Did MSF have more to do with Rider’s Edge than we thought?

You may have noticed in the prior entry on the simultaneous approval of both the Blast and Rider’s Edge that four of the nine classes (44%) that comprised the Rider’s Edge field-test were conducted in Albuquerque, NM.

The photo of what would be called the Buell Blast showing them in a training exercise was taken in mid-November and posted by The Single Cylinder Gazette on Wednesday, November 24, 1999.

However the range appears to be the very same one that appeared in the infamous marketing video sent out by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to introduce its new curriculum iteration, the Basic RiderCourse.

That range was part of the New Mexico State Motorcycle Program. And the NMSMP was (and still is) administrated by MSF.

According to Michael Weiss, H-D Director of Business Development in that phone call to state program rider educators, David Smith and Frank Allen were the ones to contact for how Rider’s Edge instructors would “bleed over” in terms of Rider’s Edge and state programs.  Iow, Smith and Allen were the experts on Rider’s Edge instructors.

David Smith and Frank Allen were employees of MSF at the time the spy photo was taken and working on another field-test for MSF in Albuquerque at the same time—more on that in a moment. Smith has been the New Mexico state motorcycle safety program manager for several years even though, at least until a couple years ago, he also taught for Rider’s Edge in Albuquerque.

For many months after the Milwaukee SMSA, Rider’s Edge was a source of controversy and confusion in the rider education community. It might have reassured many in the rider ed community if they knew that  MSF-employed instructors were evaluating the course and the motorcycle.

It appears that MSF was much more deeply involved than suspected with the origins of Rider’s Edge if only because it was administrator of the NMSMP and employed Smith and Allen. Yet it made every effort to distance itself from Harley and Rider’s Edge and would only admit that Harley had permission to use MSF’s curriculum.

For example, Piper posted this on the MSF listserve on Aug 25, 2000: “Harley-Davidson and its Rider’s Edge New Rider Course do not intend to “compete” with existing rider training through the state programs….From the MSF viewpoint, we’re pleased at the effort Harley-Davidson is making to help us address the training capacity issue and to expose non-riders to motorcycling.”

There’s only one place where I discovered any admitted connection (apart from the curriculum use) between MSF and H-D and Rider’s Edge: An e-mail from Albert Thornton, then chair of the SMSA, with the subject head “Chat with Tim Buche on 29 July 1999” to Ron Shepard states “Tim also indicated that the MSF will be assisting Harley-Davidson “with some research this winter” and that HD will be laying [sic— I think he meant playing] a bigger role. (???????)”.  After Milwaukee, Thornton may not have needed the question marks.

The question is: why did TPTB at MSF and/or H-D feel it was important to maintain an illusion of a Chinese Wall when news of a deeper involvement with MSF may have reassured nervous instructors?

Was the Blast and Rider’s Edge testing also passed off as BRC field-testing?

What few readers may realize is that Albuquerque did over 70% of the 1999 BRC field-tests) for the Basic RiderCourse.[i] And those 19 sets of range exercises were conducted between the end of June and December 1999. Thirteen of them (over 68% of all the field tests) were taught by David Smith, his son Mark Smith and Frank Allen from August-December.

Iow, at the same time that Harley-Davidson was conducting the field-test for both Rider’s Edge curriculum and the Buell Blast as a training bike on an MSF range in Albuquerque with MSF employees, David Smith and Frank Allen they were simultaneously conducting field tests on MSF’s Basic RiderCourse.

That overlap of field-tests includes the same weekend, on the same range that the couple snapped the photo of the top-secret Buell used in training in Albuquerque.

David Smith, Mark Smith and Frank Allen in a memo to Ray Ochs dated May 19, 2000 refers to BRC field tests conducted “using normally scheduled classes”. It is assumed that the same policy was followed in the fall since the class sizes were similar.

According to MSF documentation that weekend, November 19-21, there were six students in the class that was held (the photo shows five though one may be out of sight on the right hand portion of the circle).

And, according to MSF, the course that was being conducted was the curriculum that it was just developing—the Basic RiderCourse—and not the MRC:RSS, which allegedly was the curriculum Rider’s Edge first adapted and field-tested—at least that was the impression the rider ed community was given.

