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From our Married with Motorcycles Blog:

Changes are Coming for New Riders!

We had heard rumors that it was coming and it was officially announced this week: The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) no longer has the contract to provide beginner motorcycle training in the State of California. While many sources say “MSF has been ousted”, the reality is that they declined to even tender a bid for the 2015-2017 contract period. Most likely because the California Motorcycle Safety Program (CMSP), required the winning contract to meet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Model National Standards for Entry-Level Motorcycle Rider Training.

This change of criteria has come after a 10 year period where motorcycle fatalities increased by an alarming 63%, while California’s population only increased by 6%.

The contract winner, Total Control Training, is the only riding program that has met the NHTSA’s criteria, so far. On a much larger scale, the changes in California’s training program could cause other states that use the MSF program to switch to a NHTSA program, like Total Control’s.

The two programs differentiate from each other, right from the initial principle: MSF believes that anyone can be taught to ride a motorcycle. Total Control sets higher failure standards and weeds out new riders that likely would not be good at riding a motorcycle. Total Control states, “Our approach to adult education is very different from what other rider training programs have used in the last decade, at a time when motorcycle fatalities have continued to rise. We are looking forward to a new era of motorcycle safety focused not on simply bringing new riders into the sport, but on reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities among those who choose to ride.”

Lee Parks and Total Control have a reputation of providing top notch training and they recently won the contract to provide motorcycle training for the US Navy. New riders should be excited by what they have to offer.

“Total Control’s Beginner Riding Clinic is a fusion of Idaho’s long proven STAR program and what we’ve learned in 15 years of teaching our internationally acclaimed Intermediate and Advanced Riding Clinics” says Lee Parks, President of TCTI. “We’ve been working on a beginner riding curriculum and the CMSP proposal for many years and are thrilled to finally give California’s novice riders access to our unique riding technology.”

With a January 1st, 2015 start date for Total Control, just three weeks away, we’re likely to see some transitional bumps which could cause closures of the Californian training programs for a few months. Total Control says that its first priority is to convert the 600 current instructors from the previous curriculum to the new CMSP format. They will be running Instructor Training at three different locations, 6 days a week until the end of March. Any new instructor will have to wait at least four months before they can start training.

I spoke to a representative at our local Harley Davidson Riding Academy, which currently offers a blend of the Harley Davidson program and the MSF program to how this change would affect their program. She stated that Harley Davidson had not made any decisions at this time.


As a side note, don’t expect MSF to be gone for long. It is expected that they will return to the 2017 bidding process with a new curriculum that meets the NHTSA’s standards.
 

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There were a couple in our MSF beginner class this year that shouldn't have passed but they did. One was taking for the 2nd time, another was clearly terrified of the 250cc bike.
 

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Now if they would just do the same training for cage drivers, who kill far more people.
 

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I agree with PatC! Some may think I'm in this crowd, but some people seriously endanger their own life when they ride, as well as others. Even more so in cages.
 

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I took the MSF beginner course in Scottsbluff, NE when I sent my daughter to it. I'd been riding a good many years but thought it couldn't hurt. I remember at least one person getting failed where I hadn't picked up on whatever shortcomings the instructors saw. So, at least at that facility, the staff weren't afraid to enforce standards. If Total Control has a better program, then that's free market competition in action and a good thing. I don't think much of national standards for education. I quells innovation. Remember, these are the folks who prohibited bikes that shift on the right and brake on the left. Seems to me any rider in self interest needs to learn to operate his machinery, whether it's just like his neighbor's or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
There were a couple in our MSF beginner class this year that shouldn't have passed but they did. One was taking for the 2nd time, another was clearly terrified of the 250cc bike.
We had a woman in our riding class that I thought couldn't possibly pass. It was her second attempt at the riding portion. In the practice leading up to the evaluation she dropped her bike multiple times, which would give her a "fail" in the test portion. Somehow, she managed to pull it together and ended up passing.

Our instructor told us that he had seen her about a month after the class and she showed him her helmet...all scarred up from a fall. Oddly, she wasn't telling him about the fall, she was bragging about how she took his advice and got a full face helmet.

She's asked me to go ride a couple of times and I always find something else to do because I don't trust riding with her.
 
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