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Going back to 'school' on your motorcycle

Nov. 8, 2018

Two motorcyclists listening to an instructor at a training course


As a motorcyclist, you’re likely fiercely independent. The freedom of the open road with the wind whipping past you can feel like a metaphor for life. So the idea of taking a rider course from the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) may seem distasteful. But learning is a lifelong endeavor, and that goes for motorcycles as well as books.

As the weather prediction graphics start showing snowflakes instead of suns, another motorcycle training season has drawn to an official close here in Minnesota. Overall, 5,112 riders took training courses this year – that includes everything from the Basic Rider Course to the Expert Course.

And based on their course evaluations, they liked it. Of those motorcyclists who took an Intermediate, Advanced or Expert course, 99 percent said they’d recommend it to a friend, and 97 percent said it met or exceeded their expectations. That latter statistic held true for Basic Rider Course attendees as well.

In fact, the number of people taking the Advanced and Expert courses has grown over 18 percent in just two years. Maybe that’s because more and more seasoned motorcyclists are realizing that taking these courses can help them develop advanced skills like the Iron Cross and the staircase, which in turn increase their safety.

The Basic Rider Course is essentially a two-for-one deal: Beginning motorcyclists can learn essential skills and get their motorcycle license endorsement at the same time. But it’s not just for beginners: returning riders are encouraged to take it if they’ve been away from their bikes for a few years.

Even though your bike may already be hibernating in your garage for the winter, you’re probably thinking about when you can take it out again next spring. Never fear: The new training schedules will be available early next year, and training typically starts in April. It’s never too early to plan!