Iow, at the exact time MSF claims it was testing the BRC, Harley claimed it was field-testing Rider’s Edge on the same range with the same instructors.

My friend Thor also claims the picture shows Exercise Six from the MRC: RSS. The photo, then, should be of an MRC:RSS class in motion mid-way through the first range session. He based that on the circle on the range and assumed that the students were riding the circle—however, there’s also yellow markings on the range that may or may not conform the to BRC.

But, according to BRC field-testing documentation, no MRC:RSS classes were conducted in Albuquerque in November at all. According to MSF, the only RSS that conducted in Albuquerque in the fall of 1999 was held December 17-19, 1999—almost a month after the pictures of the Blasts were taken and posted on the Internet.[ii]

Iow, if MSF—and Smith and Allen—are to be believed the photo would be of a BRC field test and not an RSS class. But Harley says it was field-testing Rider’s Edge at the same time. So either Harley’s Rider’s Edge was the BRC from the beginning or the instructors who taught the course were confused about which iteration they were teaching that weekend.

Whatever iteration, it was conducted on the Buell Blast.

And remember that Elisabeth Piper said in her February 9, 2000 post that the Blast was currently being tested for use in the New Mexico and Pennsylvania state programs? No training occurs in Pennsylvania in the winter—but it was occurring in NM. And remember, there were only three dealerships that had Buell Blasts at that point—and one of them was in Albuquerque.

But the only MSF training being done in Albuquerque in the winter of 2000 was the BRC field test. Does this mean that at least part of the BRC field test was conducted on Buell Blasts? It’s unknown.

[i] When MSF sought permission from the Oregon Department of Oregon to be approved as an alternate state program it submitted numerous documents including 74 separate supporting appendices. Number 34 is the RESLAB Component Feasibility Testing: Times and Mileage (Sept-Dec ’99) and lists all the field testing done in the latter part of 1999. Other appendices reveal that no field testing had been done in 1999 prior to September and only a very few field-tests had been done in the fall of 1998 (at Eastern Kentucky State University).

[ii] Interestingly, the one RSS conducted as a control group and to compare against the BRC had 33% more students than the average test BRC course.

Explore posts in the same categories: Harley-Davidson, Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Motorcycle Training, State Motorcycle Safety Programs

21 Comments on “Did MSF have more to do with Rider’s Edge than we thought?”

  1. Dave B Says:

    Wendy: Not sure if you or others know this…The Rider’s Edge range exercises are the same as the BRC range exercises. Nothing new or different. Only difference is all the RE students ride a Buell Blast.

    The only difference between the RE program and the BRC is that a few additional classroom activites have been added to the RE program and other classroom teaching methods besides the Q&A method are encouraged.

    And something called the “Roadbook” is added to the classroom & range. The Roadbook is used in the classroom to write down your thoughts about certain things being discussed. On the range, it’s used just before or during the breaks to write down your thoughts about the exercises you just did. Super tool if used properly.

    I teach for the State and for RE. When I teach for RE, there’s no “sales pitch” to buy any HD products. The classroom just happens to be in a HD dealership. Except for the challenges of the Buell Blast for novice riders, I prefer the RE program over the State program. More detailed discussions. Students can buy riding gear on-site if needed. More time is allotted for riding and classroom dicussion.

  2. wmoon Says:

    Dave, Yes, I do know the exercises are the same–but it’s not true that’s the only difference. There is differences in the length H-D allots the exercises in some cases and more time to stand around on the range writing in the roadbook, as you say. And instructors are supposed to give salespitches about the bike. That’s according to the training materials given during Rider’s Edge instructor training. That you don’t give the sales pitch is laudable–but it’s part of the program and, unless you don’t do the dealership part of the course, then there’s still the blatant marketing dimension–as well as the part where you go over the student’s gear as to appropriateness immediately before going into the dealership–that also is part of the program. As you say, “Students can buy riding gear on-site if needed.”

    And while you prefer RE–and I’m sure the higher salary for teaching has nothing to do with it–the turnover among RE instructors is enormous because most instructors either don’t have the same experience you do or have less tolerance for what doesn’t bother you.

