Think You Can’t Use a Motorcycle Safety Course? Think Again.
In addition to providing a cost-effective means of transportation, hitting the streets on a motorcycle can be fun and exhilarating; however, it can also be quite dangerous. In the United States in 2011, 4,612 motorcyclists were killed and approximately 103,000 were injured in accidents. At Trusted Choice®, we care about your safety and want you to enjoy your motorcycle riding experience. That is why we strongly recommend that you take a motorcycle safety course.
Millions of American motorcyclists have registered for and taken these courses. Some take the course because it is required by their particular state, but many take it either as a way of improving their riding skills or to receive a discount on their motorcycle insurance. If you have not yet taken a motorcycle safety course, it may be worth considering. If you have taken the basic riding course, even if you have been riding for years, the advanced safety course may be worth your while.
What Is a Motorcycle Safety Course?
Motorcycle safety courses are offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, or MSF, which has been providing this service since 1974. This nonprofit organization has developed, and is constantly revising, motorcycle safety courses geared toward both new and experienced riders. Revisions to the course are based on recommendations by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.
Although the curriculum is standard across the country, how the course is administered may vary by state. There are currently thousands of locations nationwide where interested riders can sign up for and take a safety course. Riders may choose between the Basic RiderCourseSM and other courses that are designed for more experience riders.
The MSF also now offers an e-course that you can take from home using your computer or mobile device. This is to be used as an introductory course that will allow you to decide if motorcycling is something you want to pursue, but it cannot be taken as a substitute for an actual hands-on course.
Who Is Required to Take the Motorcycle Safety Course?
Requirements for this course vary by state. While some states may require that all licensed riders take the course, others may require it only for new riders or riders under a certain age. However, most states encourage, but do not mandate, that riders register for or take the safety course. To see the requirements in your state, use the tool below.
Regardless of whether or not you are required to take the course, it is undoubtedly in your best interest to do so.
Motorcycle Safety Courses Benefit New Riders
New riders are strongly encouraged to take the Basic Motorcycle Safety Course. It is one of the best ways to learn to ride. The MSF’s Basic RiderCourse is designed specifically for beginners and teaches all the important basics of operating a motorcycle. It typically consists of two or three sessions that include a total of five hours of classroom instruction and activities and 10 hours of on-bike riding instruction.
Motorcycles and riding gear, including helmets, are normally provided on-site for use when taking the course. Some things that are covered in the basic riding course are:
- Appropriate riding gear
- How to perform a routine motorcycle inspection prior to riding
- How to start and stop your bike
- How to maneuver through traffic and obstacles
In some states, completion of this basic course can be used as a substitute for taking the licensing test.
Even Experienced Riders Can Get Useful Safety Tips
In addition to the basic riding course, the MSF also offers a variety of other courses designed for more experienced riders. The most well-known of these courses is the Advanced RiderCourse. Even those who have been riding for years can benefit from this one-day course.
Students in this course learn a number of skills, including:
- How to improve perception and hazard awareness
- Crash avoidance
- Improved braking
- Cornering finesse
Other courses offered to experienced riders are:
- Ultimate Bike-Bonding RiderCourse: This is a course in basic maneuvering skills patterned after police training courses.
- Kevin Schwantz RiderCourse: This one-day course focuses on performance and visual awareness so riders can learn to handle high-speed braking and cornering.
The skills taught in these courses can help you avoid accidents and limit riding-related injuries.
Completion of a Motorcycle Safety Course May Lower Your Insurance Rates
Because those who have completed motorcycle safety courses are less likely to be involved in accidents, most insurance companies offer discounts to these riders. In some cases, the discounts can be significant. The easiest way to discover how much you may save is by letting an independent agent in the Trusted Choice network find and compare rates and discounts from a variety of insurance providers for you.
In the meantime, we wish you many perfect riding days and clear open roads in your future. Happy riding!
About the authors: Dave and Meg Stefanac live in Bethel Park, PA with their two children. Dave, an IT specialist, has been riding and tinkering with motorcycles for more than 20 years, and Meg writes blogs and content for Trusted Choice and several other companies. The couple enjoys writing about their experiences and sharing their knowledge with others.
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