Just last week, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation called for an accident causation study directed at motorcycles because of rising fatalities for bikers when all other vehicle types were getting safer. A lot of armchair analysis suggested the rising number of untrained new motorcyclists abandoning their cars due to fuel prices as a big reason for the bad numbers but the MSF has just noted that in California, at least, this past June they had an all time record number of riders complete their basic rider training program. I’m not suggesting a basic course insures a new rider will not have an accident, but it indicates an interest in and orientation towards safety by the new riders and may also suggest there are other factors involved. Whether any of these course graduates were involved in accidents would be interesting to know, as well.
As I stated last week, “Everyone has their own idea of why fatalities increased, but until an actual study is conducted we won’t know for sure.” New riders may indeed be the problem but new riders will always be more susceptible to accidents, just like drivers, and knowing what is going wrong might help develop a focus in the training programs to reduce the danger.
MSF press release:
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation, which administers the California Motorcyclist Safety Program under contract with the California Highway Patrol, today announced that a new record for the number of motorcyclists trained in one month was set in June when 7,840 enthusiasts took the MSF’s Basic RiderCourse at 121 ranges throughout the state. The previous record was set in July 2006 when 7,138 Californians participated in the MSF Basic RiderCourse.
The MSF added that training numbers are running at a pace nearly 16 percent higher in 2008 than for the same period last year. In 2007 more than 62,000 students were trained at CMSP sites throughout the state. The CMSP is the largest motorcyclist training program in the United States and has trained more that a half million students since its inception in 1987.
“Training is more popular than ever this summer season,” said Robert Gladden, MSF’s director of program administration of the California Motorcyclist Safety Program. “We’ve added new training sites to meet demand and keep the wait time for classes short, and have been adding new CMSP-recognized MSF RiderCoaches to conduct training for the increasing number of new riders.”
Gladden added, “A tip of the helmet goes to the RiderCoaches and training site administrators for meeting this high demand so successfully and to the California Highway Patrol for its leadership in overseeing such a comprehensive program.”
The MSF Basic RiderCourse is designed for beginning riders. The course, which includes approximately five hours of classroom instruction and 10 hours of riding exercises in a controlled environment, provides a complete introduction to motorcycling. The course is conducted over two or three sessions and motorcycles and helmets are provided. For those who successfully complete the course, the skills portion of the Department of Motor Vehicles motorcycle licensing test is waived.