To fully enjoy any activity, you need to increase skill level and decrease the potential for disaster. People are very attentive when they are instructed prior to their first skydiving experience, for example. They don’t attempt to climb a cliff based on a blind assumption that safety harnesses and ropes are secure and safe. However, for some reason a sizable number of people take the risks inherent in operating a motorcycle much more lightly than they should, thinking that they have the basic skills required to operate the bike and that everything else will simply fall into place.
There are a lot of factors that lead to this attitude. First of all, simply balancing a motorcycle and being able to shift gears is only part of the equation, but a lot of new riders think that, because they have successfully piloted cars or trucks for decades, the differences will be minimal and easily managed. They sometimes see themselves as Marlon Brando or Peter Fonda types, not realizing or ignoring the fact that this is a serious piece of machinery with capabilities they haven’t experienced or mastered.
Experienced riders and rider training course instructors alike will agree that a motorcycle demands an enormous amount of respect, skill, and knowledge from its rider. You cannot simply lock up the brakes and skid to a halt in an emergency as quickly as you can with a car, and even extremely experienced and skilful riders will be challenged to keep the motorcycle upright in such scenarios. In fact, the issue is knowing how to avoid such a situation in most cases. Whether you use front or back brakes (or both) in specific situations can result in dramatically different outcomes. How you sit, how you check around you… so many specific actions need to be learned and practiced correctly from the start, not learned on the fly because trial and error isn’t a sensible approach when error can mean catastrophe.
The new motorcycle rider in Ontario has an enormous advantage over riders in virtually all other jurisdictions, and that advantage is an extensive network of established rider training organizations that offer a variety of courses for both new riders and riders who need or want to refresh their skills. All of these schools have vastly experienced, hard-working, committed people at their helms, and extremely knowledgeable and skilled instructors throughout their organizations.
Here are just a few of the advantages of taking a rider training course in Ontario. You will learn the most important aspects of handling a motorcycle, aspects that will increase your control and handling of the machine. You will be more confident because you will know what to do to make the motorcycle obey your commands. You will, as a result, be infinitely less likely to damage your motorcycle or hurt yourself. You will be less likely to hurt your passenger, who could be your spouse or another member of the family. Chances will be incredibly better that you will not damage other property by hitting it, or that you will not hit a pedestrian. Remember, any of these scenarios would have a very long after-effect; stress level, healing time, court appearances, lawsuits, loss of income… do you really want to increase the odds of any of those things affecting your life?
More advantages: you will meet and befriend other riders who are as enthusiastic about motorcycles and riding as you are. Some of these other riders will be new; others will be instructors with tons of experience. This core of a new network will take your life in fantastic new directions if you so desire. You will ride like a pro because you have been trained to ride like a pro. Just as a practitioner of martial arts, you will develop your new skill in a respectful, and skilful, manner. Non-riders will respect you as well; you’ve seen the riders who clearly don’t know what they’re doing on the road. You don’t want to be one of them.
Even if the insurance company you sign up with doesn’t give credit for taking the beginner rider training course (Riders Plus does give you credit, by the way), do you really think that an untrained, unskilled rider is as likely to keep a clean insurance record as a trained, skilled rider? The cost of insurance (and the ability to get reasonable insurance) changes dramatically when you learn to ride by trial and error.
Taking a rider training course can be the smartest first step in a potentially fantastic journey as a motorcyclist. So what are you waiting for?