    There’s been far too many stories–including from H-D’s quality assurance specialists–of all kinds of extremely serious problems–higher crash and injury rates, dangerous ranges, pressure to pass students who’ve bought bikes or are in the process of buying one, etc. as well as clearly lower standards for acceptable performance as being expected to do sales/marketing instead of just being an instructor. I would advise you not to generalize from your singular experience into a blanket endorsement for a program that’s associated with so many injuries and deaths.

  3. Dave B Says:

    Wendy: I don’t dispute what may have happened in the past. All I can relate to is the RE training that I went through with 11 other RE “instructors to be”. We were never told, nor was it ever implied, that we had to “sell” anything. I used to sell insurance many years ago. I know a sales pitch when I see/hear one.

    I don’t know what training materials you have or have been told about, but the tour is designed to begin before getting into any of the BRC classroom material. Some dealerships may use it as a sales pitch but it wasn’t designed that way. It was designed to give the students an “inside look” at a motorcycle dealership. Each department is supposed to explain how their department works. Many of the students that take the course at the dealership I teach for find the tour interesting & informative – even those who have no interest in buying a Harley or Harley clothing.

    Students are told before class starts via a conformation letter, sent at least a week in advance, what they need to wear for class. They can buy that anywhere.

    BTW, the pay I get to teach the RE course is $50 more than what I get to teach the State course. Not a factor. And you shouldn’t have implied it in your post. And I work an extra day when I get that extra $50. The typical RE course goes from Thursday – Monday. You left that out of your post.

    At the HD dealership I teach for, none of us instructors have been pressured in any way to pass anyone. In fact, I teach the State course and the RE course the same way, minus the tour, the Roadbook, the HD posters and the Buell. And the Roadbook is the same as the Debrief segment of every MSF riding exercise. Students just write down their answers so they can reflect on them later.

    I read all about the RE program (the good, the bad and the ugly) before going to the training this past May. I wanted to see for myself what it was all about. If it was going to be a sales pitch course or an inferior course, I wanted no part of it. It turned out to be a better version of the BRC. Yes, the Buells are more challenging to learn on. A good instructor will know how to coach that issue.

    As you have stated in the past, learning how to ride a motorcycle on a 125cc or 250cc is not the real world, and it’s easier to pass the Skills Evaluation on a 125cc or 250cc motorcycle. If you can pass the course on a 500cc Blast, seems to me that you can handle a more realistic motorcycle on the road. Maybe the RE course does a better job of weeding out the ones who don’t belong on a motorcycle.

    It’s very unfortunate that some RE students were seriously injured on RE ranges. I don’t know that as a fact. I got that from your blog. I believe all ranges are approved by the MSF. So keep banging the MSF for approving those ranges. Here in NJ, all ranges are approved by the State & MSF. Those severe accidents probably could have been avoided if there were more run-off area. They might have also been avoided if the MSF trained instructors did some remedial training with the Buell’s friction zone or counseled out the students who didn’t meet the objective of Ex. 2. Some MSF instructors (all RE instructors are trained by the State & the MSF first) end that exercise according to the “recommended” time listed on the range cards, even if some students haven’t met the objective. That exercise should be run until the students show decent friction zone control. If not, take a break and remediate. If remediation doesn’t help, give them the ax. So some or all of those accidents could be the result of poor judgment on the part of the instructor. Instructor training is another issue. One that you may want to address in a future entry.

    You have the right to criticize whatever you want. I enjoy reading your blog to find out all sides of a story. You can rip the MSF for allowing a 500cc training bike. You can rip HD for wanting to get into the training business. You can expose the problems the program had in the past. Don’t shoot down the instructors. If you post something on the MSF List Serv, you’ll discover that none of the current RE instructors are doing any sales pitches. They’ll tell you the same thing I just did. In fact, I believe Mark Weiss from AZ teaches the RE program. (That’s the impression I get from reading his MSF ListServ posts). Does he do any seliing? Does he pass students that should fail? I don’t think so. And I believe Mark was involved with some of the initial BRC field testing.

