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Thread: NY Times On HLDI Study: Helmets & ABS Good, Safety Courses Not Effective

  1. #16
    Registered User xp8103's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PT9766 View Post
    Ms. McCartt of the IIHS admits that there was no statistically significant increase in motorcycle accidents in 4 states which require under 21 year olds to take a training course, she then goes on to talk as if there was a significant difference.

    PT9766
    PT, I think her premise wasn't that the difference was statistically significant or not but the direction that the statistics point to which, unless some anomaly, IS significant.

    What I feel is MOST significant is what OfficerImpersonator posted. That the MSF BRC is just that - a course that teaches you how to operate a motorcycle. Granted, some percentage of folks who take the course already have SOME operator knowledge/skill. Note the use of the word "operator" because operation and riding are two different things. Knowing how to launch without hiccups and stalling, how to brake without skidding or going over the handlebars, knowing how to turn, etc are all OPERATING skills. They are taught on small bikes in parking lots with cones. But that is a FAR FAR cry from the skills necessary to become a competent RIDER.

    Significant I think to point out here is that most if not all State-mandated driver education courses require student drivers to complete some amount of actual seat time, on the open road with an instructor. In this case now, not only is the student learning how to OPERATE a vehicle but s/he is learning how to DRIVE a car. NONE of this happens with BRCs or even ERCs. And it gets even worse when a State (like Maine for instance) allows a new rider to simply take an 8-hour permit course involving ONLY classroom instruction and then sends them on their way with permit in hand to start riding. Go! Have fun!

    Given that, perhaps it is no surprise what the statistics show? The BRC giving new riders a false sense of security? I don't know, that's an awful lot of false senses but.... The fact still remains that the US is WOEFULLY inadequate in its requirements for MC education and rider instruction.

    I would be interested to know what the helmet laws are in the 4 states requiring training referenced in the article? Maine requires riders under 18 to wear helmets (don't get me started....)
    Nik #140220 - '88 K75C | '96 R1100RS | '77 R100RS | '06 DL650
    '01 525iT (oOO=00=OOo)

    Helmets don't save lives but loud pipes do?

  2. #17
    Registered User xp8103's Avatar
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    Well.. There you go?? Read some of the blog posts after the article and:

    "No surprise. I sent my 16 yr old son to a winter driving safety course. He did come out with better winter driving skills but then he drove commensurately more fearlessly. Sending him to the course kind of backfired."
    Nik #140220 - '88 K75C | '96 R1100RS | '77 R100RS | '06 DL650
    '01 525iT (oOO=00=OOo)

    Helmets don't save lives but loud pipes do?

  3. #18
    Registered User xp8103's Avatar
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    And I guess this all brings up the question - how DO you train a better RIDER without causing injury in the training process? My RS has ABS. I've felt it kick in once, briefly. Other than that, I've never "panic-stopped" with it however I have experimented.
    Nik #140220 - '88 K75C | '96 R1100RS | '77 R100RS | '06 DL650
    '01 525iT (oOO=00=OOo)

    Helmets don't save lives but loud pipes do?

  4. #19
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xp8103 View Post
    Well.. There you go?? Read some of the blog posts after the article and:

    "No surprise. I sent my 16 yr old son to a winter driving safety course. He did come out with better winter driving skills but then he drove commensurately more fearlessly. Sending him to the course kind of backfired."


    hey, it's like riding or driving in europe. people go fast, but they know wtf they're doing!

  5. #20
    Registered User xp8103's Avatar
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    PT, I am not debating your math at all. But she does make it clear (at least to me) that people would EXPECT there to be a statistical difference in the OTHER direction. Yes, perhaps 10% was within the statistical margin of error but she is pointing out that the direction of the "margin" was counter-intuitive to what most would expect. Had it been 10% LESS but still within the margin of error, it is likely that some would still find it surprising, not of the direction of the difference, but that the percentage difference was so small?
    Nik #140220 - '88 K75C | '96 R1100RS | '77 R100RS | '06 DL650
    '01 525iT (oOO=00=OOo)

    Helmets don't save lives but loud pipes do?

  6. #21
    Registered User amiles's Avatar
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    Perhaps this means that the course offerings in motorcycle training classes are just not teaching their students what they need to know to stay alive?

    I think that we all believe that education/training should improve ones skills, making them more effective at what they are doing. If this is not happening why?

    Could it be that freshening up ones skills at low speed maneuvering in a parking lot "Bicycle Rodeo" type of class does not prepare a motorcyclist for the real world of the highway? Maybe the training is no good! Have we been fooling ourselves all this time?

    I am amused at the female riders who insist on single sex classes so as to eliminate the evil and stressful effect of those awful aggressive men riders. They should insist on single sex highways as well. The highway is a real life gritty and dangerous place. Train hard, train for what you will be doing, practice dealing with stress, it's there. Probably most female riders travel the road in company with male riders more often than with a segregated group of Females anyway.

