Online rider training courses?

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Read this article about scooter online training classes. I took a basic City Cycling class through my local bicycle group. I know motorcycle riders on this forum will likely have taken training similar to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation 10-hour basic rider course. I guess I don't see the point of an entirely theory based online course vs practising real-life rider training drills. Curious what fellow ebike riders think of the idea.

Deighton, Katie. (2020, December 5). Electric-Scooter Firms Invest in Training Schools for Riders. Wall Street Journal, article link

Text
"Companies that rent out electric scooters hope more driver training can smooth the ride for their customers—and for their businesses.

Tier Mobility GmbH, Ford Motor Co. ’s Spin and Lime, whose legal name is Neutron Holdings Inc., have in recent months introduced or expanded their proprietary e-scooter schools to reduce accidents and encourage nervous new riders. They also want to shift the way people perceive their scooter experience.

“Wherever scooters are introduced in places around the world, there’s always the danger that people will view them as something that’s more like a toy or a leisure activity,” said Alan Clarke, Lime’s director of policy and government affairs in the U.K. “This training really goes a long way to emphasizing that these scooters are a serious transport mode, and teaches people to think about safety when they’re riding.”

E-scooter startups are competing for riders and contracts with cities at the end of a difficult financial year. International urban shutdowns driven by the coronavirus pandemic undermined demand for scooter rentals, and losses led to layoffs at Bird Rides Inc. and Lime earlier this year. Some firms in the micro-mobility sector, which consulting firm McKinsey & Co. predicts could grow in the U.S. to $300 billion by 2030, already ran on heavy losses pre-pandemic. Widespread urban uptake has been slowed in part by critics who say e-scooters are dangerous, particularly when ridden without a helmet.

Nevertheless, investors have continued to back e-scooter companies, and more lawmakers are letting providers deploy their e-scooters in cities across the world.
E-scooter schools could help temper city authorities’ lingering safety concerns, said David Zipper, visiting fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Taubman Center for State and Local Government.
“Governments like education programs,” he said, “so these classes are one of many types of services or add-ons that cities may smile upon when they are reviewing what are very competitive tenders to provide e-scooter sharing systems.”
Tier hopes its Ride Safe School will help prove the company’s responsibility credentials, said Fred Jones, Tier’s general manager of the U.K. and Ireland.
“Hopefully, we will show that we can deliver much safer outcomes, and that these can be traced back to the investment we put into rider education,” Mr. Jones said.

In-person training programs let people get used to driving, braking and balancing on an e-scooter with the guidance of an instructor in a traffic-free environment, like a parking lot; some take new riders onto roads and cycle lanes. Digital training experiences take e-scooter riders through a series of modules featuring video, text and imagery, on subjects like how to plan journeys, where to legally ride and park, and how to check if an e-scooter is roadworthy.
Lime, a San Francisco-based shared electric-vehicle company, in May 2019 introduced its riding school, First Ride Academy, to teach new riders about the basics of e-scooters.
The company in September moved its classes online in response to social-distancing recommendations; it has held two digital versions of the course in the U.S. and plans to expand the format across the 120 cities in which it operates next year, a spokesman said.
Lime added a basic safety quiz to its website in October, the spokesman added, but has gone one step further in the U.K., where it last week introduced a multi-module, digital training experience developed alongside British roadside-assistance provider AA. Tier, a Berlin-based micro-mobility company, has launched a similar program with the AA.
While most cities do not require riders to take a course or pass a test in order to ride an e-scooter, Lime and Tier are providing a few incentives to encourage participation in their new training experiences. Tier offers a free 15-minute ride to those that take part in the training. Lime offers three free rides and a helmet to those who pass the final test.

The companies said they also track down users who have been reported for unsafe driving to local authorities or the provider’s customer services, and require them to take the virtual class and pass their test before the riders can use their e-scooters again.
Spin will only let users in its seven U.K. pilot programs unlock its e-scooters after they have completed a new virtual pre-ride training session and passed a safety quiz, a spokeswoman said. First-time Bird users can similarly only unlock its e-scooters after passing an in-app safety quiz, the company said.
But some people actively want to learn more about e-scooters before riding them on the road, said Mr. Jones, the Tier executive.
Research conducted by the company found women and older people in particular are more cautious about stepping onto an e-scooter for the first time, according to Mr. Jones. Tier hopes its riding schools will build up their confidence and get them riding regularly, he said."
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Something I've noticed about small retail businesses is that their success is often nearly guaranteed if they are actively promoting SOMETHING regarding the use of the products they sell. Educating new riders might be one aspect for a bike shop, or organizing daily/weekly/monthly tours of various lengths. Or spring bike tune ups maybe? Anything to engage your customers or encourage new ones. Successful shops nearly always have something like that going on. They could be selling sewing machines, radio control, or motorcycles......

