My name is Ben Hochberg; I am the Director of Rider Education for ABATE of Colorado’s Rider Education Division. Our State Board of Directors has asked me to provide a history of our rider education program. It’s a great idea, because a significant percentage of ABATE’s membership, and a huge percentage of the motorcycle-riding public, know little, if anything at all about our program, even though rider ed is a big part of what we do at ABATE. Another benefit is that this will enable me and others who are already associated with the program to achieve a better understanding of how we got to where we are today; and this understanding can help guide us into the future.A CAVEAT: I was not involved with ABATE’s rider ed program at its inception. I came on board after the program had been in operation for a year. My initial involvement was of a limited scope: I was a new Instructor, and not in charge of anything except for the five classes I conducted that year. My involvement with the program grew, as did my responsibilities within it, over the years in a progressive, if not sudden, manner. Therefore, much of this report will be the result of research I have done, and will continue to do as the project unfolds. So, this will not, in general, be a first-hand account taken from my memory or personal records. It will, in a large part, be the result of examination of some very limited reports, stories and histories we have found floating around the office, financial records, and interviews (which have yet to be conducted; I am beginning this history in the time between Christmas and New Year’s, at the end of 2002. This is a poor time to ask folks for interviews, and so that will have to wait until the beginning of 2003).

Let’s begin with a description of the structure of ABATE of Colorado’s Rider Education Division. In future installments I will get into the actual historical facts.

At the center of the organizational structure is ABATE’s State Board of Directors. This is a body comprised of volunteers elected by you, the membership, to help guide the direction of the organization. ABATE of Colorado was in existence before it had a rider ed division, and continues to have other functions in addition to rider ed. The State Board of Directors hires a Director of Rider Education to run the daily business of the Rider Education Division. This position is currently one of a salaried employee; however, the Directorship was not always a paid position, nor was the Director always an ‘employee’ per se. The Director of Rider Education hires an office staff to help run the business. This, too, was not always the case, but became necessary as the program grew. This staff currently consists of an Office Manager and an Assistant Office Manager. These, too, are salaried positions.

There are currently seven training sites in our rider ed program, and each one has a Program Administrator (PA) to run it. Program Administrators are paid for their work; they are contractors, paid on the basis of the number of students who register for training in their individual programs.

The names that go with the titles:

Director of Rider Education  Ben Hochberg

Office Manager  Perrie Ranburger

Assistant Office Manager  Deb Craig

PA (Greeley) Bob Liepold (Co-PA  Trent Kull)

PA (Longmont)  Jay Wallace

PA (Lakewood)  Larry and Perrie Ranburger

PA (Littleton)  David Dress

PA (Colorado Springs)  Reggie Butler

PA (Pueblo)  Shirley Angel

PA (Frisco)  Gary Greenwood

Conducting the actual training are the RiderCoaches. These folks are contractors.

They are paid on the basis of the number of students trained in the classes they teach. All RiderCoaches must be certified by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), which involves completion of a rigorous RiderCoach Preparation workshop.

We employ a Level system with our RiderCoaches. A Level One RiderCoach is someone who has little-to-no experience teaching motorcycle riding, or who is new to ABATE’s program.

A Level Two RiderCoach is someone who has experience teaching in our program, or other program whose quality we recognize as good. A RiderCoach progresses from Level One to Level Two by recommendation of Program Administrators who have observed and approved their work. By design, and out of necessity, most of our RiderCoaches are Level Twos.

A Level Three RiderCoach is a highly experienced, responsible and skilled lead instructor who has undergone a series of evaluations conducted by the Director. It would not be inaccurate to think of Level Three RiderCoaches as Program Administrators who don’t have a site of their own to run.

There is a Level Four RiderCoach designation. It is limited to those who have achieved the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s certification of RiderCoach Trainer. There are three RiderCoach Trainers in Colorado. (I am one; the other two (Erik Erikson and Bill Anthony) own and operate their own training businesses.)

Rates of pay for Coaching is commensurate with the Level rating of the Coach; Level Two RiderCoaches earn more pay than Level Ones, etc.

Four types of instruction are offered by ABATE’s Rider Education Division.

1. The Basic RiderCourse (BRC): as the name implies, this is the course for novices, or yet-to-be licensed riders, or for those who would like a brush-up before re-entering the world of motorcycling. Also, we make it a pre-requisite for entering the RiderCoach Preparation course. It usually takes two to two-and-a-half days to complete. Completion of this course includes the written and riding tests required by DMV for the motorcycle license/endorsement. Motorcycles are provided.

2. The Experienced RiderCourse (ERC): this is for riders who already have their motorcycle license and who already have significant experience operating their own bike on the road. This is a one-day course, conducted with the students’ own bikes.

3. The RiderCoach Preparation (RCP) course: this is for folks who seek to become RiderCoaches. This course must be led by a RiderCoach Trainer. It usually takes eight full days to complete. There is an application process for admission; not all who apply are admitted.

4. RiderCoach updates: these are workshops for the professional development of the RiderCoaches, and are led by a RiderCoach Trainer.

Curricula for the BRC, ERC and RCP are provided by MSF.

That’s all for now. In future installments, I will cover the actual history of our program, as well as other topics, such as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and C.D.O.T.’S Motorcycle Operator Safety Training (M.O.S.T.) program.