The MSF is the world's largest and preeminent provider of rider education and training curricula including online, classroom, and hands-on courses. The MSF has conducted and employed the most research, built the most effective comprehensive training system, trained the most riders, and found the proper balance of mental and physical skill building in creating entry-level rider training courses. Many senior government officials refer to the MSF as the 'gold standard'. For more than four decades the MSF has set internationally recognized standards that promote the safety of motorcyclists with rider education courses, operator licensing tests, and public information programs. The MSF works with the federal government, state agencies, the military, and others to offer training for all skill levels so riders may enjoy a lifetime of safe, responsible motorcycling.
The MSF is a not-for-profit organization that reinvests all earned margins into its mission to make motorcycling safer and more enjoyable by ensuring access to lifelong quality education and training for current and prospective riders, and by advocating a safer riding environment. MSF staff works with the support of BMW, BRP, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio, Polaris Motorcycles, Suzuki, Triumph, and Yamaha though its work benefits riders of all brands of motorcycles, as well as car drivers. The MSF does not hide the very real risks of riding a motorcycle; after all, that’s why training exists, and that’s why the MSF was founded in 1973. As sales were increasing, so were crashes and injuries, and the manufacturers proactively addressed the issue. Manufacturers didn’t need training to help sell motorcycles; they needed a source for rider education and training to meet public demand. While MSF believes that motorcycling can add value to one’s quality of life (and a prospective rider should make an informed choice about that), motorcycle riding isn’t for everyone. This point is made abundantly clear in MSF novice training as well as in other MSF programs and publications.
Nearly 8 million motorcyclists have learned basic riding skills or boosted their existing skills in MSF-developed courses during the MSF's first 41 years of existence. Both today and for the past four decades, nearly all of the statewide motorcyclist training programs in states across the country offer only the highly regarded MSF RiderCourses. MSF's current learn-to-ride curriculum is 5th generation, with each release demonstrating improved rider outcomes.
The MSF released its first rider-training curriculum in 1974. The long-running Motorcycle RiderCourse: Riding and Street Skills was introduced in 1986. At the third International Motorcycle Safety Conference in 2001, the MSF introduced the Basic RiderCourse (BRC) which is now used in 47 states. The BRC is the heart of the MSF Rider and Education Training System (MSF RETS), an array of training courses and educational programs that work together to provide motorcyclists access to lifelong skills and behavioral improvement. In 2014 the MSF released an update to the BRC that included an on-line learning segment, contemporary classroom content to address rider choices and behavior, and more robust hands-on range exercises to improve novice rider's skills. The MSF also has developed alternative solutions to the on-line segment for those lacking internet access.
The MSF's curricula are developed in compliance with the MSF's curriculum standards, which are the only comprehensive motorcycle-related curriculum standards available. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has coordinated a curriculum content standard for entry-level motorcyclist training, which is a framework for what the content a curriculum should contain, but does not establish technical criteria, methods, processes, or practices under which a robust curriculum should be developed, implemented, and assessed. The MSF Basic RiderCourse (BRC2013 and updated BRC) and 3-Wheel Basic RiderCourse exceed the NHTSA "Model National Standards for Entry-Level Motorcycle Rider Training."
The MSF BRC curriculum provides for structured flexibility. "Structured" means the foundational components of the curriculum are immutable and based on research in safety, training and education practices, and motor skills development to best serve the novice rider. At the same time for content areas that permit customization, the MSF BRC curriculum provides the flexibility to accommodate methods and materials to address local safety-related needs and interests while still using the underpinnings of contemporary, teaching-learning dynamics. At the macro level, the MSF BRC provides a complete and comprehensive introduction to motorcyclist safety while providing the basic knowledge and skill sets needed for entering the complex highway environment. A consistency of structure with flexible features helps meet the needs of training providers and customers, and helps keep the program dynamic and vibrant for the students and RiderCoaches. This is in alignment with the principles and practices of Total Quality Management and Six Sigma practices.
The MSF BRC is designed as a learn-to-ride, entry-level training and education safety course providing the basics (fundamentals) including the necessary knowledge base, entry-level motor skills, and behavioral components to address the needs of a new rider, plus the perceptual skills and awareness, and decision-making behaviors to maintain safety on the roadway. Included are the important rider tasks of mental preparation, physical skill, social interaction when riding in traffic and the emotional awareness to keep safety as a riding priority.
The BRC curriculum was developed by MSF using academically accepted methods (analyze-design-develop-implement-evaluate, "ADDIE", subject matter experts) and formative research practices for extensive pilot and field testing. The MSF further utilized many different jurisdictions around the country and included a variety of novice riders whose knowledge, skill development characteristics and attitude represented a wide range of novice riders interested in a learn-to-ride course. As such, the BRC can meet the needs of every entry-level rider and ensure maximum transfer of learning from the course to roadway operation. For those who successfully meet course requirements, they can choose to continue their rider education journey.
The MSF is a long-time partner in safety with the United States military. The Department of Defense requires MSF beginner and refresher training for all personnel who operate motorcycles.