Motorcycle Safety Foundation Hosts Awareness Event

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation hosted media and guests at a special event on May 23, 2013, spotlighting the millions of dollars it has invested in research and providing an update on the MSF 100 Motorcyclists Naturalistic Study.

The front parking lot of the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, was filled with a staged intersection, complete with a working prop traffic light and a car turning left in front of a stunt rider; demonstrations of four MSF Basic RiderCourse exercises, including one lesson that will be part of this year’s update to the course; a Suzuki GSX-R1000 outfitted with data acquisition equipment; and the Honda SMARTrainer traffic simulator. Acura, BMW and Honda also provided automobiles with blind-spot detection systems, which were actuated while driving down a lane as motorcycles rode alongside and camera crews sat in the back seats of the automobiles to report on this technology.

Members of the media attended the event, as well as ABC7 reporter Dave Kunz and his camera crew from Los Angeles. Their coverage can be seen here:

“The MSF employs a number of strategies to accomplish its mission, but it is most important that we base our work in sound and rigorous research,” said MSF President Tim Buche. “The MSF Basic RiderCourse is a prospective motorcyclist’s best first ride, and while the current course is the gold-standard for novice rider training, the MSF is making further refinements based on its 40 years of institutional intelligence, and contemporary research and practice, including the knowledge gained from the $2.4 million invested in research since 2010.”

Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

Buche made note of the latest developments from the groundbreaking MSF 100 Study being conducted in partnership with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute:

• VTTI-equipped, participant-owned motorcycles with video cameras and data acquisition sensors will track every ride taken by 100 riders over the course of 12 months, yielding data acquired from approximately 500,000 miles of riding. Of the 100 motorcycles that were set up with data acquisition equipment, 24 have completed their year of riding and 76 bikes remain on the road right now.

• As of June 6, 2013, the study had 33,800 trips recorded and approximately 26,353 participation days, adding up to 72 years of riding data. Out of all the trips taken, seven known crashes have been recorded.

• The study includes seven models of motorcycles in three segments: cruisers (three models), sport bikes (two models) and touring (two models), in varying displacements. Ages of the participants range from 21 to 80. Installation facilities are active in four states: Arizona, California, Florida and Virginia.

“One of the goals was to create a comprehensive assessment of the many factors contributing to both crashes and near-crashes,” Buche said. “In the U.S. each year, riders travel more than 25 billion miles and the vast majority ride safely and without incident. This naturalistic study observes motorcyclists in their everyday riding situations. In addition to the other forms of data acquisition, the motorcycle-mounted video cameras alone will give us volumes of data telling us about how motorcycles and other road users interact with one another in the traffic mix.”

Also speaking at the Rose Bowl Stadium was Dr. Ray Ochs, the MSF vice president of training systems and the primary developer of the safety organization’s 23 RiderCourses. Ochs discussed updates to the MSF’s most popular offering, the Basic RiderCourse, which will add new range exercises and emphasize dealing with real-world traffic situations.

“We’re increasing content on rider perception and seeking escape paths by forty percent,” Ochs said. “We’re adding about fifteen percent practice time to swerving and other collision-avoidance skills, plus more content about cornering.”

The updated Basic RiderCourse will also include an online eCourse, making use of the Internet to provide students with valuable safety information before they attend the hands-on riding sessions.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation promotes safety through rider training and education, operator licensing tests and public information programs. For safety information or to enroll in the RiderCourseSM nearest you, call (800) 446-9227 or visit


  1. After riding for 41 years and taking numerous motorcycle safety courses I am amazed at the idiocy of the California traffic laws that allow motorcycles to “create their own lane” running up between cars in traffic. How arrogant on the part of the motorcyclist themselves, and how asinine of the legislative branch to allow it!


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