    And if you have proof (vs. hearsay) that RE instructors are passing students that shouldn’t pass because they are being pressured, it should be reported to the State Motorcycle Director of that State and that RE program will be shut down. All RE programs have to comply with the State polices that they operate in.

    And it should also be reported to the RE Regional Director who will also shut down that dealership. HD corporate wants to sell motorcycles but I’m sure not that way. As a fact, I had a student who bought a HD motorcycle the second night of the class I was teaching. I was the Examiner. He scored a 50. Must be an all time high score.

    At our dealership, we do the RE course the way it was designed to be taught.

  4. wmoon Says:

    Dave, I have a copy of all the materials Rider’s Edge gives to the instructors in RE training as well as a blow by blow account of how the training went. That account–and what the materials were (at least at that time) have been verified by others who went through the training. You can say whatever you want–but the official materials (as well as an RE Update video I have) say otherwise.

    It’s curious that you throw all the other instructors under the bus and blame them when there’s very little anyone knows about the fatal and near-fatal crashes. You yourself just shot down the instructors and seem to feel perfectly qualified to make a judgment on little or no information and on your limited experience.

    Many students who take RE feel that it’s a sales program and feel the peer pressure. Program managers and instructors have told me of the pressure they get from their employer to pass students. H-D’s RE instructor materials makes it very clear that RE is supposed to bond the students to the brand and that’s the measure of success for their instructors–how many students bond to the brand.

    And it’s curious that you think that the state program has any real authority over the RE program in their state. In most states, H-D doesn’t even let the state program know how many students take the course, what the scores are, pass/fail rate–and most importantly the crash and injury rate. H-D promised not to poach instructors.

    And the way RE ranges are approved in the states I am familiar with are almost always between H-D and MSF itself without any say by the state instructor. Indiana is the one exception I am familiar with–but even there H-D let the state program have very little information and almost no input. You err in amusing the situation you claim exists in your state is univeral across the USA.

    And you really missed the point of the entry by jumping to a defense of the program where you work: The point is that MSF and H-D always claimed RE was separate from MSF. H-D gave the impression it ran its own separate field tests. MSF gave the impression the BRC was its sole development.

  5. Dave B Says:

    Wendy: I just finished contacting all the other MSF instructors who took the RE training with me this past May. Some teach the RE course in AZ, IN, MD and VT. None of them stated that they pitch any HD products and none of them have been pressured to pass any students.

    My point – what you’ve stated isn’t happening in every RE program.

    My other point – the current RE trainers aren’t telling or teaching the instructors to be pitch men or to slide some students through the Skills Evaluation. What happens when an instructor starts working for a HD dealership may be a different story. And if what you stated is true, those instructors should step up to the plate and report it to the MSF, their State, their DMV, the AMA, MCN, and the local newspapers. Have their RERP yanked from the dealership.

    As we both know, motorcycle dealerships try to make money any way they can. Some are ethical in their practices. Some are not.

    I’m not too fond of everything HD corporate does but they designed a nice motorcycle training course. Yes they can design a more user-friendly training bike and I hope they do. The more experienced instructors know what to do to help the students overcome the “problems” with the Buell Blast. The students who learn how to handle the Blast well do the U-turns very well, stop very quickly and ride through the two curves very well. And their transition to a bigger bike is easier.

    On another note – In NJ, we were trying to get a bill passed that would close the loophole that allowed anyone to get a motorcycle endorsement by taking the DMV road test on a scooter. The bill would have issued a cc restriction on your Driver License if you took the road test on a scooter. Great idea. Moving in the right direction.

    I understand the bill was shelved because a politician who has a financial interest in a motorcycle dealership stalled it. I don’t know who or what dealership yet.

  6. Gunslinger Says:

    This is very interesting. I met a couple of RE rider coaches/instructors from West Virginia and they told me that they waived their teaching salary and chose to take the commissions from sales they advanced. Hmm. When I taught the RE program I had students confide in me that there was high pressure selling going on. Hmm. One student confided that he felt like he was trapped inside an info-mercial. How do I recall such things? I wrote them down in my Road Book, that’s how.

