• Sep 26, 2011
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has just passed an amazing milestone by graduating its 6 millionth Rider Course student. MSF has been training safer riders since 1973 and currently boasts 10,000 coaches in over 2,000 locations. While probably best-known for its introductory motorcycle school, MSF also works in tandem with military, federal and state groups to train riders on a professional level. All told, the group offers over 23 courses for every level of rider skill, and since most insurance agencies offer a discount to MSF grads, there's no reason not to spend a weekend honing your capabilities.

Autoblog is proud to say that its ranks are packed with MSF grads, your author included. Personally, the course has kept me from bouncing off the pavement more times than I can count, and has made me a more aware rider overall. For more information on an MSF course in your area, check out the organization's site.


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  • 18 Comments
      mylexicon
      • 3 Years Ago
      2006 graduate. Congrats MSF. I do wish MSF would push for more extensive beginner training even if it is more expensive. The beginner class is solid, but the 125cc fun bikes cannot adequately prepare you for the rawness of a 400-800lb big displacement motorcycle. Most riders don't know enough not to jump into the deep end, and dealers rarely tell them to take it easy on a cheaper bike. I survived just fine, but it was a baptism by fire with several close calls. Buying an 80-100hp bike only looks sensible compared to other 1000cc Superbikes. In reality, some of the "sensible" bikes are actually harder to ride, and they are a handful compared to the fun bikes in MSF. It is in the motorcycle industry's interest to push for more extensive training, perhaps even bundle training with their bikes, to keep their clients coming back. If a new rider crashes a bike bought with credit, they don't stay riders for long. They have medical bills, and motorcycle payments. They get bankruptcy, not the thrills of the open road.
      SteveM
      • 3 Years Ago
      Training is great, but imagine trying to bring something like this to market to today. I've personally known 3 people who have bought it on a bike... and they were all safe adult drivers. With all the advancements of safety engineering on our cars, I think it's a bad idea that we don't at least require riders to wear some minimal body armor and full face helmets. I rode one until about 5 years ago... then I just had enough of the rolling roulette that we call the highway. Tire debris, rocks, minivans, and all the other craziness was getting to be too much... or I just got old :-)
        avconsumer2
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SteveM
        Why do we need laws for such things? Anybody who gets on a motorcycle without proper gear already knows damn good and well that they're putting a significantly larger portion of their life into others hands along with pure luck, as opposed to wearing proper gear. Darwin and I strongly disagree with you on this one.
      Sandy Lee
      • 3 Years Ago
      I passed the beginner's course twice (took it with 2 friends) and after that, went on to become an instructor. It's my belief that it is still the safest, cheapest, and MOST FUN way to learn to ride. Upon reading the previous comments, there will always be a few people who don't pass the course for various reasons. Some decide, "Yeah, I gave it my best shot, it's not for me." which is what we as instructors prefer that they decide on their own. People will ride without licenses, insurance, gear, etc. and there's nothing we can do about that except spread the word about the MSF program. If students are dedicated enough to survive the course (it is physically and mentally challenging and is conducted at a very fast pace) then they will pass. It doesn't matter if you've been driving a car for 50 years, riding a bicycle for 50 years, or watching MotoGP for 50 years, the skills required to operate a motorcycle are completely different. We also teach riders to not ride defensively, but to ride actively.
      DrEvil
      • 3 Years Ago
      In the spirit of Mickey D's 2 billion served and SNL's 1 million digested. I ask how many of the 6 million graduates are still happily motoring along? and how many bought the farm despite of their training. Now, who's going to train the rest on the idiots on our highways?
      Fazzster
      • 3 Years Ago
      I was on the fence about getting on a motorcycle. Taking this course made me relaize how much of a car guy I am. It saved me the expense of buying a bike and not liking it. Not to mention killing myself in the process. I did very well in the course and passed with flying colors. There were a lot of people who failed and by doing so, it probably saved a lot of lives. There ar a lot of people who "think" they want to ride and realize they really can't and shouldn't for public safety sake and self preservation.
        user164
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Fazzster
        Did you just not like the risk associated with riding, or actually riding itself? I can totally understand the former, but I've yet to meet a person who claims the latter. At any rate, I wish more people would think things through before they act, as you did.
      • 3 Years Ago
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      LaMar Green
      • 3 Years Ago
      I passed the course in 2007 and have been fortunate to not have any accidents or lost any friends riding. The course is great but is truly limited in preparing you for riding on public roads. My entire course was in a parking lot, no traffic, no other vehicles. I can't count the amount of times that I have nearly been run off the road by inattentive drivers. My very first ride on my bike after getting my license I was almost run onto a curb buy a car. And my bike, a 2007 Yamaha R1 is much more powerful than the Honda 250 Nighthawks used in my class. MSF does offer advanced riding courses and I have thought about enrolling, it definitely can't hurt.
      Actionable Mango
      • 3 Years Ago
      From the HURT report: Motorcycle riders in accidents were significantly without motorcycle license, without any license, or with license revoked. 92% of motorcycle accidents involve riders who were self-taught or learned from family or friends. 50% of fatal accidents involve alcohol. 90% were uninsured. In other words, get a license, get proper training, have insurance, don't drink, and your personal odds will be a lot better.
      • 3 Years Ago
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      protovici
      • 3 Years Ago
      I took this system course from an ex-sheriff and the instructor had some serious time behind the handle bars. This course should be required before getting a liscense. I was 18 at the time and as a young man, I respected the bike, which kept me out of alot of bad situations!
      htay9500
      • 3 Years Ago
      In the 10th grade, I wasn't fully into motorcycles until me and my dad went to a MSF course in York, PA. It was a dirt-bike course and aside from me and my dad being noobies to motorcycling, 2 other riders had v-stroms and another was the wife of a biker. I actually had a lot of fun and learned how to ride a dirt bike. The instructor was pretty cool and I had lots of fun even with a couple of falls which was my fault. It was some of the best days I ever had and now I'm hooked. I remember riding a Yamaha trail bike (TTR125) learning how to ride off-road and it was something I will never forget. I would love to continue it if I had enough $$$.
      RevenantDC5
      • 3 Years Ago
      Took the beginner course last month.
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