Point being, when it comes to scooters, in my mind promoting them by teaching/promoting safety will help ensure their success.....
As far as content, what those lessons are going to look like in practice, I think maybe a lot of that is going to depend on the teacher....
Sure there's some basic points that can be covered, but from there it's going to be about maintaining interest.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
When I finally got around to taking that MSF course (after nearly a lifetime of riding motorcycles of all types), I was riding a Honda Valkyrie - a HUGE bike that always seemed top heavy to me. This was after years of riding the early much smaller/lighter 4 cylinder Goldwings (Oldwings!), which felt like a mini bike compare to the Valky. Anyway, when I had the Valky out on the MSF course for my certification, I passed of course, but the instructor told me he didn't know a Valkyrie could stop that fast! He asked if he could see that again....

Even with all my experience prior to taking that motorcycle safety course, I STILL learned a ton, and had a blast. Would encourage anyone to take it....
 

MeDotOrg

Member
When I was 15 1/2, you could ride a motorcycle if it was less than 15 horsepower. I had a Yamaha 80. I went to a party, and started talking with a guy. He had a motorcycle for sale: A Norton 850 Commando. He asked me if I wanted to try it. I said sure. I had never ridden anything other than my Yamaha 80. When I got to the first corner, I had no idea how to deal with the heft of the Norton. Went straight across the street and laid the bike down in some ivy. Other than a wounded ego, no damage, but learning to ride a big bike properly is no joke.
 

mogulskier

Active Member
Out here in California, you need to pass the MSF course before you can get an M1 endorsement on your Driver's License. It is important that you do so, because a long time ago, the police loved doing paper checks at various stops in the mountains, for speeding, non CARB exhaust systems, illegal license plate location, etc, etc.

Downside is that once you have it, there is nothing stopping you from buying a GSX-R1000 or similar Superbike right out of the gate.

For scooters and e-bikes, the MSF and/or similar training is overkill and a waste of time, and should be completely voluntary. If you can ride a bike, you can ride a scooter/ebike.

Motorcycles are in a different class altogether and training is absolutely essential. But for scooters/ebikes, it is voluntary and I don't see the point of it.
 

theemartymac

Well-Known Member
I think there is value in a level 1 online course for bikes and e scooters as I guarantee many if not most folks don't remember the legal requirements for riding in traffic, or for crossings and pedestrian areas. I live in a very bike friendly city with lots of new bike lane infrastructure and tens of thousands of daily riders/commuters, but I still see many more illegal moves on bikes than cars. Some of it is understandable to some extent like rolling stops (not justifying that, but certainly appreciate the struggle of momentum, especially with clips), but much of it is frustrating to terrifying, like unsafe lane changes, failure to signal, and using pedestrian-only crossing and sidewalks as bike lanes. It gets the drivers riled up, and I understand why. I don't think we are far off from seeing mandatory bike courses and licenses in the city centers.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
I agree. It's about awareness. The course sets you up for different situations you may not otherwise expect. You don't need to be moving fast to have something like a car door opening up in front of you on a busy city street for instance.

So I agree it should be voluntary, but I'll stick by my original suggestion that it's a good plan.....
 

mogulskier

Active Member
I think there is value in a level 1 online course for bikes and e scooters as I guarantee many if not most folks don't remember the legal requirements for riding in traffic, or for crossings and pedestrian areas. I live in a very bike friendly city with lots of new bike lane infrastructure and tens of thousands of daily riders/commuters, but I still see many more illegal moves on bikes than cars. Some of it is understandable to some extent like rolling stops (not justifying that, but certainly appreciate the struggle of momentum, especially with clips), but much of it is frustrating to terrifying, like unsafe lane changes, failure to signal, and using pedestrian-only crossing and sidewalks as bike lanes. It gets the drivers riled up, and I understand why. I don't think we are far off from seeing mandatory bike courses and licenses in the city centers.

