A motorcycle class, or motorcycle safety class, offers one of the best ways to learn how to ride your motorcycle safely. While you do not have to take a motorcycle safety class to legally operate a motorcycle in Louisiana, all riders must show that they have both the knowledge and the skills necessary to safely navigate New Orleans on a motorcycle. Taking a motorcycle safety class lets you do that.
If you take the right course, you might avoid having to pass the written and skills tests for your Louisiana motorcycle license!
However, if you want to take a New Orleans motorcycle class to help you sharpen your skills, you want to make sure you take the right one. If you plan to invest the time and money in the class, you want to make sure it meets your specific needs.
1. Choose the right course for your specific needs.
Throughout Louisiana, the Louisiana State Police Department offers several training classes in a variety of areas. Before you sign up for a motorcycle safety course, make sure it fits your needs! You don’t want to take an advanced safety course as a beginner and as a rider with considerable experience, you may not want to sign up for a basic safety course.
Basic Rider Courses
Basic rider courses, which last for around fifteen hours, provide the knowledge and skills that beginning motorcycle riders need to improve their ability to handle their motorcycles safely on the road.
These courses help riders learn how to navigate more effectively in traffic and stay very aware of everything happening around them, since motorcycle riders may suffer greater danger on the road than the average driver. Furthermore, basic safety courses include the right attitude for riding safely.
Generally, riders who have never ridden before or who have not ridden in some time will reap the most benefit from a basic rider course. However, even a rider who wants to update skills may find that a basic rider course can help enhance overall knowledge or serve as a refresher on the content he may have forgotten.
Intermediate courses help riders improve their overall skills and build more strategic physical skills that can help them on the road. Intermediate courses offer practice cornering, braking, and practicing evasive maneuvering. Participants also have the opportunity to discuss strategies and tactics with one another, potentially including situations they may have faced on the road in the past.
These discussions may give riders a chance to think through the skills they might need ahead of time, practice potential scenarios, and respond better in the event of a potential emergency. Furthermore, many riders find that these courses offer additional security, which can help them feel safer out on the road.
Generally, only people who have already graduated from a basic rider course, or those who have already secured a motorcycle license, can enroll in an intermediate course. To successfully take and complete these courses, which generally last around five hours and occur on the course, riders must already have the basic skills to navigate and use a motorcycle.
During the advanced course, skilled riders will experience greater challenges and have the opportunity to experiment with more complex navigation. To take an advanced course, riders must already have their motorcycle license. They get a chance to discuss advanced procedures, including advanced braking, cornering, advanced swerving, and general risk management strategies.
During this course, riders will spend around four hours on the course and four hours in the classroom, working on various strategies and learning how to stay safer and complete more maneuvers out on the road.
Advanced courses serve as a great way to sharpen existing skills and keep current skills sharp. Some riders find that attending an advanced course can help make them feel safer overall on the road.
2. Make sure that your motorcycle safety course is Louisiana-specific.
Louisiana has several motorcycle safety laws that are specific to the state. For example, in Louisiana, you cannot ride side-by-side in the same lane with another motorcycle, even if you have adequate room: something that many motorcycle riders from other states may take for granted.
Louisiana law also requires all riders to wear a motorcycle helmet, regardless of where they sit on the motorcycle. Furthermore, Louisiana law prohibits lane splitting of any kind, including riding between two lanes of traffic to circumvent a traffic jam.
You do not want to take a motorcycle safety course in another state, only to discover that you do not know the laws in New Orleans or how to make sure that you stay in compliance with them out on the road. A Louisiana-specific course, on the other hand, will provide you with the basic knowledge of the law you need to remain in compliance in Louisiana, specifically.
3. Determine what you’ll need to take the course.
Take a look at the prerequisites for your New Orleans motorcycle safety course before you sign up. Make sure you have a solid understanding of those prerequisites, including anything you will need to take care of before you arrive at the course.
Your specific needs may vary. However, before you sign up for the course, make sure you confirm:
- Whether you will need safety gear. Will the course instructor provide a helmet? Gloves? What about more advanced safety gear, especially if you’re going to be navigating an advanced obstacle course?
