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Discussion Starter #1
What’s up people. My dad and I are sort of at a loss here.

My dad used to ride and is now out of the game (after having kids he just never picked it up again) and I currently do on a (new to me) 2005 Strom.

I’m 23, never took the MSF course (cause I was an idiot at 18) and have had a few bikes, ridden cross country, practice my skills in parking lots and watch Twist of the Wrist every so often.

My brother is 20 and wants to get into riding. This is cool, I’m excited for him. Except...he refuses to take the MSF course.

My dad is willing to pay for it but essentially my brother thinks that since I didn’t take it, he doesn’t care to do so either. He’s not the kind of person that generally thinks about the long-term consequences of his actions.

Want to hear people’s thoughts on ways I can motivate my brother to take the course and regardless of that, what materials to get into his hands to ensure he has a safe noob stage of riding. Thanks!
 

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A few things here...
Many insurance companies will give a discount for having taken..and passed.. the MSF safety course. That's a motivation right there.
Many dealers have their own safety courses available.

Can he ride? What's his experience? Have you ridden with him, can you show him tips?
The MSF isnt the end-all/do-all for keeping riders safe. I know MANY riders who have taken the course and ride like relative idiots and have crashed accordingly. But it's better to have the knowledge and control the MSF offers.
Ive had my "Oh-Shit!" moments, we all have had them.
Just tell him it's YOUR life and YOUR decision. In riding a motorcycle, unless your being paid to do so it isnt a competition, there is nothing to win and absolutely everything to lose.
That's all you can do. Each individual is ultimately responsible for his /her own personal safety.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great point on the insurance, I didn't even think of that.

He's not a good rider. He took my stepfather's Harley out for a spin only a few weeks ago, swung wide and over-throttled a U-Turn, and went off the highway into a ditch. He no longer rides the Harley, needless to say. He's never ridden dirt bikes or street, and he can't drive a manual transmission car (so shifting is foreign to him).

I can give him some pointers-definitely. If nothing else I'll ride down there when he gets his bike and take him out to get a feel for where he's at skill-wise.

I get the "it's his life" thing and that's my stance currently. Our dad is having a much harder time accepting it. Also, for context-we all live in separate cities. My brother and I are in NC and my dad is in NY.
 

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Have you considered taking the course with him? It's never too late to brush up on your skills.
This

Also at least in Ontario, Canada now it's a requirement. Not legally but no insurance company will touch you without it. It's actually creating problems because of our graduated licensing.

1. Write motorcycle license test, get an M1 license which allows you to ride under restrictions (no night riding, alcholol, etc)
2. nobody will insure you because you have not passed the MSF course to get your M2 license
You must have the m1 license for a minimum of 60 days and a maximum of 90 days. So even if you do the course the same day you write the test you cannot ride for 60 days because nobody will insure you until you get your M2 and register the MSF course.

I'm sure some insurance companies will begin to sort this out, but the guy who bought my DRZ400S had to wait the 60 days.
 

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Great point on the insurance, I didn't even think of that.

He's not a good rider. He took my stepfather's Harley out for a spin only a few weeks ago, swung wide and over-throttled a U-Turn, and went off the highway into a ditch. He no longer rides the Harley, needless to say. He's never ridden dirt bikes or street, and he can't drive a manual transmission car (so shifting is foreign to him).

I can give him some pointers-definitely. If nothing else I'll ride down there when he gets his bike and take him out to get a feel for where he's at skill-wise.

I get the "it's his life" thing and that's my stance currently. Our dad is having a much harder time accepting it. Also, for context-we all live in separate cities. My brother and I are in NC and my dad is in NY.
He's just inexperienced, it takes time.

When you go out riding together, make sure he leads.. do not let him follow. A lot of people do that thinking it's safer but IMO it's absolutely not. Just because you can make a stop, navigate a turn, etc does not mean that he can. Let him lead and set the pace. To be honest I think he's better going out on his own, he does not need to be worried about what you are doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
When you go out riding together, make sure he leads.. do not let him follow.
This is a great tip. That way I can watch what he's doing and see how confident he really is at starting, stopping, dipping into turns, etc. Thank you.
 

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Don't know what to tell you.

