Does it matter whether you get motorcycle specific training before launching yourself down the road on your brand new bike? Beyond the basics of how to operate the controls, what actually has an effect on whether you are likely to get into an accident?
The George Institute for Global Health, located in Australia, did an analysis of worldwide studies to determine what type of motorcycle rider training is most effective in reducing accidents. Their conclusion? No one has a clue. The effectiveness of training, whether before or after you get your license, simply isn’t known from the evidence available. I’m not surprised.
At the risk of being politically incorrect, the biggest factor that determines who is going to get into an accident has far less to do with what type of training the rider has than who the rider is. If the person on the bike has a history of impulsive and irresponsible behavior, they’re not going to become careful and responsible on their bikes. If you look at everything related to the motorcycle itself, motorcycle clothing and protective gear and rider training, while ignoring who is actually on the motorcycle, your study will constantly give you confusing results. You’ll find riders with years of accident free miles with zero training and others who went through an approved rider training course crashing within days or weeks of hitting the road.
Is anyone truly surprised? It’s even a stretch to call some of the collisions cited in statistics “accidents.” It makes it sound as though they were unavoidable and unpredictable when it’s more likely many who knew the rider could see it coming. It makes it no less tragic when dealing with injury or death, but to wonder what type of training would have been effective in keeping it from occurring is to miss the obvious. Riders vary and safety is a state of mind, no amount of training will change that. We need no studies to know motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than riding in a car or truck, while those who don’t ride constantly wonder how to reduce the danger so it becomes somehow comparable to riding in a a steel box, it never will be. Those who cannot accept the obvious, should not ride. Be safe out there.