- What you will need to complete before starting the course. Do you need to read through a handbook, including the Louisiana Motorcycle Handbook? Do you need to go through an online course before you show up for on-the-course training? Make sure you’re ready to complete those prerequisites and that you know how much time will be required of you before you get started.
- If you need your own motorcycle. Some schools will allow you to rent or borrow their bikes when you check the course, which can enable you to get your license before you buy a motorcycle (and give you a chance to try out different models before you buy yourself).
Make sure you don’t skip over the prerequisites when you sign up for a motorcycle safety course. You don’t want to show up for your first day, only to discover that you haven’t done everything you need to do or worse, that you don’t have the equipment you need to handle the course safely!
4. Take a look at who will teach your course.
The Louisiana State Police Department teaches regular motorcycle safety courses that offer an officer’s perspective on riding safely. Other, private academies may offer different types of training, including more in-depth classes. Many facilities offer classes where you can learn everything from how to develop the basic motorcycle skills you might need out on the road to how to handle advanced courses, including obstacle courses and arenas.
Before you sign up, look into who will be teaching your course. Is it a motorcycle veteran with years of experience on the open road? Someone who has raced professionally? Someone who has a lot of instructor hours and plenty of time out on the course?
Ideally, you want someone experienced: someone who can provide you with the benefits of that experience and help you get a better idea of what you might face when you’re riding. You may also want to make sure your instructor is someone who has ridden in Louisiana for some time and is familiar with local laws.
If you do get a new instructor, ask about the instructor’s credentials and experience. Make sure you’re comfortable with the instructor before you start your class. After all, it doesn’t do you any good to take a class from someone who doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing or how to help you navigate the challenges associated with getting your motorcycle license or becoming more skilled on the road.
5. Evaluate whether the course is mostly classroom-based or course-based.
What are you looking for when you take your motorcycle safety course? Some things, you can learn best in a classroom: details like the specific rules of the road, for example. Many of the skills you need, however, will strengthen best when you hit the road or a course especially at more advanced levels.
Before you sign up, consider exactly what you want out of your motorcycle safety course. Do you want a course that has you in the classroom, where you can review the basics, or do you want something more hands-on?
Your learning style may play into your decision. While some people learn best when they can get out and try a new maneuver, others may benefit from more time in the classroom, where they can go over the information provided and make sure they fully understand it before testing it out on the road.
You do not, however, want to take an entirely classroom-based motorcycle safety course. To learn how to ride your motorcycle safely, you need the opportunity to get out there on it, use your motorcycle, and test your skills. Simple classroom learning will not give you the chance to get hands-on with your skills, which could leave you struggling to control your motorcycle once you try it in practice.
Unlike a car driving class, your instructor will not typically have the opportunity to get in the vehicle with you. The weight of an instructor can substantially change how the bike maneuvers, not to mention throwing off your balance. As a result, the instructor will need to observe you, often on a closed course, to see what you have learned and make suggestions that can help you improve.
6. Check the timeline for the course.
Motorcycle safety course times can vary depending on the course presented, the instructor, and what knowledge and skills you want to obtain from the course. Many courses can fit into a single weekend. However, if you plan to take a weekend course, make sure you have a solid plan in place for continuing to develop your skills, whether that means future training courses or actual road time. Keep in mind that many of the skills associated with riding a motorcycle require muscle memory, which you cannot typically train over a single weekend alone.
You should also take care that you can fit the motorcycle safety course into your schedule when you sign up. While things may come up, you should plan to complete the entire course to reap the maximum benefit from it.
If you miss part of the class, either because you have to leave early or because you show up late, you could end up missing valuable instruction and support and even if you pass the class and get the benefits, including avoiding having to take the written and road test for your Louisiana motorcycle license, you may not get all the knowledge benefits of the motorcycle safety course.
Make sure you consider the location of your course when planning the timing: if you have to go outside New Orleans, make sure you choose a course that offers a convenient location or plan the extra travel time ahead of time.
Taking a motorcycle safety course can help you avoid accidents and keep yourself and others around you safer on the road. A course alone, however, cannot prevent every accident every time. If you do get into a motorcycle accident in New Orleans, you need a motorcycle accident lawyer to protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.