MSF: Fatalities report a 'somber reminder'

Publish Date: 
Apr 26, 2013

IRVINE, Calif. - The Motorcycle Safety Foundation issued a response to a preliminary report showing that motorcycle-related deaths are on the rise, stating that the results are "a somber reminder that motorcyclist safety should be everyone's responsibility."

A report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association indicated that motorcyclist deaths increased about 9 percent nationwide in 2012.

"Each of us must do our part in making good decisions on the road so we can eliminate these needless and tragic motorcycle fatalities," said MSF and Motorcycle Industry Council President Tim Buche. "Every roadway user needs to be a trained, alert and active participant in the traffic mix."

The MSF summarized its efforts in promoting motorcycle safety, mentioning that it has spent $2.4 million on research since 2010 to support curriculum development and quality assurance programs for its Rider Education & Training System and Basic RiderCourse program.

"We continue to increase our understanding of rider and other roadway user behaviors to direct improvements in our curricula that lead to improved student outcomes and a safer riding environment overall," said Dr. Ray Ochs, vice president of training systems for MSF. "We've just completed a significant update to our most popular course, the Basic RiderCourse, with new classroom content focused on rider behavior, risk awareness and risk management. And we've added new range exercises that focus on earlier acquisition of fundamental skills with an emphasis on the traffic situations that students will encounter on the road."

Basic RiderCourse enhancements have included:

  • An approximate 40 percent increase in content targeted specifically at rider perception and seeking escape paths;
  • A roughly 15 percent increase in practice time for swerving and other collision-avoidance skills;
  • About 30 percent more classroom and range content on negotiating curves and cornering skills; and
  • A new eCourse to reach current and prospective riders.

MSF and its partners have trained more than 6.7 million new or returning motorcyclists since it began rider training education in 1974, the organization noted.

MSF also has expanded distribution of online educational materials, including the Intersection and Rider Choices iBooks; and promoted safety awareness for motorists via the website. The organization also partnered with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute on the MSF 100 Motorcyclists Naturalistic Study, which tracks the actions of 100 riders over one year to assess factors contributing to crashes and near-crashes. "MSF seeks to use the results to improve its curricula and expand its other safety countermeasures," it said.

Companies, clubs and individuals wishing to donate directly to motorcyclist safety initiatives may contact the National Motorcycle Safety Fund (NMSF), a charitable organization established in 1980 to augment the work of the MSF. The NMSF accepts tax-deductible contributions and applies them to motorcycle safety projects. In the past, the NMSF has provided helmets and alcohol awareness materials to training sites for use by beginning riders during the MSF Basic RiderCourse. NMSF is currently supporting the MSF 100 Motorcyclists Naturalistic Study. One hundred percent of contributions is dedicated to the National Motorcycle Safety Fund - none of the funds is used to cover administration costs. Visit MSF online and click on "Donate" for more information.

The MSF is a not-for-profit organization sponsored by BMW, BRP, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha.