About 6 years ago, OSC’s Senior Instructor, Frank Kevins, wrote and delivered a paper at a motorcycle safety conference in Europe. Frank is our data guy – the instructor who keeps track of all of our facts and figures. Back then, he noticed that the motorcycle student demographic was changing — and was curious as to what, if any, difference in outcome could be correlated to students’ age, gender, and previous riding experience.
Frank looked at several demographic segments to provide possible reasons for the decline. One standout stat showed that students who had any experience on a motorcycle, even one hour practicing in a parking lot, increased their chances of passing the Ministry’s test the first time out of the gate by 10%.
However, this finding presented a problem for us at the OSC. We’re a safety-minded bunch, and hearing student stories of “tip-overs” while practicing before taking our course caused us concern. We would rather have students with our highly trained and experienced instructors, in the safety of one of our parking lot training sites while they practiced.
In recent years, the OSC began offering an adaptation to the Canada Safety Council’s Gearing Up course to provide an “Intro to Gearing Up.” In this course, students go through the first four lessons of the Gearing Up” program, but at a much slower pace. We really give them a feel for what it is like to operate a motorcycle, but with an intensive, guiding hand. In these lessons, they gain experience under the supervision of our instructors. Students who then decide to take the full course, are now “intermediate” students with a greater chance of passing than if they hit the asphalt cold.
After taking the Intro course, some students find that motorcycling is not for them. And that’s OK too — it is just what the course is intended to do. Giving students a chance to try an introduction to motorcycling – understanding what the course will entail and seeing our instructor emphasis on safety above all else – will empower them to make smart choices about their safety and what feels right for them.
Our commitment to the public is to increase the number of Intro to Gearing Up courses that we offer in the 2017 season and into the future. Keeping students safe is our first priority, and going through the CSC’s Gearing Up program is the ultimate way of learning the “do’s” and “don’ts” under the guidance of the very best – our OSC volunteer instructors!
By Julie Vogt – OSC C.E.O.