Another death in Motorcycle Safety Foundation Training

There’s been another death as the result of an MSF-curriculum rider training class. There may have been more—but this is the latest one I have heard about from an alert reader and loyal friend:

Fifty-five year-old James Lawrence Smith was taking a MSF-curriculum rider training course at Florence-Darlington Technical College in Florence, SC on Saturday, July 10, 2010 when he thrown from his bike after he lost control. According to his family, he died from his injuries. The same news story can be found here and here and here.

The articles do not say which course Smith was taking at the time of his crash.

Rider training is offered by the state motorcycle training program in South Carolina on community and technical college campuses.  The Florence-Darlington Technical College website says the continuing ed program offers beginning, intermediate and expert classes, however the available courses button only links to intermediate classes.

That is all the information I have at this time.

This is the 12th death that we know about in training in the past eight years. From 1973-2001 and almost 1.5 million riders trained, there had only been one death due to rider error. From 2002 until now, there have been at least 12 and several other near-fatal injuries.

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24 Comments on “Another death in Motorcycle Safety Foundation Training”

  1. Dave B Says:

    Glad to see you’re back in the saddle. (At least the writing one).

    Pre-2001….RSS had better, slower progressive riding exercises. More hands-on coaching. Better trained instructors. Several reasons for the switch to the BRC; maybe to pass more students to sell more motorcycles, the higher demand for training required more instructors. BRC is easy to teach. Read range cards, show demo, let the students ride and figure it out on their own. “Adult learning”.

  2. wmoon Says:

    Dave, though it may be safe to assume that this death–like the others–was during the BRC, we don’t know that. However, I do agree with your assessment. What I do not understand is why the motorcycle and training community do nothing about this plague.
    Wend

  3. TonicBIA Says:

    Dave,

    I don’t agree on the better trained instructors. I’m certified in 10 courses ranging from the BRC to Race Schools and RSS trained instructors have been the worst I’ve encountered. Unfortunately, many were also poor riders as well.

    Any death is unfortunate. Unfortunately it’s hard to compare the RSS to the BRC. Our sites used to primarily use the CB125ts and other smaller motorcycles. If a student went out of control on one of those, you could almost still run them down. The newer more powerful motorcycles are the only real options being put out by manufacturers and with more site availability we’re finding more and more that the reasons that people want to ride are changing as well. Less have experience with dirt bikes, more are being pressured by friends and family and each year the average class age goes up. Nothing against the old guys but even the curriculum’s warn about the effects of aging.

  4. Mark Weiss Says:

    Wendy,

    Speculation here, but from some of the comments made, it sounds as if this was a BRC. Exercise 3, Starting & Stopping drill. Usually the beginning of the second hour of range. The rider may have taken a hand off of the handlebar.

    If it was his left hand that he waved, inadvertently releasing the clutch, he may have tried to restrain bike movement with his right hand. This could easily lead to a hard crash. I don’t see removing the right hand as being a problem, unless the rider had balance issues.

    This early in the range exercises, I don’t think that there’d be a valid RSS vs BRC argument. The two curricula would really not have diverged by this point. Based on so very little information, it seems as if the crash may have been the result of a very tragic mistake on the part of the rider.

    Mark

  5. wmoon Says:

    Mark, ALL rider training crashes are a result of a tragic mistake on the part of a student. They are ALL rider errors. The question isn’t about the RSS v. BRC. It’s about the BRC being deadly because so many of these crashes deadly or near-fatal have occurred since it is the standard curriculum. I really wish MSF instructors could get beyond trying to defend the curriculum and concentrate on demanding to know how many have been hurt/died and WHY. Let the RSS v. BRC thing die instead of students is my suggestion.
    W.

  6. wmoon Says:

    I gather, TonicBIA, that you are a fairly new instructor–that you weren’t an RSS instructor. There’s actually a lot of low-powered bikes that programs could buy. Some of them are from China, but it is possible to get good bikes from traditional manufacturers. If you’re told otherwise, someone is benefiting from spreading that story.

  7. Dave B Says:

    It does have to come down to the RSS vs. the BRC. That’s really the only thing that has changed. There were many who took the RSS that had no prior clutch and/or dirt bike experience. And in the early RSS days, there was no road test waiver.

    In the RSS, students did several exercises before starting the motorcycle and riding it with the engine running. There was the Buddy Push which gave students the feel for riding with the engine off. Good way to see if the student could handle the motorcycle with the engine off and an opportunity for the instructor to counsel out an “unbalanced” student.

    And the friction zone exercise was coached individually in the RSS. In the BRC, it is done as a group. Yes, the exercise took longer and some students stood around and did nothing but look at the accident rate as Wendy pointed out.

    As far as better trained, you bet. The RSS instructor course was a lot harder to pass because you had to know your stuff and you were trained how to correct the cause of a problem in a student. In the BRC, all you have to do is let the student figure it out on their own – adult learning at its best.

    As far as the coaching methods, many RSS instructors used to shout and scare students. Maybe not a bad thing. If you could pass the RSS, you had a decent chance on the road.

  8. wmoon Says:

    Dave–good points all. I totally agree that the RSS spent a great deal more time (about 1.5 hours) in the earliest part of the course that enabled students to both ease into clutch control/shifting and separated braking from clutch control. It, I believe, allowed students to become more familiar and relaxed and prevented a great deal of the endemic crashing in the BRC and, of course, the fatalities.
    Along with that were relaxing of range standards that came along with the BRC, and, as you pointed out, a poorer instructor training course. It should be pointed out that some programs such as Connecticut have adapted the instructor training to produce better instructors than the MSF course would have done. And some states, like Indiana, had adapted the BRC to try to correct some of the lacks. And, as you said, one of the most grievous omissions in the BRC instructor training was not teaching instructors to recognize what was wrong and how to correct it. But that would’ve meant being “mean” to students and perhaps making them doubt they really should buy that expensive motorcycle….
    Wendy

  9. Mark Weiss Says:

    Wendy,

    I agree that this is not a BRC vs RSS issue. I had included that thought in response to Dave B’s assertions.

    It could be useful to know the facts of the crash. What were the findings of expert review? Were any preventative meausres recommended? Doctors have such opportunities. Peer review of medical cases, somewhat protected from liabiltiy concersn. Motorcycle instructors have no such facility though, and in our litigous society, are unlikely gain such.

    One factor which I don’t know if it has been examined is the change in the Average Student. During the past 10 to 15 years, there has been a significant increase in the average age of a class participant. Perhaps other significant demographics have changed as well. Possibly increasing the risk involved in an already risky undertaking.

    Another consideration is that what we are seeing is merely the inevitable. Not to trivialize any injury or death, but teaching people to ride is a high risk activity. As much as one may try to prevent disaster, events beyond control will occur. When I managed a very large program, I noted that our crashes seemed to occur in groups. We could go for months without a single serious incident occurring, then in the course of one or two weeks, have several injury crashes occur. Then the pendulum would seem to swing back toward safety.

    I was never able to find any reliable predictors. Was it complacency? Weather patterns? Season? Nothing seemed to fit.

    Mark

  10. wmoon Says:

    Mark, I have examined the change in the average student–something that many instructors and program administrators like to blame. It’s the older, arrogant and entitled older student that’s to blame for the higher crash rates (and, by implication, the deaths). However, the same trend to older riders has occurred in Canada and the UK without a SINGLE death in training nor, as far as I’ve heard, a near-fatal or even serious crash. So the bikes are basically the same, the students are basically the same–iow, it tends to point to the differences in curricula. The Canadian program is far more like the old RSS in many ways–and definitely in attitudes on the part of the instructors and the attitude that’s taught about riding. The UK program also very different–if only because over half the course is on the street and the driver’s test actually tests roadworthiness. Then again, the manufacturers are not in control of the curriculum in Canada or the UK.

    And look at it this way–if it was, despite the disparity of results with what’s basically the same kind of older student, the student–then why on earth would rider educators believing these people are less capable, have worse attitudes and so forth, teach them with a curriculum that puts them so much in charge, practically begs them to stay in the course, allows them to fall as much as they wish and then passes them even if the instructor knows they aren’t safe on the road?

    I totallly agree that rider educators should know all the facts of all these terrible crashes–but, once again, it’s the manufacturers–hiding behind MSF–that has kept that life-saving knowledge from those who need it the most.

    As to crashes happening in groups and no predictable patterns–that would argue against the idea that it’s the students that have changed. As far as predictability–that’s hard to say. The only way to tell is to have a large enough cohort over a long enough time, determine independent and dependent variables, etc. It also would require looking beyond the usual suspects and including some less likely ones. For example, height (or at least hand size) could reveal a pattern or something else. We don’t know enough and look at too small a picture to know if there’s a randomness or not. But that so many deaths have occurred is way beyond random at this point.
    W.

