05NR01 - Rider Education: Carnage in California

Motorcycle Riders Foundation
P.O. Box 1808
Washington, DC 20013-1808
202-546-0983 (voice)
202-546-0986 (fax)
http://www.mrf.org (website)

Contact: Karen Bolin, MRF President
karen@mrf.org (e-mail)

January 28, 2005

#05NR01 - Rider Education: Carnage in California

California’s motorcycle safety instructors and training site managers are appealing for immediate help from the motorcycling community. In October 2004 the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) moved to terminate the training contract of the Motorcycle Training Center (MTC) in Los Angeles. MTC has provided training at multiple sites for years. This attempt was foiled partly by reaction from the riding community.

On January 1, 2005, MSF terminated the contracts for four separate training sites in the San Francisco area with a two day notice sent over the holiday weekend. The site manager, James LaBarbera was a vocal critic of the MSF curriculum and their program management. The California Motorcycle Safety Program (CMSP) program manager Rob Gladden charged LaBarbera with “serious safety violations” including dead batteries, bald tires and faulty helmet liners. Further investigation revealed one dead battery on a bike not in use, a “ bald tire” on a motorcycle that a MSF representative refused to examine, and sanitary paper helmet liners used by medical professionals everyday. Helmet liners are not required by CMSP policies. As of January 26th, the San Francisco sites are not in operation. Mr. LaBabera had been providing training in San Francisco for decades.

The MRF has received numerous reports of QAV (Quality Assurance Visits) by Dr. Sherry Williams, or her designees in California. Dr. Williams, a recent graduate of the novice riding class, with no instructional experience, is the MSF Director of Quality Assurance. Site managers and instructors (rider coaches) report than unlike site visits conducted by the previous program management, current visits do not focus on improving the quality of instruction. “The truth of what researcher Harry Hurt said in this month’s Motorcycle Consumer News interview is being played out in California,” said a site manager who asked to remain anonymous fearing MSF reprisal.

“What we need from the MSF and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) we are not getting,” said another administrator. “Already this year many of the top instructors in the field have left in disgust. Everyone who knows someone who rides a motorcycle should be concerned about what MSF is doing in California. We’re sounding the alarm. Call your state representatives. Alert the governor.”

“ABATE of California is aware and concerned about the situation,” stated Jean Hughes, Legislative Director, ABATE of California. “ABATE encourages California motorcyclists to look into the status of rider training in their local areas.”

California site providers and instructors are asking motorcyclists to contact the Governor’s Office and appeal for an investigation into both the management of the California Motorcycle Safety Program; and an accurate assessment of rider training in California.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA. 95814


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(c)All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, incorporated in 1987, is a membership-based, national motorcyclists' rights organization headquartered in Washington, DC. The first motorcyclists' rights organization to establish a full-time presence in Washington, DC, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the only Washington voice devoted exclusively to the street rider. The MRF established MRFPAC in the early 1990s to advocate the election of candidates who would champion the cause of rider safety and rider freedom.

The MRF proudly claims state motorcyclists' rights organizations and the very founders of the American riders' rights movement among its leading members. The MRF is involved in federal and state legislation and regulations, motorcycling safety education, training, and public awareness. The MRF provides members and state motorcyclists' rights organizations with direction and information, and sponsors annual regional and national educational seminars for motorcyclists rights activists, as well as publishing a bi-monthly newsletter, THE MRF REPORTS.

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