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MSF Updates Basic Rider Course Curriculum

Friday, April 4, 2014
MSF
A student receives instruction from an MSF RiderCoach, during MSF’s first-ever, updated Basic RiderCourse, taught over the weekend at the Johnson County Community College motorcycle safety-training site in Overland Park, Kansas.
The next phase in motorcycle rider training launched in a Kansas suburb over the weekend. Johnson County Community College became the first site to use the updated Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic RiderCourse that now includes online training, greater emphasis on rider behavior, and additional focus on emergency responses in real-world traffic.

One of the major revisions to the BRC is the inclusion of the MSF Basic eCourse, which students take prior to attending the in-person classroom instruction. It provides online learning activities to help a new or returning rider acquire or review basic information about riding skills, procedures and techniques before starting the hands-on riding exercises. Though the eCourse has existed since 2013, it was previously recommended, not required, for completing the BRC.

Research revealed the need to address critical thinking skills, according to Dr. Ray Ochs, vice president, training systems for the MSF. By taking the eCourse in advance, more classroom time can be devoted to behavioral concepts such as risk awareness and management, hazard perception and judgment, and self-assessment and decision-making.

“Though the MSF Basic eCourse is a great tool to gain a better understanding of motorcycling, it does not teach someone to ride,” Ochs said. “The best way is through the hands-on MSF Basic RiderCourse that includes step-by-step motor skills development under the supervision of an MSF-certified RiderCoach.”

Additionally, the riding portion of the BRC was modified to provide 20 percent more time on basic motor skills, 30 percent more time on cornering maneuvers and emergency responses, and 30 percent more time on traffic-type interactions, although overall riding times remain similar to the former curriculum. The new BRC skill test was also revised to better align with the licensing tests used by many states.

The course textbook, the "Basic RiderCourse Rider Handbook," is all-new as well. Now printed in color, the Handbook has grown to 76 pages, with 16 chapters, 175 study questions, 50 percent more content on cornering, 30 percent more on escape paths, and 20 percent more on self-assessment. The Handbook was designed to serve as a resource for students for years beyond their classroom experience. The new Handbook works equally well with the prior version of the Basic RiderCourse, as the core values and riding strategies remain unchanged.

“Our interest in adopting the new MSF curriculum is to provide a superior learning experience for our students and prepare each to safely ride our streets and highways,” said Phil Wegman, program director in continuing education at JCCC. “We believe the MSF curriculum updates will make the material presented more personally meaningful to each participant and enhance their awareness of their abilities, skills and limitations.”

The BRC is the most widely used learn-to-ride curriculum in the world, with annual enrollment approaching 500,000. The last revision was released in March 2001. The updated BRC is the fifth version the foundation has developed in its 41-year history. The new curriculum is available for rider training sites to adopt, and the MSF is eager to work with sites in transitioning to the new program, according to Ochs.

“Each iteration has been a student-focused improvement based on extensive research by the MSF and other organizations concerned about motorcycle safety and learning,” Ochs said. “With the updated BRC, riders can now experience more depth and breadth than has ever been available in an MSF novice course. Congratulations to Phil Wegman and a great group of Kansas RiderCoaches motivated to provide the best training available.”

To transition to the updated BRC curriculum, local sites must make some adjustments to their riding ranges and be re-approved through the MSF Rider Education Recognition Program. RiderCoaches also need to be trained and MSF-certified for the new curriculum.

The MSF research budget (more than $3.7 million from 2005 through 2013) is funded by investments from leading manufacturers and is aimed at increasing safety for motorcyclists. As a result of the MSF’s ongoing research, the curriculum is continually refined.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation promotes safety through rider training and education, operator licensing tests and public information programs. The MSF works with the federal government, state agencies, the military and others to offer training for all skill levels so riders can enjoy a lifetime of safe, responsible motorcycling. Standards established by the MSF® have been recognized worldwide since 1973.

The MSF is a not-for-profit organization sponsored by BMW, BRP, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio, Polaris Motorcycles, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha. For safety information or to enroll in the MSF RiderCourse nearest you, visit msf-usa.org or call (800) 446-9227.
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