Of course, we are going to be slightly biased as we discuss the benefits of taking the motorcycle safety course. After all, we are motorcycle accident attorneys, and we have seen the consequences of motorcycle accidents. Our dream would be for all riders to have taken the course, have their endorsements, and for all drivers to watch our riders.
In a perfect world that would be the case and the roads would be safer as a result. And in a perfect world, all riders would wear ATTGAT (All The Gear, All The Time). But until then all we can do is make our recommendations to motorcyclists.
What Do We Recommend?
And the proof is in the numbers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 13 of every 100,000 car accidents are fatal, while 72 of ever every 100,00 motorcycle accidents are fatal. A major difference.1
But other than the dangers, what are some of the reasons and benefits of taking the motorcycle safety course?
A Little History About The MSF Course
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has offered the motorcycle safety courses since 1974. As a non-profit organization, one of the top priorities is to educate motorcycle riders about the laws and regulations related to motorcycles.
The MSF course also prepares riders for the inherent dangers they may face on the road and recommends several defensive driving techniques. Moreover, they are constantly revising their courses to suit the needs of new and experienced riders. The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators influences revisions to these courses.
The course was designed with safety in mind as the top priority.
Some States Require Course Completion
In some states, you have no choice but to take the MSF course. It doesn’t matter what the benefits of taking the motorcycle safety course are, you must take it in order to be legally allowed to operate a motorcycle on the road.
Many states require riders above a certain age to take the MSF course and to have their endorsements on them at all times. For riders born before a certain date, no motorcycle endorsement is required. Be sure to keep vigilant and understand the laws in your state. Ignorance of the law is not a defense and if you are pulled over for operating a motorcycle without a license, you can and will receive a fine if laws have changed.
You can find a list of all the states that require motorcycle endorsements on the AAA website. Some states only encourage motorcycle riders to take the safety course but do not consider it a mandate.
Benefits Of Taking The MSF Course
Let’s discuss the benefits of taking the motorcycle safety course. There must be a reason people take the MSF course, even in states where it’s not required… so why do riders take the course and it is worth it?
Again, we’ll mention we’re biased in this area, but we believe there are only benefits to taking the course so we will focus on that. Though time (it takes a weekend) and money (it usually costs a few hundred dollars) can be a prohibiting factor for some riders, we still encourage everyone to sign up.
There are notable benefits of taking a motorcycle safety course even if you are a veteran rider with years of experience on your bike.
Get Your Endorsement Right There
Almost all MSF courses will test you and give you your motorcycle endorsement by the end of the weekend training course. This means you can learn more about operating a motorcycle safely and earn your endorsement at the same time.
Best For New And Experienced Riders
New riders can benefit from motorcycle safety courses because they can get into the right mindset for driving and taking the motorcycle license test. One of the key benefits of taking the motorcycle safety course is learning how to ride a motorcycle. New riders can show up to the course with no experience at all and learn the basics on day one.
Experienced riders are also able to benefit from taking the MSF course because it can offer a healthier refresher for anything that might have been forgotten or gotten out of the habit of doing. Let’s be honest, after a few years, you have likely developed more than a few bad habits. Take this time to focus on improving your riding.
Strengthen Defensive Driving Skills
The simple fact is that motorcyclists aren’t learning just how to ride a motorcycle, you’re learning how to drive it defensively. And defensive driving is a huge part of what a motorcycle has to do to remain safe on the road.2
A lot of the MSF course syllabus revolves around defensive driving and places a lot of emphasis on ensuring that the rider is maintaining focus on the traffic around him.
Improves Motorcyclist Reputation
Unfortunately, riders have a reputation for driving recklessly. Though a 2013 study found that cars are the cause of accidents with motorcycles a majority of the time, there is still a perception of motorcyclists speeding, acting recklessly, and being ‘outlaws’.3
Taking the MSF course is just another step in the right direction towards safety and reputation management.
Build the Community
One of the unexpected benefits of taking the motorcycle safety course is the community building. All MSF courses are taken in groups. Usually, new riders and experienced riders are placed together and take the course together.
This is a great way to build the motorcycle community and to grow the biking community holistically. Meet new riders at your MSF course and ask about bike runs, speak to other riders about the best roads to ride, and build your community.
Is The MSF Course Worth it?
YES, every penny. We admit that the MSF course can seem expensive. Usually amounting to a few hundred dollars ($200 – $400) and a full weekend’s worth of time. But ask yourself how much your life is worth?
Is that a little dramatic, yes, but we are trying to prove a point. The lessons you will learn during the MSF course far outweigh any cost downside. You will learn how to take tight corners, how to react suddenly to obstacles in front of you, how to make an emergency stop and you will be able to practice these maneuvers in the course.
The fact is, while you ride a motorcycle, you are not protected by anything at all. All you have is the gear on your back (please remember to ATTGAT) and the wits in your head.
So take the course and sharpen the wits. The benefits of taking the motorcycle safety course may be life-saving after all.