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Team Oregon: Crunching the numbers

Less Uh-Oh moments, more fun

When Team Oregon broke away from the MSF in the mid-2000s, it allowed the entity operated under Oregon Department of Transportation to redesign the beginning and intermediate courses they offered. In doing so, they were able to focus their curriculum more on the crash statistics specific to their region. They were also able to rewrite those programs using current risk-reduction knowledge, rather than teaching the antiquated system they were saddled with in the past.

Shortly after, the state enacted mandatory training for new riders. While the state saw a record number of motorcycle fatals in 2015 of 60, 80% of those were riders had never gotten training. So, it’s safe to assume that training leads to lowering the chances a rider may become a statistic.

But anyone who rides long enough with a pragmatic eye toward improvement knows that basic and intermediate courses are just the beginning of what some think should be a perpetual course of learning to ride better each year. There are many other options riders can take advantage of to continue to hone their riding skills.

Several years ago Team Oregon began renting time at Pat’s Acres, a go-cart track south of Portland. There, they put together an Advanced Rider Training curriculum that focuses on tight cornering, lane position, throttle control and advanced braking techniques.

In 2016, Team Oregon’s founder and director, Steve Garets retired. It was under Garets that they broke away from MSF, developed their own curriculum and built out the ART classes. Today, former TO instructor manager, Aria Minu-Sepehr is at the helm overseeing the current programs and creating the next generation.

Minu-Sepehr's biggest project right now is shepherding the eRider program into its next evolution. This program, currently in its first iteration, allows students of the beginner and intermediate classes to take the classroom training online. Few states offer such a program, but again the results have been good with a higher percentage of students passing their classes the first time through.

The classroom portion of the training, which is delivered at the front end of the day, was revamped in 2015. Reviewing student feedback between the old curriculum and new, Team Oregon now knows that 83% of their students who take the ART program feel they are taking away knowledge they didn’t have before. The old number was 79%. That tells us they were getting pretty good results before, and it’s only gotten better.

You know that feeling when you enter a corner and come out in the opposing lane. Not good. We call that an Uh-Oh moment and they can be fatal. With proper training, riders have noted they experience less uh-oh moments and a more enjoyable ride, and these are reflected in the alumni feedback.

At Sound RIDER! we’re big fans of taking what you learned in a classroom and closed course, and honing it in the street.

To that end, Team Oregon returns to the Rally in the Gorge this year providing an Art-lite classroom session, followed by a ride though the twisties of the gorge so riders can experience firsthand a new technique or two.

TM/June 2017

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