Become a better rider: Invest in your skills — and your safety — this motorcycle season

May 2, 2024

A motorcyclist navigating a training course as other riders watch.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in Minnesota. And let's be honest, motorcycle safety messaging can seem very repetitive: Wear a helmet. Ride sober. Don't speed.

Some riders listen, some unfortunately don't. Three motorcyclists have already been killed on our roads this year, and fatalities have increased in recent years. And yes — helmet use, speed and impairment are often contributors. But ultimately, the skill of the rider can be a determining factor in preventing crashes that lead to injury and death.

“There really is no substitute for being a skilled rider," said Jay Bock, motorcycle safety coordinator for the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC). “Wearing protective gear and a helmet is extremely important, but can only get you so far if you're riding beyond your skill level, or if you encounter a situation you aren't prepared for."

The best way to improve those skills? Take a rider training course.

Taking a training course can help all riders learn, refresh or increase their skills and gain a safety advantage on the road, no matter how experienced they are. MMSC offers courses at every level, from basic to expert, at 22 different locations around the state. Riders learn crucial skills like braking, cornering and collision avoidance from certified instructors. As the course levels increase, so do the challenges of the training, ensuring even the most advanced riders can improve. Continuing to take courses periodically can help skills stay sharp as a rider evolves and ages.

“One of the common factors we see in fatal crashes is the failure of the rider to correctly negotiate a curve. That's a skill we emphasize in our training courses," Bock said. “Why not give yourself the best possible tools to enjoy your ride and live to ride another day?"

In recognition of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, we want to challenge riders to seriously reflect on the steps they're taking to protect themselves and others on the road, to make sure they return home safely to their loved ones after each ride. If you or the motorcyclist in your life want to benefit from a rider training course, choose a location and register online.​