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 Rider Training

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Chilliwing
Maxi-Scooter Rider
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Number of posts : 148
Age : 61
Location : Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada
Points : 2387
Registration date : 2011-09-03

PostSubject: Rider Training   Fri 02 May 2014, 11:27

In 1976 I sold my Mk III Ford Cortina much to the dismay of my mother and purchased my first motorcycle. Having never risen before I was restricted to an L licence and a maximum 250cc until I passed my test. As a young invincible lad, a novice and a brand new Yamaha two stroke 250cc I was vulnerable to a short life expectancy on the City of London roads where I went to college and worked. Following a series of minor accidents (double decker bus and a garbage truck, don't ask) the police officer who attended the last scene clipped me around the ear for being irresponsible (street justice in those days) and sternly suggested I take a Metropolitan Police rider training course.
So I reluctantly (because being a teenager I already new everything about everything) signed up for for the course and spent my precious Saturday mornings learning a craft that to this day has saved my bacon  on too many occasions to mention. It was in short the best money on an kind of training I have ever taken. Ever!

Recently, my youngest of 3 daughters at age 22 has revealed her love and desire of the two wheeled lifestyle. We have taken a number of trips together, her as a passenger and she has picked up some useful road knowledge. Excited for her and apprehensive as a father knowing the dangers ahead I have suggested (well perhaps insisted) that she take Rider Training with a local group. To my surprise and without any hesitation she agreed (smarter than her dad). I hope that she enjoys and learns as much as I did.

In recent posts there have been a number of new riders asking for advice. The best advice I can offer is take some training first.
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cotetoi
Silver Wing Rider
Silver Wing Rider


Number of posts : 461
Location : New Brunswick, Canada
Points : 2116
Registration date : 2013-06-27

PostSubject: Re: Rider Training   Fri 02 May 2014, 20:12

No substitute for training before getting on two wheels: and from an instructor, not good old dad.
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ScooterBJ
Maxi-Scooter Rider
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Number of posts : 170
Location : Colorado USA
Points : 1617
Registration date : 2013-11-14

PostSubject: A long-winded 'my 2 cents'   Sat 03 May 2014, 10:36

I began riding at age 11 and had a motorcycle/scooter consistently since. In 2005 I was asked to become an MSF RiderCoach (instructor) for a south Florida school. By this time I had done considerable touring, including a coast to coast, and years of daily commuting. I had never taken any training and had acquired my license at age 16 via the simple test at the Dept. Motor Vehicles.

Before entering the RiderCoach certification training, I first had to complete the Basic Rider Course. I assumed I already knew it all with my years of serious riding...... But I was very wrong. I used so many poor riding habits it is a mystery how I made it to that point.

I aced the basic course, then passed the tough instructor course and certified as a RiderCoach. Shortly after I passed the Experienced Rider Course, and certified to teach it as well. In 2006 I took the Ride Like A Pro program which is based on motor officer training (the 1st on a scooter). I also was the school liaison to the Florida governing organization and prepared 5 other candidates to become RiderCoaches.

In 2010 I was hit by a car that turned into me while I was crossing an intersection. I was doing everything right; bright color armored jacket, helmet, gloves, headlight modulator, following the laws, etc. The accident was bad, but my training kicked in and I automatically executed an evasive maneuver. Though I ended up in a wheelchair for a while, and my SWing was destroyed, I lived. The officers reporting the accident told me that my evasive maneuver may have saved my life.

I re-certified as a RiderCoach in Colorado and now teach classes mostly with scooter riders due to my background and perspective.

This all likely sounds a lot like bragging, but the point I want to make is how much safer, and more enjoyable, my riding has been since taking training. I feel every rider, new or experienced, should take training, and preferably ongoing training. Some states now require an MSF course. I understand much of Europe has much, much more rigorous training requirements (and feel the States should as well). For me, I constantly strive to be a better rider and am working toward taking more advanced courses -- as training has saved my life at least once!
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cotetoi
Silver Wing Rider
Silver Wing Rider


Number of posts : 461
Location : New Brunswick, Canada
Points : 2116
Registration date : 2013-06-27