I certainly hope not i.e. mandatory bike courses. I understand what your saying about dangerous/illegal riding and its perception to others, but more legislation is not the answer. But I agree you and Al, that at least some basic level 1 training should be made available, and I could argue you might be able to get volunteers to hold these classes, and make it educational but also fun and interactive, albeit voluntary.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
I certainly hope not i.e. mandatory bike courses. I understand what your saying about dangerous/illegal riding and its perception to others, but more legislation is not the answer. But I agree you and Al, that at least some basic level 1 training should be made available, and I could argue you might be able to get volunteers to hold these classes, and make it educational but also fun and interactive, albeit voluntary.
I fear the results of the high power eBikes. Essentially motorcycles. I believe they will bring potentially intrusive registration, insurance, and regulations.

SurRon with pedals for example.
 

mogulskier

Active Member
I fear the results of the high power eBikes. Essentially motorcycles. I believe they will bring potentially intrusive registration, insurance, and regulations.

SurRon with pedals for example.

Obviously for that, yeah. I mean it has a tail, fender, rear sprocket, license plate holder, mud guards, dirt bike seat, a motorcycle frame, and steering head bearings.

That has no semblance of an ebike whatsoever. I've never seen one yet, but that one will get Law Enforcements attention, and you will get stopped if you don't have license plate visible.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Obviously for that, yeah. I mean it has a tail, fender, rear sprocket, license plate holder, mud guards, dirt bike seat, a motorcycle frame, and steering head bearings.

That has no semblance of an ebike whatsoever. I've never seen one yet, but that one will get Law Enforcements attention, and you will get stopped if you don't have license plate visible.
You're missing an entire class of DIY builders, essentially DIY SurRon type.



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AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Been there, done that, at least once before your life (or your health) depends on getting through the maneuver succesfully.....
 

PDoz

Well-Known Member
A decent online roadcraft course should be a fantastic idea.

As a teenager my life was saved by the theory / roadcraft component of the stayupright advanced motorbike course I had voluntarily completed . Amongst the theory , they discussed the need to scan mirrors whilst stopped at traffic lights - so I was able to notice the distracted lady hurtling towards me from behind and I rode out of her way before she ploughed through the intersection / traffic. There were so many subtle concepts taught -eg watching for vibrating tailpipes or moving hands / wheels on " parked " cars....yup, that saved me a few hundred times.....

Having said that, IMHO the skills component needs teaching face to face. I've lost count of how many motorbike skills courses I've attended over the decades , but even the last one was instructive. Practicing riding across a paddock with the front wheel locked on a 200 kg bike..or sliding the rear around whilst licked...great for improving critical braking techniques.

I've recently been poking around online video based mtb riding technique programs to try and improve my skills ( plus help the kids learn good habits) - LOTS of variability in teaching styles......

Does anyone have suggestions of a good program taught by people with a real understanding of technique?
 

ebikemom

Well-Known Member
I took an online bike safety course, after I'd been ebiking a bit. It was interesting that some of the problems I'd encountered (like hard to see obstacles on sidewalks--cables from light poles, for example) were included in the training.

I wish I remember what course it was.... it was free .... not ebike related, just general cycling.

Another item on the course that was useful was that it demonstrated how quickly a bike moves, and why cyclists need to take extreme care going past driveways even if they think they are clearly visible. A motorist can look and see nothing, and in the time they start backing out, boom, there's the cyclist (and hopefully not a real "boom!")
 

theemartymac

Well-Known Member
Obviously for that, yeah. I mean it has a tail, fender, rear sprocket, license plate holder, mud guards, dirt bike seat, a motorcycle frame, and steering head bearings.

That has no semblance of an ebike whatsoever. I've never seen one yet, but that one will get Law Enforcements attention, and you will get stopped if you don't have license plate visible.
It is starting to become a problem here. But enforcement is still spotty as the provincial regulations are full of holes.

 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
It is starting to become a problem here. But enforcement is still spotty as the provincial regulations are full of holes.

Interesting so the BC Provincial ebike regulations are being interpreted by the authorities to mean no throttle take off. That should be relatively easy to fix in the controller to require the rider reach a minimum speed say 6kmh before the throttle is active. But the moped style ebike the student in the article is riding has only vestigial pedals, I wonder if it can be pedaled from stationary.
 
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mogulskier

Active Member
It is starting to become a problem here. But enforcement is still spotty as the provincial regulations are full of holes.


That is confusing as hell and open to many interpretations. This is a local government problem and shame on them. I hope they get the verbiage cleaned up and the rules tightened up so everyone is on the same page this year.