  11. Dave B Says:

    Mark’s been at this a lot longer than I have. I started in 1996. I teach, & have taught, on avearge, 30 basic courses per year.

    To me, the students are pretty much the same. (More females now). They ask the same questions, have the same concerns & fears. The new ones coming in are more aware of the dangers on the road. The younger ones (I guess when you’re in your 50’s, a lot of people seem younger than you) seem not to be as concerned with the risks. Maybe all the killing video games they play desensitizes them.

    I don’t want to shoot a dead horse, but in the RSS days, we walked them through the basic steps during the first few exercises. We did a lot more hand holding. And the progression of the exercises eased the students into gradual and expanding comfort zones, concentrating on single basic riding skills one at a time.

    In the BRC, several skills are combined too early in the learning stages. Some just get overwhelmed because there’s too much going on in the early stages. You see it more in the females and men over 45.

    And what makes it worse, new instrutors are being told & trained to let the students figure it out on their own. The new buzz is the less you talk, the more they learn. Bullshit!

    Another element that may have an effect, is since the road test waiver was added, you have many students who know how to ride (or think they do) mixed in a class with some students who have no riding experience, no clutch experience. When you put both groups on the range, each group gets frustrated with the other group and the instructors also get frustrated.

    Maybe the answer is what the MSF just came out with – additioanl BRC courses. Put the ones who have some riding experience into a class by themselves. Put the newbies into their own class. Would be interesting to test that theory.

    I’ve had several students who dropped out of a class because they felt they couldn’t keep up with the others. But, they weren’t doing that bad. They were comparing themselves to the ones who had some riding experience while they were learning from scratch.

    The bottom line is, there is a problem. More students are being hurt in the BRC. We all have our theories.

    Still no word out of Texas(?)from the people who are testing the effectiveness of the BRC?


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  13. Mark Weiss Says:

    Funny, I thought that the BRC was supposed to be the “handholding” course.

    For a BRC vs RSS comparison, let’s look at early skill development. At the end of the first hour, both courses have the students in the same place, they’ve just completed riding back and forth across the width of the range. RSS students spent some time walking along side their motorcycles and also had the buddy push. BRC students spend more time on control familiarity and take time to address finding Neutral. In the riding exercise, the one-at-a-time approach of the RSS meant that some students spend significantly less time identifying the beginning of clutch engagement (Rocking) than others. In the BRC, everyone receives the same amount of practice time.

    At the beginning of the second hour, the courses diverge. RSS students jump immediately to riding the full perimeter, higher speeds, and cornering. RSS students do not specifically revisit clutch control, balance, or stopping skill for at least another hour. BRC students however, move at a much more gradual pace. BRC students will spend the next 30 minutes working primarily on clutch control. They’ll start and stop 50 or more times during this one exercise alone. Afterward, BRC students will move on to another exercise which reinforces controlled starts and stops. Meanwhile, their RSS predecessors continued to ride exercises which involved starts or stops only at the exercise beginning, end, or direction change.

    It seems to me that BRC students take a VERY gradual approach.

    As for RiderCoaches, there’s no curricular reason that they should be any less skilled than was expected for Instructor certification. The amount of training time is the same and most of the foundational skills are the same. Maybe the Trainers are not doing a sufficient job. It may be that some Trainers do not have a sufficient grasp of learning, coaching, and the Adult Learning model. The amount that a Coach talks has little to do with how well a student learns. More talk can be just as unproductive as less talk, the key is WHEN to talk. MSF’s workshops have spent a great deal of time on this subject.

    Mark

  14. wmoon Says:

    Mark, you are inaccurate in your summation of the RSS and comparison with the BRC. Check the time on each skill learned and practice and speeds again. BRC students move on to both higher speeds and combing skills far more quickly than RSS students did. I had demonstrated this extensively in the old journalspace days–unfortunately that’s gone now.

    Instructors are trained very poorly nowadays–and that’s very clear from reading the idiotic things on the msf listserve.
    Wendy

  15. Bill Says:

    Amen to your comments on the listserve Wendy! I unsubscribed because I just couldn’t take it anymore.

    As a now “retired” coach it’s easy to armchair quarterback but I’ll throw my .02 in. The first 3 exercises in the BRC are what I like to call “Command and Control”. If you don’t take the time to see that the students aren’t spending enough time to get the basics of the friction zone and the posture issues it will come back to bite you all the rest of the day.

    As far as the not talking enough, there is a fine line between letting them learn on their own and beating them with too much verbal information. I happen to believe in the “less is more” approach when it comes to talking, but that worked for my style teaching and may not for others. Everybody likes to think they are an expert after all.