PostSubject: Re: Rider Training   Mon 05 May 2014, 07:54

A side bar to this post: I realised after reading Scooter's post that the term " Rider Coach" is a legitimate designation in some states. I bought a reflective vest on e-Bay that said RiderCoach across the back. At the time I did not know it said anything across the back. However, after I got it, I figured " heck, not worth sending back" , so I have been wearing it and ribbing my buddies. I did not think it meant anything formal. For all I cared it could say "Pope" across the back ! Would people believe I was Pope ? Anyhow , after reading the above post, I realized that it takes work and dedication to earn that title and just buying a vest on eBay does not cut it. I removed the patch last night.
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ScooterBJ
Maxi-Scooter Rider
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Number of posts : 170
Location : Colorado USA
Points : 1617
Registration date : 2013-11-14

PostSubject: Re: Rider Training   Mon 05 May 2014, 09:34

I knight thee RiderCoach Cotetoi of the of the Great North!

MSF uses the term rather than 'instructor' or 'teacher'. When I worked for Apple they call their tutor position 'creative' and the technician spot is 'genius'. Really, they are all marketing terms and I never much liked the twist on words.

The 1st time I certified to teach MSF was a very difficult course -- days of classroom and range work, then long nights of study with little sleep. The re-cert was much easier as it was not new to me. Recent changes with the curriculum means I now will need to add in a smaller course to update. It does take a lot of hard work and the pay is crap. I do get to claim my riding gear as a business expense at tax time and GEICO gives me a nice big discount on my insurance, but that all amounts to little.

Really, I enjoy the teaching and the look on 'poser bikers' faces when they learn of my background, experience, and that I choose to ride a scooter. I have a lot of fun with that.
 swing

During my time in Florida the state made the basic course mandatory for new riders and the attendance grew greatly. We started getting a lot of 'experienced' riders that had let their license lapse or were there with a new rider. Here is a story for you:
I was teaching a large class and a 'biker type' was there with his wife, a new rider. He made sure the class knew he had 20 years of riding experience and was unlikely to learn anything new, particularly from a scooter rider. The first day on the range it was obvious he had many bad habits, but the wife was a natural. On the last exercise of the day he dumped the bike making a stop. Some of the class laughed at him. He was unhurt but very angry and completely silent for the rest of the day. The next morning he dumped the bike again. That afternoon he dumped it the 3rd time which was during the exam, and is an automatic fail. He removed his helmet and bashed it on the asphalt (yelling something about it being the helmets fault), kicked the bike, walked to his truck and sped away, leaving his wife there without a ride. I asked her if she needed to leave. She replied 'Nah, I can get a ride, he is an ***hole and I plan to divorce him anyway. I just can't believe I was his passenger for 10 years'!

In Florida we had a lot of students from France and other European countries. Apparently, it is much easier, and less expensive to get certified in the States. They then would use their USA certification to skip the local requirements and costs.

Motorcycle safety instructors, that primarily ride scooters, are a rare breed here in the states but with the popularity of scooters elsewhere, I would like to hear more of the rider training programs, required certifications and tiered licensing in Canada, UK, AUS, NZ and other countries.

Anyone?
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john grinsel
Silver Wing Guru
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Number of posts : 2202
Points : 5567
Registration date : 2009-08-18

PostSubject: Re: Rider Training   Mon 05 May 2014, 10:06

My MSF instructor card is 1974------of course the two MSF teachers---drove their cars/vans to the course. MSF may do good job in parking lots/and for parking lot riding.

Any instruction is better than none----not MSF fan everybody notice....industry sponsored....designed to be easy and sell bikes.......most difficult for instructors, getting people to realize they may have bad car driving habits....could get you killed on bike. Several years ago I spied on their HQ outside of MCAS El Toro....nobody rode bike to work!

As DOD safety manager, had to deal with poorly trained GI's...for Germany/Japan/Korea/Italy----MSF ain't covering the 150mpoh stuff, real world braking/stopping starting on steep hill-----my experience in Italy instructor re-cert=walked out of class---Chief Instructor couldn't do all of the exercise, didn't know how to cross "4 x"4, etc. I did all----he said hot rodding! I walked.
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ScooterBJ
Maxi-Scooter Rider
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Number of posts : 170
Location : Colorado USA
Points : 1617
Registration date : 2013-11-14

PostSubject: Re: Rider Training   Tue 06 May 2014, 09:38

MSF is far from perfect, but in most states, it is what we have and is a far cry better than just taking the useless DMV test. A school I work with (T3RG) also has many advanced courses available including Total Control and Top Gun.

