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Just take the class

Added July 23, 2015
Rider safety course

Many riders get approached by people curious about motorcycling. Take, for example, Gail Hatch, a freelance writer for Dairyland Cycle. Gail recently shared this story with us.

 “I rode to the bank the other day and walked in wearing full riding gear with helmet in hand,” Gail said. “The teller mentioned that she has thought about taking up riding, but has yet to try it. Conducting everyday errands in riding gear often prompts such conversations—they are my favorite.”

 Moments like this are opportunities to encourage someone to pursue riding, which is exactly what Gail did.

 “Take the class,” Gail told the teller, referring to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic RiderCourse class. A man standing in line seconded her advice. “The teller and I started chatting about it,” Gail said. “She had many questions. Did she need to have her own bike? Did she need to know how to ride? How do you get your license?”

 Gail provided the following answers, and additional tips:

 During the Basic RiderCourse, the MSF provides each student with a helmet and small starter bike, such as a Honda Rebel. Students do need to bring their own riding apparel, such as over-the-ankle boots, gloves, long pants, and a long sleeve shirt. “I recommended the teller borrow a riding jacket if she could,” Gail said.

  • MSF courses are available to anyone with or without a lick of riding experience. The ability to ride a bicycle is a must and knowing how to drive a car with a manual transmission is helpful.
  • In the Basic RiderCourse classroom, students learn about the types of motorcycles, controls and how to become a safer, more responsible rider. On the riding range, a certified coach guides students through the basics of straight-line riding, stopping, shifting, turning and then swerving and emergency braking.
  • The course concludes with a classroom knowledge test and a hands-on riding skill evaluation. Some states waive the riding portion of your motorcycle endorsement test if you’ve successfully completed the Basic RiderCourse. Insurance discounts are available for taking the course.

During her conversation with the teller, Gail noticed two other tellers eavesdropping. Perhaps they were curious, too.

 “I really enjoy educating and encouraging other women to try riding,” she said. As for the teller she spoke with, “I told her not to worry about being good. Everyone there will be a beginner, even if some of her classmates have been on a bike before. The instructors I’ve met are friendly, supportive and welcoming. I suggested she take the class, and even if she decides that riding is not for her, she’ll be glad she gave it a try.”

 You can be glad, too, next time someone approaches you about riding by encouraging him or her to try it. The MSF is a good place to point someone who’s interested in taking a class. With more than 2,500 RiderCourse sites across the country, it’s likely there’s one near them. The MSF promotes lifelong learning for motorcyclists, so even experienced riders can benefit from its offerings. To learn what courses are available (MSF or otherwise), search online for ‘motorcycle safety class.’

See you on the road!