Does rider training cause more crashes? Insurance group is trying to find out

Publish Date: 
Apr 18, 2012

New motorcycle riders are more likely to have accidents than experienced riders – which may sound like a no-brainer. But an insurance industry group says rider training may lead to even more accidents by giving new motorcyclists a false sense of confidence.

Safety studies show that new riders are at most peril during their first year of riding. But another study suggests that licensing courses which fast-track the time it takes to get on the road fail to lower crash risks, and may even raise them, according to Insurance Journal For motorcycle riders, their first 30 days are about four times more risky than their entire second year riding, says Matthew Moore, vice president of the Highway Loss Data Institute. “It’s most likely inexperience. Operating a motorcycle is a fairly complex task.”

An institute study showed 22 percent of nearly 57,000 collision claims from 2003 to 2007 occurred in the first 30 days after an insurance policy took effect. The claim rate dropped one-third in the second month and almost two-thirds after six months. More than half the insurance claims on supersport bikes occurred in the first three months.

An institute analysis of state-required training programs for riders under 21 in California, Florida, Idaho and Oregon found graduates’ collision claim frequency was 10 percent higher, compared with 28 states without those requirements.

“Although this difference isn’t statistically significant, it contradicts the notion that motorcycle training courses reduce crashes,” the affiliated Insurance Institute for Highway Safety told the Journal. One potential explanation is that successfully completing the course earns a license in some states.

The MSF’s basic rider course, offered in 48 states, has trained more than 6 million riders, about 400,000 last year. Courses includes turning, braking, using the controls and emergency responses.

“We say we improve knowledge, skill sets and increase awareness,” Ray Ochs, director of training systems at MSF, told the Journal. “We can fix the ignorance part. We can’t fix stupid.”

Posted by Holly Wagner

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