    I agree that the instructor preps are nowhere near as strict as they were in the MRC, and the coaches I have observed in the past few years seem to prove that.

    The classroom has become a joke. Coaches are told now to just ask the 128 questions in the workbook, when you have the answer move on. There is no room for discussion anymore and it pretty much re-enforces what I have been saying for a while now. I think the classroom will go away altogether and will be an online exercise only.

    I felt the MRC with the “Stand here now, say this now” approach was wrong because it didn’t give enough flexability to coach in an effective position, but the “anything goes” approach is even worse. I wish they could strike a happy medium but it doesn’t look like it’s headed that way.

  16. Anonymous Instructor Says:

    The numbers between the two curriculum’s speak for themselves.

    There really is no defense for the BRC when looking at the statistics.

    That being said the MSF was constantly at odds with the previous program manager in SC. The manager was an outspoken critic of the BRC and I can tell you he pushed instructors to spend extra time in Exc. 1 & 2 because he felt the BRC was not giving the tools to students they would garner under the RSS in early skill development.

    Since his departure the program was moved into strict compliance with the BRC curriculum.

    I was part of the corps of the first instructors trained under the BRC and at that time we still adhered to parts of the RSS(in early skill development) during the “transition” to the BRC.

    I can’t speak from experience on the total RSS curriculum but I actually spent time with the “buddy up” portion in lieu of BRC Exc. 1…

    I was taught to have students practicing controls with the bike off to reinforce muscle memory…RIGHT SIDE/LEFT SIDE each major control one at a time and then all together for practiced coordination/muscle memory…with the bike being held up by their “buddy” and not running obviously.

    It was incredibly thorough and I can tell you first hand eliminated most problems with clutch/throttle coordination and braking in early skill development versus the BRC(and safely!)….which is the most dangerous time in my opinion.

    I had to make some incredible notes in my range cards to do it…and between Exc. 1 & 2 I’d always end up starting Exc. 3 one hour late(around 10am)….but I could easily make up time on later exercises because of the students having good clutch/throttle/braking skills early on in a safe manner…especially exc. 3…

    Well all that has been gone since his departure(around 2 or 3 years)…now everything is “by the book”…meaning the BRC…

    I have to say though I have to be “sharper” to catch all the problems as a result of doing the straight BRC….but that’s how everyone wants it sadly. If something like this happens and you’ve deviated from the curriculum the MSF/Insurance company is going to hang you out to dry and the attorney’s are going to eat you for lunch.

    The whole issue of instructor certification is whole can of worms in itself…all I’ll say is that I was one of twelve graduates in my instructor candidate school and we had 24 candidates to start….

    Today…much like the easy BRC test I see a whole corp of instructors that I know wouldn’t have made it under the old program manager…but like Wendy said…god forbid we “offend” anyone anymore…much like our American society in general mediocrity has been promoted.

    Let’s face it…that’s why we have “videos” for “self teaching” and “rider coaches” to “guide” students….an actual hardass teacher that flunked students and taught people would offend too many and it would be very hard to find people like that who would do a good job….

    Now you can find a million people to “teach”..all they gotta do is keep their mouth shut and pop in a video….it’s called “facilitating”.

  17. TonicBIA Says:

    Wendy-

    I became an “instructor” in 96 and taught over 200 classes with the RSS. The introduction of the BRC significantly improved the quality of motorcycle instruction offered in the US.

    In regards to motorcycles, I also teach with the military which employees both chinese (lifan) and korean (hyosung) motorcycles. Both have proven to be unreliable and maintenance intensive. The old 1990 cb125t’s, kept mainly b/c the military doesn’t throw anything out unless it has to, prove themselves again and again over new 2009 models. If you have any suggestions for motorcycles comparable to the cb125t’s I’d love to hear them. So far we’ve tried rebels, nighthawks, eliminators, dr’s, tw’s xt’s, gz’s, blasts and a few others but none are on the same level.

    Regards
    -T

  18. Mark Weiss Says:

    Wendy,

    I’ll have to dig out an MRC:RSS IG, it’s been long enough that I can no longer quote chapter and verse, but I’m going to disagree. RSS Exercise 1, 2, and 3, covered the same ground as BRC Ex 1, in the same amount of time. RSS riders did a bit more pushing the cycle, BRC riders have more time with the controls. RSS #4 and BRC #2 are functionally identical. Both have the same three segments, both stress the middle phase, both have about the same amount of time allotted.