  7. #22
    Ozzie Flyer
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    "Probably most female riders travel the road in company with male riders more often than with a segregated group of Females anyway."

    Glad you said that rather than I.

    Over in Ozz some states are trying some different approaches.
    ie. You must have an unrestricted Car drivers licence BEFORE you get your motorcycle learners and then you must undergo a further time of restriction ( speed and motorcycle size, no pillion etc) once you get your Riders endorsement.
    That has several effects:
    1. Older before you get your unrestricted bike licence.. Therefore older before the Boosa
    2. More years on the road before a motorcycle.. gets over those first years of stupid road use and time to get used to traffic.
    3. More time on restricted motorcycles before the Boosa

    Now not all of this is successful. But it MUST help. We seem to be having more issues with middle age men having their mid life crisis and going back to bikes without going through the above steps, because they had a licence on a step through on a back lane 35 years earlier. Buy a 1100 Harley and wait for the accident.

    I think in Europe the attack is even further along delaying the start of the bike phase. maybe that is the answer. You can't drink until your 21 in most places in the states ( wish it was the same here) so why can we jump on high powered rockets?

    Just a different point of view. By no means the answer.
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  8. #23
    Registered User Bullett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post


    ...

    i wish the licensing certifications in the USA were more strict, and had a strong training component.

    ian
    Me too, particularly for cagers.
    Sharon
    '07 R1200RT (my favorite!); '12 Yamaha Super Tenere (El Gordo); '07 Suzuki DR650SE (!);
    '59 R 26 (my first)

  9. #24
    Kirbster919
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    My person favorite motorcycle training moment (and I took a private course based on the MSF course) happened right before taking the 200cc bike for the road test. The warm up area was connected to the test area via a half block of cement alley. The instructor reminded us, "Be extra careful in the alley!"

    If confidence of us riding through that alley was low, why on earth would we be minutes away from getting an M license?


    I'm 21. All of my friends who know what they are doing learned from screwing around by themselves on little 250cc bikes, being lucky enough to learn before any accidents. All my friends who start on bigger bikes generally don't have a clue what is going on. While I'm not sure about my stance on graduated licensing, I agree 100% that you don't learn how to ride until you're on the street. My first ride was trial-by-fire, taking 4 hours to do a 45 minute ride home on my new bike. I was too nervous to remember the directions and catch the proper street signs.

    In regards to ABS, I was at the BMW dealership and a middle aged guy on a GS brought it up. He was in for his 600 mile service, hadn't been on a bike in 15 years, and was telling how he loved it. "Yeah, just on the way here, I was leaned over in a turn and a truck pulled onto the road in front of me. I just grabbed all the rear brake I could, the ABS kicked in, and I was fine." Great that he had ABS, or that bike would've never needed that service, but scary that he relies on it like that.

    The only time I ever "rely" on my ABS is when braking on bumpy roads where the traction threshold is changing rapidly. Rather than play it conservatively, the ABS lets me grab as much as I think I can, and if a bump surprises me, then my wheels are still rolling.

  10. #25
    Still plays with trains. tinytrains's Avatar
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    I think training is a good thing. But the BRC is like getting a private pilots license. It is a "license to learn". Enough to get you going without killing yourself. But you are not going to become a proficient rider in a weekend, or even a year. I have been riding since I was 16 (35 years) and still have much to learn.

    Back when I learned to ride in the 70's, the BRC was called "crashing". After a few crashes you learned what not to do. If you survived.

    I would like to take the ERC, but no one seems to be offering it here in So Cal right now.

    Scott
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  11. #26
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by tommcgee View Post
    Anything the insurance industry has to say about anything is motivated by increasing their profits and nothing else.
    Amen.
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.) / IBA Member #34281
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  12. #27
    MAYLETT
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    Like others have mentioned, there's a huge difference between a course that teaches a novice rider the basics of operating a small motorcycle and learning to safely ride a large-displacement motorcycle in real-world traffic.

    For me, the New York Times article probably raises more questions than it answers. For example, it makes no real mention of the type of training that the study covers. If it's just the basic, perfunctory, so-called "training" some states require to get a license, the results of the study don't surprise me at all. If, on the other hand, the study suggests that advanced safety training for intermediate and returning riders does no good, I'd be very surprised.

  13. #28
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    As a 17 year MSF trainer, I can say training is still a good thing and more training would be better. But the real issue, after training, is ALL rider attitude. The false sense of security that "it'll probably never happen to me" settles in and in rides after rides if nothing happens the rider settles for whatever is with no need to change. Most riders are never challenged with real riding skills until the crash event is right in front of them. I have met many of my students years after having them in a MSF course. They don't wear the right gear, many don't wear helmets, VERY few EVER get additional training. VERY, VERY few ever actually practice and improve on the very basic riding skills we teach in the MSF BRC.

