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Close the Gap On Training

This article courtesy of the Naval Safety Center Smart Ride 2011 Magazine. Please also check out their website, the Naval Safety Center.


Opinions are like, well … you know the old saying. And when it comes to motorcycle training, the old saying is true, because everyone has an opinion on it: why it’s required, how it should be conducted, and who should be made to attend. In a perfect world, training would be individually tailored to each and every rider’s needs, but practically speaking, this is impossible.

Three years ago, the Navy and Marine Corps tried to do the next best thing with a major restructuring of motorcycle training in an effort to provide the most relevant training to the largest possible group of riders. Current requirements mandate that all Sailors and Marines who ride attend the MSF Basic Rider Course, and then attend follow-on training through the Experienced Rider Course (for cruiser riders) or the Military Sportbike Rider Course (for sportbike riders.) Because statistics showed that some previously-licensed riders were getting back into biking after a long absence (and with considerably diminished skills) there is also a requirement for recurring training every five years.

“The statistics don’t lie,” said Don Borkoski, the Navy’s motorcycle safety manager at the Naval Safety Center. “Fatalities and injuries are way down, and this isn’t a coincidence.”

In fiscal year 2010, 13 Sailors and nine Marines lost their lives on motorcycles. Tragic, certainly, but down from 14 Sailors and 14 Marines in FY2009, and a high of 33 Sailors and 25 Marines in FY2008. Borkoski credits the decrease in motorcycle crashes to a change in the culture. Riders are taking responsibility for themselves and for mentoring younger riders. Leaders are learning not to treat riders like problem children, and are instead encouraging training on command time and proper use of PPE. However, he said the positive trend depends on riders doing the right thing to keep the mishap numbers moving in the right direction. “Most people have done a great job complying with the requirements, but we still have to close the gap with a few non-believers out there. Almost all of the sportbike riders who were killed on their bikes last year did not complete the MSRC. That’s huge,” he said.

The MSRC is conducted on a range like the other courses, but it does incorporate higher speeds, taking into account the racing characteristics of modern sportbikes. It also delves into the mental aspects of sportbike riding, which are different from that of cruisers. It’s been three years since the new course was unveiled, and the other changes to the instruction took place. That means it’s time for a lot of riders who took the courses previously to retake ERC or MSRC. Borkoski said it’s important that riders who are due for refresher training to remember this requirement and schedule a course.

“I know that some people who have been riding continuously for the last five years think there’s no reason they should have to take a training class again, but even the best riders can learn something new, or pick up on something they may not have caught the first time around,” he said. “Besides, it’s a day spent outside on your motorcycle. What’s wrong with that?”

Riders can schedule new or recurring training by visiting

Ducati Rider Portraits

Ducati Rider Portraits - Artist Reception, Sunnyvale Gallery from Wayne Serrano on Vimeo.

The video showcases subjects talking about the experience of being photographed and sharing reactions to being seen on ‘The Wall’ of Ducati Rider Portraits, larger than life.

10101020-Pt Reyes Ride-4
Photos by Wayne Serrano

Life on Two Wheels – new rider training @getontweets

Follow along as several new riders get familiar with motorbike riding in the UK with “Get On”. Love the accent, and nice video. ‘Get On’ want to support anyone in getting on two wheels by actively promoting the many positives of motorcycling, and by introducing as many people as possible who have never ridden to a free riding experience, and by encouraging those who have left motorcycling to start again.

Learn To Ride A Motorcycle - How To Ride A Motorbike - Get On from getonvideos on Vimeo.