The article gives an independent opinion of a private instructor.
Many newcomers often face the difficult task of choosing a motorcycle riding school. This task is indeed not an easy one, because in the further “moto-life” of the student a lot will depend on this choice. In every more or less large city in the world, there is at least a few motorcycle riding schools and dozens, if not hundreds, of private instructors.
We advise newcomers to contact the motorcycle riding schools since a private instructor practically won’t be held accountable for any shortcoming, while a riding school is responsible for providing the services in legal order. This article does not cover motocross schools, as these are sports schools.
So, let’s try to figure out what you need to pay attention to when choosing a motorcycle riding school, and what you can turn a blind eye to.
Advertisement and websites of moto-riding schools
The advertisement is the engine of trade, so don’t let it mislead you! As you know, the only task of advertisement is to make you buy something at any cost. Usually, the moto-schools that spend a lot of money on advertising are the worst. Most often, they have broken and old equipment, instructors without proper education, who were “recruited by an ad.”
Any demonstrative discounts, such as “only until March 4, a 50% discount on training” is a common deception, aimed at playing on your thrift. One should not even consider such moto-riding schools as their teachers.
The simpler the site of a moto-riding school, the better. A good school makes sure that all information is minimized and can be understood by anyone who comes to the website. Bravado and self-applauding is a bad sign. However, the willingness of a moto-riding school to recommend another school is a rare, but very positive aspect.
Management of a moto-riding school
It’s necessary that the head or director of a moto-riding school takes classes with students independently and on a regular basis. This shows the school management’s interest in the quality of the educational process. If a moto-riding school employs only hired instructors, don’t expect a high-quality training.
Moto-School Training Programs
At the moment, almost all moto-schools of the medium-price range train the same way. One should not believe in such “tales” as “foreign” training systems. In fact, in the whole world, the basic programs are based on the training programs of Japanese moto-schools of Yamaha or Honda. However, different schools add certain extra features to the same programs at their discretion and call it an author program.
In Thailand, it’s even more difficult with moto-riding schools. The vast majority of them will teach you just to get off the ground, slow down, and turn your head at the turns.
The average time for training a person to ride a motorcycle from scratch (which also includes the preparation of exam exercises) so that he can ride safely in the city is 10-12 practical lessons (not less than 20 hours). Generally, a full course of training for beginners consists of several different classes. For example, pre-riding + pre-clutch + license + basic course.
A moto-school is supposed to teach as to how to drive a motorcycle both on a special isolated training ground and in the city. It should train both beginners, and improve the skills or correct the mistakes of motorcyclists with riding experience.
Please pay attention if the moto-school can teach children. This is a very big advantage because instructors who deal with children are some of the most professional and positive people.
The only driving school in Chiang Mai, which professionally teaches both beginners and advanced motorcyclists, is the Honda Safety Riding Park.
Vehicles for training
Motorcycles on which you will be trained must be technically sound and well-maintained. If the riding school does not care about the vehicles, then most likely they will use the same approach toward their students.
The motor park should be equipped with light motorcycles, as well as full-fledged heavy vehicles. The presence of kids’ motorcycles is a good sign too. Also, please pay attention that protective arcs have been installed on all motorcycles. In case you fall, the protective arcs will save your legs.
The more training grounds around the city a riding school has, the more questionable is the fact that they can equip them qualitatively. To date, the facts confirm this. The trading grounds should work both in summer and in winter. They must be safe for training, having all kinds of walls and obstacles. The trading grounds must be covered with soft safety barriers (tires, plastic barrels, etc.)
Needless to say, all the conditions for students should be on the site: a bathroom, a waiting area, a cloakroom and a storage room. The training site should be equipped with full-size mock-ups of motorcycle units and assemblies, posters and appropriate literature for clarity of the theoretical part of the training.
THE AVAILABILITY OF A FIRST AID KIT IN THE TRAINING SITE IS MANDATORY!
It is obligatory to provide all students with certified protective safety gear, such as helmet, protection sets for knees and elbows, gloves. Also, it is a good sign if the riding school provides an enhanced protection set, such as protective corp (carapace), motorcycle boots, moto shorts, cross-helmets, reinforced foot protection, back and neck protection.
All protective equipment should be in good condition, which means that there shouldn’t be any cracks on the plastic protection, gloves should not be torn, fixing elements (rubber bands, velcro, zippers, buttons, and buckles) should not be loose, stretched or even missing!
Students should be provided with disposable hygienic caps, and if needed, with disposable socks and gloves. All equipment adjacent to the body surface must regularly undergo proper hygienic treatment.
It is a sad fact that still in some moto-riding schools there are “instructors” who do not even have a driving license. So, don’t forget to check if the instructor has a driving license of category A.
The instructor must have a driving experience of both a motorcycle and a car for at least 3 years. He should regularly ride his motorcycle, as a “shoemaker without shoes” should alert you. It is desirable if the instructor has a diploma for passing instructional courses. However, if the instructor is an active or former participant of motocross competitions, or has a certificate of study abroad, it’s a much better choice.
Of course, the instructor must be a mentally-balanced person, so if he raises his voice or swears aggressively, demand a refund and look for another riding school.
No instructor is able to run the briefing and teaching classes in an efficient manner to a group of more than 4 persons at the same time! The ideal option is an individual course for 1 person. The instructor must be always close to the student and answer all his questions, even to those questions that may sound stupid at first glance. The instructor should never lose sight of the students, let alone leaving the training area while there are students on it (to go for a smoke, have lunch, etc.).
Perhaps, these are the main criteria to which it is worth paying attention.
Well, of course, you should not hurry. First, call the school, find out all about what we discussed above, visit their training ground and look at the training process personally. Only after that sign up for classes.
Good luck to all novice and experienced motorcyclists! And …have a safe and happy journey!