Whenever gas prices go up, motorcycle ridership increases. That's great, I love seein' em. But there 's a down side: As blogger Ride Fast And Shoot Straight reminds, so do accidents. There's a way to improve your safety (as he also points out) and if you happen to be a Hoosier, it's cheap! (See also here). It's the Basic Rider Class from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. The class runs as high as $375 in some States. Indiana decided they'd catch more flies with honey, tacked a slight fee onto motorcycle licenses, begged bikes from dealerships, and got the student's cost down to $75. For about 2.5 days of some of the most intensive learning you'll ever do outside the military, it's a bargain. Half the class time is spent in the saddle, learning by doing.
I've taken the MSF Basic Rider Course twice; in Indiana, it's a short path to the motorcycle endorsement on your driver's license. Why twice? I passed first time, but it was the last class of the season and I wasn't able to ride much; so I signed up for the following Spring, as well. If I had taken this class earlier (before I started commuting via scooter), I probably would not have wrecked my scooter (to the tune of about $1K) or my knee (about 10X as expensive). Or maybe I would have, but at least I would have lowsided trying rather than flailing. As it was, I'd been on standby for any last-minute class openings; took the call in the hospital, doped up and with my right leg immobilized:
"Miss Ecks? This is Joe Redacted, from Abate. Can you take the class next weekend?"
"Oh, gosh. Joe, how are you with irony?"
That's not really the most fun you'll ever have.
On the other hand, the class is.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
3 months ago