• Colorado’s M.O.S.T. Program, and M.S.F.I’m back with another installment of the history of ABATE of Colorado’s Rider Education Division. This time we’ll deal with the Motorcycle Operator Safety Training (M.O.S.T.) Program, with a little bit about the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (M.S.F.), too.

The M.O.S.T. program is a division of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). It’s manager is Rick Davis. The way it works is this: when a person registers a motorcycle in Colorado, a certain portion of the fees involved ($4/bike registration) are set aside to go into the M.O.S.T. fund. Also, when a person obtains or renews a class M driver’s license (or a license with a motorcycle endorsement) a certain portion of the fees involved ($1/license) goes into the M.O.S.T. fund. The amount of money collected in this process is approximately $500,000/year. This fund is managed by the M.O.S.T. Program Manager.

The majority of this money is contracted for by providers of CDOT-approved motorcycle rider training, such as ABATE. The money is used primarily to offset the cost of tuition to the student. When the Program was at it’s healthiest, the State was able to contribute $80/student for tuition for the novice course, effectively lowering the cost of the training to the student by that amount. The current State subsidy for both the novice course and for the experienced course is $45/student. Training providers who contract with M.O.S.T. must abide by a cap on the total cost of the tuition for those classes on which claims will be filed. The cap on the Basic RiderCourse (BRC) is currently $225. The cap on the Experienced Ridercourse (ERC) is currently $100. ABATE currently charges $180 to the student for the BRC ($225 cap minus $45 reimbursement equals $180), and $45 to the student for the ERC ($90 which is less than the cap- minus $45 reimbursement equals $45).

The M.O.S.T. program ran into serious financial trouble in 2001, and is still recovering, which accounts for the reduced tuition subsidy currently available. We expect the per-student subsidy amount to increase for 2004.

After the work (training class) is completed, training providers must submit a claim to M.O.S.T. to receive the subsidy. In the busiest parts of the training season, this accounts for the large sum of money in ABATE Rider Ed’s accounts receivables as we wait for the claims to be paid.

Other things on which the M.O.S.T. monies are spent include operating expenses such as student handbooks used in the courses, paint for the training ranges, cones for the various riding exercises, video tapes for the classroom sessions, travel/lodging/per diem expenses for RiderCoaches who work in the Mobile Program, RiderCoach updates, RiderCoach Candidate training, patches and helmet stickers for course graduates, Program administration and the Manager’s salary. (The administrative expenses are not to exceed 15% of the total cost of the Program.)

Any resident of the state who holds a current valid Colorado driver’s license, a minor driver’s license, or an instruction permit authorized by section 42-2-106, C.R.S., may enroll in a certified motorcycle operator safety training course. Statute 43-5-502

The M.O.S.T. program was established when House Bill 90-1155 was signed into law on April 30, 1990, to take effect on July 1, 1990. The names of the Representatives on the Act are Fish, Entz, Ulvang, Fleming, Foster, McInnis, Owen, Swenson, Thiebaut, Anderson, Bond, DeHerrera, Jerke, Johnson, Kopel, Mares, Pierson, Ruddick, Rupert, Shoemaker, Tanner, Webb, D. Williams and S. Williams. The names of Senators on the Act are: Bishop, DeNier, Gallagher, McCormick, Pastore, Powers, Rizzuto, Allard, Hopper, McCauley, Pascoe, Peterson, and Schaffer.

The Act defines program parameters including the types of things to be taught in the classes (knowledge, attitudes, habits, skills, effects of alcohol and drugs, etc.), standards for instructor training and certification, protection of the fund (Moneys credited to the fund shall remain there at the end of each year and shall not be transferred to the highway users tax fund or any other fund. Italics are mine  We have to be ever-vigilant that our fund doesn’t get raided as it happens in some states, and it could happen here, too, in spite of the seemingly specific language in the Act!), establishment of an Advisory Committee to assist in the development and implementation of the program. The committee shall monitor the program and make recommendations to the director.  The committee shall consist of five members one of whom shall be a motorcycle retail dealer, one of whom shall be a peace officer who operates a motorcycle, two of whom shall be active motorcycle operators, and one of whom shall be a citizen not affiliated with a motorcycle dealer, manufacturer, or association. Of the two members who are active motorcycle operators, one shall operate a motorcycle manufactured in the United States by a company originally incorporated in the United States. This committee still exists, and advises the Program Manager in the direction of the Program. Meetings are held monthly at CDOT offices.

Another function of the M.O.S.T. program is to provide standards for the curricula and training and for RiderCoach recertification. These standards use the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s (MSF) as a template and are then sometimes tweaked to meet our state’s unique requirements. An example is that M.O.S.T. requires RiderCoaches to teach more often than the MSF requires, in order to maintain state certification. Another example is that M.O.S.T. will not allow BRC training bikes to exceed 350cc, whereas MSF has raised the allowable engine displacement for this course to 500cc. (A note of interest: about the same time that Harley-Davidson became a sponsor of MSF the standards for training bikes was changed to accommodate bikes up to 500cc, which allowed Harley to use their Buell Blast bike in MSF-approved training. In the interim, two students have died in Harley’s Rider’s Edge training program on the Buell. This is one reason that M.O.S.T. has refused to allow the larger displacement bikes in the state program. And it is one reason that Rider’s Edge is not associated with M.O.S.T.).

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is a not-for-profit organization based in Irvine, California. It provides curricula, standards, training methods and RiderCoach recertification standards, as well as training/standards for RiderCoach Trainers. It is supported by certain motorcycle manufacturers and/or their U.S. distributors. These organizations have agreed to support the MSF with an equal percentage of their market share. They are: BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, KTM, Kawasaki, Piaggio/Vespa, Suzuki, Vengeance, Victory, and Yamaha.

MSF is the acknowledged leader in it’s field. It’s curricula have won numerous awards. Most states’ motorcycle driver’s license tests are based on MSF tests. The MSF’s new Basic RiderCourse is a quantum leap ahead of the previous novice course; ABATE converted to this course last year.

RiderCoaches who wish to obtain/maintain M.O.S.T. certification must also be MSF-certified.

In next 4 weeks, ABATE will be moving it’s State and Rider Education offices, and will be providing a RiderCoach Preparation course at Red Rocks Community College, so it’s going to be a busy month! I will submit more info to the Spokesman on the history of ABATE Rider Ed. in the future. Until then, ride safely, and have fun.