Until rider safety is taken seriously, rider training will not be taken seriously. I find it very strange that USA Federal requirements (DoD, Military base, etc.) are so much more strict than states. Proper gear requirements and training should be mandatory countrywide. This is my opinion, and I understand it is often an unpopular opinion.

But then driver (car/truck) requirements are pretty lax here as well. Distracted drivers (usually texting) has become a huge killer. How to deal with all this? I don't have the solutions, only opinions. For me, defensive riding, via advanced training and correct gear, will have  to do......... At least until I am King.
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"Hi Yo"
Silver Wing Guru
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Number of posts : 3007
Age : 68
Location : Garland, Texas, U.S.A.
Points : 6008
Registration date : 2010-02-17

PostSubject: Re: Rider Training   Tue 06 May 2014, 18:46

king   BJ   king    Those you trained will agree.  king  BJ  king 
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WingMan02
Super Scooter Rider
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Number of posts : 287
Location : Honolulu
Points : 2408
Registration date : 2012-01-19

PostSubject: Re: Rider Training   Tue 06 May 2014, 20:39

ScooterBJ wrote:
MSF is far from perfect, but in most states, it is what we have and is a far cry better than just taking the useless DMV test. A school I work with (T3RG) also has many advanced courses available including Total Control and Top Gun.

Until rider safety is taken seriously, rider training will not be taken seriously. I find it very strange that USA Federal requirements (DoD, Military base, etc.) are so much more strict than states. Proper gear requirements and training should be mandatory countrywide. This is my opinion, and I understand it is often an unpopular opinion.

But then driver (car/truck) requirements are pretty lax here as well. Distracted drivers (usually texting) has become a huge killer. How to deal with all this? I don't have the solutions, only opinions. For me, defensive riding, via advanced training and correct gear, will have  to do......... At least until I am King.

I agree with you completely. I feel that even moped drivers should be required to take the MSF course. Here in Hawaii, the problem is the many of the moped accidents are from tourist renting a moped and traveling around the islands. They ride it like a bicycle. They ride in shorts, not helmet, no gloves, not hi-vis clothes.  We tried to pass a law requiring moped drivers to possess a MC license, but it failed passage.  At least a law was passed requiring annual registration, and annual inspection. Mopeds cannot be modified to exceed the 35 MPH, and 5HP rating, or be fined.  Maybe next year they will pass the MC license requirement for mopeds.
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cotetoi
Silver Wing Rider
Silver Wing Rider


Number of posts : 461
Location : New Brunswick, Canada
Points : 2116
Registration date : 2013-06-27

PostSubject: Re: Rider Training   Tue 06 May 2014, 21:32

I thank you Scooter BJ for bestowing upon me the great honour of " Rider Coach". I try to show good riding etiquette when I am out riding with my buddies. I follow the rules of the road and specially group riding. But I am not instructor material: not just yet. Maybe someday. I will however try to live up to the title.
Safety in riding is no accident; it is a learned skill.
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ScooterBJ
Maxi-Scooter Rider
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Number of posts : 170
Location : Colorado USA
Points : 1617
Registration date : 2013-11-14

PostSubject: Re: Rider Training   Wed 07 May 2014, 09:28

When living in S. Florida we had a lot of the same tourist vs moped/50cc scooter issues. We used to ride down the islands to Key West for a long weekend. One could park on a street corner and watch the drunk flip-flop wearing tourists getting road rash. S. Beach Miami has a history of highly modified 50cc scooters and some of these could do 70mph+. Luckily, traffic was usually so thick hi speed accidents were rare.

My observations are that many consider a scooter requires no skill to ride and this is a huge danger in itself. Truth is, most accidents happen at below 30mph which is 50cc scooter speed. The SUV does not care what you are riding when it hits you, and the asphalt only cares what you are wearing when it is doling out road rash.

Guess I have gained a pretty sour opinion in some ways, but I try to be sure my students know the realities of riding. I let them know that there is no shame in deciding 'not to ride' after taking the class as not everyone belongs on 2-wheels.

The one quote I always make to my MSF students:
"You might wonder why I teach these classes? The pay is crap and it is hard work. Is it because I love to teach? In small part, yes, but mostly I do this for completely selfish reasons. You see, by teaching proper riding techniques, I am also teaching you to be better, more alert and safer drivers. That means there are (insert class attendance) drivers that are less likely to hit me!

It usually gets a few chuckles, but they get the point.
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