Motorcycle safety classes are not just for newbies, you know.
Hey, so do you know the biggest difference between cars and motorcycles? Well, besides the varying degrees of awesome, I mean.Safety. Even though it’s kind of the point of why we ride free, motorcycles lack a lot of cushy, life-saving conveniences that come standard on an average car. Keep in mind that F = ma is a bitch, and on a bike:
- There’s no roof.
- There are no airbags.
- There is no crumple zone.
- There’s no locking seat belt.
- There’s no extended bumper.
Pair all of this with how we have to share the road with distracted, scatterbrained cagers, and I think I’ve made my point as to why taking a motorcycle safety course (while required for newbies) can be a good refresher for experienced riders. After all, even the worst cases of road rash still look better in hindsight, and motorcycle safety tips online can only go so far.
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Whether you’re a newly licensed rider who is looking to buy a starter bike (in which case you have to take the course), or you've ridden for 47 years, a motorcycle safety course is a great idea.
Even if you consider yourself an experienced rider, what’s it going to hurt just to brush up a bit? Times are changing, and there are loads more distractions on the road these days. While we may know what we’re doing, that doesn’t mean anything for those who are yakking away on the phone and decide to merge into your lane without looking, or answering a text message while cruising at 70 miles per hour.
The stakes are so much higher for us. Blind spots, sideswipes, and sudden stops could be the end-all for a motorcycle rider. The benefit of a motorcycle license class or MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) course will give you tips on how to deal with motorists who can‘t appropriately deal with all of today’s distractions and smartphone addictions. Which is a big deal.
Your safety course (or license class) will include everything from basic vehicle function, to different types of motorcycles, controls, operation technique, laws, and riding tips to react or stay alive in case of an accident. The course can be offered in the evening or on weekends, and is taught by certified instructors who give classroom lectures and on-cycle lessons. Usually, you are supplied with a bike and helmet, and you come away with the skills you need to safely ride into the sunset.
Reasons you should take a motorcycle safety course:
- You had a close call out on a ride.
- You've never had a close call and want to keep it that way.
- You’ve never ridden a motorcycle and want to mark it off your bucket list.
- You’ve ridden motorcycles forever but have never had formal training.
- It’s been far too long since you’ve been on a bike and feel the itch.
- You’re a perfectionist, and you want to make sure you do it right.
- You’re not a perfectionist, but you still want to do it right.
- You have a family you’d like to make it home to.
- You don’t have a family you’d like to make it home to, but you’re particularly fond of your couch.
- You have a family you don’t want to make it home to, but you’re particularly used to the couch.
Okay, okay. If you're a human who rides motorcycles, you might benefit from taking a safety course. There's pretty much no reason why you wouldn't want to take one...
If you want to brush up on your motorcycle safety:
Stats show that riders with certified training not only crash less often, but they increase their chances of survival if they do crash. Instead of taking a basic rider course, there is a special type of class that enrolls experienced riders, such as yourself.
Lots of dealerships offer these courses, such as Harley-Davidson. Check with the DMV or dealerships in your area to find a class. When you’re done, your completion card could qualify you for a discount on your motorcycle insurance. So, hey, not only have you done your well-being a favor, but your wallet as well.
If you want to get a motorcycle license:
Of course, the requirements for safety courses can vary from state to state, but it all starts with a motorcycle license or endorsement. While, in some states you can immediately register for a license, some require you get a motorcycle permit before you get a motorcycle license. If you aren’t sure about the laws in your state, the DMV has this nifty little page to help you out, but it pretty much narrows down to one of three things:
- You’ll get a motorcycle permit.
- You’ll get a motorcycle endorsement on your state driver’s license.
- You’ll get a motorcycle license.
Are you an experienced rider who's taken a motorcycle safety course? Tell me about it in a comment!
Remember, shiny side up. It's crazy out there sometimes, and I don't want to lose any of my brothers and sisters.
Stay safe and rumble on,