This section presents the available research on the impact of rider training for reducing crash risk.  Motorcycle rider training teaches people the skills for riding on public roads. It is the equivalent of driver’s education for car drivers. Training is designed to teach riders how to safely and confidently operate a motorcycle, help riders to manage the risks of riding and provide a path to gaining a proper license. One common assumption is that trained motorcyclists have fewer crashes.  Therefore, there is community demand for investment in rider training programs as a crash risk reduction measure.  However, the available research provides no evidence that training reduces the likelihood of crashing and several research reports indicates that training increased the risk of crashing or increases risky behavior.

Training Research Studies

2015 – “Does an On-road Motorcycle Coaching Program Reduce Crashes in Novice Riders? A Randomized Control Trial”

This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of a program called “VicRide” in reducing crash involvement for novice motorcycle riders in Victoria. There was no evidence that this on-road motorcycle rider coaching program reduced the risk of crash, and researchers found an increase in crash-related risk factors for trained riders.

2014 – “Evaluation Advanced Training Course for Motorcyclists”

Evaluation of a one-day Dutch advanced rider training program called Risk.  While the evaluation suggests that the training has a positive effect on safe riding behaviors, whether this type of training course indeed reduces the risk of crashes could not be established in this study.

2013 – “The Effect of Sight Distance Training on the Visual Scanning of Motorcycle Riders: A Preliminary Look”

This is not the typical type of operational skills training.  Very little is known about the effect of motorcycle rider training on visual scanning and sight distance techniques in naturalistic riding situations.  This study collected naturalistic data from a mix of novice and experienced motorcycle riders on a closed course and an open course.  Findings preliminarily suggest that there may be a relationship between training and feedback on sight distance and sight distance behavior on the road.

2010 – “Motorcycle Rider Training for Preventing Road Traffic Crashes”

A review by the Cochran collaboration of 23 research studies that report an evaluation of the effectiveness of motorcycle rider courses in reducing the number of traffic offences, motorcycle rider crashes, injuries and deaths.  Due to the poor quality of studies identified, the researchers were unable to draw any conclusions about the effectiveness of rider training on crash, injury, or offence rates.

2009 – “Effectiveness of Motorcycle Training and Licensing” 

This literature review looked at the effectiveness of motorcycle education courses by examining the effect that training had on accident rates, violation rates, and personal protective equipment use found through past research. The methods, findings, and conclusions of seven independent studies were compared to evaluate the effectiveness of motorcycle training. One common assumption is that trained motorcyclists have fewer accidents. A review of the literature shows that there is no consensus for the validity of this assumption. This study also reviewed different motorcycle licensure systems and their effectiveness.

2007 – “Effectiveness of Motorcycle Training and Motorcyclists’ Risk-Taking Behavior”

In this study a 2005 sample of Indiana motorcyclists was used to estimate statistical models of the effectiveness of existing training programs in reducing accident probabilities. The findings showed that those individuals who took beginning rider training courses were more likely to be involved in an accident than those who did not and that those who took the beginning course more than once were much more likely to be involved in an accident.

2006 – “Rider Training and Collision Avoidance in Thailand & Los Angeles Motorcycle Crashes”

Both the Thailand and Hurt studies concur that the time from the precipitating event that begins the collision sequence to the impact itself is so short – less than three seconds in the great majority of cases – that even a well-chosen, well-executed evasive action is unlikely to be effective. This suggests that rider training should emphasize teaching riders the knowledge and skills needed to prevent a precipitating event from occurring, rather than how to react after it has already occurred.

2001 – “Evaluation of the California Motorcyclist Safety Program”

This paper describes the evaluation activities undertaken to assess the program's impact on motorcycle accidents in California.   In addition, the paper begins with a summary the key characteristics and conclusions of matched-sample studies conducted since the early 1980s.