  7. CaptCrash Says:

    This is one of those problems that can’t be solved. Regardless of how impartial an RE RC trys to be–they’re still teaching INSIDE a dealership. It’s like going to a football game and insisting you didn’t look at the field. You’re there, it’s a dealership! It’s only purpose for existance is to SELL stuff. Every inch of it is designed to create sales. “Touring” the showroom to look at gear has a name where I come from: Browsing or Window Shopping.

    That said, personally I wouldn’t be comfortable teaching in the dealership whether HD or Yamaha or Honda or Hyosung or whatever. The neutral evironment of the a school (where I get to teach) is IMO a blessing because is actually calms the students and sets a tone of learning. I worry that if you’re dying to get your license so you can take delivery on your new HD that being in the HD dealership with it and all that cool stuff you’re waiting to buy–COULD take you off task.

    But I’m easily distracted.

  8. gymnast Says:

    Crash, you raise some interesting points and cover some of the ground considered during early days of the development of motorcycle motorcycle safety and rider training program development.

    Imagine teaching a taxpayer supported, state affiliated, Driver and Traffic Safety Education course, designed by the auto industry, and required as a prerequisite for operator licensing in some states and approved and sanctioned by most others. In my opinion, the ethical transgressions of such a program would be (are) simply unacceptable and an unconscionable violation of accepted ethical norms.

    The MSF has managed over time to corrupt the the concept of Motorcycle Safety and Rider Education and training to the point that is virtually unrecognizable as anything but a sales gimmick. Is it better than nothing? That question must to be considered properly must include the consideration of MSF’s ethical role as an enabler. Reading the Liability waiver signed by states using the MSF curriculum and the waiver signed students goes a long way towards answering the the ethical questions.
    Examining the incident reports of crashes and injuries suffered by students during training would shed additional light. Longitudinal studies of the rider histories, including crashes and injuries of trained and untrained riders including riders taking advanced training on their own initiative would lend further insight into both the net worth of programs as well as providing basic information for reasoned discussion of the ethics involved in “sales oriented”
    “rider training” as it is presently constituted.

  9. CaptCrash Says:

    Yeah, it’s better than nothing.

    Short of the Government taking over Rider Training (ala State sponsored Driver Training) there’s really no alternative; possibly due to cost. The State/MIC/MSF collaboration that is in place in many states creates the low cost training that many (maybe most) entry level riders demand.

    The elephant in the room that people with qualms about the MSF won’t talk about is the fact that if the MSF disappeared–what would fill the void? Who could guarantee that ALL rider training wouldn’t become a dealership sponsored “value added” sales tool? “Buy a bike get free training” or “Train with us and we’ll deduct the price of your training from your bike if you buy with us”.

    Or do you create a new Government agency. Something within the NHTSA?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big MSF fan. And the Riders Edge thing makes me itch. BUT maybe the question should be asked: If not the MIC/MSF (and I think it’s fair to call them the MIC/MSF) what then?

    Does anyone have a blueprint for the new model?

  10. wmoon Says:

    CaptCrash, I’m not sure where you live or how familiar you are with rider training but, um, government took over state training years and years ago–in all but two states, it’s administrated and overseen (and subsidized or completely paid for) by the government through a motorcycle safety program. The money, as a general rule, comes from special fees on motorcycle registration and licensing. In (now) five states, MSF took over the state program administration but even in those states it’s overseen by a government department or agency. It was the state motorcycle rights organizations like the state ABATE that fought for those programs and got them through the state legislatures and put all motorcyclists on the line for funding the program through those special fees. MSF supplied the basic legislation template for the rights activists.

    MSF came up with its curriculum from ripping off elements from many of the 30 curriculums that were already in print at the time MSF was created by the Motorcycle industry Council to avoid and control any regulation of the motorcycle industry (their words, not mine).

    And in ALL states with a state-run motorcycle program, training is cheaper for the student than at a Harley-Davidson Rider’s Edge program for, as Dave B says, essentially the same range training program and no more hazard awareness or street strategies than in the state program. And those administrators, by and large, do a damn good job of making few dollars stretch very far and keeping the cost of training down to make it more attractive to new riders.