I never took a riding course. I graduated straight from bicycles and dirt bikes into street riding. Read a lot of articles in bike magazines, made a few mistakes on the road. Managed to bank some experience before I got overdrawn on luck. I also didn't hop straight onto a 500 lb, 100+ HP motorcycle, either. Rode a couple different Yamaha XS400s and then a DT200 before buying my first new, heavier and more powerful bike, a Kawasaki ZX6(E).
 

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book gifts

I think it's great to show concern in a helpful way, and instigate skill improvement if you can do so. If you could tell your brother you would like to take the MSF course with him, and cite believable reasons for it, he is more likely to take it seriously than hearing "Do as I say, not as I do." advice. (That's probably less well taken from an older brother.)

If he persists, you might purchase a book or two on safe motorcycling by David L. Hough. Do it for yourself (nominally or really), study them, and gift them to your brother with a few comments on what you found worth learning from them. (This is "Do as I did." advice. I have a nephew who demonstrated that he needed to learn some things about riding safely.)
 

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I think it's great to show concern in a helpful way, and instigate skill improvement if you can do so. If you could tell your brother you would like to take the MSF course with him, and cite believable reasons for it, he is more likely to take it seriously than hearing "Do as I say, not as I do." advice. (That's probably less well taken from an older brother.)

If he persists, you might purchase a book or two on safe motorcycling by David L. Hough. Do it for yourself (nominally or really), study them, and gift them to your brother with a few comments on what you found worth learning from them. (This is "Do as I did." advice. I have a nephew who demonstrated that he needed to learn some things about riding safely.)
David's books are fantastic, I lend my set out to every new rider I come across :) I actually don't remember who I gave them to last but I didn't get them back! thanks for the reminder lol
 

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Motorcycles are dangerous. Especially the first few thousand miles of experience on them

I have never taken a formal course. But I had the advantage of thousands of hours of off road riding before I hit the streets...legally.

So I won't tell you anything beyond that I would tell him you both have to go take the course! If he does not want to pay the price for doing it right, maybe he shouldn't be on a motorcycle.

My Son took the course and learned some good things. I am not against the course, the just didn't have them in the 70's! But the biggest surprise was how little experience a few people had that attended. Personally I could not have allowed my Son to ride anywhere on the street until he could handle the motorcycle off highway. But, that is just me.......
 

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I wonder if the collected writings of Nick Ienatsch are available somewhere? Point him towards "The Pace" https://www.motorcyclistonline.com/pace which I think may be one of the most important pieces about motorcycling I ever read. It's not technical and doesn't cover specific riding skills. It's about mindset.

I might also suggest he read or watch "A Twist of the Wrist" by Keith Code. His style is a little goofy/dated, but his observations about "Survival Reactions" and a lot of other things are spot-on.

There's a reason I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about and practising riding skills over the years. It's not because I'm some kind of safety freak, it's because motorcycling is an activity that can easily kill you. If nothing else I'd rather my friends and family didn't have to deal with my untimely demise. Not enough to actually stop riding, but enough to want to be proficient enough to stay alive.

I've never done a riding course, per se, but I did do a track course quite a few years ago, after a couple of crashes and near-misses. I realized I had a mental block against leaning the bike past a certain point which resulted in me running wide a couple times. Once led to me running off the road and writing off my Kawasaki Concours (old ZG1000 style). Another found me riding down a paved ditch on the wrong side of the road to avoid an oncoming car. These were clear signals that I was riding over my head.

Like Ienatsch says in "The Pace", crossing over the centreline unintentionally should be thought of as a "crash", essentially. Anytime you have a close call where you only got away with it due to luck, that's a "crash". Anytime you "crash" you need to re-examine your riding habits and skills.
 

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When I first got started MSF was so new most people had not even heard of it, including me. With the help of a friend, I "taught myself to ride". I put that in quotes because although I was able to operate the motorcycle, I really didn't have a clue what I was doing. After about a year somebody told me what counter steering was. After another year the military had a big push for m/c safety and the Navy sent me to a MSF safety instructor class, (as I was a classroom instructor in my military specialty, and they wanted me to become the "safety officer" on base). I learned so much that I was amazed to have survived so long on the street without the training.
By all means, tell your brother to get some training. It's important.
 

