Monday, December 27, 2010

I Want to get my Motorcycle License

First day back at work after the Christmas Holiday. Probably one-third of our staff was on hand, the rest were using vacation time to lengthen their holiday. So there was a little less hussle and a little more time for conversation. One conversation with a co-worker started something like this, "I want to get my motorcycle license, so I guess I need to buy a motorcycle first."

It dawned on me that I have been in a conversation that started like this several different times over the last few years. I am somewhat surprised every time I hear this thought and am always quick to alter the thinking slightly.

"No, I would recommend getting your license first", is my typical response. This usually is met with wide eyes. I then explain that I would recommend doing what I did. Attend a Riders Edge course or a MSF RiderCourse. Many rider training courses provide the motorcycles for the students. So, first time riders can learn to ride without a significant investment. The cost of the course runs around $275 and the student is responsible for supplying their own helmet.

Why do I suggest taking the rider's course before buying a motorcycle? If you buy a motorcycle before you have a license, you are going to ride it. Without sound instruction, chances are, you are going to pickup some bad habits, and even more likely, you are going to ride it on public streets and roadways (in violation of the law). And in the chance that you wreck it while riding without a license, most insurance providers will not pay a cent for damage caused by an unlicensed rider.

So why not get that initial exposure to a street bike in a controlled environment with someone coaching you through the right and safe way to ride while at the same time getting prepared for the written and riding exam. At the end of the course, you get to sit for the written exam (which you have been properly prepared for) and then you get to take the riding exam (which you have been practising for).

The course I took was painless, two week nights, a Saturday, and a Sunday and you were done. Advanced courses are available to fine-tune your riding skills and are always a good idea.

Just my two cents, but it sure seems like the best approach to me.



RichardM said...

Wonderful advice. I really enjoyed the MSF class but once it was over, I practically lived on Craigslist looking for a bike...

Hope you have a wonderful New Year!

Mr. Motorcycle said...

Great advice!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Madding:

I highly recommend the Rider's Edge Course. That's where I got my license and it was fuyn. The course I took, at the Harley Dealer in Willow Street, Pa used new 400cc Buells to train on and a Pa State Trooper (motorcycle cop) administered the test, so I was given a valid MC license (endorsement) at the course's end.
Well worth the $300 bucks.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

redlegsrides said...

Good advice as the others have said....and here in Colorado, once you pass the MSF BRC, you get your Motorcycle endorsement approved.

Plus, in this state, the state kicks in $50 towards the cost of the course....they probably do the same in other states as well.


Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Redleg's Rides

mq01 said...

the best advice you can give any new or inexperienced or rusty rider (in my opinion) is that they go straight to controlled training. you may have saved their butt, literally :)

Mike said...

On the morning I took the riding test at the DMV (which was two months before taking the team Oregon class) a guy who had just passed the test said, "Now I can ride legally." You're right, having a motorcycle makes you want to ride. Good advice! Happy New Year!

irondad said...

Sound advice, to echo other comments. Another thing I have experienced is having students tell me in class that they just discovered they bought the wrong type of bike.

Classes are a chance to explore on several levels!

Kathleen Jennette said...

Your two cents are worth a million bucks and possibly a life. The best advice is educating yourself before and during the ride. Hope your wisdom affected him.

SonjaM said...

Sound advice! I had purchased my first bike before taking classes, and was one of the candidates who had picked up bad habits although I was only trying to lose my training wheels in a friend's backyard. Needless to say, I picked the wrong bike, too.

Allen Madding said...

Richard - I enjoyed the class so much I was considering buying a Buell like we used in the class. It only took me a few days to stop myself from seriously considering a 400cc bike.

Mr Motorcycle - Thanks!

reep - I've never rode one anywhere but in the class, but the Buell Blast was fun. It certainly beat a bicycle.

dom - I have to give it to them, a few weeks after completing the class, I received an envelope. All I had to do was carry the envelope to Drivers Services, give them my drivers license, and wait. I walked out with a new license with motorcycle added to it. It made for the most streamlined process I have ever seen at Drivers Services.

mq01 - I hope I did. I would love to spare anyone a roadrash experience.

Mike - Thanks. I know there is no way I could have purchased a motorcycle and let it sit. That just isn't in my make up.

IronDad - Thanks. I bet there are a lot of folks that discovered they bought the wrong bike.

KT - Thanks! She sounded like she was going to follow the advice.

Sonja - Ouch! At least you sorted it all out and turned it into a success story. I know it would not have been good for me to start out on a bike the size I am on now. I had enough trouble the first two years of riding!

Hannah Parkin said...

Getting your motorcycle license first before buying your vehicle makes perfect sense. Proper instruction on safe driving is your best defense against any untoward incidents on the road. Also, all motorists need to know by heart all traffic rules and regulations before hitting the road.

Hannah Parkin

Unknown said...

Great advice! You did the right thing, why not get lysing already? I have a license for two years. I am very pleased that I have rights, I can use transport in every country. I recently returned from Thailand. There I rented motorcycle, but in foreign countries it is necessary to be neat, anything can happen, like here Good luck to you, and do not drive drunk, is advice for you.