    MSF took over all five states through dubious means including allegations of bid-ridding (and those from several sources who worked at MSF at the various times the programs were taken over). In three out of four states, the cost of training to the student has doubled since MSF took over (and it’s too early to tell in NY and in CA there’s a price cap on training). Of the deaths and near-fatal injuries we can confirm were in fact training related, three fatals and three near-fatal crashes were in the four programs MSF administrated. In fact, MSF-administrated programs have been closely associated with more extremely dangerous training than even Harley now.

    So who would fill the void if MSF disappeared? The hard-working people who are doing it today. They are the ones that train the instructors and arrange for ranges and classroom and administer the program and do quality assurance and maintain bikes and ranges. And, apart from those who teach for RE, all instructors are employed by the state program and work for the state program.

    MSF is not needed to continue or expand rider training any state. This is one case where a government-run program has kept costs down and delivered a consistent program for decades with very little money used and very little regulation needed.

    And there are good curriculums out there–and in many people’s opinions much more superior curriculums including the one used in Canada and TEAM Oregon’s. MSF is not needed to produce more curriculum–particularly since it has not just a vested interest but a conflict of interest in doing so.

    I would suggest you–and a great many others–have no idea how little MSF really does. If you did, you might be asking why MSF was needed at all.

  11. vstromer Says:

    I teach both Rider’s Edge classes and “state” classes. One of the “state” contractors for whom I teach (I teach for three different contractors) has their classroom space inside, and donated by, a multi-brand Japanese motorcycle super store. The “state” students have zero interface with the dealership sales staff and feel no pressure whatsoever to buy motorcycles, gear, or even lattes. The contractor is grateful for the donated classroom space and the dealership is happy to have more “traffic” in the store. Do they ever sell gear and/or motorcycles to students? I’m sure it has happened, but there is no pressure at all. By the way, this multi-brand Japanese motorcycle super store has a companion H-D store, in a separate building in the same parking lot, which does not offer Rider’s Edge training.

    I teach Rider’s Edge classes at a different H-D/Buell dealership. Unlike the comment about West Virginia, I’m paid on a per class basis, and it works out to about the same hourly rate as a regular state class. I actually make less money per hour if you add in additional driving time to and from class 4 times instead of 2, set up time, etc. Point is, I’m not teaching Rider’s Edge for the big bucks. I can also state that, having taught dozens of Rider’s Edge since 2003 for three different dealerships, I have never been pressured to pass a student, and have never had a student complain about sales pressure. Also, the dealer tour, which occurs during the first hour of the first night of class is optional, students don’t have to attend the dealer tour. And, our Rider’s Edge range is shared with a state program, with state classes being conducted on the same range when it is not in use by Rider’s Edge classes. However, as Wendy pointed out to Dave B, I can only speak of my personal experience in my state. You mileage may vary.

  12. Dave B Says:

    Vstomer: Just curious. Since you’ve been teaching RE courses since 2003, what do you think of the Buell Blast as a training motorcycle?

  13. Gunslinger Says:

    Dave B.,

    I taught the RE program for two years. Your request for opinions regarding the Blast as a trainer well I’ll give you my two cents worth. I think it is junk pure and simple. It has a unforgiving clutch despite the curved clutch lever. The brakes especially the front are way too powerful for the average learner and agrssive braking caused by nervousness can lock them which in turn causes a spill. The engine torque is way too much especially if the bike is used on a modified range with limited run off. The front brake lever is shaped differently from the clutch which for some strange reason is supposed to be beneficial to the rider. Maybe people from New Jersey have smaller left hands than right ones. Oh if the clutch is engaged a bit to quickly on the one/two shift the sound of the chatter is deafening and the belt flex is at best entertaining. Insufficient speed will also cause stalling far more than with a GZ250, Honda Nighthawk, DR200, and Kawasaki Eliminator. Also when the bike is downshifted two/one and the clutch is engaged quickly there is tire chirp.

    If the bike is crashed even if it is a tip over the part of the chassis where the foot pegs are mounted tend to bend easily, the shifters loosen up due to vibration as does the rear brake pedal.

    Lastly the electric choke is a joke. The damn thing will change idle if it isn’t sufficiently warmed. You haven’t lived until experiencing it changing speeds all by its lonesome during a demo.

    Other than that it is a great bike.

