Most cycle drivers don’t sign up for a motorcycle safety course. Let’s be realistic, no one driver could possibly know all they need to know about motorcycle safety. Take for example the recently injured Baton Rouge police chief. He was suddenly knocked unconscious in a motorcycle crash and will undergo surgery to repair his left shoulder. The officer noted that “(with) the safety courses, a lot of things come into play” when dealing with a dangerous cycling accident.
There are many resources besides a safety course that may convince you into believing that you know what it takes to be safe. Most people learn to ride from a friend that can offer their well intended cycling safety tips. Others will research safety on-line or purchase a book. Fewer choose a course offered through the state or a private certified motorcycle safety facility. Is any one of these choices the better than the next? Yes, nothing replaces the good old fashion motorcycle riding safety course.
It’s human nature to think we have something figured out after only a short time of doing it. Even the injured Baton Rouge police officer, states that even with his years of riding experience, his unfortunate accident occurred on what he calls “an unstable piece of machinery.” He urges safety to anyone that rides motorcycles. There are more than a handful of new drivers that have experienced the excitement of driving motorized vehicles in their youth. The new motorcycle driver may believe that they are already a skilled driver due to their past experience. Spring fever is a powerful motivator for a new motorcyclist to avoid common sense and begin driving without professional training. Furthermore, given the ease of researching just about any topic on-line with only a few clicks, one may feel that they are equipped with all the knowledge to start driving safely with a tutorial. Even individuals that are quite good at on-line researchers may inadvertently miss a resource that is covered in a professional training class.
The site Motorcycle.com, offers articles such as “How to Ride a Motorcycle, Step by Step.” While the source is an excellent resource, it does not compare to a professional safety course. There are comprehensive books available on motorcycle safety. For 2010, the new publication titled, “Maximum Control: Mastering Your Heavy Weight Bike” (MBI Publishing Company, $24.95), written by Pat Hahn, covers vast territory. The book is filled with answers to just about any question related to motorcycle safety, be it knowledge, skills, technical, or theoretical. Topics such as coordinating fine muscle control, hazard awareness and crash awareness make it a great resource. The knowledge of books like this, when combined with an interactive class experience are priceless.
Luckily, most courses are offered at convenient days and times. That way, summer weekends and evenings can remain for family, friends and riding. Schools that offer personalized instruction often hire trainers with up to 40-years riding experience. Most trainers have driven on all types of motorcycles and have stories to share. Statistics from The Motorcycle Safety Foundation of Texas illustrates the reality of the danger of driving without any formal training:
- 90% of those involved in motorcycle accidents have had no formal training.
- 20% of all motorcycle accidents happen to riders with less than 6 months experience.
- 30% of riders with less than 1 year of experience will experience an accident.
Who would have thought that a simple motorcycle course could save a life? The Department of Motor Vehicles teaches skills for all levels of drivers. For as few as five hours, and a little chunk of cash, all riders can polish up their driving and tame any overconfidence. One thing is for sure, an unfortunate crash is not what any motorcycle driver wants to experience in a lifetime. The courses offer valuable knowledge on street trends and offer insights drivers are not even aware of. The concentrated and focused learning environment can be completed in as little as two days. Besides, it may be the course that ends up saving a life. So, what if there’s a bit of Evil Knievel energy pumping through your veins? By taking an official driving course, one can learn the basic framework that keeps us safer. Even if only one fragment of the course sinks in, the knowledge is priceless.
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash