When I made my first post introducing myself, I mentioned that I was excited to be taking a motorcycle safety course. Now, after having completed it, I wanted to share a bit about my experience.
The following essay is provided to share my opinions. Please do your own fact checking where local rules/regulations come into play!
To get a motorcycle endorsement here in Oregon, you have to either a) obtain a motorcycle learner’s permit then ride with a buddy who is at least 21 years of age - and only during daylight hours - then take the DMV’s written and riding test when you feel you are ready to take it. Or, b) take and pass a motorcycle safety course then present the certificate of completion to the DMV at which point they will put that all-powerful “M” endorsement on your license. To break it down, you can test through an unfamiliar DMV course on a likely heavier bike, or test on a surface you have ridden on for 7.5 hours through exercises you have specifically practiced.
I am glad I opted to take the basic rider training (BRT) course. One reason is, after having been off a bike for 20 years, I felt a refresher was in order. Secondly, there is a state statute that if you have successfully completed the safety course, insurance companies are required to provide a rider’s discount (for the first couple of years). I felt the course would be a good return on investment in many ways.
The BRT is roughly a combined 7 hours in the classroom and 8 hours on the range. They provide helmets and bikes to train with, which was extremely convenient.
The classroom portion included selecting proper riding gear, the parts of a motorcycle, and the mental parts of riding such as choosing which part of the lane you should ride in for maximum seeing and being seen, identifying obstacles and deciding how best to avoid or overcome them. I remembered the mistakes I made in my youth and how I could have avoided them - like riding in a van's blind spot for a minute then almost getting side swiped as he pulled into the lane I was in. The classroom time alone was worth the fee.
The range portion included an introduction to the bike, how to start it, find the clutch friction zone, how to turn (look where you want to go!), shifting, swerving, etc. We spent a lot of time repeating the exercises, that muscle memory is vital to success. The emergency braking segment caused me all sorts of trouble for the first few minutes, so the repetition is very useful.
I found the class to be very valuable and I would recommend it to anyone who is considering a motorcycle (or scooter!) purchase.
If you want to read about the course I took, you can visit http://teamoregon.orst.edu/TO_Web/brt.html
. I have no affiliation with them, I'm just a satisfied customer.