  14. […] that had Buell Blasts at that pointa nd one of them was in Albuquerque…. source: Did MSF have more to do with Rider’s Edge than we thought?, Moonrider […]

  15. vstromer Says:

    Dave B and Gunslinger,

    When I teach Rider’s Edge, the Blast is what I have to work with, so I work with it. On the positive side, considering that many Rider’s Edge graduates plan to go on to larger machines, their experience learning on the Blast will serve them, probably more so than other typical trainers (GZ, Rebel, Nighthawk, BN125, Virago, small dual sports and super motos, various scooters, CB125T).

    I think it is especially important to establish good habits early, no different than any other class. Stress good hand posture: not covering the front brake, covering the clutch. Spend as much time as necessary in the transition between Ex 1 and Ex 2 working on smooth application of the front brake. My state requires at least 100 feet of straddle walk and brake application, prior to starting Ex 2, and I’ll have the students do 200′ or 300′ of straddle walk and brake application to get it right. I would add additional straddle walk / brake in a state class as well, if it were necessary.

  16. Dave B Says:

    Great comments vstromer. You know you’re stuff. I’m sure you spend a lot of time on Exercise 2 and ignore the infamous stop watch. In any mass training program, you have instructors, good instructors and super instructors. You seem to be in the super category.

  17. Dinosaur Says:

    I hope that at least a few of you well-meaning pawns of the motorcycle industry are beginning to recognize what heroic efforts you’re making in the attempt to convert MSF’s sales program into safety training. The most cursory examination of the record clearly shows that the MSF’s already sketchy field testing of the BRC also incorporated the so-called “development” of the Rider’s Edge program. Real researchers don’t play those self-serving games.

    I find it incredible that state programs continue to ignore the fact that their death toll is rising in lock step with training numbers and I find it incredible that motorcycle instructors as a group continue to ignore the deaths and injuries in training classes. Especially when a single death in a driver’s education class draws national attention.

    Congratulations on your dedication folks, but creating field fixes for the BRC is like putting band-aids on a dead horse. I don’t buy MSF’s implication that deaths in training are acceptable and neither should you. A real safety-directed organization would produce solid, research-based curricula not thinly disguised sales campaigns.

  18. wmoon Says:

    Good points, Dinosaur–and not only was the field-testing for the BRC field-testing Rider’s Edge, it was also–at the same time–field-testing the Buell Blast. Talk about multi-tasking!

  19. Dave B Says:

    Can’t argue Dinosaur’s points. I prefer the RSS but the “industry” didn’t. And Wendy has done a good job stating that case. As instructors, our hands are tied. Look what happened to Orgeon when they tried to build a better mouse trap. Many states don’t want that nightmare. Oregon was lead by Steve Garretts, a very dedicated & passionate motorcyclists. Many state programs are run by the DMV. And we all know how on top of things they are. (Take a number and wait until your number is called).

    We’re such a small percentage of the motor vehicle population. President Obahma has a better chance with changing healthcare than we have with changing the motorcycle training industry.

    Wendy once referred to the Boston Tea Party in one of her past blogs. Times are very different now. The system is VERY powerful. Ask Dan Rather.

  20. gymnast Says:

    I guess that since no one was injured seriously or killed during the field testing that, as far as the folks at #2 Jenner and H-D were concerned, that was “proof of concept” and the whole lash-up was ready for mass implementation.

    Good comments Dinosaur, and it really is a shame that the the MSF is not, as you point out, “a real safety-directed organization. That was obvious to me, for various reasons 31 years ago and over time, the malignancy of the organization has grown exponentially.

  21. wmoon Says:

    Dave–it really seems like you think that there’s nothing that can be done–that you all are poor, helpless souls who simply must go along and allow the manufacturers to do whatever they want. Lucky for us Americans our Patriot forefathers didn’t feel the same way–yet they were a minute part of the British Empire and it must have seemed like madness to the general population at first that they would take on the powerful Brits. But they did–and it worked.

    Also, after talking extensively with a great number of state program administrators and instructors, I’d say that–in this case–government is doing a hell of an efficient job with the state program. “take a number and wait” doesn’t describe them at all.

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