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Sounds to me like he has a rogue attitude. He shouldn't be on a bike on the streets.
Agreed. I think he needs to wait until such time that he can see farther into the future than 2 minutes from now. He needs to wait until age 30, after some of life's other realities hold him accountable for his decisions and actions, at a point where he understands and accepts that things he does have ramifications for other people.

Photos are worth a thousand words, Google search images of motorcycle accident injuries (oh, my!) and ask him why he'd want to put his friends and family through his injuries, or death, resulting from an invinciblity attitude.

MC training will make him a better, and safer car driver, too.

Steve.
 

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Has anyone in history ever successfully convinced a 20 year old man to do the reasonable and sensible thing?

There are some good suggestions here, though if your brother has the hardheaded outlook you've described, it's tough to imagine him sitting down to read books on safe riding. If he won't go to a class where he actually gets to ride a bike, I'm not sure that reading a book about riding a bike would be the carrot he needs. Offering to take the course with him is a good idea too.

But, you may find yourself having to make a tough decision here. If he really is that bad on a bike, and he won't take any of the suggestions offered here, and you unequivocally feel that he's a danger to himself (or to me and the rest of the public) when he's on a bike, you can resort to the nuclear option if it's available in your state.

Many states have a law on the books that can require a licensed driver to be forced to take a reexamination if a credible report is made by law enforcement, medical personnel, or a member of the public that the motor vehicle operator is an unsafe driver. It's the sort of thing that happens when an elderly driver becomes unsafe, and a family member reports them to the DMV; the DMV requires the elderly driver to take another exam, even though they already have a license. If they fail, their license is revoked.

If you truly feel that his skill level (or lack of it) makes him a danger, then tell him that unless he agrees to take the MSF course and let an unbiased instructor judge his skill level, you'll notify the DMV that he doesn't possess the necessary skill to be operating a motorcycle. They may take no action, or they may order him to take another motorcycle exam. The DMV instructors know from the paperwork that the driver is there for a skills reassessment, so they're likely to scrutinize the driver a lot more closely. It could result in your brother having his motorcycle license revoked.

This is definitely the hardest assed of options. But, if your brother ignores all your efforts, and you absolutely are convinced he shouldn't be riding without additional training, you could use this as a last resort. Only you know how truly unskilled he is; is he bad enough that you're willing to go this route? Because if he isn't, then maybe your best option is to just leave it alone if he won't follow your advice.
 

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+1 on offering to take the course together.

+1 on the insurance discount

I'd add that the MSF course counts for your driving test at the DMV (at least it does here).

+1 that the MSF course isn't the end all / only solution. I recommend it to everyone, but there are also other fantastic resources to improve your "game". Is your brother inherently cautious, intentionally thoughtful, and driving aware enough to figure it out on his own before getting hurt?

I started on dirt bikes and transitioned to street riding (enduros, then cruisers). It wasn't until later that I took the MSF course, just to see if I missed something important. A lot of good information included based on the experience and wise thinking of MANY others. Why not take advantage of their knowledge?

Also, be sure to investigate all the MSF course offerings. There are several places in my town that only offer 1 or 2 of them. For example, beginner (never touched a motorcycle before) or advanced (assumes a significant level of experience). Looking harder, I found the community college offers 5 different MSF courses. The most important was the "returning riders" course that is in between beginner and advanced. Instead of assuming an advanced level of experience, they expect that you can operate the motorcycle and have had some basic riding experience. The class is condensed into a single day (4 hours in class and 4 hours on the driving course) and costs significantly less. They still cover the basic MSF manual, basic maneuvers and the driving test, but much faster.

When I was asked by a new would be rider what would be the best way to learn, I told him to take the MSF beginner course (he has no riding experience) then get on a dirt bike and practice off-road (trail riding, not motocross). When you are comfortable with controlling the motorcycle and handling less than perfect situations in the dirt, you can transition to the street (starting slow in neighborhoods and low traffic / low stress areas). The dirt isn't always possible for everyone, so take the early street riding carefully and grow into it.

In all cases, be sure to start out on an appropriately sized motorcycle. Doesn't have to be something tiny that won't serve you for very long, but I would definitely avoid the monster bikes right out of the gate.
 
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