Confluence or About Time?

Once again my MMM editor, Guido Ebert, picked an article from my slush pile, “The Trouble with Being the Solution to A Big Problem” for the 2014-2015 Winter issue that I never expected to see in print. If you haven’t seen it, it’s on the stands at your local motorcycle dealer or parts house in the Cities and elsewhere this week. The article explores the answer to the question, “Why would highway planners make any accommodations for a vehicle that contributes less than 0.001% to commuter traffic but 15% of fatalities?” The answer is, even to motorcycle manufacturers, obvious but painful and beyond the average MBA’s ability to find an easy, non-functional, answer. (So far in my meager 66 years I’ve yet to see an MBA provide a useful answer to question. The only people I put lower on my totem pole of respect are politicians and marketing morons.) My editor is a pretty serious motorcycling true believer, so selecting this article from a collection of considerably less agitating essays was a statement. Before one of the guys who subscribes to this list, Paul Young, sent me this article about the catastrophic hit the MSF took in California this month (Is A Sea Change Coming to New-Rider Motorcycle Training?), I was a little confused about Guido’s motivation.

The breaking news is “Total Control Training will take over the CSMP from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) starting January 1, 2015. The class is administered by the California Highway Patrol, and is a major gateway for new riders in the Golden State — roughly 65,000 new motorcyclists take the CSMP each year, at 120 sites.” As California goes, so goes the rest of the nation?

On the closer-to-home front, Wisconsin is diving head-first into the new MSF BRC program and the unintended (I suspect) consequences has been a fair amount of instructor dropout (8 of 12 “passed” the instructor training in a recent class and “several” opted to quit teaching after looking at the course preparation material). A surprising (to me) number of instructors decided the hassle and lack of value-added to learning and teaching the new curriculum was not worth their time and effort. The CHP, apparently, agreed that the MSF program was not providing the impact on motorcycle fatalities expected for the money being spent and has decided to try Lee Park’s Total Control version of the BRC. The world is watching.

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