Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: My experience with the MSF Basic Rider Course (Classroom Portion) - Part 1 of 2

6.09.2011

My experience with the MSF Basic Rider Course (Classroom Portion) - Part 1 of 2

After riding for many years and finally having an opportunity to pursue the possibility of becoming a certified Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) instructor, I've finally decided to start the process. So, part of the prerequisites to become an MSF instructor in Ohio, I'm taking the Basic Rider Course (BRC) as to complete it for my instructor application.

For those who haven't heard about the Basic Rider Course, here's a little bit about it:
In the state of Ohio, the BRC course is required for riders under the age of 18 and can be taken in lieu of the on-the-motorcycle test given by the BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) to receive the full motorcycle endorsement. You do NOT have to own a motorcycle or have had experience on a bike to take the course; it is designed to teach those who have NEVER ridden a motorcycle before.

Here's a short list of some other types of people that would definitely benefit from taking the Basic Rider Course:
- completely NEW riders (brand spankin' new, never touched a motorcycle, EVER)
- returning riders (those that haven't ridden in many years)
- those that don't own motorcycles that want to learn how to ride without purchasing one
- those that are interested in owning a motorcycle but aren't sure if it's the right thing for them
- motorcycle passengers that want to understand motorcycles better
- CAR DRIVERS that wish to understand motorcycles and their unique place in the road
- ANYONE that wants to be a well-informed motorcycle operator
- the list goes on and on...

I had first taken the BRC in late 2003 in California as a complete newbie, passing the class and acquiring my first motorcycle in 2004 (the BRC was called something else back then). Since that time, MSF had gone and revamped the entire curriculum and scope of the course by updating it with more modern material, useful videos, and revising the on-the-bike drills used on the range. This means that my experience with the class will be as different and as new as the inexperienced riders around me.

One thing did not change, however. The BRC class is still broken up into three parts: one, 4-hour classroom session and two, 6-hour sessions on an acutal motorcycle in a closed course. Successfully completing the BRC course requires the passage of a 50-question written, OPEN BOOK exam and an on-the-bike test.

For four hours I sat in a classroom with 11 aspiring riders and those returning to the sport of motorcycling after many years. We went through the BRC's main workbook and answered the comprehensive questions that focused on its important parts. In between those questions we watched video clips that summarized and helped visualize the concepts that we needed to understand before jumping on the bikes this weekend. The two instructors that ran the classroom portion were very knowledgeable and did take the time to stop and answer questions as necessary.

Personally, I was very impressed with the classroom portion of this course. Although I experience many of the road situations demonstrated in the workbook and videos and use the basic skills of operating a motorcycle on a daily basis, the material refreshed and reaffirmed many of those concepts that motorcyclists must use to operate their bikes safely. In comparison to my experience in 2003, I felt that the revised material was more relevant to today's roadways and definitely focuses on compensating for driver inattentiveness and unpredictable hazards. I am looking forward to taking the closed-range motorcycle exercises this weekend!

Click here for Part 2 of this course's blog...

For more information about the Basic Rider Course, click here.