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Rider Education Resources for Safe Motorcycling

Start with Basics to Become a SMART and SKILLFUL Rider

There are eight steps you can—and should—take to become a more skillful rider. These steps are logically sequential. That doesn’t mean you need to implement only one at a time or that you must do things in precisely this order, but if you are a new rider starting from scratch, the order suggested should be helpful.

  1. Take an introductory skills-development course
  2. Engage in independent study.
  3. Practice.
  4. Take an intermediate skills-improvement course.
  5. Ride a variety of bikes.
  6. Ride off-road.
  7. Attend a track school.
  8. Repeat.

"Practice" is listed as the third step, after taking an introductory course and engaging in independent study. Why? Because practice makes permanent, and only by practicing perfectly does it become perfect. If you have not learned the "what" and the "how" through taking a course or by independent study, practice is of little value and will even be detrimental if it reinforces bad habits.

For a supplementary explanation about each of the above steps, read How to Enhance Your Street-Riding Skills.

To enjoy a long life as a motorcyclist, become a lifelong learner.

Excellent Resources for Motorcycle Riders

  • Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) - the most comprehensive resource available for both novice and experienced riders; visit the MSF website or call 800-466-9227 to find a training course near you  
    • The new MSF Basic eCourse - highly recommended by SMARTER for beginning riders as well as experienced riders seeking to enhance their knowledge
    Key messages of the MSF:
    1. Get trained and licensed
    2. Wear protective gear—all the gear, all the time—including a helmet manufactured
      to the standards set by the DOT
    3. Ride unimpaired by alcohol or other drugs
    4. Ride within your own skill limits
    5. Be a lifelong learner by taking refresher rider courses
    Find all this and more on the MSF website:
    ⇒Dr. Ray's Tip of the Day ⇒MSF Programs and Resources ⇒MSF Curriculum Videos
    ⇒Dr. Jim's Question of the Day ⇒Find a RiderCourse ⇒General Motorcycling Videos
    ⇒Rider Perception Challenge ⇒State Laws and Reports ⇒Off-road Riding Videos
  • Rider Skill Test – diagrams, dimensions and examiner instructions for the test many states use to assess rider skill as a prerequisite for motorcycle license or endorsement issuance.
  • streetSkills™ - use these flashcards to build 17 riding-related skills and habits "one ride at a time"
  • A Beginner's Guide to Motorcycling
    (totalmotorcycle.com)

Motorcycling Safety Tips and Techniques to Enhance Riding Skills