Do I Need a Safety Course?
The Commonwealth does not require new motorcyclists to take a rider safety course, unless they are under 18.
However, it’s an excellent idea to do so. At The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, our Boston motorcycle accident lawyers know rider safety courses will not diminish the fun of riding or undercut your standing with other riders. In truth, it will make you a better rider, more capable of handling increasingly challenging situations.
Plus, experience on a bike matters. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin found that motorcyclists who receive training are more likely to:
- Wear their helmet.
- Three times less likely to crash than those who had not received training.
- Feel more confident in their overall riding ability, leading to increased function on their bike, meaning they were more likely to use their bike as a regular mode of transportation.
Interestingly, those who had more years of experience were actually more likely to obtain motorcycle training. Researchers opined this was likely because they had more personal and visual roadway crash exposure. In other words: They know the risk because they have seen it or lived it themselves. They understand the value of equipping themselves with every tool available.Benefits for Beginners
- Learning basic and lifelong riding skills from certified instructors;
- Waiver of motorcycle license rider test ad fees;
- Up to 10 percent discount on motorcycle insurance premiums;
- Motorcycle manufacturer discounts toward a motorcycle, safety gear and other accessories.
- Improved skills, confidence, safety and overall enjoyment of the ride;
- Insurance discounts;
- Manufacturer product discounts.
Manufacturers have also offered partial tuition reimbursements for some courses. Both advanced and beginner riders also have the opportunity to connect with other riders and plan group rides.
Most basic rider courses span about 15 hours, with five hours of classroom instruction and 10 hours of riding range, on-cycle instruction. Experienced rider courses are generally between 6 and 10 hours, depending on the provider.
In Boston, there are two schools that have approval from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles:
- Mass Motorcycle School, LLC
- Streetwise Cycle School
A total of 24 approved schools exist throughout the state.What Massachusetts Requires
In order to legally operate a motorcycle in Massachusetts, riders must have a Class M permit or license. The MassRMV notes there are different for riders under 18 versus riders over 18.
Riders who are under 18:
- Can apply for a Class M motorcycle permit if they are at least 16-years-old and has not had their driver’s license or right to operate taken away by the Registrar;
- Complete a Class D driver’s education course.
- Take a written test and correctly answer 18 of 25 questions;
- Pass an eye screening and basic colors test;
- Per Chapter 259 of the Acts of 2010, junior operators may apply for Class M motorcycle license if they are at least 16.5 years-old with a valid Class M permit for at least six months and have completed all junior operator license requirements, as well as the Massachusetts Rider Education Program (MREP) and have parental consent.
Class M Permit Restrictions:
- Not allowed to carry a passenger.
- Operation allowed only during daytime hours (between sunrise and sunset).
- Requirement to wear Department of Transportation standard helmet.
- Must wear eyeglasses, googles or a protective face shield unless the motorcycle has a windscreen.
- Not allowed to operate the motorcycle outside of Massachusetts if that state’s law forbids it.
Riders who are over 18:
- Can take the Massachusetts Rider Education Program (MREP) course, which can focus on Basic Ridership, Experienced Ridership or Evergreen Sidecar/Trike Courses. (Those who test on a trike or sidecar will be issued a license with J restriction, which will limit those riders to a 3-wheel motorcycle.)
- Take a Registry of Motor Vehicles road test.
Students who successfully complete the MREP do not have to take the motorcycle road test, and all of those fees are waived.
To reduce the risk of motorcycle accidents in Boston for those just starting out, Consumer Reports offers the following advice:
- Don’t buy more bike than you can handle. This is as true for new riders as for those who may not have purchased a new motorcycle in a while, as engines are being manufactured to be considerably more powerful than they were even two decades ago.
- Invest in antilock brakes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports motorcycle equipped with these braking systems are 37 percent less likely to be involved in a deadly crash than those without it.
- Wear a helmet. We understand this is an emotional issue for many riders, but the statistics show riders who wear a helmet are far less likely to suffer serious injury or death than those who don’t.
- Avoid bad weather. Rain cuts your visibility and slippery conditions can lower your margin for error.
- Drive defensively. The University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research found in crashes involving cars and motorcycles, drivers of cars were at-fault 60 percent of the time. Stay alert. Stay sober. Watch your speed. Maintain a safe distance.
If you or someone you love is seriously injured in a Boston motorcycle accident, call our offices today.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.