I took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course (MSFBRC) course here in Texas about 3 years ago. It was only $180 in Texas at that time. As a new bike owner with a couple of hundred miles under the tires, it was a big help. Part of the positive experience for me was that my instructor belabored the fact the this was rudimentary instruction, and that we were not experienced bikers based on our attendance of an MSFBRC course. At the end of the course he said, “You are now qualified to ride a 125cc motorcycle around a closed parking lot!”
The single most important thing I took took away from this class was how much I still didn’t know. Looking back, I think I thought of the little 250 Nighthawk as a bicycle with a motor when I bought it. That instructor took pains to make me understand that the MSFBRC class was just a beginning of my motorcycle education. He insisted that we, his class, continue our education, ride with experienced riders, and ease ourselves into more complex riding. He also pointed out that the painted lines would still be on the parking lot after he left and encouraged us to came back and practice the skills he taught us. This is referred to as PLP (Parking Lot Practice) on some forums.
Knocking around several bike forums I see a lot of diverse opinions on the MSF program. One of the biggest complaints is that taking the MSFBRC allows riders in many states to forego the riding test for receiving a license. There is the feeling that the State is abdicating it’s responsibility of ensuring a license holder is truly skilled enough to operate the vehicle safely, and is not a danger to himself and others.
I must say that was the case with me. Fortunately I had an instructor who convinced me to look for more training. I haunted Internet sites dedicated to motorcycle safety, faithfully engaged in PLP, and sought out experienced riders for advice and instruction.
I was sitting next to a grizzled old biker in downtown Hot Springs a couple of years ago. We watched a guy drop a big shiny Harley trying to park it. That was the first time I head the famous, “$30,000 and 30 miles don’t make you a biker!”
There is nothing wrong with the MSFBRC course in itself. Taking it as a magic pill to alleviate inexperience and lack of skill can be deadly.
— Guy Wheatley