I was recently able to attend the MSF SMART Training for RiderCoaches. SMART stands for Safe Motorcyclist Awareness and Recognition Trainer. I saw the system at the motorcycle show last year, but I didn’t get to use it because of the long line.
I was able to spend most of the day
playing learning with it. Technology and motorcycles? Awesome! Here is a picture of one of the other coaches practicing with it.
The system isn’t a motorcycle simulator since it doesn’t lean, but it does have real motorcycle controls both at the hands and feet. The system provides a great opportunity to practice SEE – Search, Evaluate, and Execute.
Want to experience riding at night? Fog? This can do it. How about riding in a busy city with taxis making u-turns in the middle of the road, passing on the highway, road construction, trucks backing into the road, and pedestrians? This can do it. Hit that truck? No big deal. The system will pick you back up and dust off the motorcycle and let you try again.
With two displays, we were all able to watch and learn while another coach rode. A very neat experience with some great opportunities for coaching. After the session, the system replays the incidents in the simulation back. The coach can control the camera angles to see things from other perspectives. Even going so far, as to hop into the drivers seat of other vehicles to demonstrate their blind spots. Very powerful coaching tool if given enough time.
At the end, it provides a print out with grades for each of the hazardous scenes, and a complete breakdown of the riding including brake usage, turn signals, speeding, and crashes.
I did ok on my first attempt, but managed to get rear-ended by a large white truck at a stop light and crashed. Ouch. On a different scene, I came within 4.5 feet of hitting a pedestrian who darted out from behind a building just after I turned a corner. It was a good reminder of potential hazards and some strategies for dealing with them.
I am scheduled to work the booths for the 2012 IMS Motorcycle Show and the Donnie Smith Bike Show. I’m excited to be able to use this tool to help raise awareness about motorcycle safety and training.