    I can say slightly better for the MSF ERC classes. Though I have seen many an "experienced" rider with marginal riding skills. Again, is see it as rider attitude, and like all aspects of life in the US, things like access and costs of riding comes cheap to us Americans, and most riders develop their comfort zone of riding and rarely ever push beyond that to find what they and their bike is capable, or incapable of.

    It is all too easy to obtain, and maintain, a Motorcycle license endorsement here in the US. Skills that are not expected, practiced and proved in subsequent years of rider training quickly dissolve until the crash event happens, and then eveything ends up in statistics of how training is ineffective. Back to rider attitude. If all riders had the attitude that they always need to learn more and really improve their riding, street skills and risk reduction techniques, then we'd have less riders ever getting into crashes. Perhaps a rider skill test requirement every five years would change that attitude. But who would administer that, endorse it (probably not the insurance companies), and really, no US riders would tolerate it. They would complain loudly about having to retest their skills, and then what happens if you fail the test??!! Loose your license to ride? That would go over like a fart in church. Yet, it may weed out the weak riders better than traffic crashes would do, with potentially less overall costs.
    Last edited by Andy VH; 05-23-2010 at 08:22 PM.

  14. #29
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy VH View Post
    As a 17 year MSF trainer, I can say training is still a good thing and more training would be better. But the real issue, after training, is ALL rider attitude. The false sense of security that "it'll probably never happen to me" settles in and in rides after rides if nothing happens the rider settles for whatever is with no need to change. Most riders are never challenged with real riding skills until the crash event is right in front of them. I have met many of my students years after having them in a MSF course. They don't wear the right gear, many don't wear helmets, VERY few EVER get additional training. VERY, VERY few ever actually practice and improve on the very basic riding skills we teach in the MSF BRC.

    I can say slightly better for the MSF ERC classes. Though I have seen many an "experienced" rider with marginal riding skills. Again, is see it as rider attitude, and like all aspects of life in the US, things like access and costs of riding comes cheap to us Americans, and most riders develop their comfort zone of riding and rarely ever push beyond that to find what they and their bike is capable, or incapable of.

    It is all too easy to obtain, and maintain, a Motorcycle license endorsement here in the US. Skills that are not expected, practiced and proved in subsequent years of rider training quickly dissolve until the crash event happens, and then eveything ends up in statistics of how training is ineffective. Back to rider attitude. If all riders had the attitude that they always need to learn more and really improve their riding, street skills and risk reduction techniques, then we'd have less riders ever getting into crashes. Perhaps a rider skill test requirement every five years would change that attitude. But who would administer that, endorse it (probably not the insurance companies), and really, no US riders would tolerate it. They would complain loudly about having to retest their skills, and then what happens if you fail the test??!! Loose your license to ride? That would go over like a fart in church. Yet, it may weed out the weak riders better than traffic crashes would do, with potentially less overall costs.

    Very well stated, Andy.

    Like I reminded my students this past weekend (MSF BRC): "When you no longer strive to be better, you've stopped being good."
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.) / IBA Member #34281
    MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer)
    Motorcycle/Driving Instructor - ROAD AMERICA Race Track

  15. #30
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    It would be interesting to compare fatality rates/mile for two groups
    1) The vast majority of motorcyclists who seem to be "summer only" riders. This counts virtually all Hardley and sportbike owners in my part of the woods though 365 day riding is easily possible with reasonable clothing.
    2) Committed motorcyclists who ride all year or at least whenever conditions reasonably permit.

    The month by month stats would also be interesting. Is there a non-proportional rise when all those in category 1 hit the road in the spring (April/May around here).

    Be careful about wishing for extreme licensing and training requirements lest you get what you wish for. That would kill dealerships, sales and support for this hobby out of proportion to benefits that IMO are mostly theoretical.

    It is a lot about attitude and clearly many riders displace piss poor ones. No adequate protective gear for about 80% where I live (helmet only being the norm- no boots, gloves, jacket, pants, etc.). Telegraphs that most of them believe offs happen to anyone but them. Similar to smokers who think that they won't be the individual who gets the heart attack, stroke or lung cancer.

    Trainers might work more on attitudes and less on parking lot balance, an utterly worthless real world skill.

    I used to teach (cars) a course called Decisive Driving aimed at young drivers including some who had already had several crashes. What I learned doing this was eye opening because ALL (100.00%) of students could not or would not even apply brakes hard enough to get into the antilocks when commanded to do so. It took significant time just to get them to actually use the basic car controls of brakes and steering before even presenting them with the challenge of using them in limited space/time situations where choices mattered.

    Maybe basic training ought to start at the track with the students own bike instead of in a parking lot with a loaner tiddler....

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