"When the reality of COVID hit in March, the MSF reacted right away," says Robert Gladden, Motorcycle Safety Foundation VP of training operations. "We hosted our first vRETS webinar for RiderCoaches on April 7 and have conducted 26 of them. We've had a total of 12,364 vRETS log-ins for these sessions, mostly conducted by our Dr. Ray Ochs, VP of training systems.” Getting back out into the field was also a priority.
“In response to requests from the field, the MSF provided interim training guidelines in May that provided instructions for RiderCoaches on moving classroom activities to safer environments outside on training ranges. And in early June, we implemented a COVID-19 waiver and release that enabled many course providers to resume training at public facilities."
These efforts are already paying off: New York State, which was completely shuttered for nearly three months, saw training volume this July exceed the July total of last year. Reporting isn't complete but it appears that the numbers for this August will also be better than in 2019. In Colorado, 2020 training volume through August exceeded the same period last year, despite shutdowns and reduced student capacity.
"Last month, we beat our sales forecast for MSF curriculum materials, and that original prediction was made a year ago, before any of us had heard of COVID-19," Gladden adds. "Also, we blew right through the forecast on log-ins for our eCourses, with many current and potential riders visiting us on the web and gaining some good motorcycle education through their computers and mobile devices."
The MSF's training site in Alpharetta, Georgia, saw a 26% increase in August compared to the same month last year. The MSF's New Mexico and West Virginia programs also rebounded from extended shutdowns, posting strong training numbers in July and August, despite operating under reduced capacity due to local rules.
"The fact that training volume remains high, with classes scheduled well into autumn, is a testament not only to the hard work and dedication of the MSF training community, but also to the popularity of motorcycling as hundreds of thousands of students seek out MSF RiderCourses. We're pleased and proud to help them become riders and remain lifelong learners."