    RSS riders then jumped to riding the perimeter and around 60′ circles, RSS Ex.5. The exercise involved no clutch work (other than pulling away from the staging area), had a little brake practice (slowing but not stopping) and had all of the riders moving at once. Riders also experienced merging with moving traffic (somewhat managed by the Instructor) and were expected to reach speeds of about 15 mph, both on the perimeter and around the circles. The half-hour will be finished off with a brief exercise, riding the perimeter with a 30′ cone weave; RSS 6.

    At the same time interval in a BRC, the riders are working on starts and stops; BRC Ex. 3. The BRC riders will make at least 50, possibly as many as 80, starts-from-a-stop and will brake to a standstill an equal number of times. BRC students will initially be expected to ride only 40 at a time and will only move to longer distance, 160′, in the second half of the exercise. While their RSS counterparts will have been using their brakes to slow down, BRC students will be using their brakes to make repeated, full stops.

    Given that the same amount of time was devoted to RSS 5 & 6 as is devoted to BRC 3, it seems that BRC students are spending a great amount more time learning clutch/throttle coordination and basic stopping skills.

    I don’t remember the details of RSS #7. I recall that it was complex. Multiple paths of travel, concentric ovals, reversals, merging traffic, and similar speeds to those from RSS 5 and 6. BRC students are still working with starts, stops, and clutch control. BRC 4, introduces shifting but has the riders still moving one-at-a-time through the new skill part of the exercise. BRC 4 does contain a skill that was the subject of an RSS exercise, riding slowly, further reinforcing clutch control.

    As for RC training be less than Instructor training. Both received the same amount of training time. RC training is a little more “hands-on” than was Instructor training. Maybe the idiotic questions are evidence not of weak training, but of simple idiocy. At least 50% of the questions asked are addressed directly in the RiderCoach guide, the Questioners seem to merely be too simple to look for themselves. Of the other 50%, at least half of those are also in the RCG, but are not verbatim, these require adding 2 and 2 to get 4.

    I don’t know that it is a new phenomenon though. My old auto-response to most Instructor questions was “What does it say in the IG?” Little change to today.

    Maybe some Trainers are not doing their jobs. Maybe those who don’t have a good grasp on Adult Learning and Coaching are not setting a good example for their trainees.

    Mark

  19. wmoon Says:

    TonicBIA, reading your comments here and on All Things Motorcycle an old saying comes to mind, “It’s a poor workman who complains about his tools.” Funny thing, back in the old days people actually learned on motorcycles they’d ride on the street. In fact, gasp, that’s how people who don’t take the course learn. And, funny thing about that, there’s no difference between either group after a year and precious little before then.

    There are things about bikes that make things easier or worse–front controls, for example, are more difficult for many. Higher seats or levers that aren’t close enough for those with small hands. The nasty on-off switch and unforgiving brakes of the Buell Blast. But the deadly crashes aren’t caused by the bike–even the Buell Blast. They’re caused by rider errors and rider errors have a lot more to do with poor instruction than it has to do with the bikes. And that’s not my opinion, it’s just the way it is.

  20. TonicBIA Says:

    Wendy-

    I’m not complaining about my tools. My posts here and but more thoroughly at Mr. Davis’s site detail the pride I take in my motorcycle riding and instructing skill sets in addition to the high pass scores, perfect qa record and low incident rate that continue to confirm their excellence. I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve though. My issue isn’t even with the materials. Most instructors adapt to the changing conditions with the added flexibility provided by the BRC.

    That aside there a numerous variables that have changed since the RSS days. Ignoring the rest and pointing at the BRC violates the statistical hallmark that correlation is not causation.

    Motorcycles are significantly different from even ten years ago. Bikes are more powerful, lighter and create larger outputs with smaller inputs. In your example of the Buell Blast with it’s on/off braking what would be a smaller mistake on say a nighthawk 250, becomes a potentially fatal crash. Add in the changes to students, ranges, coaching, curriculum, and the picture gets pretty muddy.

    While you attribute student mistakes to poor instruction it doesn’t change the fact that people make mistakes. Even human developmental theory points out that not everyone can be a genius. In intellect, capability and core skill sets we all peak at different levels. Regardless of what mom told us growing up, not everyone has the ability to be an astronaut, president or even a fireman.

    Mistakes are a fact of life, it’s one of the mechanisms through which we learn. Your crash coming back from SMSA is a perfect example of a silly mistake. You’ve become an expert on motorcycle safety in your foray into the depths of the industry. You should have recognized the signs of dehydration yet even after numerous warnings you kept riding and ended up crashing. I’m willing to bet you won’t make that same mistake again, but are you going to blame your education for it?

  21. wmoon Says:

    TonicBIA, good god, you aren’t really claiming that a high pass score shows that you’re doing a good job as an instructor, are you? Are you really not aware that the scores jumped en masse with the BRC by simply making the test easier in several relevant ways?

    And I have done anything but ignore other changes–but many of those changes came in with the BRC. I can only think you are late to the discussion and have drunk long and deep of the MSF kool-aid.

    Yes people make mistakes–I am a prime example. But it doesn’t negate that the rate of both serious injuries and deaths on the range has been exponential in the BRC years. And while there is correlation it also suggests causation since the EXACT SAME CRASH continues to happen with horrific results. And THAT did not happen in the first BRC or the MRC or the MRC:RSS days NOR in Canada or Australia or the UK nor Germany nor Norway nor Sweden–all places that have had to deal with the older riders, the more upper-middle and middle class riders taking the course and the same differences (or variables, if you prefer) we do here in the USA. And yet the USA, with the same curriculum has the deadly and near-death crashes.

    And yes, I knew that I was prone to heat exhaustion but the very nature of heat exhaustion is that YOU don’t realize it. And it was years after my education–but what’s in the BRC regarding that is pathetic. If I had relied on that, I would’ve crashed years before.

    If you really do care about the safety of the students you train, why don’t you look at what’s really going on instead of just defending MSF?

  22. TonicBIA Says:

    Wendy-

    You ask a great question. If not by pass rate, qa rate, student evaluations, or through the same rates of success in five non MSF based curriculums, how does one judge them self as an instructor.

    In regards to your question, the training during the BRC years has increased exponentially. Even with the downturn in the economy, the DC Metro area has seen an explosion in motorcycle training sites with the number teaching the BRC increasing by 315% over the last three years. That increase has led to sites being opened in potentially unsafe ways as has been demonstrated by both you and on Mr Davis’ site regarding the RE program. Am I really drinking the Koolaide by thinking that the curriculum isn’t the problem or would the RSS have been able to handle bikes like the buell blast, paired with sites where 20 feet of run off ends in brick walls, light poles and severe drop offs? Other countries stick to their safety standards and US motorcycle training pales in comparison to the European training model.

    I’m not defending the MSF. I don’t think many of the sites I’ve seen should have been approved, many trainers been allowed to get certified, or particular coaches being allowed to get on the range. However, I’ll stand by my assertion that the BRC is a better curriculum.

  23. wmoon Says:

    TonicBIA,
    You mention the 20-ft runoff into brick walls, etc. I don’t know if you know, but that standard was lowered by MSF as the BRC replaced the RSS. The old standard was 40-ft to a hard obstacle such as a brick wall or drop-off, etc. The path of travel for compact ranges have students riding IN the run-off area on many of the exercises. But if you’re using the runoff area it’s no longer a runoff area, right? So MSF allows programs to have no safety buffer at all. And that, I feel, sums up MSF’s reckless and negligent attitude towards safety.

    You mention that training has increased exponentially–but that’s no excuse nor an explanation why deaths and near-fatal crashes are occurring with such depressing regularity. UNLESS the instructor training standards have also dropped, as the range standards have, unconscionably low. Think about it–if a widget is designed well and used accurately, there’s no inherent reason more will fail because more are used. BUT when standards are dropped too far to both meet demand and maximize profit, then failures occur–look at Toyota, BP, etc. etc. That’s what we’re seeing with motorcycle training–dangerously low standards with no real accountability.

    And as I’ve made clear for six years, I’m not saying that the RSS is the be-all and end-all. It wasn’t but it was better than the BRC.

    As to how you judge yourself as an instructor, pass rate would do if there was any substance there. If the written and skills test actually proved they were safe on the road, then the pass rate would be much lower but it would mean so much more. But instructors are not held accountable for passing students their expertise tells them aren’t ready to ride on the roads in traffic. But MSF has given you an excuse to help you all sleep at night–your responsibility is discharged, you have the objective standards, it’s not your problem or fault. And there’s some truth in that (which is why it works). But the end result is instructors know that few riders are ready to actually ride–and now MSF admits that students need more training before they ride in public. But MSF still wants that driver’s license-waiver (which encourages motorcycle sales) even though they have admitted that students need more training before taking to the streets.

    And you instructors are aiding and abetting that.
    W.


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