and that will waive the skills and knowledge tests. Students also commented that obtaining a license through the rider training course was in some ways easier and less stressful than going directly to the licensing agency. As one student explained:

“Here you get to practice on a bike, where if you go to [the licensing
agency], you have to take your own bike and they tell you what to do.
There’s no practicing there—you have to do it cold. [The rider training
course] is the only place you can ride a bike without a license, and nobody
else is driving around you.”

Although four of the five promising-practices States provide full licensing waivers for successful students, Maryland has recently refined its program and introduced a one-stop shop where students will be licensed immediately after completing a course. A Maryland State administrator described how the program works:

“The day they complete the course, they can hop on their motorcycle[s] and
ride legally. We’ll put a sticker on their license[s] that says “M.” The
training center manager will send back a data file to our data services
division. They will automatically update the driving record[s]. So, if you
took the course this Sunday and you successfully completed the course, on
Sunday you have a license to operate. You don’t have to come back until
you renew…. We just try to make things a little more customer friendly so
people don’t have to come back.”

Although licensing waivers were the most powerful incentives offered by States, students also mentioned insurance discounts and tuition reimbursements by manufacturers as other considerations. One student, for example, was repeating a novice course she had passed a few months earlier because she had learned that the manufacturer of her motorcycle would pay for the course every two years. Additionally, several students explained that completing a rider training course would make it easier to get licensed in other States. In Idaho, the STAR program encourages students to enroll by offering course graduates a substantial subscription discount to Motorcycle Consumer News and by selling gift certificates for classes.

Even though students emphasized the importance of incentives in encouraging them to enroll, most added that the safety and educational benefits of the course were just as important. Through informal communication, students in all five programs had heard about the quality and strong reputation of the training. Evidence of the value placed on safety and training was provided by students who reported that they had taken State classes multiple times and would continue to do so in the future to improve and refresh their riding skills. As one student reported, “It’s easy to become complacent over time, so I [retake the course] as a refresher.” Reflecting on what motivates students to enroll, one Team Oregon instructor commented:

“I think we’d be just as busy, because it’s word of mouth. It’s, “You have
got to take this course.” Even with people who have been riding for years,
a friend takes it, and all of a sudden you start seeing a succession
of…friend[s] coming in because one of them took it. I think the money and
stuff is nice, but I think we’d see as many people. So many people say they
just want to be safer.”

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Students reported that knowledge and skills test licensing waivers were key incentives for enrolling in training.

  • Students also mentioned insurance discounts and tuition reimbursements offered by manufacturers as incentives.

  • Maryland offers a “one-stop shop” where students are licensed immediately following completion of a rider training course.

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